Dangerously High Pollution Levels In The UK ..
The World Health Organisation found that 80% of towns and cities in the UK have dangerously high pollution levels. Their database shows of the 51 areas studied, 40 exceeded the limit for PM2.5, or fine particulate matter. Port Talbot, Stanford-Le-Hope, Glasgow, London, Scunthorpe, Leeds, Eastbourne, Nottingham, Southampton and Oxford also exceeded the limit for PM10, larger particulate pollution.
Tories Taken To Court By The Election Watchdog ..
How embarrassing for David Cameron. His party was taken to court by the election watchdog on the very day he was grandstanding at an international corruption shindig. The failure of the Conservatives to provide details demanded by the Electoral Commission about spending in last May’s key battlegrounds was arrogant, suspicious and just plain wrong. How can Cameron lecture other countries when the Tories faced allegations the law was broken by undeclared spending to win power?
( Daily Mirror, 13.05.2016 )
Students In England Have More Debt Than Anywhere In The World ..
A damning report from the Sutton Trust shows students in England leave university with more debt than anywhere else in the English-speaking world. They now owe an average of £44,000 on finishing, while Americans run up half that debt and Canadians a third of it. And when maintenance grants are abolished this year, the poorest students will end up owing more than £50,000. How many working-class parents will dissuade their kids from ending up in what to them is an unfathomable level of debt?
( Brian Reade, 30.04.2016 )
Margaret Thatcher Crushed Communities And Unions With Violence ..
The 1984 Miners’ Strike, not Hillsborough five years later, destroyed my faith in the police. Thatcher deployed a lawless, baton-waving army in blue to crush communities and their union with violence, mass arrests, trumped-up charges and the collusion of a rabid Tory press. The strike’s bloody Battle of Orgreave outside a South Yorkshire coking plant was the Tory Government’s decisive blow.
The dots from Orgreave to Hillsborough join up to form a picture of Thatcher’s Britain in which it was natural for police chiefs to lie about Liverpool football fans.
( Kevin Maguire, 09.05.2016 )
The Wealthy Have A Different Tax System To The Rest Of Us ..
It’s much easier to manage than the old-fashioned complicated one the rest of us use. They just decide what they fancy paying, and that’s their tax bill.
Apparently we all benefit from this, because as one of David Cameron’s friends claimed, we should ‘thank the super-rich for their charity’. You can see what he means, because it’s so unfair to make the richest people pay tax.
Instead we would all be better off if we let them keep all their money, and waited for them to pay into a charity if they felt like it.
We should also be grateful because they look after the world’s money, placing it in relaxing destinations like the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas, where it can enjoy itself, whereas normal people make money depressed, exchanging it for toilet roll and mobile phone chargers. Sadly, instead of thanking them, many people have been rude about the tax avoiders and the sacrifices they make.
David Cameron’s friend Charles Moore asked us to sympathise as Cameron is ‘trapped in wealth’ just as others are trapped in poverty.
( Extract from an article by Mark Steel, 16.04.2016 )
It says a lot about the priorities of this government that the Department for Work and Pensions employs 3,250 people to chase about £1.6billion in benefit fraud, yet HMRC only has 300 chasing affluent tax evaders who cost us at least £4.4billion.
( John Prescott, 17.04.2016 )
David Cameron Should Look In His Own Backyard ..
Following the Prime Minister’s latest microphone nightmare – where he called Nigeria ‘fantastically corrupt’ – the African country’s President Muhammadu Buhari is right to demand that David Cameron look in his own backyard. The PM has called for a clampdown on British institutions laundering stolen money – including private schools. Perhaps Eton-educated Cameron can tell us now how he plans to root out this money from these institutions? He should be relieved that President Buhari politely resisted pointing out that African corruption is deeply rooted in the decades of slavery and colonialism perpetuated by the UK and other countries. And which Cameron himself, the descendant of slave-owners, should know only too well.
( Ros Wynne-Jones, 13.05.2016 )
The UK Supported Islamist Forces In Afghanistan ..
Britain has covertly worked alongside the Darul Islam (House of Islam) movement in Indonesia, which has provided important ideological underpinnings to the development of terrorism in that country. Though Britain has mainly collaborated with Sunni movements in promoting its foreign policy, it has also at times not been averse to conniving with Shia forces, such as with Iranian Shia radicals in the 1950s, and before and after the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. Britain has, however, also worked in covert operations and wars with a variety of outright jihadist terrorist groups. These groups have promoted the most reactionary of religious and political agendas and routinely committed atrocities against civilians. Collusion of this type began in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when Britain, along with the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, covertly supported the resistance to defeat the Soviet occupation of the country. Military, financial and diplomatic backing was given to Islamist forces which, while forcing a Soviet withdrawal, soon organised themselves into terrorist networks ready to strike Western targets. After the jihad in Afghanistan, Britain had privy dealings of one kind or another with militants in various terrorist organisations, including Pakistan’s Harkat ul-Ansar, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the Kosovo Liberation Army, all of which had strong links to Bin Laden’s al-Qaida. Covert actions have been undertaken with these and other forces in Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe.
( Mark Curtis, 16.11.2015 )
Scams Involving London Parking Attendants ..
In 2005, an undercover television reporter revealed a series of scams and rackets involving parking attendants in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.
BBC journalist Nkem Ifejika worked as a probationary traffic warden for the West London local authority for four months and filmed attendants who appeared to boast openly of breaking the regulations. Alleged criminal activity included : Issuing of illegal tickets, Credit card fraud, A plot to steal a motorbike, Backhanders to clear parking tickets and clamp release fees. One incident showed a traffic warden called ‘Joseph’ explaining how he could cancel parking tickets and clamp charges for half the cost of the fixed penalty notices. He was then later filmed paying off the fines with alleged fake credit cards. The NCP warden was also filmed taking £25 from a second reporter who was posing as a private hire driver who had received a £50 parking ticket in Camden.
The BBC journalist filmed another warden showing him how he could boost his ticket-quota after he was warned by bosses that three tickets a day was not good enough. One attendant admitted, “It’s all about money for the council and the companies involved. There is so much corruption. Management turns a blind eye.”
Conservatives Are A Bunch Of Ditherers ..
If U-turns were evidence of strength, Tories would be the world’s mightiest. Instead, Nicky Morgan’s epic fail on schools reminds us the Conservatives are a bunch of ditherers. Reversing on everything from disability cuts to child refugees and now classrooms is a useless mob making it up as they go along. Inside that suit of state Cameron wears with the arrogance of a chap born to rule is a rank amateur who couldn’t find his way out of Downing Street without a chauffeur.
( Kevin Maguire, 09.05.2016 )
Boris Johnson’s Bus Blunder ..
The London Assembly finally discovered that, despite pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into the Boris Bus’s development and design, taxpayers do not own the rights to the ‘iconic’ new Routemaster. Intellectual property rights for the bus remain with the manufacturers until Transport for London has ordered 1,000 vehicles. And TfL, having forked out for 800 of the vehicles at a cost of more than £250 million, has no plans to buy any more. Meanwhile, Londoners are still having to pay for Johnson’s expensive idea of having ‘customer assistants’ on those routes which operate using the rear doors. Each assistant costs around £30,000 per year to employ and support. The Boris Buses which were supposed to be environmentally friendly hybrids, operating off electric motors for much of the time. In fact, many have been operating solely in diesel mode, making them less clean than other buses.
Money We Pay For Energy Goes To The French Government ..
Margaret Thatcher promised, when she sold off our energy companies, that with millions of people buying shares in the former state-owned industries she was giving ‘power to the people’. I remember my mum being royally sucked in and proudly raiding meagre savings to buy shares in British Gas. Ha, bloody ha. We all know that, in fact, power has been taken away from the British people and handed over to other countries such as France. For instance, if EDF is one of your suppliers you might be shocked to know that your money is funding the French state-owned – oh the irony – Electricite de France (hence EDF). We are handing our hard-earned money over to the French government, so the French can enjoy baking baguettes at a lower cost per kilowatt of electricity than we can. Our power companies were bought by EDF and renationalised for the French people.
( Fiona Phillips, 12.09.2015 )