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.
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 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?
It features a leaked phone conversation between top American State Department official, Victoria Nuland, and America’s Ambassador in Kiev which, according to Stephen Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies and Politics at New York and Princeton Universities, shows that the Obama administration plotted “a coup d’etat against the elected President of the Ukraine!”
WTF!!! That’s pretty important information which puts President Putin’s response in a completely different light.
Watching Jeremy Paxman interview Russell Brand last night my first thought was that Paxman has way too much of that laconic Oxbridge arrogance the BBC thinks made Britain great, and Brand has way too much of that street-smart wit and charisma the BBC posh boys really hate.
But the more I thought about it “in my nut today” the more I agreed with The Artist Taxi Driver when he said: “Listen to what Paxman’s saying. You can’t change things. This is how things are.”
“Jeremy Paxman is like the voice of the entire centre ground of the country, which is virtually everyone bar f****ng extremists.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? The implication that green levies brought in by the last Labour government are to blame for rising energy prices, subtly implanted in the backs of our minds a month ago, finally came into the open today when David Cameron joined up the dots. Dismissing Miliband as a “con man” for promising to freeze energy prices, Cameron sounded like he could have been reading from a script written by Energy UK:
Just one day after Npower‘s record 10.4% price hike you might have thought that this morning’s announcement by energy regulator, Ofgem, that Scottish Power is the third of the Big Six to be found guilty of misleading the public, with investigations against Npower and E.On still ongoing, would have been top of the BBC News headlines. So why wasn’t it? Why did it hardly get a mention? Why did it largely sink without a trace?
What is it about the music used in this clip, Title Music from A Clockwork Orange by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, that makes so many companies want to claim the copyright?
If ever there was an example of fair use under copyright legislation surely this must be it! The music has so many resonances with the subject matter and is so obviously being used for the purposes of criticism, research, teaching, historical archiving and scholarship.
Just one week after SSE hiked energy bills up by 8.2%, British Gas outdoes them with a hike of 9.2%. That’s not how privatization is supposed to work. Companies are supposed to compete by lowering prices, not by pushing them up!
So how do British Gas account for this? Have they added an extra 50% on top of increased costs, as SSE did last week?