Sunday, March 30, 2008

I marched with the Humberside Firefighters yesterday in support of their fight to prevent cuts in the service. It was the first bit of protesting I've done since ill health laid me low and it felt good.
Not that I've missed much in the fallow period; the people of Hull seem to have lost all inclination to resist the the autocrats, plutocrats, kleptocrats and anti-democrats who are bringing our society to its knees. There is little resistance to creeping fascism, or to municipal looting, in these parts. One result is that a thimble-rigger like Mr. Kim Ryley (or it Kym Riley?) can help himself to nearly a quarter of a million per annum out of our ribs as he watches the ship go down.
Another such is the Chief Fire Officer of Humberside, who appears to be a law unto himself. He, it seems, heads a select and mysterious band in his advocacy of cuts; I can't believe that he acts alone. Humberside's MPs, in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, are unanimous in opposition. That head-count includes Prescott PC, the firefighters' friend (that's a joke of sorts). All political parties are opposed, and all councils, except one where some sort of flim-flam occurred.
Said fire chief alleges that the butchery is in the cause of an improved service, but he's also on record as stating that the "improvements" will save £1.5 million - save for whom?

One economist's term I'm partial to, and which doesn't get used in the media is "the blood price". This is an equation - human lives and limbs weighed against profits. In other words, how many people will be killed, or maimed, or have their health ruined before the public reacts and demands reforms? Profits first, people far behind is the capitalists' rule, but they have to ensure they don't push too hard or too far. Dismantling of the Health Service, and of the Fire and Rescue Service is a tricky balancing act. But greed and arrogance coupled with ineffectual controls can lead to reckless decision making.
All's not lost, the fight goes on. There are petitions to sign at -

Sunday, March 23, 2008

STS Bulletin no.10
“an exciting new opportunity to diversify the use of the college's facilities and income streams and will provide an excellent resource that fits well with our strategic priorities around employability.”
The above quote is about the privatisation of the Leicester Adult Education College. In this context "diversify" means privatise, and "strategic priorities around employability" is a wonderful way of saying "job cuts". How much longer can our mother tongue stand the strain?
So many euphemisms are being found for privatisation. Has it become a dirty word even for its practitioners? Reform, choice, diversification, reconfiguration (a personal favourite); then there's Mr Alan Johnson's term for further privatisation of the National Health Service, "The days ... of one-size-fits-all service are over." That's just another way of saying "choice", Mr. Johnson, which brings us back to the P-word.
Whatever happened to "selling off the family silver"?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's going on with local councils? Nottingham Council is going to make its library assistants wear uniforms, though there is no evidence that this will improve the service they provide. One commentator on the linked article tells us that Liverpool library workers are already uniformed. Will this militarisation of the workforce spread throughout the land? Will "other ranks" be made to salute their superior officers?
Militarisation of the proletariat was tried in Soviet Russia; a model for all our British commissars.
Regarding the objectionable pair making money out of the child they managed to lose -
As noone knows the truth about what happened to the child apart from the perpetrators, and they have not divulged - how can anyone be accused of publishing lies? Lies about the actual crime, that is. If the moneygrubbers are intent on punishing liars why have they not sued the hirelings who assured the public that the child would be returned to her parents by Christmas?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona dhaoibh !
"Ta lá eile ag an bPaorach" - agus an lucht oibre.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"It is official. US Department of State declares Saudi Arabia free of all human rights abuses."
This from Angry Arab, yesterday.

I do think it disingenuous of the US State Department to list Syria among the abusers, when some of the abused are the Extraordinarily Rendered, delivered by the CIA.
Oh look! Iran's on the list too. What a surprise!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Middle East Peace (sic) Envoy and his bundle of sinecures (see link). Meanwhile children are dying.
I'm reminded of that old Irish multi-tasker, Meiler Magrath (d.1622). Meiler managed to hold office simultaneously as Catholic Archbishop of Down and Connor, and Protestant Archbishop of Cashel. He was also Bishop of Clogher, and of Lismore and Waterford at the same time.
It was written of Meiler that he had a " ... greedie mynde to heape together large possessions". He was accused of treason, of which, having professed himself loyal to the English monarch and colluded with Irish rebels, he was clearly guilty. Still he proved himself useful to his English paymasters. He was also accused of simony, something akin to "cash for honours".

Friday, March 07, 2008

STS Bulletin no.9

"an arrow aimed at the heart of the peace process so recently revived"
"Keep saying peace process as if there is one."
Alternative translation:
"I am a mouthpiece for the Bush administration."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Great game in Milan last night.
Great result for the superior team.
Great to see Berlusconi at the final whistle with a face like a well-slapped arse.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Over sixty Gazans were killed by the Israelis yesterday.
Nice to see BBC (News 24) sticking to its customary position and reporting it as a footnote to the killing of one Israeli in Ashkalon.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


Thirty-two Palestinians were massacred today at the hands of the world's third most powerful military force. The youngest victim was a six month old baby.
"The renewed violence appears to have torpedoed any hopes that an impending visit by US secretary of state Condleezza Rice can bring about a break through in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians." comments Peter Beaumont in this morning's Guardian. That might be one reason for the massacre.
The Israeli foreign minister has threatened the people of Gaza with a "shoah". So, shoah against Jews, an unforgivable act; shoah against Arabs, that's OK! Was there ever a clearer demonstration of the inherent racism of Zionist ideology? Imagine if an Arab had uttered a statement like that.
I think that a letter in yesterday's Guardian can bear lengthy quotation, as it airs items of news that the pro-Israel British press prefers to play down or ignore. It was from Ms. Sarah Colborne of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

" ... the Israeli government has rejected repeated offers by Hamas for a ceasefire. Israel has just killed 23 Palestinians, including eight children, in 24 hours. One of these Israeli airstrikes, aimed at the ministry of interior building in Gaza City, also destroyed the nearby Palestinian Medical Relief Society head office in Gaza, which housed its main clinic and a loan centre for equipment for disabled people. It also killed a five-month-old baby in in the same area. Israel's brutal and illegal collective punishment of a civilian population must end and pressure must be placed on Israel to ensure it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation."

That was before the latest body-count.