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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

268. Russia banana-skins into Brexit as Brexit rear-ends carpetbag Britain and it’s not pretty…

Secretary of State for Defense, the inexperienced and squeaky back room boy Gavin Williamson, competed effectively with racist Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for title of biggest UK embarrassment on the world stage last week. Yes, some-mothers-do-have-‘em Gav was the guy who, in response to Putin’s denial of attempted murder of an ex-Russian agent on UK soil told Russia to ‘go away and shut up’.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond, in his spring budget statement, jauntily referred to himself as children’s story book character ‘Tigger’ and announced that the UK economy isn’t as bad as he thought (see blog 261 Beware the Disconnect). Yay.

And as the Brexit Committee was forced to put out conflicting sets of recommendations two days ago because of more bickering and sniping in a corner of the 6th form common room and the pound rose slightly because a transition period providing a modicum of certainty post-March 2019 was agreed, Brexit has never looked more ridiculous.

All of this in the face of the dawning reality that the UK is falling apart at the seams.

The most recent rat to leave the sinking SS UK - Unilever - has been based in the UK since 1890. It is not, we are told, leaving because of Brexit. Apparently, UK business legislation prioritises shareholders over the interests of business and even over things like the environment. In other words, the asset stripping we’ve seen over the last four decades and ratcheted up in the last 5 years is legally built in to UK company structure.

Then there is the fantasy about the UK becoming a banking hub after Brexit as the la la land Leavers claimed. Icy water was poured on that nonsense in January when Brussels flatly rejected a City free-trade deal for when the UK leaves the EU.

But, a significant vehicle in the car crash pile up of disasters with Brexit and the international mess, is the desperately degraded state of Britain’s infrastructure. It is a result of decades of merciless, relentless carpet-bagging. Margaret Thatcher spawned privatisation with a capital P and it has spread like a cancer, unchecked by subsequent administrations. One thing has been thrown into sharp focus by the magnifying glass of Brexit and that is how little has been invested in infrastructure. Just today it is reported that 1 in 5 UK roads are not properly maintained. Belatedly we can see how sticky-taped and patched together everything is.

Independent reports show UK rivers in the NW are some of the most polluted in the world. Michael Gove, our doesn’t-believe-in-experts Environment Secretary, criticised the water companies for lack of investment. Astoundingly, he seems to have forgotten that his party, under Thatcher, began the wholesale selling off of utilities to the profit mongers. Gas and Electric companies are a mess of over-priced nonsense repeatedly told to do better by government whether for over-charging or terrible service. But during our few days of cold weather we discovered that gas storage facilities have been shut down – putting us more at the mercy of foreign gas suppliers – including Russia. Don’t even start me on BT – slavishly given multiple government contracts to deliver modern broadband and failing failing failing to do so for years.

Our prisons – according to recent widely publicised reports – would make a third world dictator blush.

Obesity is epidemic – despite the ridiculous bribes to get a weary public to accept the eye-watering cost of the 2012 Olympics. Babble about legacies for health and involvement in school sports has been shown for a farce. Many schools cannot even use their own premises outside school ours because they were built under private contract. The schools that have not been upgraded are falling apart, many have no decent outdoor facilities and huge numbers have budget deficits.

As wages remain depressed, train fairs continue to rise at a time when - for reasons of environmental protection and the economy – trains should be affordable and efficient. They are neither. Much of the rail network ground to a halt in the recent 6 days of winter and it's not great when the sun is shining.

 Our hospitals are using failing equipment and cannot get enough qualified staff. This is only going to get worse as EU worker numbers slump and migrant labour from other parts of the world switches to EU Europe where workers rights are protected.

And now – just as the UK is completing the task of making itself an economic basket case – we enter a new chill with Russia. Cynic that I am it even crossed my mind that gobshite Boris Johnson prematurely called out Russia – (rather than follow the existing protocol which would have meant Russia could be condemned formally from a position of 100% strength) because it’s such a marvellous distraction from the Brexit bungle he helped orchestrate.

It is a perfect shit storm. 
It is the confluence of decades of UK carpet-bagging with Brexit putting us on the worst possible footing with a host of economic, social and military allies plus the international monster mess caused by going into bad situations when we should not have done (Iraq) and not going into others when, even someone as anti-war minded as me, cuold see we should have done more – (Syria).

Greed and gormlessness and gung-ho. Game playing at the top tables with the price being paid, always, by those at the bottom.
It’s not clever and it’s not pretty.

and buy this book... know you want to see where all this is going...

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

267. You have the power but it’s not where you think it is…

People power no longer lies in the ballot box but in the bank. Thanks to mad credit – you don’t even need actual money to have pocket power these days…

Real representational democracy depends on what choices are being offered and who is offering them. In the UK, our current choice is between a PM with an insane, contradictory position on Brexit and an opposition ‘leader’ with an incoherent position on Brexit and no coherent position on anything else.

Democracy is also about democratic expression and respect for democratic institutions. So, for example, the clear democratic will of the people was ignored wholesale and democratic institutions were side-lined when Blair took the UK into Iraq with Bush. (see two posts ago)

But – horrific as it was – the latest headline school slaughter in Parkland US by yet another right-white with high powered weaponry, shows us something amazing. And I’m not even talking about the incredible, mature response of the young people. It’s the power of the purse. The weight of the wallet. The pressure of the pound or the dynamite of the dollar to really shift things.

In the US, the NRA has held numerous governments to ransom at the cost of countless wasted lives. And it’s not just guns. Big money is one reason our kids are eating shit like never before. The commercial food industry has a spend power that outweighs any health campaign by $billions. For decades the tobacco industry was the same, though here in the UK – finally - a calculation was done which proved that the cost the public purse via the NHS was just too great and we got some sensible legislation on smoking at least in public places. However, even within the short life of this blog I’ve written about the way David Cameron’s previous administration, yes – the ‘leader’ who gave us Brexit, barred and blocked and prevaricated on tackling tobacco advertising. (See blog 47 Smoking causes Government Insanity).

The UK has been a grab-what-you-can fest for the elite since 1979. Thatcher sold off Britain’s family silver (and we’re all paying). Blair sold out democracy and world peace (and the world is still paying in the hardest currency). Clegg sold out the young who put their trust in him (they will always be paying). Cameron squandered Britain’s future for a Tory 6th form game of dare (and they’re still playing). May and her flaccid grey dull cabinet of clowns are simply allowing the tattered remnants of Britain’s reputation to run, ever more quickly, through their fingers. For your elucidation I have tried to illustrate this in new cartoon see ‘something’s gotta give’ @

But in the US, big companies have taken minor action – finally realising that the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want their kids gunned down in school. Airlines and car rental companies started by pulling NRA perks. Hunting shops and even Walmart have unilaterally introduced the kinds of minimal safeguards that government would not.

It’s not altruism. Companies with profit margins see better than those who should be paying attention that the tide has turned. Parents will no longer put up with school carnage or those who allow it. Corporations sensed the mood change and do not want to be on the wrong side. Commerce seems therefore, far more attuned to their consumers than politicians have been. Rest assured politicians will follow.

I’ve written many times about this kind of power. In the face of – for example – the BBC’s blatant disregard for the fact that it is no longer 1950 – I suggested that anyone who is not a privileged white male and/or living in London is mad to still pay their licence fee.

I’ve written about the dehumanising money-grabbing practices of many high street outlets from supermarkets to banks (e.g. blog 218 Lidl – 0 Barrack Obama - 1). Before its too late and ALL of them have banished human employees – is it too difficult to find your way to patronise the ones that still treat us like humans i.e. those that have staff?

Ditto services. If you are unlucky enough to have to use a law firm or other money orientated institution look for one that employs people who were state educated, working class – black - female. WHY? Because fairly quickly you’ll see more and more of those firms suddenly opting to give ordinary kids a chance. Some shops may decide to keep actual human employees like people you know. Elitist organisations may suddenly find a sense of fairness. If it affects their profit margins, do not underestimate how ready they would be to throw their own under that bus and give those who’ve never had a chance – a chance.

The UK chancellor is again claiming that the UK economy isn’t doing too badly – (ref; blog 261 - Beware the Disconnect – where I examine how this could be technically true but also a very big lie). But if ever there was evidence that those in power simply care about money (and power)  it’s all around us. Even their measures of success have little to do with real human lives.

We have the Power but it’s not in the ballot box - it’s in the bank.


and check out some of my novels, children's books, future dsytpian sci fi for Easter.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

266. Snow froze off the Brexit monkey's cojones. Only the Viagra of jingoism keeps it going…

Don’t you just love the idea that Britain is ready to go it alone – I mean after what 6 days of snow has done to the UK’s degraded, failing infrastructure and what that revealed?

The Beast from the East froze the cojones off the Brexit monkey. With only the Viagra of jingoism to keep it going, Theresa May and her carnival of fools are doing a remarkable job of bluster and tallyho applying ever shrinking sticking plasters to the rotten Tory party and with the rabid support of only a minority of the sentient public whistling Rule Britannia with their fingers in their ears while ironing their union jacks (I know that is not physically possible but then neither is Brexit).

Who needs a stable, vibrant, tried and tested trade system and dynamic integrated economy when we’ll be able to replace all that by selling plastic models of London buses to Tuvalu?

Following just six days of ordinary winter weather last week and viewing the complete failure of basic infrastructure, from the road and rail network to airport closures to the worry about energy shortages as we discovered that the offshore gas storage facilities had been closed by a profit-hungry privatised gas industry – a question occurs.

It’s the same question that came to mind as I listened to the news of cold commuters on stranded trains with no alternative means of heating and people found dead under cars – or born in motorway snarl ups.

It is the same question that occurred to me when multiple hospitals were closed to all but emergency procedures and Brits muddled through in the absence of plans.

It’s the same question that occurs when we hear that swathes of the country are without water. Gargoyle Gove, our Environment Secretary recently tapped [pun intended] the water companies on the wrist for not investing in infrastructure – conveniently forgetting that it was his party that sold off Britain’s utilities and infrastructure to the private sector. Oh and another Russian has been bumped off by Vlad here in old Blighty.

The question is this -

Who actually thinks that the UK has the quality of leadership to negotiate a viable EU departure deal? Who in their right mind thinks we have the stable, robust systems and infrastructure to carry through something as legally and socially complex and life changing and economically rocking as Brexit? And who but a completely delusional basket case thinks that the UK is fit and ready for Splendid Isolation? We can’t manage a week of snow… (I know – that is 3 questions…)

The kind of teamwork evident in this pictures (my youngest daughter and some pals built a snow cave on a school snow day) is not evident in either of Britain’s main parties.
Sadly, it is the future of these young people that will be blighted by Brexit.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

265. ‘Tony Blair is a liar’- is something you hear and wonder why anyone would waste their breath saying it out loud…

It’s one of those ridiculous side-spats to everything else that is going on in the world – including the cynical slaughter in Syria while the West – distracted by the Brexit disaster and the Trump abomination – fiddle halfheartedly with how to stop Putin-backed Assad.

Michael Wolff, american author of Fire and Fury, accused Blair of lying when call-me-Tony denied sucking up to the Trump’s son in law for the Middle East Peace Envoy job. (Yes – I’ll pause while you pick yourself up off the floor. T’is the same Blair that obliterated Iraq and destabilised – THE MIDDLE EAST).

OK - Wolff did take the trouble to put pages between covers to tell us what a disaster Trump’s first year in office has been, so he clearly likes to be paid to state the obvious. A lot of people could have saved a lot of money. They need not have bought the book to know that having a misogynistic, narcissistic, lazy, semi-literate moron as president– would be/is a disaster just as I did not need the radio to tell me it was snowing this morning. I could just look out of the window…

Nor did anyone need to be told that Blair is a liar or – as Wolff helpfully put it “a complete liar”.

In many ways whether Wolff or Blair is lying about this minor detail is a moot point. We know Blair wanted that job. We know that he was willing in 2003 to unleash Armageddon in order to suck up to G.W.Bush. 
Hearing that Blair sucked up to the entourage of the next Republican president is about as surprising as finding I have toes at the ends of my feet.
It’s as surprising as  hearing that Boris Johnson – our clown foreign secretary – has made another racist comment.
It is as surprising as learning that Jeremy Corbyn is still trying to spark another general election because he thinks a Labour PM who has no coherent position on Brexit would be better for Britain than a Tory MP who has no sane position on Brexit.

It’s not news.

From time to time Blair and various of the mainstream media outlets – always the BBC – try to rehabilitate the man who talks as if his testicles were stapled to the back of his throat when  he was 13 and he is quite happy with the situation (a lot of men of his ilk in British public life sound like this!!!) They interview or otherwise give him a platform to deliver his latest sermon. It is as if they and he think that EVERYONE is anaesthetised by soap operas, reality tv, cooking/gardening/house improvement programmes, facebook etc etc etc. Surely they must realise by now – as he pops up to pronounce on the Middle East or Brexit via his global ego-corp or vicariously through his old cohorts – that someone somewhere has a memory. Someone is going to pipe up and remind folk that he illegally started the war in Iraq and is responsible for endless misery and innumerable deaths. He achieved this by lying to the British people and ignoring the largest most diverse mass anti-war demonstration this country has ever seen.

If you want to surprise me – tell me that the self-obsessed maniacs of the world have put their hideous grasping and grabbing and positioning on hold to try to help the children of Syria.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

264. Brexit – Where are we now?

The moronic, xenophobic, destructive, entitled, delusional neighbours from hell, about sums it up.

If listening to Theresa May’s latest call to the EU for co-operation fried my mind with the crazy contradiction then David Davis’s assertion that Brexit would not lead to a ‘Mad Max-style dystopia’ almost caused me to lose my moorings.

Each time matron May or dim Davis or gargoyle Gove or bonkers/racist Boris or rancid Rees-Mogg open their mouths, it seems this is as mad as it can get – but it never ever is.

In May’s ‘Road to Brexit’ speech in Germany she calls for special cooperation on security and says
“The challenge for all of us today is finding the way to work together, through a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU”
The call for this co-operation sounds plausible and genuine and serious and statesman-like and all the other rabid illusions we’re now used to. However, in order to listen to this without going insane you have to blank your mind to the fact that we HAD a special partnership and the UK unilaterally crapped on it … 

The road-to-Brexit this government is on involves sitting in a car powered by paranoid delusions and falsehoods.  We are steered by double-speak into a narcoleptic state usually only seen in those at the mercy of synthetic cannabinoids.

But as the last few strands of sanity hang by a thread, a horrible image manifests. On the positive, it reassures me I’m not mad – at least not as mad as the Tory front bench or our so-called opposition (any time Jeremy Corbyn wants to announce the Labour Party’s actual position on Brexit we are all waiting…)

The EU is like a neighbourhood that pulled itself up by the bootstraps after a long and hideous history. This history included wars and slaughter and poverty and various monarchs and other ‘leaders’ waging war – usually at the extreme expense of the lower orders. There was all the usual stuff to contend with – plagues, famine and pestilence and general not-good stuff. Then after two attempts at annihilation 1914 - 18 and again in 1939-45 with a little help from Nature (flu epidemics etc.) oh – and a bit of genocide – the neighbours finally decided they’d had enough. They’d rather have good lives for future generations. They set up a sort of neighbourhood watch; not the sort where you just put a sticker on the window and peep out occasionally when a car alarm goes off – but a proper one to do with co-operation - a ‘deep and special partnership’ you might say.
The neighbourhood started to look up. There was co-operation. Houses improved. No fights in the neighbourhood. New people moved in and things changed but basically it was ok. Yes there were the whingers and whiners who thought they could have a better front door or a bigger garden or if things reverted to the way they never had been in their 1950s fantasies but on the whole they were told to shut the fuck up and be grateful things were a lot better than they had been.
A privately educated racist called Farage with a pint in his hand and help from some other posh schoolboys who think politics is a game you play in the 6th form common room and a non-existent opposition - conspired to persuaded the family of whingers and whiners that they would be happier if there were no rules about straight bananas. That family decided to trash their house – wreck it – dig up the garden – smash the windows including the parts that belonged to a family who did not want the house trashed and a couple of adjoining properties. They are the neighbours from hell and they wrecked things for the whole neighbourhood.
Now they are going round each of their neighbours asking for help to put their house back together – they don’t really know how or why and don’t have a plan for rebuilding or any idea what their repaired property should look like and they are trying to make out its everyone else’s job to work all that out - their argument runs thus -
You have to help us and be nice to us and let us have ALL the benefits we had before we trashed our house and caused upset in the neighbourhood because otherwise the neighbourhood will just be crap with this big eyesore right here…

And that’s where we are right now.
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and my cartoon page

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

263. I promise I won’t sit in the wasteland screaming I TOLD YOU SO...

… but as time cycles spin faster and a fashion trend of three years ago is already hailed as ‘retro’ and stock markets are more jittery than a crack addict who just got stopped for having no lights and the boys with money are happy to spend it on toys that cost the GDP of a medium size country and the addled, narcissists and mediocre become 'leaders' and the masses are scared of their own shadows and believe any twaddle that is repeated often or loudly enough and our children breathe diesel while we cut down trees like there is no tommorrow thus ensuring that there won't be  - we do need to re-calculate our doomsday scenarios.

Which – by the way – will look something like this…

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

262. BREXIT – the nuclear option could soon be delivered by a brexit dream team (The ‘D’ Team!) say an hysterical media…

Yes – Brexit bonkers, brain-frozen, barmy as a box of frogs, batty, Britain-breaking, loony tunes, la la land loopy is now looking likelier than ever and the circus of clowns is in town ready in the wings to bring the house down (pun intended).

Theresa May has maxed out trying to hold the fantasy ground where the xenophobes can have everything they want but Britain can still benefit from the EU economically. It was becoming an unbearable exercise in delusion and double talk with only the weak and weird able to mumble through any of the gobbledygook without going insane; dim and dull as dishwater David Davis or the craven Liam Fox.

Now – the mainstream media tell us – we are a cliff edge away from what they are referring to as The Brexit Dream Team. I’ll translate that for you – triple shit on a stick x 1,000,000.

The ‘D’ team would, we are told, be led by Boris Johnson, our racist  Obama-insulting Foreign Secretary who gave us the lie about – well pretty much everything during the EU referendum - but mainly the £340million per week to the NHS oh and corruptly wasted millions of pounds on the never built Garden Bridge when he was mayor of London etc, etc. 

His deputy would be Michael Gove – the man who also spouted lies because he thought the British people wouldn’t be mad enough to vote to leave but it would make him popular – oh and derided experts through the whole process and is now our Secretary for the Environment – Yay. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg would be chancellor. J.Re;Smogg is the man who thinks philanthropy should be left to toffs like him if they happen to have a few spare guineas left over once they’ve paid for private school for their half a dozen or so offspring and who is vehemently anti-abortion even though he financially benefits from a drug used to induce abortions.

That’s it. That is what top-shelf Britain has to offer to sort the Brexit mess...
And part of me is sinking slowly into the quagmire of – BRING IT ON. LET IT HAPPEN. Because since June23rd 2016 it’s been like sitting in the dentist’s pre-op room waiting to have all our (not in particularly bad condition) teeth pulled out and replaced with rusty paper clips.

A madman offered the procedure. Some folk in the waiting-room volunteered for the procedure and about half did not. And even the half that voted for it have sort of changed their minds now they can hear the badly-wired, wobbly old drill being tested and the nurse has announced that they've run out of anaesthetics (or the anaesthetists have all gone back to their EU homes). But it’s going to happen.

The mad discordant headache-inducing jingle of jingoism and xenophobia is whining over a speaker and – even though it’s going to be horrible for me – who didn’t vote for it and horrible for those who did but came to their senses – it still might be worth it to hear the tiny rabid minority who have the rest of us by the throat, up a tree, over a barrel, up a creek without a paddle, over a cliff - scream

Or could we just wake up from the nightmare?

OH – and as regards last week’s post – in view of the financial reports last night - maybe change my “within 24 months” prediction to ‘within 24 days…’