Shameful Austerity And Morals

Rosa Parks ..
It was 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, and Rosa, a 42 year-old African-American, was on the number 2857 bus home. She was in an area reserved for black people but the bus filled up and custom meant she was expected to give up her seat as white passengers were having to stand. She refused. Rosa was arrested and convicted but her defiance helped change race relations across the world and she became a leading civil rights activist. She died in 2005 at the age of 92.
( Beth Neil )

NHS targets say 85% of cancer patients should begin their first treatment within two months of being urgently referred by a GP. When Jeremy Hunt started at the Department of Health, 87.3% had started treatment in that time. When he left, that had dropped to 78.3%.

During a radio interview about police probes into historical child abuse allegations, Boris Johnson said that money spent on the investigations had been “spaffed up the wall” and would have been better used putting officers on the street.

Emily Davison ..
One of the most prominent Suffragettes, Emily lived and died for the cause. She was appalled at the way women were treated – particularly being denied the right to vote – and joined Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906.
Her protests would often lead to imprisonment but she would continue campaigning in jail and she went on hunger strike in Strangeways. Emily was killed aged 40 in 1913 at the Epsom Derby after throwing herself in front of the King’s horse, Anmer. Some believe that she had been planning to attach the WSPU flag to the animal.
( Beth Neil )

More than half (165 of 323) of all magistrates courts in England and Wales have been closed since 2010, forcing defendants, witnesses, police, lawyers and judges to travel sometimes more than 50 miles to access local justice. Seven more are set to close by September this year.

Boris Avoided As Much Questioning As Possible ..
During his time as London Mayor, Boris Johnson bought water cannons for £320,000, although he never used them and sold them at a £300,000 loss.
He also wasted £46million of public money on his botched Garden Bridge without ever beginning construction. He dropped targets for new affordable homes and slammed the ‘lefty’ idea of social housing as something that’s ‘not good for people’. The Estuary Airport was a Boris vanity project. He spent around £10million of taxpayers money on a scheme which was ultimately rejected by the Davies Commission. When Ken Livingstone was London Mayor he took questions every week until the journalists had run out of questions to ask. Boris Johnson avoided as much questioning as possible and took only one question per journalist with a strict half-hour cut-off time at his press conference, once a month. Likewise, he cut the State of London Debate from a day at a weekend to two hours on a weekday evening.

Benazir Bhutto ..
The twice prime minister of Pakistan had followed her dad into politics – and, like him, lost her life because of it. She vehemently denied allegations of corruption but relocated to Dubai before returning in 2007 after being granted amnesty from the charges. She became leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party but was shot at a political rally in December 2007 before a suicide bomb went off moments later. Benazir was 54.
( Beth Neil )

When Jeremy Hunt became health secretary, 95.4% of cancer patients urgently referred by their GP were seen by a specialist within two weeks, exceeding the national 93% target. When he left in July 2018, the proportion seen in that time had dropped to 91.9%.

The NHS Constitution says at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours. When Jeremy Hunt took over as health secretary in 2012, 94.9% were seen in that time. By the time he left 6 years later, that figure had dropped to 84%.

The First Lady Of The Suffragettes ..
Born in 1869, Lady Constance Lytton was painfully shy and educated for nothing but marriage. She only ever had one love affair – a tepid attachment to an impecunious soldier – and when it fizzled out she became a full-time companion to her widowed mother, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria. In 1908, her life underwent an extraordinary transformation. Seeking a good cause on which to spend a legacy from her great-aunt, Constance was invited to help a charity that encouraged working-class girls to take up morris dancing. There she met Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and her husband, Fred, supporters of the women’s suffrage movement, and heard the stories of women who had gone to prison for their activism.
Among the suffragettes she found an irresistible combination of excitement, martyrdom and friendship. After publishing a pamphlet in support of the cause, she rapidly moved on to direct action. Sentenced to a month in prison, her photograph all over the papers, she was shocked when her working-class comrades were confined in ordinary cells, while she and Emmeline were sent to the relative comfort of the prison hospital. In a defiant act of self-mutilation, she began to scratch ‘Votes for Women’ into her flesh with a needle, threatening to incise the words into her face unless she was moved to the cells. The authorities gave in. Renaming herself ‘Jane Warton’, she cut and dyed her hair, put on a pair of pence-nez, a shapeless tweed coat and a hat so dowdy that small boys jeered at her in the street. At a demonstration in Liverpool, ‘Jane’ got herself arrested, and when she refused food, her jaw was forced open with a steel gag, a rubber tube was pushed down her throat and a mixture of milk, gruel, eggs, brandy sugar and beef tea poured in. When she vomited, the doctor slapped her. The process was repeated six times before her identity was discovered and she was released. The public scandal was tremendous. Constance, almost 6ft tall, left prison weighing just 7st 7lb. She gave a speech at a packed Queen’s Hall, where many in the audience wept to hear her description of being force-fed. Calls were made for a public inquiry. The Home Office refused – insisting that force-feeding was no more than mildly unpleasant – but behind the scenes the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, introduced a number of concessions, including medical examinations of all prisoners before they were force-fed. ‘She has indeed gained a victory over the Government’, wrote Christabel Pankhurst. But the victory was hard won. Constance’s health was broken, and two years later, in 1912, she suffered a stroke. She died in 1923, five years before women were granted the vote on the same terms as men.
( Jane Shilling )

Ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron was the Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton TV from July 1994 to February 2001.
Central TV made a documentary revealing Westminster paedophiles. When David Cameron was with Carlton TV, he was the executive responsible for buying out Central TV and burying that documentary.

In 2015, Jeremy Hunt said, “we want 5,000 more GPs by 2020”. Figures show that when Mr Hunt left the Department of Health in July 2018, there were just 162 more than when he made his commitment. The government has now dropped the time limit on the commitment.

Anne Frank ..
Anne’s Jewish family fled Nazi Germany and settled in Amsterdam but Hitler invaded the Netherlands in 1940. The Franks began hiding in an annexe above her dad’s office and friends provided them with food and drink. Teenager Anne recorded her feelings in her diary until August 1944, three days before Germans stormed the building. She died aged 15 at the Bergen-Belsen death camp but her diary has become one of the most treasured books ever.
( Beth Neil )

64% has been slashed from Liverpool’s council budget and 3,000 staff lost since 2010. Tory cuts are making it harder for local government workers to provide the public services we all rely on.
( Dan Carden, 17.06.2019 )

In 2015, Jeremy Hunt said, “we want 5,000 more GPs by 2020”. Figures show that when Mr Hunt left the Department of Health in July 2018, there were just 162 more than when he made his commitment. The government has now dropped the time limit on the commitment.

The First Woman To Be Awarded The Military Cross ..
Michelle Norris showed outstanding bravery in Iraq in 2006 when she saved the life of a colleague who had been shot in the mouth. Aged 19, the then private, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, leapt out of her patrol vehicle and dodged sniper fire to give treatment for three minutes before helping drag him to safety. One bullet hit her rucksack.
( Beth Neil )

Born in New York in 1964, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has always been ambitious. His sister Rachel said he wanted as a child to be “king of the world”.
Boris married his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, in 1987 after they met at Oxford, but split after allegedly having an affair with author and lawyer Marina Wheeler, whom he married in 1993. Johnson then met fellow journalist Petronella Wyatt when he was the editor of The Spectator and she was one of his columnists. The two began an affair shortly before he was elected Conservative MP for Henley in 2001. The Sun newspaper reported news of their relationship in 2004, along with claims that Wyatt had fallen pregnant and had an abortion.

Britain’s Special Relationship With Israel ..
Britain has a special relationship with Israel that is little recognised in the mainstream media but unmissable in light of the killings in Gaza. With more than 110 protesters dead, Britain is in effect defending Israeli actions. The British government has not, as far as I have seen, actually condemned Israel for the killings, Rather, it has simply ‘urged Israel to show restraint’ while recognising its ‘right to secure itself’ and also blaming Hamas for the violence. When British Prime Minister Theresa May phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 10 May, by which date 40 Palestinian protesters in Gaza had already been shot, it appears she did not even raise the issue. Meanwhile, the government infers it will not even review UK arms exports to Israel after the Gaza massacres which have only been discussed once in the British cabinet. That Britain is supporting Israel over the Gaza killings is true to form. The UK’s relationship with Israel is special in at least nine areas, including arms sales, air force, nuclear deployment, navy, intelligence and trade, to name but a few. Britain abstained on the recent UN vote to authorise an investigation into the Gaza killings because it would not also investigate Hamas. Instead, the UK supports Israel carrying out its own inquiry. Last year, the Foreign Office refused to sign a joint statement at the Paris peace conference on Palestine, accusing it of ‘taking place against the wishes of the Israelis’.
( Mark Curtis, 05.06.2018 )

Boris Johnson’s Whirl-Winding Hypocrisy ..
In April 2016, Boris Johnson penned a column for the Daily Telegraph outlining the benefits of the EU, claiming that “the membership fee seems rather small for all that market access”. Later that day, he defeated his own points by coming out for Brexit as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign – judging that it would better serve his career prospects than back remain. Boris Johnson’s whirl-winding hypocrisy knows no bounds. He backed single market membership during the campaign, only to later claim that single market is “not Brexit”, and he voted both for and against Theresa May’s Brexit deal on various occasions. What’s more, he has written to Theresa May saying that ensuring “no border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should not be priority, just months after telling the House of Commons that “there can be no hard border”. He is a man whose inflated ego far outstrips his judgement and principles, and his long history of flip-flopping deprives him of any credentials for leadership.
( Olaf Stando, 10.06.2019 )

When he was Mayor what did Boris Johnson cost London ?
Up to over £600million in poor decisions, ideological dogma and vanity schemes.
( Christian Wolmar, Independent, 08.09.2015 )

Indira Gandhi ..
India’s only female prime minister remains a highly-revered stateswoman 35 years after she was assassinated. She became involved with the Indian Independence movement before she led her country for the first time in 1966. She was at the helm during the victorious war with Pakistan in 1971 that resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh. She lost the 1977 election but regained power in 1980.
She was 66 and serving her fourth term when she was killed in 1984.

Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East ..
Israel is believed to possess 80 to 100 nuclear warheads, some of which are deployed on its submarines. The UK is effectively aiding this nuclear deployment by supplying submarine components to Israel. According to the commander of Haifa naval base, General David Salamah, Israel’s submarines regularly operate “deep within enemy territory”. Britain has a long history of helping Israel to develop nuclear weapons. In the 1950s and 1960s Conservative and Labour governments made hundreds of sales of nuclear materials to Israel, including plutonium and uranium. The contrast with British policy towards Iran is striking. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson states that the UK is “adamant that a nuclear-armed Iran would never be acceptable” and thus maintains sanctions against Iran. At the same time Britain refuses to adopt any sanctions against Israel, an actual nuclear state. In 1995, the UK and other states agreed to a UN resolution to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. It is not known whether Britain has ever seriously pressed Israel on this.
( Mark Curtis, 05.06.2018 )

Your Hands Are Full Of Blood

Dominion Over The Animals ..
The bible, on many occasions, says that man was given “dominion” over the animals. People have twisted this to mean that they can do anything they wish to animals. What is meant by “dominion” is the ability to impose our will. We do indeed rule over all animals, as we are the most powerful species on the planet.
This however, does not mean it is okay to abuse this power, through animal abuse, and other wicked acts.
( Denis Giron )

For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.
( Psalm 50:10-11 )

To do charity and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
( Proverbs 21:3 )

Throughout the bible there are many stories that have a strong moral value. Whenever you read a story in the bible, ask yourself what the moral of that story was. It has to have a moral, because if there is no moral, then the story has no relevance. Surely nothing in the bible is irrelevant. In Numbers 22: 21-34, there is the story of Balaam beating his donkey. Within these verses is a strong story about animal abuse, suffering, and animal rights.
( Denis Giron )

What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.
( Hosea 6:6 )

God Does Not Command Animal Sacrifice ..
The idea of animal rights being expressed in the bible comes under fire from those who point to instances of animal sacrifice. I admit the many mentionings of animal sacrifice in the bible have troubled me in the past. How can a merciful God command us to sacrifice animals ? The truth of the matter is, we are NOT supposed to sacrifice animals. God does not command us to do this. The truth is, in Moses’ time, after the Jews came out of Egypt, God allowed animal sacrifices for that time period. The great Jewish philosopher Abarbanel believed animal sacrifice was briefly allowed by God in order to end the idolatry the Jews practiced in Egypt. He cited a Jewish writing that indicated that the Jews had become accustomed to sacrifices in Egypt. To wean them from these idolatrous practices, God tolerated the sacrifices but commanded that they be offered in one central sanctuary.
( Denis Giron )

Your Hands Are Full Of Blood ..
The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they to me ? I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts ? Stop bringing meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations, I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you. Even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood. Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing wrong.
( Isaiah 1:11-16 )

Across the globe, there is a small handful of vegetarian Christians who assert that Jesus was a vegetarian. The bible, and other sources, seems to support this belief. Vegetarianism is not without precedent in the Christian, or even Catholic faiths. Many early church fathers were vegetarian, including St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Francis of Assisi.
( Denis Giron )

Refrain at all times from such foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression.
( Thomas Tryon )

Meat Corrupts Your Heart ..
Throughout history there has been many vegetarian jews. Even today, only India has more faith-based vegetarians than Israel. These vegetarian jews believed meat corrupted your soul. Eating meat was permitted by God, but so was drinking alcohol. In fact, just like alcohol, the bible teaches, meat makes you “stumble”, or corrupts your heart (Romans 14-21). That is why Jesus, the Messiah, would eat butter and honey, instead of meat, so that his heart would not be corrupted. Before, during, and after Jesus’ time Jews argued wether or not meat was good for people. There were many vegetarian jews, so why not Jesus ?
( Denis Giron )

Until we consider animal life to be worthy of the consideration and reverence we bestow upon old books and pictures and historic monuments, there will always be the animal refugee living a precarious life on the edge of extermination, dependent for existence on the charity of a few human beings.
( Gerald Durrell )

The Prophet Daniel Was A Vegetarian ..
In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon has imprisoned Daniel. In verse 8, Daniel refused to defile himself by eating the meat being served to him in the prison. Daniel abstained from the meat offered because he was a vegetarian. He knew the benefits of such a diet. Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over him: “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their meat and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead (Daniel 1:11-16).
( Denis Giron )

Animals have a short life, yet we choose not only to kill them and make it shorter, we abuse and torture the poor souls beforehand. What does that say about us when we can’t even show a little compassion and kindness before we brutally slaughter them and mutilate their bodies ?
( Len Firswood )

Let Us Be Kind To Animals ..
Life is as precious to us as it is for an animal. An animal is as loving, caring, and kind to her children as we are. She might not be able to tell us but she can express it through her eyes and expressions. She feels joy and happiness. She is helpless in our cruel hands and vulnerable to our vicious greed. Let us be kind to animals.

Let us learn to feel their pain. Can we kill a helpless baby to feed our greed ? Then how can we kill helpless animal friends that can’t talk ? Often we kill just for fun. How funny would it be if an animal killed a human just for fun ? Let us be kind to animals as much as possible. I know we can. It is easier to love an animal than a human being. If you love an animal, it will rarely hurt you. Let us practice kindness and compassion to animals so that we may create a peaceful world.
( Debasish Mridha )

The prophesy in Isaiah 7:15 said Jesus would eat butter and honey (rather than meat) to be able to know the difference between good and evil. If Jesus ate meat, then he does not fit the Messianic prophesy of the Jews. Nowhere in the bible does it ever mention Jesus eating meat. Now, knowing that the bible never mentions him eating meat, and taking into account the fact that Jesus taught love and kindness, how hard is it to assume he might have been a vegetarian ?
( Denis Giron )

I encourage everyone to go where their hearts take them, with love, not fear. If we all travel this road, the world will be a better place for all beings. Kinder and more humane choices will be made when we let our hearts lead the way. Compassion begets compassion and caring for and loving animals spills over into compassion and caring for humans. The umbrella of compassion is very important to share freely and widely.
( Marc Bekoff )

What About Fish ? ..
In the 14th chapter of Matthew (verses 13-21) Jesus takes his boat to a remote island. Thousands follow him there. Jesus tells his disciples to feed these people, but they tell him that they only have five loaves of bread and two fish (verse 17). Jesus gave thanks for the food, and it multiplied into enough to feed five thousand people. Now the question is, if Jesus was a vegetarian, why was he giving fish to his followers ? It should be noted that some scholars contend that the Greek word for “fish weed” (a dried seaweed) has been mistranslated in this story as “fish”. It is certainly true that dried fishweed would be more likely in a basket with bread, and fishweed remains a popular food among Palestinian peasants like the people to whom Jesus was speaking. Also, in the beginning of the story (Matthew 14:13) it says Jesus got to this place by boat. These people were right by the sea. If they were out of fish, why not just go on a quick fishing expedition ? Surely with 5,000 men present it would not be that hard to go fishing. With this in mind, it further supports the thought that fishweed was being used, not actual fish. Also, when one considers that the disciples did not even think about trying to catch some fish, this helps explain Matthew 4:18-20, where Jesus gets his first disciples by telling some fishermen to give up their profession and follow him. Jesus even says to them “I will make you a fisher of men”. Could this be Jesus was having them give up their barbaric line of work to do something more righteous ? It may sound absurd, but it starts to make a little more sense when you take it in the same context as the story of feeding five thousand, where the disciples never even considered trying to catch some fish, despite being beside the sea. Why didn’t they go fishing ? Did Jesus teach it was wrong to eat fish ?
( Denis Giron )

Surely it is our animal nature that recognizes the divinity of the natural world in all its mystery and beauty, despite the distressing habits and limited perception that afflict our species. So perhaps our hope of redemption lies in the fact that we are animals, not that we are people.
( Elizabeth Marshall Thomas )

People pray to God for mercy and justice but continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered solely for their gustatory desires. I fail to understand why the masses believe it’s okay to bring gentle animals into the world with the sole intention of hurting them and then brutally killing them. What, or who, gave us the right or the authority to do this? Certainly not a loving God or Creator.
( Rose Winfold )

Why Are Fat-Cats Allowed To Cheat ?

Tory Activist Alleges Rape By Party Employee ..
A former Tory activist who alleged she was raped by a party employee claims senior Conservatives have repeatedly ignored a culture of sex abuse and harassment within the party.. Lisa Wade claimed she was so violently attacked she was left with whiplash-style injuries, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take her case to court.. She reveals that, by then, she had already made an official complaint to the party about drunk young girls being targeted by sex pests while campaigning on the Tories’ infamous ‘battle bus’ before the 2015 election.
But Lisa, in her twenties, claims she was hounded out for what she did, and says many of the worst offenders still hold senior roles in the party.
( Geraldine McKelvie, 12.11.2017 )

Why Are People Who Run Big Businesses Allowed To Cheat Us ? ..
I’m finding it increasingly hard to deal with the anger produced by the way people who run big businesses are allowed to cheat us.. Carillion bosses grovelled before MPs saying how upset and sorry they were that they allowed the firm to collapse with a billion-pound pension deficit and a billion-pound debt, despite giving themselves lavish pay and bonuses right until the end.. If courts can take the savings, cars and houses off guilty criminals, why can’t we do the same to guilty sharks who knowingly enriched themselves by gambling with workers’ pensions and livelihoods ?
( Brian Reade, 10.02.2018 )

The Family Silver Sold Off ..
Margaret Thatcher’s market-led policies saw the sale of 20 state-controlled companies including British Telecom.. Sales were marketed by huge advertising campaigns like “Tell Sid” for British Gas, which ended with a £5.4 billion sell off.
She said she wanted to open up share ownership to all.. But most people who bought shares in the newly-privatised firms sold quickly to make a quick profit.
The proportion of shares held by individuals rather than institutions did not actually increase.. With the family silver sold off, market forces now set the price.

A 30-Year Low On Home Ownership ..
Nothing exposes how useless this Tory government has been more than housing.
The Tories have produced 11 government housing statements and two White Papers – proposed government plans – in their seven years in power.. The last White Paper promised to mend the housing market.. But they bloody broke it !
Rough sleeping has doubled, home ownership has decreased to a 30-year low and they have built the lowest amount of social housing on record.
Thanks to Osborne’s ‘Help To Buy’, YOU subsidise peoples’ deposits to buy homes costing up to £650,000 .. And thanks to Philip Hammond, YOU are subsidising a £3.2 billion Stamp Duty giveaway to people buying homes for up to £300,000.
Tory housing policies have always been about the cash-strapped many paying for the lucky few.. The £3.2 billion Stamp Duty cut over six years could have built more than 30,000 new council homes.. Instead it will end up in the back pockets of house sellers, estate agents and property developers.. In fact, it’s been suggested by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility that it will help only 3,500 first-time buyers a year.. It would be cheaper to buy them houses.
( John Prescott, 26.11.2017 )

Ten Thousand Died In Tiananmen Square Protest ..
The Chinese army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests killed 10,000, dwarfing estimates, a document claims.. Wounded girl students were bayoneted, human remains were hosed down drains and a mother was shot as she tried to help her injured tot, it is alleged.. The detail, said to be from a member of China’s cabinet, was in a cable from Alan Donald, then UK ambassador to China.
China said 200 civilians and dozens of security staff died.
( Keith Perry, 24.12.2017 )

Prisoners Behind Bars In The UK ..
There are around 80,000 prisoners behind bars in the UK.
Women make up just 5% of the inmate population, and are kept in 12 prisons.
The average cost of keeping a prisoner in jail is £40,000 a year.
England and Wales have the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe, with 148 people in prison per 100,000.
Serious assaults on staff from prisoners have trebled since 2012.
Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults went up 28% from 2015-2016.
37.4% of prison officers in the UK are female.
( National Offender Management Service, January 2018 )

A Strong Support For God Within Science ..
There is a strong support for a Creator or God from within science.
Science shows the universe is not eternal and that it began to exist at the ‘Big Bang’.
Stephen Hawkings admits ‘many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention’.. Equally, the astonishing fine-tuning of the laws of nature to make life possible are also consistent with a divine creator.. Thirdly, Richard Dawkins admits that ‘living objects look overwhelmingly as though they are designed’, although he prefers evolution’s account of why this is so, despite a number of serious holes in the evidence.
Of course, none of this scientific evidence ‘proves’ God exists, but it does create a strong cumulative case that it is probable, provided you do not rule out the possibility before you have weighed the evidence.
Faith is not ‘blind faith’, but a rational position consistent with an open mind.

A Huge Rise In Children Contacting Childline ..
The number of children contacting Childline about child sexual exploitation rose by a third last year.. The cash-strapped NSPCC-run helpline now counsels eight victims every day on the issue.. They are lured or tricked into sexual activity with gifts, money or affection, both online and offline.
( Geraldine McKelvie, 26.11.2017 )

Fat-Cats Squealing Because They Might Lose Their Cream ..
It is accepted across the political spectrum that certain public services should not be privatised – the NHS, the police, the fire service and the BBC .. Yet if you want to get a Tory frothing at the mouth suggest that transport and public utilities should be renationalised.. These are also essential public services.. We need to move around the place, and water, gas and electricity are some of life’s most valuable commodities.. That’s why this newspaper believes they should be in public ownership.. That they are not is the lasting legacy of Thatcherism.. Margaret Thatcher believed that these industries would perform better in the private sector.. This was based on the fact that they could not perform any worse.. But what may have been true decades ago no longer holds today.. Just ask Southern rail passengers, or those who use Southeastern, Thameslink or Great Northern.
Water firms have paid £13billion to shareholders since 2010 while receiving more in tax breaks than they paid in tax.. They fund reports by right-wing think tanks to rubbish Labour’s nationalisation plans.. That sound you can hear is fat-cats squealing because they fear they might lose their cream.. The ability of an industry to serve its customers has nothing to do with whether it is private or public, only that it has good management.. And the principle must be right that a public service is there first and foremost to serve the public, not to make a fat profit out of it.
The Tories say Labour must borrow to take industries back into public control.. They are right.. But it is no different from borrowing to buy a house.. You own the house which becomes an asset which, all being well, will grow in value.. The Tory Party argument against nationalisation is rooted in a past long since gone.. Labour’s refreshing new thinking shows it is the party of the future.
( Sunday Mirror, 11.02.2018 ) 

The Big Con Trick ..
Austerity was David Cameron’s and George Osborne’s big con trick – a way to slash budgets for public services and councils so they could give £60 billion in tax breaks to their mates running big businesses.
They blamed the 2008 global financial crisis on Gordon Brown and Labour.
They claimed we’d spent too much and austerity would restore the economy.
The Tories promised to eradicate the deficit by 2015, then 2016, then 2017, then 2020.. Now it looks like it won’t be until 2030 at the earliest.
( John Prescott, 26.11.2017 )

So What Do We Have Now ? ..
We used to have an economy that was less virtual and depended more on making and selling real, actual, physical things.
During World War 2, the Clydeside yards built more ships than the United States of America.. We had an economy based on manufacturing.. But that’s gone now.
The Tory government of Mrs Thatcher destroyed our industrial and manufacturing base.. So what do we have now ?
We have an economy that depends on delivering pizzas to each other, and doing up our homes in the hope that we can sell them at a profit.
The banks lent all our savings to dodgy borrowers, and paid themselves huge salaries and obscene bonuses.
Can a nation have an economy worth the name if it doesn’t actually make anything

Horse-Loving Royals ..
My favourite story about the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote concerns Emily Davison throwing herself under King George V’s horse at the 1913 Derby.. Many saw it as the ultimate act of heroism by a courageous feminist, but not King George’s mum Queen Alexandra.. She sent a telegram to the jockey at the time saying how sad she was that he couldn’t finish the race due to ‘the abominable conduct of a brutal lunatic woman’.. Heartless I know, but I reckon a century on those horse-loving royals would take the same view.. Let’s face it, if you come from a family which doesn’t need to worry about voting because the cap-doffing voters blindly accept they are your subjects, I guess you’d see them all as lunatics.
( Brian Reade, 10.02.2018 )

A Dangerous Amount Of Bull

A Creeping Form Of Tax ..
London authorities are accused of generating income via controlled parking zones, bus lanes, congestion charges, parking tickets and so on, in lieu of traditional business rates and council taxes, which are politically more unacceptable.. It is a creeping form of tax which is undemocratic, bears no relation to ability to pay and is one of the small things that is really undermining the quality of life in London.. Parking tickets and fines are intended to improve traffic flow, not to raise revenue or penalise people carrying out their legal business.

The Fewest Soldiers Since The 1700s ..
Almost 18,000 British soldiers are unfit for the frontline, figures reveal.
Many troops have been medically downgraded after suffering wounds and mental health issues such as PTSD from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.. But thousands more have chronic knee and back problems, or conditions including obesity and diabetes linked to stodgy cookhouse food such as fry-ups, chips and puds.
MoD figures show 7,890 soldiers are classed as ‘medically non-deployable’, meaning they cannot go to war.. And 9,971 are ‘medically limited’ and unlikely to be sent on operations.. Freedom of Information statistics also show the RAF and Royal Navy have 10,000 personnel between them who are not fit for combat duties.
Britain now has just 60,000 soldiers fit enough to serve on frontline operations – the fewest since the 1700s.
( Sean Rayment, 12.11.2017 )

Tories Treat Children As ‘Guinea Pigs’ ..
A Cabinet minister who thinks allowing some pupils to fail is fine has been condemned for treating children as ‘guinea pigs’.. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has admitted she believes experiments that go wrong at free schools are a price worth paying.. Former Education Minister Ms Truss said, “With freedom there does come risk. There are free schools that haven’t done as well, or there have been cases where pilots haven’t worked. I believe in trying those things and seeing what impact they can have, rather than being risk averse and not trying them.”
Dr Mary Bousted, joint chief of the National Education Union, said, “Liz Truss’s statement amounts to an admission the Government has put its pursuit of ideology above the interests of children’s education. This approach is both reckless and wasteful, and has resulted in real harm being done to communities where schools have had to close.”
( Nicola Bartlett, 28.10.2017 )

High Stake Gambling In UK ..
Gamblers in the UK can stake more on machines than anywhere else in the world, outside Las Vegas.. A new study says Britain is the only country to allow £100 punts on fixed-odds betting terminals.
It adds that one in three problem gamblers earn £10,400 a year or less.
The report by think-tank ResPublica says Belgium allows the second-highest stakes – £21 – but most European countries limit them to under £1.
( Keir Mudie, 22.10.2017 )

The Tories Secretly Blow £3million ..
The Tories have secretly blown £3million of taxpayers’ cash in a failed bid to privatise the NHS staffing agency.. Ministers spent the money on consultants in a desperate bid to sell the respected NHS Professionals Organisation which supplies doctors and nurses to hospitals.. But they were forced into a u-turn by angry MPs, medical chiefs and health unions.
( Andrew Gregory, 14.10.2017 )

Five Billionaires Own 80% Of UK Media ..
Rupert Murdoch, Fred Barclay, David Barclay, Jonathan Harmsworth, Richard Desmond.. The five billionaires who own 80% of the UK media.
Their influence on elections is huge, yet they and their companies are registered abroad.. They pay no UK tax, and that’s how they want it to stay.
Which is why they back the Conservative Party.

Tories Have Always Put Themselves First ..
If we truly lived in a country which works for everyone, the NHS would not be under-funded and parents would not be buying their children textbooks schools can no longer afford.. If we truly lived in a country which works for everyone, low-income families would not be paying for austerity while the better off get richer on low interest rates.
If we truly lived in a a country which works for everyone, workers would not be exploited by zero-hours contracts while bankers line their pockets with fat bonuses.
The Tories have always put themselves and their rich cronies first, and nothing Theresa May has done so far changes that view.
( Sunday Mirror, 23.04.2017 )

Failure Of ‘Big Society’ And ‘Shared Society’ ..
When over 100,000 children live in precarious housing such as other people’s living rooms, B&Bs or temporary shelters, where entire families kip on the floor, we have to admit that David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and now Theresa May’s ‘Shared Society’ is more than a failure, it’s a social catastrophe.

Afternoon Tea ..
The concept of afternoon tea is attributed to Anna Maria, the Duchess of Bedford who in 1841 began to regularly partake of tea and a light snack during the late afternoon to sustain her during the long hours between breakfast and evening dinner.. It became a social occasion, with friends joining her at Woburn Abbey and also at her London residence.. The practise became widely copied and evolved into elaborate society affairs with crust-free sandwiches and slithers of cake and scones presented on delicate china.. Guests would receive formal invitations and were expected to conform to contemporary etiquette concerning everything from what to wear, to how to pour the tea.
( Best of British Magazine, January 2016 )

A Dangerous Amount Of Bull ..
The more we learn about Boris Johnson the more we discover the Foreign Secretary talks a dangerous amount of bull.. His backing of the Spanish bloodsport, in which animals are cut and wounded then slaughtered for fun, is totally obnoxious.. Johnson paid as little attention to detail to what really happens in bullfighting rings as he did before opening his big mouth and potentially doubling by five years the jail sentence of a British woman in Iran.. The Foreign Secretary never knows what he’s talking about.. Killing animals for kicks is uncivilised and Johnson appears ignorant of the opposition in much of Spain.. If Johnson really thinks opposing bullfighting is political correctness gone mad, let him argue his case for animal cruelty in public.
( Daily mirror, 11.11.2017 )

The Increase In The Number Of Motor Vehicles ..
In 1890, the average distance travelled by a UK citizen in a year was 13 miles.
A century later, many people would expect to cover the same distance every day.. The car had much to do with this.
By 1950, there were 2.26 million cars on British roads.. Some 20 years later, the number had increased five-fold, to 11.51 million.. By 2000, there were 26.5 million cars on our roads.. This equates to an increase in private motor vehicles of 1,200% within 50 years – in the same period road capacity rose by just 33%.
( Martin Handler, January 2016 )

Is Atheism A Religion ? ..
Atheism, of course, is a ‘religion’.. Once you form a group and give yourself a label, and then promote your beliefs and condemn all others, whether it be a creator or an idol or a massive stroke of luck, then that becomes a ‘religion’.
Something is a religion if it has a position on a creator and/or the afterlife.. Atheism certainly does.‬. ‪If they don’t have a position on the existence of a creator or the afterlife, they’re not religions.‬
‪You can believe in evolution without taking a position on a creator or the afterlife.. But evolution can take on a religious dimension if it is proposed as a reason to either reject or accept belief in a creator or the afterlife.‬
‪There is an Atheist ‘Church’ in London, and writer Alain De Botton unveiled a Manifesto for Atheists, listing ten virtues, or as the press dubbed them, ‘commandments’.

A Policy To Impoverish The Public Sector And Hurt The Poor ..
David Cameron sings for his roast poodle supper in South Korea, by telling businessmen that Britain can’t spend money today it may need tomorrow, when such a concept has never had to cross the mind of the banker’s son with a tax-haven trust fund who married into aristocracy.. He tells emergency service workers who lay down their lives every day that to ask for their first effective pay rise in nine years is “selfish”.. As Cameron told the South Koreans, the policy he introduced which caused untold misery and death is “so-called austerity”.. A deliberate policy to impoverish the public sector and hurt the poor, all in the name of bailing out and enriching the banking class.
Not all public sector workers have felt the pinch though.. Were I a paramedic who came home after scraping bodies off the M6 to hear Tory MPs cheering the vote that stopped me getting a pay rise I’d be raging.. Because this is the seventh year my pay would have been capped at 1% or frozen, meaning a real-term cut of 9% since 2010.. Meanwhile, an MP’s basic pay has gone up £11,000 in that time (to £76,011) with inflation-proof rises and a 10% hike in 2015.. A hike Cameron called the “going rate” for a highly demanding job.. Yes, so demanding that his co-austerity architect George Osborne recently managed to do it while holding down five outside jobs.
( Brian Reade, 08.07.2017 )

Injustice In The World

The Real Enemy Of My People Is Here ..
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end.
The real enemy of my people is here.
My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. Shoot them for what? How do I got to go shoot them, poor little black people, little babies, children, and women? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.
( Muhammad Ali )

The Suspicious Death Of Serena Shim ..
American journalist and mother of two Serena Shim, 29, was killed on October 19, 2014 in a suspicious car accident near the Turkey-Syria border.
The identity and whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.
It is also highly significant that Shim had very clearly expressed her concerns for her safety just prior to the ‘accident’.
Shim had described her harassment by security forces as particularly unusual, noting that she had dealt with police and intelligence services before in various different countries, but that the Turkish activity was a targeted response to something very specific.. She had said her own instinct was that Turkish security people were tracking her not because of her reporting in Kobani but on account of possible matters of far greater, more damaging information she might have exposed concerning a concerted geo-political conspiracy.. On October 17th, just two days before her death, Shim had told Press TV that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had accused her of “spying”.. She said it was “probably due to some of the stories she had covered” about Turkey’s role in the Islamic State terror group and particularly in regard to the militants in Kobani.. It was Shim who had reported on ISIL militants being smuggled across the Turkish border into Syria in trucks deceptively bearing the symbols of NGOs like the World Food Organisation.
Serena Shim died on the way back to her hotel.. She had been returning to Suruc with her cousin Judy Irish in a rental car which then collided with a heavy vehicle (a cement mixer, according to Turkish media).. Supposedly, Shim died in the crash while her cousin Judy Irish was injured and taken to Suruc State Hospital.. According to the Turkish Dogan News Agency, the driver of the heavy vehicle was subsequently arrested.. Shim’s employer at the time, Press TV, disputed  this, alleging that both driver and vehicle had “disappeared”.
There was also the curious report that Shim and Irish were for some reason taken to different hospitals after the crash.
Serena Shim’s sister, Fatmeh, appears to have been in no doubt that the journalist was murdered for various reasons.. She said, “She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps.. I think it was planned and plotted.. There’s no pictures of Serena in the car.. There is not one scratch on my sister’s body.. They took them to two different hospitals.. Why?.. Why were there Army men on the ground, why weren’t there police ?” .. No independent investigation has been conducted by the United States over her death, despite her US citizenship.

A Broken Election Pledge By Mrs May ..
Theresa May has been blasted for breaking an election pledge to her own voters over protecting cash for schools.. Thirty of 40 schools in her constituency face cuts totalling £614,000 over the first two years of a new Tory funding plan.
Yet the PM fiercely backed David Cameron’s manifesto pledge that “the amount of money following your child into school will not be cut”.
( Nicola Bartlett, 16.04.2017 )

Corruption In High Places ? ..
In 2013, documents show that the UK conducted deals with Saudi Arabia to ensure they were elected to the UN Human Rights Council.
In 2015, shortly after they posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, Saudi Arabia were ‘chosen’ to head the key UN Human Rights Panel.
And earlier this year, in a ‘secret’ ballot, Saudi Arabia was voted onto the UN Women’s Rights Commission.

Case Dropped Against Yvonne Fletcher’s Murder Suspect ..
Murdered WPC Yvonne Fletcher’s colleagues are furious after a police probe into a suspect was halted.. Police say a prosecution has been blocked for ‘national security’ reasons.. Saleh Ibrahim Mabroukwas held 18 months ago over the death of Yvonne, 25, who was shot policing a protest outside Libya’s London embassy in 1984.. It has emerged Theresa May did nothing to stop the case being dropped.. Yvonne’s colleague John Murray, who cradled her as she died, called the decision “a slap in the face”.
Colonel Gaddafi aide Mr Mabrouk was expelled from Britain after the death but returned in 2000, won asylum and gained a PhD in the oil industry.
( Stephen Hayward, Sunday Mirror, 21.05.2017 )

They Died In Vain ..
Homelessness, Food-banks, Loan Sharks, Poverty, Crime, Millions waiting for medical treatment, Benefits cut for the disabled and the vulnerable.. The brave souls who gave their life in two world wars for a better life for those they left behind will be saddened and grieved how life is for so many today.

Coal Put The Great In Britain ..
It powered the industrial revolution.. Our ships, trains, electricity generation, gas manufacture and chemicals.. The Government’s reckless abandonment of an industry that once employed a million men devastated communities yet to recover.
Under President Trump, who promised to bring back miners’ jobs, the USA is going back to coal.. The huge, fast-growing economies of China and India never left it.
But the UK now burns biomass at power stations like big-hitter Drax, wood pellets made in Mississippi, shipped to Liverpool and taken in special trains over the Pennines to Yorkshire.. How environmentally unsound is that ?.. Yet Kellingley, Britain’s last deep coal mine that closed 18 months ago was just a few miles away with a dedicated rail service.. And now we’re embarking, at vast cost, on an uncertain nuclear future reliant on foreign construction and know-how.
Going Green and nuclear has proved massively expensive for consumers, suppliers and homeowners.. Coal is cool again in America.. It’s too late to revive the industry here, but at least we could be spared the self-congratulations of the privatised power bosses.
( Paul Routledge, 22.04.2017 )

Russia Could Have Been Our Friend ..
The EU, urged on by the US, re-started the Cold War by encouraging Russia’s neighbours to join the EU as if the USSR still existed, and aggressively sought to detach Ukraine from Russia and draw her into the EU orbit, knowing very well that this would infuriate the Russians.
Russia could have been our friend if we had wanted that. We rightly viewed the old Soviet Union as a global menace to freedom. But Russia is no such thing.. Just a major regional power sick of being humiliated and pushed around by ignorant outsiders.

The Evil Empire ..
Saudi Arabia, the long-term sponsor of intolerant Islamicism, is the most deadly enemy.. European governments have kowtowed to the kingdom for too long.. If we don’t cut our ties with the evil empire, terrorism will destroy the civilised world.
( Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, 20.08.2017 )

A Memorial For Heroism In Every-Day Life ..
There’s a little known London garden called Postman’s Park.. In it is a memorial.. Not a grandiose public memorial to military or political leaders but to otherwise unknown, unsung heroes, ordinary people, who selflessly gave their lives for others.. Sheltered within a cloister are 53 tiled tablets, each depicting the name of the victim or victims and how they died, expressed in the simplest of words.. The idea was conceived by the famous Victorian artist and philanthropist George Frederic Watts and the first tiles were designed by William de Morgan.. It took 13 years of persistence for Watt’s idea to become reality and the first four tablets of the memorial were finally unveiled on the site of three decommissioned graveyards (including that of St Botolph’s-without-Aldersgate) by the Lord Mayor of London on 30 July 1900.. The park, part of which had been opened in 1880, was known as Postman’s Park as it was popular with employees of the nearby General Post Office headquarters, who used to go there to relax during breaks.. After the first tablets more followed and by 1908 there were 48.. The last tablets were unveiled in 1930, apart from one in 2009 dedicated to Leigh Pitt, who drowned in 2007 while saving a boy from the canal at Thamesmead.. That brought about a renewed interest in the addition of new tablets.. After much discussion, it was decided that as the memorial had been a personal initiative by Watts and underpinned by his Victorian values, it would be better to preserve its historical coherence by adding no more.
( An extract from an article by Patricia Stoughton, January 2016 )