Tag Archives: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Every cloud has a silver lining – just don’t tell the kids

Every cloud has a silver lining.

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.

Portrait of Sir Isaac Newton by Godfrey Kneller, 1689

To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

… is how the founder of the physical sciences, Isaac Newton, put it in his Third Law of Motion.

Continue reading Every cloud has a silver lining – just don’t tell the kids

Michael Shrimpton – Spyhunter

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! 

Continue reading Michael Shrimpton – Spyhunter

Income of the 100 richest people could end global poverty 4 times over!

The net income of the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.

That’s a pretty extremist statement. A headline from The Morning Star, The Socialist Worker or Marxism Today you might think? Nah. It was from an Oxfam press statement released on 19 January 2014.

Continue reading Income of the 100 richest people could end global poverty 4 times over!

What supporters of government press regulation want us to forget

In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must  have to fulfil its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people.

Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.*”

Who do you think said that? Some ‘ranting conspiracy theorist’ like Alex Jones perhaps? Who else thinks governments deliberately deceive the people to take them to war in foreign lands?

So it’s a bit of a surprise to discover those words were the rulings of a Supreme Court Judge, Justice Hugo Black, in the landmark decision in June 1971 protecting the right of the press to publish government secrets in the Pentagon Papers leaked by the whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Continue reading What supporters of government press regulation want us to forget

Npower hikes energy bills 10.4% – are they trying to take the pi$$?

Less than a week after British Gas topped the energy price league, beating rivals SSE by a comfortable 12% margin to set a new high of 9.2%, Npower surges an extra 13% ahead of British Gas and a spectacular 27% ahead of SSE to set a new record of 10.4%

Why would any company want to do that? Competitors are supposed to win customers by lowering prices, not by driving them up! Unless they knew something the rest of us didn’t know: that by the time we’d struggled through the maze of tariffs we’d find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If final proof were needed that privatization doesn’t work, this should have been it. So why didn’t we get the message? Why did we just shrug and move on? Continue reading Npower hikes energy bills 10.4% – are they trying to take the pi$$?

‘Kids’ YouTube clip hit by another music copyright warning!

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.

Continue reading ‘Kids’ YouTube clip hit by another music copyright warning!

SSE marks up their expenses by 50% – and they don’t call that profit!

Just two and a half weeks after energy industry lobbyists, Energy UK, threatened higher bills and power cuts and just three days after the National Grid joined forces with warnings of winter blackouts if investment isn’t increased, SSE is the first of the Big Six to puts the threats into action: hiking dual fuel bills a whopping 8.2% and slashing all investment in new power plants until after the next election.

Blaming government social and environmental levies for a third of the price hike, SSE‘s chief executive, Alistair Phillips-Davies, told The Telegraph today that energy bills will keep on rising for the next decade, but would fall by £110 overnight if the levies were axed. Blaming the freeze in new investment on the “acute political uncertainty” around Labour’s threat to the Big Six‘s power, Phillips-Davies seems to be making us an offer we can’t refuse in a low tone of voice: accept the deal the Big Six are offering or we’ll have to punch your lights out! Continue reading SSE marks up their expenses by 50% – and they don’t call that profit!

Oh how times have changed!

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose.

The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were born in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed.

Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves”

Sound familiar? It did to me when I stumbled across it on the Democratic Underground website. I thought it was a pretty accurate description of how things have changed in the UK since 9/11. So it was a bit of a bummer to discover it was taken from a book about the rise of fascism in Germany in the years leading up to World War II.

Continue reading Oh how times have changed!