BARCLAYS FINED £290 MILLION
Posted Wed 27 Jun 2012, 10:13pm GMTBarclays Bank has been given a record fine of two hundred and ninety million pounds for lying and for manipulating interest rates on a massive scale.
Barclays - in concert with other banks - fixed the LIBOR and EURIBOR rates over a period of four years. This sounds just technical. It isn't. The LIBOR rate is the average rate at which UK banks lend to each other. It is also the rate used as a benchmark for everything from the interest due for late payment on many contracts to the interest rate on many mortgages - real payments by millions of real people.
The LIBOR rate is also the benchmark for much of the trade in financial "derivatives": obscure instruments created by finance capitalists whose total value is hundreds of trillions of pounds. That's hundreds of times the total value of the British economy, an unbelievable amount. The money to be made by fraudulently manipulating this market, by means of rigging the LIBOR, simply beggars belief.
Other major banks in the UK, US and Europe are under investigation for similar allegations, including Lloyds and RBS - both recently rescued from collapse by the tax-payer.
It is clear that finance capital continues to act purely to make huge profits, legally or illegally. The banking system is not a support to the real economy but a criminal conspiracy against it.
We must stop propping up the unaccountable private banking system at the expense of ordinary people. We must replace it with a publicly owned, publicly run, publicly accountable national bank.
Egypt Army bars candidates
Posted Mon 16 Apr 2012, 10:27am GMTThe authorities in Egypt (which means the Egyptian Army) have banned several candidates from the presidential election. These include the two reckoned most likely to win.
The Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater had been expected to win. The supposedly reformed Mubarak spy chief Omar Suleiman had been a surprisingly strong challenger. Salafi Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail would have represented the more extreme Islamist current, also likely to attract a lot of support.
All three have been barred from standing in the forthcoming "democratic" presidential elections.
Who runs Egypt today? The same army that ran it with Mubarak as president.
CARBON FRAUD - 1.6 billion Euros
Posted Sat 18 Feb 2012, 8:57am GMTWe all know that "carbon trading" is just a way of letting the rich make the poor cut greenhouse gases for them. And a way of creating yet another "exchange" to be "played" profitably by finance capitalists.
Now the French national audit court has discovered that the state has lost over one and a half billion Euros to a VAT fraud on carbon trading that has been going on for years.
It's stunningly simple and hugely profitable. You use an overseas company (which may or may not exist) to buy carbon permits. Then you resell them in France and charge VAT on top. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. You make, and the state loses, 19.6% of the price of the trade.
Greece gives in
Posted Sun 12 Feb 2012, 10:57pm GMTThe Greek parliament has voted to postpone the inevitable, at huge cost to the Greek people.
Tonight PASOK (the nominally left wing party) and Nea Democratia (the explicitly right wing party) have voted to accept a further package of "austerity" measures dicated by the troika of Brussels, the ECB and the IMF.
The assured result will be further contraction of the Greek economy, reduced ability to pay off its debts, and a consequent national bankruptcy and exit from the Euro. Instead of biting the bullet now and accepting default, Greece faces even deeper pain for its people before accepting that its membership of the Euro is unsustainable.
Meanwhile Germany will continue to profit from an artificially low exchange rate (for Germany) while the people of Greece suffer.
Mother's death "not good enough cause" to miss interview
Posted Tue 14 Jun 2011, 8:42pm GMTOn 6th June 2011, Worthing Department of Work and Pensions imposed two weeks total loss of benefit on Kevin Humphrey, a single father of two children, for failing to attend an interview on the day his mother died.
Changes to Tory NHS plans
Posted Tue 14 Jun 2011, 10:32am GMTChanges to the NHS Bill have been recommended by the government's "NHS Futures Forum" . How much difference do they make?
1) The regulator, Monitor, will no longer have a statutory duty to promote competition.
The whole thrust of the Bill is to fragment the existing NHS, reinforce the artificial commissioner/provider split, and allow unfettered private participation. This change of wording means little.
2) The "GP" commissioning consortia will have some involvement from other health professionals.
The "GP consortiums" were always just a cover for privately run commissioning bodies. Nominally based on GPs, the typical model would be consortiums managed by "entrepreneurs" and multinational "HealthCos". The change will make it even more likely that these mixed consortiums are externally (privately) managed.
3) Private providers should not be allowed to "cherry-pick" patients.
The whole thrust of the Bill is still to promote exactly that. The changes are based on fragmentation and allowing "any willing provider" (ie private health company) to provide what (profitable) health care they choose.
4) The Health Secretary will remain "ultimately accountable" for the NHS.
This appears to address the worst aspect of the Bill: the formal demolition of the NHS as a publicly accountable body. However, merely changing the words describing ministerial responsibilities makes no difference at all without a mechanism for accountability. The new structure is an inherently unaccountable mess.
5) Commissioning consortiums will have a duty to reduce health inedqualities.
Good, but unachievable. A national service is ideally structured to provide the same standard of care everywhere. The Bill replaces it with a disparate collection of bodies, many private, structurally bound to create wide differences in care.
6) Implementation will be slower.
The revised Bill will still destroy the NHS.
US VETOs BLOCK ON ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS
Posted Fri 18 Feb 2011, 10:17pm GMTAt the United Nations Security Council tonight, the United States vetoed a resolution condemning Israeli building of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
The proposal had the backing of over a hundred nations. It was supported by every other member of the Security Council, even including the normally pliant European allies of the US such as Britain.
Indeed, it expressed the repeatedly declared position of the United States itself. Obama and previous US administrations have consistently said they oppose Israeli settlement building, which is contrary to international law.
Yet the US vetoed the resolution, showing its true colours as the sponsor of its Israeli puppet.
Now Mubarak has gone
Posted Fri 11 Feb 2011, 6:38pm GMTLess than 24 hours after announcing he was staying on until September, Egypt's President Mubarak has resigned, ending his thirty year dictatorial rule. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is now in charge of Egypt. A statement from the SCAF refers to the legitimacy of the protests.
Egyptians across the country are celebrating. It is unclear whether it was the escalated street protests or the leadership of the armed forces that finally forced out Mubarak. Probably it was both. Indeed, it was the street protest that pushed the army into its new position.
The question now is whether it is just Mubarak that has gone or whether the regime as a whole has been overthrown. In classic post-colonial style, Egypt has been run by some thousand rich families who have dominated the government, the army and commerce. They have done very well indeed, while poor Egyptians have got poorer.
Mubarak refuses to go.
Posted Thu 10 Feb 2011, 9:00pm GMTIn a television address to the nation at 8.45pm (UK time) Thursday 10 February, Egypt's President Mubarak refused to quit. Demonstrators in Tahrir Square and across the country had hoped for a resignation speech, encouraged by media predictions and a statement from the armed forces.
Mubarak applauded the genuiness of the demonstrators. He promised punishment for those who had killed and injured protesters. However, all he offered politically was some constitutional amendments and further talks, plus lifting of the 30 year emergency laws at an unspecified time. He confirmed the notional transfer of the exercise of some of his powers to Vice-President Suleiman, the previous head of security.
The immediate, united and angry response of the demonstrators in Tahrir Square was a vocal demand that "He must leave". Thousands waved shoes in the air, a traditional sign of condemnation.
SHOP STEWARDS NETWORK TAKEN OVER
Posted Sat 22 Jan 2011, 4:48pm GMTThe Socialist Party today took over the National Shop Stewards Network, turning it into a wholly-owned SP front.
The move was backed by every Socialist Party member of the NSSN steering committee, but opposed by every non-SP member. An NSSN conference in London agreed to set up yet another national anti-cuts organisation, entirely SP-dominated. The SP bussed in over three hundred members to secure this outcome.
It was clear at the conference that many non-SP supporters of the NSSN, including senior and founding members, will now withdraw from the organisation.
Oldham East Bye election
Posted Fri 14 Jan 2011, 10:20am GMTLabour hold the seat with an increased majority. Tories come third with a record loss of votes. Labour has succeeded in fooling voters into thinking it is against cuts and privatisation.
CUTS BASED ON LIES
Posted Thu 21 Oct 2010, 10:11am GMTGovernment cuts are based on the claim that our national debt is at an unprecedented level - hence massive cuts. Labour supports this line as do the media.
It is simply a lie.
Public net debt is now only a quarter of its highest level over the last century. Indeed, public net debt has been higher than its current proportion of GDP for more than half of the last 100 years.
Cuts and privatisation are not really driven by financial need at all. Both Tories and Labour are set on demolishing the welfare state.
But what have we got:
CUTS TO PENSIONS
Pay more, get less, retire later.
CUTTING THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
Even the feeble attempts Labour were making are cut: Carbon Trust, wind power, geothermal, and tidal. PLus privatising waterways, forestry and nature reserves.
CUTS FOR DISABLED, OLD AND POOR
Incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, sickness allowance and benefits for the poor. They are cutting £18 billion. Cuts of 26% on councils means huge cuts to services.
Already local councils build virtually no houses. Now huge cuts in council housing support.
CUTS TO BUSES
Cuts will kill rural bus services and reduce city ones. Fares for buses and trains will go through the roof.
CUTTING SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES
Cutting 40% from universities - and doubling tuition fees - will give us private universities for the rich. Creating "academies" and "free" schools will drain the education budget.
CUTS TO PROTECTION AND CARE
Local courts will go. Legal aid will be all but abolished. Cuts to the probation service, social care, youth clubs, sports centres and libraries.
Half a million more on the dole.
AND EVEN CUTS TO TAX COLLECTION
HM Revenue and Customs are to be cut by 15%. So much for making the rich pay their taxes.
ALL THIS ON TOP OF LABOUR'S THIRTEEN YEARS OF CUTS AND PRIVATISATION.
AGS comments on NHS White Paper
Posted Tue 5 Oct 2010, 4:05pm GMTThe Alliance for Green Socialism submitted the following comments on the NHS White Paper to the Department of Health:
1) The white paper contains no reasons justifying the proposed structural changes. These are clearly driven only by a desire to privatise.
2) The white paper represents a further step away from "caring for the health of people" and towards "commoditising ill-health for profit".
3) The various "aims" stated in the white paper all fall into three overlapping categories:
- those for which the structural changes proposed are irrelevant, the proposed achievement mechanism being independent of such change (eg patient information)
- those for which there is no reason to suppose that the proposed structural changes will have any positive effect (eg clinical outcomes)
- those for which there is no mention in the white paper of any steps towards their achievement (eg democratic legitimacy).
4) The lack of adherence to the appropriate process (Green Paper, responses, White Paper, responses, Bill), the unprecedented rate of change proposed, and the stunning lack of definition in the paper of great swathes of content and process show a reckless disregard for the NHS and those it serves. The white paper proposals are akin to throwing a pack of cards up in the air and expecting them to come down in ordered suits - except that, in the case of white paper proposals, people will die if they don't.
3,500 protest in Birmingham
Posted Sun 3 Oct 2010, 1:44pm GMTThe anti-cuts demonstration on Sunday 3 October outside the Tory party conference in Birmingham drew nearly three and a half thousand protesters, including the Alliance for Green Socialism. There were strong union contingents from UCU, NUJ, PCS and Unison.
Green Socialist 50
Posted Tue 21 Sep 2010, 3:03pm GMTThis issue, set in the days of the Leeds Bin Strike, examines the crisis in trade unionism, with articles by Steve Radford on the demise of the Trades Councils and by Matthew Jenner and Silvia Madrid on the decline in public sector unions. Plus Jim Boumelha on the dangers of journalism, Celia Foot on the German Greens, articles on punk, plays, football fandom and all the usual features.
Link: Green Socialist 50
RACISM AGAINST ROMA
Posted Fri 17 Sep 2010, 12:35pm GMTFinally EU Human Rights Commissioner Reding has spoken out against the French government's racist campaign against the Roma. Given that free movement of EU citizens within the EU is one of its founding principles, it is remarkable how acquiescent the EU has been so far. The moral and legal cases against France are clear as daylight.
Of course, France is not alone. Racism against travellers is the last bastion of "acceptable" racism in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. British minister Eric Pickles exemplifies this. Not content with the removal of the (almost entirely ignored) duty on local authorities to provide sites for travellers, he is changing the law to make it much harder for them to provide sites for themselves.
Perhaps that is why our own government has been silent on the issue.
Royal Mail to be sold
Posted Fri 10 Sep 2010, 9:40pm GMTThe ConDem coalition has announced plans to privatise Royal Mail. The mechanics are still to be worked out but, one way or another, they intend to sell off one of Britain's proudest services - a service that has been an example to the world in providing a universal postal system.
The Lib Dem Business Secretary, Vince Cable, made the announcement today. So much for Lib Dems protecting our public services from the Tories. A privatised Royal Mail will not only have to do provide a postal service, it will also have to make profits for its private owners. How is that going to help?
AGS Chair Mike Davies said: "This is yet another neo-liberal step in dismantling our public services and welfare state by this new right wing government. But it would be a grave mistake to believe Labour when they claim to oppose it. The last Labour government tried to privatise the Royal Mail and was only put off by the lack of bidders. It was Labour who opened up postal deliveries to private 'competitors' and allowed them to cream off the most profitable parts of the Royal Mail's business. What this government is doing is simply the logical outcome of Labour policy over many years."
BP boss "best practice"
Posted Sat 7 Aug 2010, 6:58pm GMTThe former BP boss Lord Browne has got the job of "inserting private sector practices into the heart of government".
It was Browne who presided over the cost cutting and disregard of safety at BP that was followed by a refinery explosion in Texas City killing fifteen, the Prudhoe Bay spill of a million litres of oil, and the price manipulation that incurred a three million dollar fine.
It was private sector practices introduced by Browne that caused the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico by up to 25,000 barrels of oil each day since April.
What an excellent appointment!
Oil and food - profit v safety
Posted Sat 7 Aug 2010, 6:55pm GMTEven the laissez faire USA, home of profits and pollution, is separating out regulation and safety from the government department that promotes the oil industry. The Deepwater disaster has demonstrated that the body promoting an activity cannot also have charge of its safety. That's exactly why the our Food Standards Agency was set up - to separate consumer protection from the old Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, notoriously in the pocket of the food industry.
So what does our ConDem government propose? Abolish the independent FSA and give responsibility for food safety to DEFRA, the renamed MAFF. We can expect more and more unhealthy food (and more food scandals) while the industry looks forward to unrestrained profits.
Alliance for Green Socialism General Election results
Posted Fri 7 May 2010, 8:44am GMTMichael Davies Alliance for Green Socialism 429 votes 1.1%
Celia Foote Alliance for Green Socialism 596 1.3%
Trevor Bavage Alliance for Green Socialism 121 0.3%
Eddie Adams Alliance for Green Socialism 197 0.6%
Juliet Boddington Alliance for Green Socialism 111 0.2%
Mike Butler Alliance for Green Socialism 127 0.4%
Thanks for your help
Under the Umbrella 100
Posted Thu 6 May 2010, 2:21pm GMTHalf Celestial celebrates Election Day with the 100th Under the Umbrella.
Link: Umbrella 100
Mike Butler's Top 3 Pledges
Posted Wed 5 May 2010, 12:24pm GMT1. Capitalist greed is destroying the world in which we live, through global warning and environmental destruction. We need to change the system. All the major utillities like transport and railways etc should be pulled back into public ownership.
2. I will fight for no cuts to people's pay for the bankers crisis.
3. Get out of Afghanistan.
Mike Butler Rhyl Journal 5th may 2010
Posted Wed 5 May 2010, 11:58am GMTBritain and the world is going through a devastating financial and economic crisis,putting millions out of work and hitting pensioners' savings.
We must stop the chase of unlimited growth and huge profits which drive us to environmental destruction.
Capitalist greed is destroying the world in which we live,through global warming and environmental destruction. We need to change the system.
All the major utilities including transport and railways should be pulled back into public ownership.
Tory, Lib Dem or New Labour, vote for these and you get a right wing privatising government that in practise fails to protect the environment while allowing the likes of the influence BNP to grow.
We need an economy based on fairness and cooperation, with common ownership of utilities and what are now ultra-big businesses. A system of need before greed.
Trevor Bavage Replies to the Wharfedale Rail Users Group
Posted Tue 4 May 2010, 6:16pm GMTI believe the whole of the rail network should be de-privatised including all franchises. I am enthusiast for rail and spend some of my leisure time walking closed lines in Yorkshire. I believe the Wetherby and Ripon lines and possibly the Rydale and Hawes branches should be re-opened and the regions network should be enhanced. Arthington should be re-opened as a station. I am not an enthusiast for the fast rail link which will consume vast resources just to transport rich businessmen to London 35 minutes faster. The nation needs 14 freight villages to take lorries off the roads with a return of the four track system on major lines and more stations should be put into service with lengthened platforms so that bigger capacity commuter trains can be put in service.
I have little faith that the three main parties will deliver little more than higher fares and poorer service as they implement cuts across the board.
I travel abroad on rail in Spain and France and they have such a superior system at all levels of provision.The privatisation experiment is a disastrous failure. Each fortnight I read the column "Signal Failures" in "Private Eye". A constant revelation of incompetence, wasteful subsidy, incentivising private companies, bad maintenance and bad service greets me when read about the network and passenger discomfort cause by the slack franchises.
Our fare pricing in this country is chaotic, stupid and sometimes little more than downright theft.
We need a rational rail system and you won't get it from the coalition government that gets in.
And now it is time to vote. Vote AGS. Think carefully
Posted Tue 4 May 2010, 8:28am GMTThis time, when you vote for a mainstream party, you will vote for the same sort of government. It will be a government that will cut services, cut wages, raise taxes and use repression to crush dissent. In the new government the fever over the Lib Dems' new age will fade. All the parties will very soon reach a political crisis and become a coalition of reaction. It is time to resist. Join the AGS, join the resistance and prepare for the struggle to come.
Letter to the Voters of Chapel Allerton
Posted Sat 1 May 2010, 12:47pm GMTGarth Frankland and Celia Foote appeal for your votes.
Link: Chapel Allerton Election Address
Trevor Bavage on the Greens and the C-Word
Posted Thu 29 Apr 2010, 4:02pm GMTMy message to the Green Party
I say leave your allotments and get ready to go onto the streets. Small scale reforms to personal behaviour are utopian and doomed to failure.
The Green Party contains many good people who, like the AGS, work hard to raise the profile of social and political injustice and above all, awareness of environmental matters and the onset of irreversible climate change.
But one word is missing from the manifesto that highlights the fundamental weakness of the Green Party. That word is Capitalism. Like the manifestos of the three main parties the manifesto the Green doesn't mention capitalism. Why would that be?
The capitalist system and the capitalist class are at the heart the degradation of the environment, the source of industrial pollution and the manufacturers of the carbon dioxide that is producing global warming. Just as capital plunders humanity it plunders nature.
Many green party members would agree with the last two sentences. But their political platform and campaign does not mention it. This absence of the "C" word is because the Green Party is not an anti-capitalist party. The Green party believes that you can green capitalism
You can't Green Capitalism. Capitalism does not do Green.
The AGS believes that the minimum action to curb climate change requires the de-privatisation of all energy production and transmission, all mass transportation, agriculture and land, and the financial system so the transformation to build an environmentally sustainable and fair economy.
That is the core difference between the AGS and the Green Party.
Trevor Bavage at the Hustings
Posted Thu 29 Apr 2010, 2:51pm GMTI have lived here for 40 years and I have taught in all the high schools in the constituency. I have a long history of community activism in this area and have organised campaigns on many local issues - BUT I have learnt that activism has its limits. Protest is not enough.
The current state of affairs:
Fragmentation and atomisation of communities is local, national and world wide.
- We have a long-term housing crisis. Landlords control the market.
- We have drunkenness on our streets every evening. Alcohol rules our public spaces.
- Schools close, public resources are sold off, and services diminish in quality.
- Transportation is polluting, congested, expensive and chaotic.
- Our local democracy has almost disappeared and real decisions centralised in Whitehall.
- We have little control over planning, as the law favours developers.
- Local services are poor even though council tax has risen 47% above inflation since 1997.
Capital demands the plunder of humanity as well as the plunder of nature:
Meanwhile our World Leaders at the G8 achieved nothing. They did not make poverty history did they? Global capitalism has failed - it is the source of all our problems. The free market is the problem - not the solution. Capitalism isnít working.
- Unnecessary, illegal and unjust wars
- Poverty and starvation
- Dictatorship, corporate power and greed
- Broken economies
- Mass migration and unemployment
- The rich getting richer and manipulating everything
- Environmental degradation on a grand scale
- And the coming of irreversible climate change
I want a fair, democratic, socialist programme where we own industry and finance to plan a fair sustainable future. We cannot influence capital to behave for mutual benefit of all.
We must not pay for the Bankers' crisis with cuts in jobs and working conditions, pensions and benefits, services and communities - as the Liberals, Labour and Tories are united in imposing after this election.
Trevor Bavage on Immigration
Posted Thu 29 Apr 2010, 2:20pm GMTImagine that there was a file on your computer screen labelled immigration and asylum. You click and open the file-What would you find inside?- you would find xenophobia, racism, inhumanity and black propaganda from the right wing press.
The anti-immigrant lobby is deceitful and two faced.
They did not complain when Luciano Beechio signed for Leeds. It's seems OK for footballers, financiers, businessmen or rich celebrities to come and go as they please.
They talk of housing problems but they don't mention the million council houses sold off to buy-to-let landlords who own many of them.
There is no one in this country whose ancestors are not immigrants.
Immigration enriches our nation, culturally, economically and socially.
We don't control the free movement of our citizens yet we expect it of others.
British people in continental Europe own a place in the sun - 4 million houses. The 14th largest British City is the Costa del Sol conurbation
The largest stay-overs on visas and work permits are from Australia, New Zealand and the US.
Academics, musicians, and artists demand the right for no borders. They should work and travel around the world as they please. So should everybody else.
Finance Capital forces imposes flow of labour and it is the cause of mass migration of the poor and unemployed-even for British workers.
If we want reduce immigration and refugees:
Don't bomb and destroy other people countries.
Don't ruin local agriculture abroad and drive people from the land.
Don't prop up corrupt dictatorships that persecute dissent.
Don't let finance capital move vast quantities of money, manipulate currencies and trade. The rich move complete industries and whole factories, around the globe in search of short-term profit.
They displace millions of people.
I would control the immigration of criminals into to this country. Especially war criminals such as Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and the last 10 Israeli Prime Ministers.
Under the Umbrella
Posted Thu 29 Apr 2010, 12:40pm GMTThe madhouse of the economy, a scandal of schools and the techo-whizzery of the MP who didn't turn up to vote for the digital economy bill. Just another rainy day under the umbrella
Link: Umbrella 99
Eddie Adams' Election Appeal
Posted Thu 29 Apr 2010, 8:07am GMTI am writing to my progressive friends to gain their support in the coming general election. There is hardly a fag paper of difference between the three main parties. They all want to put the burden of our economic crisis on the backs of ordinary families, though it was the bankers and their friends who caused the problems. Every election we are urged to vote Labour to keep the Tories out but do we really want a New Labour government which is just as tied to big business as the Tories or Lib Dems?
The Alliance for Green Socialism condemned the war in Iraq and would bring our troops home from Afghanistan now. These are wars for oil, resources and strategic influence and they make us more vulnerable from attacks, not less.
The AGS would tackle our problems in a different way. There is no doubt that capitalism has got our country into a bankrupt state and we need to raise money. We would scrap Trident instead of cutting jobs and services. We would levy the banks, we would save the money from the Afghan war and increase taxes on the wealthiest section of society who pay proportionately less than the rest of us.
The AGS is concerned about the future of our planet and supports the campaign for a million climate jobs insulating homes, and installing green technology to start helping us move away from fossil fuels to more independent and cheaper energy.
In the new Kensington constituency the Tories are still working for profit over people with their rebuilding of Holland Park School and the taking of its land for luxury houses. They support Kensington Housing Trust who are destroying Wornington Green Estate to add 300 units of accommodation for sale.
The AGS have asked me to stand in Kensington to help raise the real issues people face and to join in the fight for alternatives that serve the country, not big business.
Trevor Bavage on Crime and the Causes of Crime
Posted Wed 28 Apr 2010, 8:32pm GMTTrevor Bavage speaks to the hustings on the criminal justice system
Where are the jailed Bankers and Hedge fund managers?
Why aren't those who abused and tortured detainees in jail?
Where are the jailed conspirators who kept quiet about rendition and water boarding?
Where the jailed executives from Union Carbide?
Why aren't the new labour ministers waiting for their £5000 a day taxis on trial?
Why isn't Tony Blair in jail?
Why was Hazel Blears not fined for tax evasion or Jacqui Smith put on trial for fraud?
Causes of Crime
When capital destroys industries, pits, jobs and communities you create crime.
The perpetual marketing of the false need to acquire more and more material possessions causes crime.
When you traumatise young British soldiers you create crime (20,000 ex-soldiers have passed through the criminal justice system and 5000 are in jail).
The more punitive laws you make the more crime you create (Under section 76 of the counter-terrorism you can be arrested for photographing public buildings).
If public drunkenness is marketed, celebrated and encouraged you create crime.
If violence is broadcast as manly, beautiful, necessary and acceptable you create crime.
If sexual provocation is the underlying constant theme of all advertising each minute of each day, you cause crime.
As New Labour regeneration means casinos; lotteries, gambling, lap dancing and 24 hour drinking you create crime.
The failed war on drugs causes crime.
And soon, if you politically dissent against Labour's intruding, bossy, authoritarian, control-freaking erosion of our freedoms and the new wave of austerity:
You too will be branded a criminal.
Best wishes and send me the key to lock myself up if I repeat myself.
AGS candidate for Leeds Northwest
The AGS and mass fluoridation
Posted Sun 25 Apr 2010, 1:57pm GMTMike Davies answers an enquiry about fluoridation from the Leeds Friends of the Earth.
The position of Leeds Alliance for Green Socialism is summarised in our "Manifesto for Leeds - 2010":
"We oppose the compulsory fluoridation of water because the case for it is unproven and the risks may be considerable."
I myself believe that such mass, indiscriminate forcing of drugs onto people without their individual consent could only be justified by the most extreme consequences of a failure to take such steps. The idea that it could be justified by a dubious - and hotly contested - marginal health benefit for the majority is laughable. When one considers the risks (for which there is considerable evidence both from the nature of fluoride and from studies of its effects) the idea of compulsory fluoridation of our water supply should never even enter consideration.
Fluoridation clearly poses huge risks both to people directly and to our environment (and hence to people). It should be stopped, as should the waste of money on further studies into what is a clearly unsupportable proposal.
The AGS Manifesto for Leeds and our general election manifesto are both available on this website: see the side bar.
Alliance for Green Socialism
Candidate for Leeds East
Mike Davies responds to Stop the War's questionnaire
Posted Thu 22 Apr 2010, 8:22pm GMTThe Stop the War Coalition has asked every candidate in the 2010 General Election a series of questions on war, peace and foreign policy. Here is the response of Mike Davies, AGS candidate for Leeds East.
Eddie Adams supports the People's Charter
Posted Wed 21 Apr 2010, 3:56pm GMTEddie Adams, AGS Parliamentary Candidate for Kensington, supports the People's Charter in a speech to a public meeting called by UNITE branch 1/684
Garth Frankland AGS candidate for Chapel Allerton
Posted Wed 21 Apr 2010, 12:05pm GMTBelow is Garth's statement to the local website AboutMyArea.
My name is John Garth Frankland, your Alliance for Green Socialism local election candidate. For 40 years, including 20 as a councillor, I have campaigned in our area. My work has ranged from helping to develop and improve the libraries, community centres and housing to bringing people together. These have been cooperative efforts with hundreds of individuals and groups. Local needs come first. I live in the ward and work for the NHS.
There is a socialist green alternative to the profit system. We can grow a better future for ourselves, our children and our planet. We have to resist the cuts in public services by the three main parties
on behalf of the bankers. The bankers created the present crisis; they should pay.
My Local Priorities are:
* Affordable sustainable council homes for rent
* Cheap efficient locally owned public transport
* Top-class education run by the council
* Training and opportunities for young people
* Active defence of green spaces
* Real jobs to save our planet
* Work with Friends of Kirkgate Market to save Leeds Market
I am part of a team of over 50 people helping with the campaign and work with Celia Foote, our AGS candidate for the General Election.
If you want to know more please contact me: John Garth Frankland at
36 Roundhay Crescent, Leeds LS8 4DT, Tel 0797 1933 512,
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or join Garth Frankland on Facebook.
There is more information on our web page www.greensocialist.org.uk including our manifesto for Leeds. The other parties haven't produced one because they really don't care about our city.
Above all, I would serve the people of Chapel Allerton ward FIRST; working together to improve our quality of life and growing a better future.
Tory reality of local democracy
Posted Tue 20 Apr 2010, 2:47pm GMTIn Kensington we are intrigued by the Tory leader Cameron's claim to champion local democracy and to give local people more say in decisions that affect them.
In October 2007 the "Sustainable Communities Act" was passed by parliament. Most London boroughs have signed up to it or indicated they will. Tory Kensington and Chelsea seems to be a little reluctant. Perhaps Dave could have a word with them; he after all lives in the borough. This act gives people the right to question decisions taken by local government that affect them. In the schedule there are matters to which local authorities must have regard, the provision of "Open Spaces" amongst others.
We were particularly drawn to the fate of Athlone Gardens and the fact that this Tory council have passed planning permission for Kensington Housing Trust to destroy half of it in their planned redevelopment of Wornington Green. Would the situation be different and would people living within the park's catchment area have a say in its future if this act was fully operative?
Alliance for Green Socialism Parliamentary Candidate for Kensington
New Labour's Authoritarian Erosion of Our Freedoms
Posted Mon 19 Apr 2010, 4:33pm GMTIf you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear? Those who dissent have everything to fear from Labour. Here are 10 anti-freedom points that need repealing.
1 The growth of CRB into all parts of social and community activity.
2 Emergency counter-terror powers that have become permanent.
3 Regulating Investigatory Powers Act used by councils to spy on the public.
4 Police harassing protesters and photographing individuals for secret databases.
5 The state's sense of entitlement over our personal data and medical records.
6 Multiple security lapses in official databases
7 The conversion of public space into "state space" watched by millions of unregulated cameras.
8 The erosion of defendants' rights and normal legal procedure.
9 Britain's alleged involvement in torture and rendition.
10 State databases on email, phone calls and internet usage.
More of New Labour's Intruding, Bossy Control-Freakery
Posted Mon 19 Apr 2010, 4:32pm GMTNew Labour created 17,000 new police officers and 16,000 new community support officers and caused the prison population to swell by 24,000 after rafts of legislation criminalising people. Here are ten more erosions of our freedoms.
11 The biometric ID card.
12 The children's database and fingerprinting in schools,
13 Innocent people on the DNA database.
14 Section 76 of the counter terrorism act - not permitting photography in a public place.
15 Digital Media Bill inspecting all web browsing. Fines and cut off without trial.
16 Vehicle tracking on motorways using cameras to recognise number plates.
17 Imposition of Asbos without judicial process.
18 Libel laws to prevent journalistic and scientific investigation.
19 Pre-charge detention extension. Under current anti-terror laws you can be locked up and repeatedly questioned by police for up to 28 days without being charged. You might not even be told why you are there
20 Police abuse of stop and search powers.
Many many thanks to Liberty Central and others.
Link: Liberty Central
Air Fuel Rip-off
Posted Mon 19 Apr 2010, 12:13pm GMTMassive financial mismanagement again in Whitehall with the air-to-air refuelling and troop transport aircraft contract. The New Labour government burns taxes for private gain again in an eye-watering plundering of the public purse.
The 27-year deal is with the Air tanker consortium led by the European defence company EADS.
A National Audit Office report makes interesting reading. In 1997 new Labour's defence secretary George Robertson identified the need for a new fleet of in-air jet refuelling aircraft. He of the "let's have a job - empty taxi" Geoff Hoon, chose a PFI deal that would cost more over the long term but have less impact on immediate finances and so for political expedience could be deemed more "affordable".
But the PFI and the Ministry of Defence has ordered warplanes that can't actually fly into war zones because they are vulnerable to heat-seeking missiles and can't easily use heat-distracting flares. The air refuelling planes are laden with flammable fuel. A few years on, Afghanistan shows they are thought necessary and the MoD faces an extra bill for hundreds of millions of pounds to adapt the new aircraft. More PFI loans to redesign the leased aircraft and reconstruct, plus a massive increase in the loan interest rate, have blown costs through the roof. The cost is now put at £12.3bn, payable as £390m a year. £12.3bn is about the same amount wasted by the NHS on the failed IT system. Buying the planes outright would have cost £3bn. So that's a "Kerching" of £9 billion for PFI companies. This is government waste on a massive scale with contract lawyers and accountancy firms also leaching fees to tie up the frequently revised specifications on the planes. The AGS would cut this PFI nonsense out the budget, not services. We say open the books on the PFI firms EADS, Capita and Carillion to ready them for nationalisation after a hefty windfall tax.
Trevor Bavage on the Digital Economy Bill
Posted Sun 18 Apr 2010, 10:26pm GMTThe spy in your PC just got more powerful.
The Uk digital Economy Bill is an attack on our civil liberties and the end of the free internet. The Digital Economy Bill has been voted into law by the House of Commons. Among many other things, the Bill supports compulsory internet disconnection for persistent internet pirates and making owners of publicly accessible wi-fi hotspots liable for piracy committed on their connections. Its a pity about your local library wi-fi as well. But all IP addresses, including yours and mine, will be surveyed by government inspectors.
Online investigators will discover the "IP address", the unique address of every connection to the internet, linked to somebody who is offering a song, film, television programme or computer game for others to copy or any other source, such as a protest site or political site.
They then present this address to the relevant internet service provider, such as BT, Sky or Virgin Media, with evidence of alleged piracy. Internet providers typically only hand over their information after a court order - which finally links the IP address to a customer's name and address. Then without any trial your service will be cut off and a fine imposed. Ministers can make provisions about the granting by a court of a blocking injunction. There is to be no judicial or trial-based due process.
The legislation was one of more than 10 bills being considered by parliamentarians in the "wash-up period" - the remaining time before the legislature is dissolved and it was passed. It gives the right to investigators to survey all the site an individual has visited. And guess what? Sky Broadband was unique in that out of all the providers it gave support for Digital Economy bill.
Repeal the bill.
Trevor Bavage, Leeds NW Candidate, on Nuclear Power
Posted Sun 18 Apr 2010, 10:24pm GMTA Nuclear Power station takes 10 years to commission and a thousand years to decommission. Nuclear energy makes the most expensive kilojoule ever produced. Almost any other form of energy production is cheaper. EDF, a privately owned French-based company is heavily marketing nuclear power as a green carbon-free energy platform while hoping to secure the contract for the new generation of reactors in the UK.
All past governments in the UK have heavily and secretly subsidised nuclear power in Britain because it produces weapons grade plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The technology of Uranium production requires a feedstock chemical called yellow cake oxide from which fissile enriched uranium is extracted for reactor use. This is a complicated and expensive process. The yellow cake oxide is running out and this is reflected in rapid and exponential price growth on of the chemical world markets. If 10% of word energy needs were maintained by nuclear power there is only enough yellowcake for 15 years. Nuclear power can only proceed into the future using fast-breeders that make plutonium for use in fuel rods of reactors. This plutonium is bomb grade material and to provide sufficient for reactors requires an annual production of 400.000 warhead equivalents. Nuclear war would be inevitable. As professor Rotblat stated, "Nuclear power is incompatible with the continued existence of human civilisation."
Unfortunately if nuclear power ceased to expand today the industry would have to continue to exist, in a diminished form, for 150 years just to process the current warhead stockpile and residual waste from reactors in use today.
There are other energy alternatives such as wind, tidal, solar, wave and biomass that can be developed. That's where investment is needed.
Mike Davies responds to the TIDAL Fair 10 Challenge
Posted Sun 18 Apr 2010, 3:31pm GMTMike Davies, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Leeds East, responds to ten questions put by TIDAL, which works to support, coordinate and grow global justice activism in Leeds.
Link: Tidal Fair 10 Challenge
Manifesto for Leeds
Posted Sun 18 Apr 2010, 9:21am GMTRead all about what the AGS will do for Leeds.
Link: A Manifesto for Leeds
Celia Foote, Leeds NE Candidate on the war in Afghanistan
Posted Sat 17 Apr 2010, 3:39pm GMTIn the first of the TV debates the leaders of the three main parties reaffirmed their support for the American war in Afghanistan. Just as I opposed and marched against the illegal war in Iraq I am for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops in Afghanistan. British troops are being used to prop up a bunch of heroin-dealing warlords who are flooding the streets of Britain with drugs.
My New Labour opponent boasts how he voted against the invasion of Iraq. He keeps quiet about the dozen occasions he voted against calls of an inquiry into the illegal war.
His website used to contain a statement on his support of the Afghan war which appears to have gone missing. However nothing ever disappears on the web.
Below is a quote for his Leeds North East Newsletter followed by an answer he gave to yoosk in 2008.(see below)
"I fear we may have to stay in Afghanistan a long time as the consequences of withdrawal could be bad. Oppression for the people, especially for women, de-stabilisation of Pakistan and a haven for terrorists might be the outcome, were we to leave now.
"We are in Afghanistan to fight terrorism. The geographic isolation of the country with a tribal population having very conservative social traditions has proved an ideal base for fundamentalists to exploit and we have to prevent that in order to protect our own country, its people and its values. I cannot see an exit strategy either at present but it is a war we must win. There were no exit strategies for the war against Hitler - we had to fight on."
The AGS totally rejects this view and calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops and renewed efforts to end all conflict in the Middle East.
Parliamentary Candidate for the Alliance for Green Socialism
Leeds North East
Link: Fabian Hamilton answers questions
Trevor Bavage answers questions on abortion
Posted Fri 16 Apr 2010, 12:58pm GMTDear voter,
I am a long time supporter of a woman's right to choose and abortion on demand for at least 40 years since I first became involved in socialist politics. I oppose any threats to these principles.
To answer your questions:
If elected, would you vote to maintain the current 24 week abortion time limit? If not, when do you think the abortion time limit should be set?
Would you vote to allow women in Northern Ireland to use NHS abortion services?
Would you vote in favour of legislation to improve access to abortion services in the UK?
Would you vote to restrict access to safe, legal and free abortion in this country in any way?
Trevor Bavage (AGS candidate for Leeds.Northwest)
Trade Unions and the General Election
Posted Thu 15 Apr 2010, 7:48pm GMTProfessor Gregor Gall commenting on the capitulation of most of the trade unions to New Labour's neo liberal and privatisation economic policies.
Gregor spoke to the AGM of the AGS 3 years ago.
Link: Unions should shape election agendas
Trevor Bavage selected as AGS candidate for NW Leeds
Posted Wed 14 Apr 2010, 9:43am GMTTeacher shows his class
Link: Read full press release
Byteing Off More Than They Can Chew
Posted Tue 13 Apr 2010, 2:26pm GMTThe reddest thing about the Labour Party is the faces of their self-styled computer experts.
The printed edition of the manifesto promises "virtually every household in the country a broadband service of at least two megabytes per second by 2012". That's 16 million bits per second. The online version has been hastily amended to "2 megabits". That's 8 times less.
But what can you expect when Stephen Timms, who led on the deplorable Digital Economy Bill, thinks that the "IP" in "IP address" (internet protocol) stands for "intellectual property"?
Leeds NE Tory candidate leaves
Posted Thu 8 Apr 2010, 2:55pm GMTWhen Celia Foote, AGS candidate for Leeds NE dropped in for a drink at Cafe Nero in Chapel Allerton the Tory candidate Matthew Lobley cleared off. Perhaps he only wants to talk to those who agree with him.
Alliance for Green Socialism candidate
Posted Wed 7 Apr 2010, 3:01pm GMTThe AGS is standing a total of six candidates in the General Election. All are listed in the posts below.
Juliet Boddington: AGS Candidate for Scarborough and Whitby
Juliet worked as a teacher and as a trainer, and is a member (and ex-officer) of the CPSA trade union. Now retired, she lives in Whitby, walks, sails and campaigns on civil liberties. Juliet says:
"I watched with disbelief as the Labour government shovelled our money into the bankers' pockets. Now all the main parties want to make ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by their greed.
"Meanwhile they destroy our planet as though we had a spare one ready to move to. This must stop, for our children's sake."
Alliance for Green Socialism candidates
Posted Wed 7 Apr 2010, 2:58pm GMTEddie Adams: AGS Candidate for Kensington
New Labour attacks the living conditions of most families. They can rescue the bankers who through their greed and avarice plunged the country into a economic recession. But they do nothing about increasing numbers of us facing the dole queues.
The role of the Tories in our borough is to look after the interests of big business as opposed to the interests of ordinary families. The rebuilding of Holland Park School so they can take land to build luxury town houses is just one example
On the environmental front the government's intention to go down the nuclear power road will saddle us with increasing debt, radiation induced illness, and nuclear waste that will endanger our children for thousands of years.
The Campaign Against Climate Change has called on the government to create a million jobs to help stop climate change. Why not start by installing solar panels and house insulation free for every pensioner?
The demolition of the Wornington Green estate is a crime against common sense. It will cause suffering to the tenants and problems for the wider area. It's a Trojan Horse for private housing when we need more, not less, affordable housing to serve the needs of our people.
Mike Butler: AGS Candidate for Vale of Clwyd
Mike, who works in the roofing trade, has lived in Towyn for 22 years. He spent nine years serving the residents as a Borough Councillor and now sits as the Alliance for Green Socialism councillor on the Towyn and Kinmel Bay Community Council
Mike reckons that our present system of economics and politics - based on sell, sell, sell and grow, grow, grow - is corrupt and insane. He believes we need stop exploiting people and our environment as if there were no tomorrow. We need a system based on people before profit, not profit before people.
Alliance for Green Socialism General Election candidates
Posted Wed 7 Apr 2010, 2:54pm GMTThe long wait is over. There is now a chance to raise real socialist and environmental issues. The Alliance for Green Socialism is standing six candidates across the country. If you want help use our contact page and if you want to donate please use our paypal facility. And why not join.
Our candidates will challenge the consensus on the cuts and put forward a real alternative.
Below are the personal statements that are going in their election addresses. Three more to follow.
Celia Foote: AGS Candidate for Leeds North East
Celia is a special needs teacher, currently seconded to work full time on behalf of the members of her trade union, NASUWT.
She lives in Chapel Allerton and campaigns tirelessly against privatisation and on the concerns of local people. Celia believes that the whole economic system needs to be changed, to safeguard the environment - and therefore human civilisation.
Mike Davies: AGS Candidate for Leeds East
Mike is an IT professional and a life-long trade unionist. He has lived in Leeds for twenty five years. Mike reckons that our present system of economics and politics - based on sell, sell, sell and grow, grow, grow - is both corrupt and insane.
He believes we need to put people and environment first and stop pillaging our only planet as if there were no tomorrow.
Trevor Bavage: AGS Candidate for Leeds North West
Trevor has lived in Leeds for forty years and has taught in most of the high schools in north west Leeds. He has a long record of trade union and community activity. As a scientist he understands that climate change is a grave danger to humanity - and that only socialism can avert environmental catastrophe.
"While the rich plunder the public purse", says Trevor, "the three main parties all agree that ordinary people must pay for the bankers' crisis with cuts in services, wage and pensions."
Green Socialist 49
Posted Fri 12 Feb 2010, 12:22pm GMTArts and music are the focus of this rocking Carnival issue. Joe Williams writes about the African Caribbean experience on the stage, Bev "Red Rose" Samuels on reggae music, and Jim Radford and Karl Dallas on folk songs. Plus Mike Davies on PR, Abdul Quddus on Bangladesh and climate change, Garth Frankland on Unemployment and all the usual features.
Link: Green Socialist 49
From Currents to the Whirlwind
Posted Fri 29 Jan 2010, 12:48pm GMTCharlie Pottins reviews Bob Archer's pamphlet
Reaping the Whirlwind: The financial crisis and What It Means for the Labour Movement
AGS General Election Manifesto
Posted Fri 29 Jan 2010, 11:39am GMTThe AGS Manifesto for 2010 is available here. Read it, download it as a pdf or print it out as a 40-page A5 booklet.
Link: AGS Manifesto 2010
BY-ELECTION CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS
Posted Thu 28 Jan 2010, 2:04pm GMTJeannie Sutton has withdrawn her candidacy for Hyde Park and Woodhouse. Find out why.
Link: Read full press release
NATIONAL INSURANCE RISE: POOR, NOT RICH, WILL PAY
Posted Thu 10 Dec 2009, 4:49pm GMTAlistair Darling's planned change to National Insurance rates demonstrates this government's determination to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis.
New Labour intends to raise NI by 0.5% for everyone on £20,000 or more. That means millions of workers on less than the average wage (currently about £25,000) will pay up to four pounds a week more in NI.
Yet those earning over £44,000 will still pay only 1% NI on their earnings above that figure. These are the people who can afford to pay a bit more - especially those with huge incomes.
Someone who is paid (the word "earns" is clearly inappropriate) a million pounds a year will still pay only 1% NI on almost all of that, while someone on £10,000 will be paying 11.5%, over ten times more.
Just like the Tories, New Labour is determined to penalise people on low incomes in order to spare the rich.
Green Socialists 47 and 48
Posted Sat 5 Dec 2009, 3:55pm GMTRead the Late Winter and Early Spring 2009 Green Socialists, looking back on the financial crisis, the EU elections and other key events of the past year.
Link: Green Socialist
Under the Umbrella
Posted Tue 11 Aug 2009, 12:28pm GMTAfter a long dry spell, Half-Celestial Khan opens the umbrella once again. It's raining sleaze!
Link: Umbrella 98