Seven years into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and just 95 days away from what could be the most crucial General Election since the Second World War, and Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are in deep trouble.
If you think they aren’t just watch this brilliant comedy video by the Artist Taxi Driver:
So what can be done about it? What should the Labour Party be saying in its 2015 Election Manifesto?
Over the past 40 years I’ve watched the rich and powerful greedily chomping their way through every scrap of public property they could get their hands on – from British Aerospace and British Telecom to gas, electricity, water, British Rail , the Royal Mail and now – the last remaining jewels in the Great British public’s crown – the NHS and the BBC.
It’s not hard to understand why they want all this stuff. If you sell things people don’t really need, your profits are hostage to the whims of fashion, but if you have a monopoly on all the things people can’t live without then your profits are guaranteed for life.
A video Christmas Card: a load of YouTube videos mashed up with a home-made song.
“Woe is us, we”re in a lot of trouble. We’re at a point of maximum denial. People are ignoring the obvious, They’re keeping the news out of the News.”
“The oligarchic character of the modern English Commonwealth does not rest, like may oligarchies, on the cruelty of the rich to the poor. It does not even rest on the kindness of the rich to the poor. It rests on the perennial and unfailing kindness of the poor to the rich.”
In the age of global terrorism, the need to increase security to protect our freedom is something most of us accept without a second thought. “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to worry about” is the mantra repeated whenever concerns are raised about any loss of civil liberties accompanying increased surveillance – succeeding not only in dismissing those concerns but also implying that anyone who IS concerned MUST have something to hide.
So what Benjamin Franklin had to say on the subject seems to make about as much sense as saying that those who are willing to trade money for something they want deserves neither and will lose both. Everything comes at a cost, and loss of liberty is the cost of safety. Everybody understands that.
But what DOES make sense are the constant threats to our safety and well-being that we hear about on the news everyday. Every kind of ill, from terrorism to carbon emissions, from measles to AIDS. All are kinds of illness. All put is ill-at-ease. All are kinds of dis-eases to which we are continually trying to find a remedy or cure.
I saw a video on the BBC news website yesterday that kept me tossing and turning most of the night. It’s a piece about army intelligence officer, Brian Gemmell, who was gathering information on loyalists in Northern Ireland during the troubles in the 1970s, when he stumbled across evidence of child abuse at Kincora Boy’s Home in east Belfast.
‘ A former army intelligence officer has said he was ordered to stop investigating allegations of child sexual abuse at a boys’ home in the 1970s.
Brian Gemmell said a senior MI5 officer told him to stop looking into claims of abuse at Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast.
He said he presented a report on the allegations to the officer in 1975.
In 1981, three senior care staff at the home were jailed for abusing 11 boys.
It has been claimed that people of the “highest profile” were connected to abuse at the home .’
Anyone who watches TV detective stories knows there are certain rules all good investigators must follow. The same rules apply in all kinds of inquiry – in law, journalism and science alike.
The rules are essentially what’s called the scientific method. A method for acquiring knowledge which has been at the foundation of all liberal democracies for more than 300 years.
Take nobodies word for it. Hearsay doesn’t prove anything. Forget any theories and assertions, especially from the authorities, and just focus on the facts – the empirical evidence – the things we can experience with our common senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight.
I saw something on the BBC News Channel yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 22 July 2015) that made me think I was losing my marbles.
Perching on the arm of the sofa, enjoying a few moments of shade after spending a glorious summer afternoon sweltering in the scorching heat of the garden, I was absent mindedly flicking through the TV channels, when I came across an interview on the BBC News Channel between BBC Business Correspondent, Ben Thompson, and a lady from some City brokerage firm giving the usual market updates. At the end of the interview Thompson said something like:
“I suppose we can’t end without mentioning that RATHER BORING NUMBER released by the Office for National Statistics today: the government deficit for June.”
To which the City brokerage lady said something like:
Well, I don’t think it’s boring. In fact it’s quite ironic that public sector borrowing last month was 50 percent higher than last year. When you consider that the financial crash of 2008 was caused by too much government borrowing, and total government borrowing since then has risen by another 25 percent, then when they finally decide we have to balance the books, some future generation is really going to feel the pinch.”
YOU WHAAAAT??? I was so shocked I nearly fell off my chair. Some FUTURE generation is really going to feel the pinch? Isn’t THIS generation feeling the pinch NOW! Isn’t lowering government debt what austerity was supposed to be all about?
That’s one of those sayings anyone over the age of 60 probably heard quite a lot when they were young but rarely hears now. Like nursery rhymes and coal scuttles, it’s a relic of a bygone age. But that doesn’t mean its not worth preserving, because what is says could be very useful in the times we’re living through now.
What that saying reminds us is that every picture has its shadows and it’s source of light. Every positive has a negative. Every thesis has its antithesis. Every bad has a good. Every good has a bad. Or, in other words, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.
Here’s a video not many people have watched, or are ever likely to watch. It’s a 40 min speech given by barrister Michael Shrimpton at the Britain on the Brink conference in Winchester on 22 September 2007.
What was the Britain on the Brink Conference you might ask? Well, according to the YouTube blurb is was:
A one day Conference by and for people of all parties and of none.
Hardly the kind of catch line that’s likely to attract many YouTube hits you might think. And you know what? … It hasn’t!