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Whoever is reading this..
I hope you have a reason to smile today.

Half Of All Youth Centres Shut By Tory Councils.
Half of all youth centres run by Tory councils have been shut down since David Cameron came to power.
Critics say the closures raise the risk of crime and anti-social behaviour.
A survey of 105 local authorities reveals funding was axed for 411 of their 811 youth centres since 2010.

( Jack Blanchard, 05.09.2015 )

His Attack On The Sick And Disabled Is Just Part Of The Programme.
Iain Duncan Smith, as he was in the Scots Guards, is the kind of officer who kicks a man when he’s down.
He’s determined to force a million poorly people into employment because “work is a health treatment”.
So now he’s a doctor as well.
With the blithe ignorance of the truly stupid, he says “we know there remains a gap between the employment of disabled and non-disabled people”.
As a statement of the obvious, that takes some beating, Lieut Dingbat Smith.
One of the two groups is made up of sick or disabled people.
It’s harder for them to find work.
The Tories are angry because although 700,000 people have lost unemployment benefit since they came to power, “only” 88,000 have been deprived of what is now ESA – employment and support allowance, normally worth just over £100 a week.
So, Lieut Dingbat is pushing through a Welfare Reform Bill.
He will change the rules to focus on what claimants can do rather than they can’t do.
On the face of it, this looks like a sensible reform.
And it might be, if it wasn’t him driving it.
But his real motive, beneath the oh-so-caring, missionary zeal to help the jobless into work, is to cut his department’s budget.
Permanently, as part of the Tory dismantling of the welfare state.
IDS has pledged to slash another £20billion from his department’s budget by 2020, and his attack on the sick and disabled is just part of that programme.
If claimants fail to take any work offered to them after this change, benefits will be stopped.
Where these million “jobs” will come from is anybody’s guess.
The government plans to shed another 200,000 posts in public services, throwing the equivalent of the adult population of Bradford into the free-for-all it calls a labour market.
Many of those on ESA have mental health problems, and charities warn that forcing them into unsuitable part-time work just to get them off the register exacerbates their illness.
But why should Lieut Dingbat care about that?
After a hard day’s poor-bashing in Whitehall he can go home to a luxury pad in his ministerial limousine without a care in the world.
Church on Sunday, conscience salved.
Except he leaves behind a trail of human misery.

( Paul Routledge, 28.08.2015 )

A Multi-Millionaire Giving Low-Paid Staff A Hard Time.
I was disturbed to read about that passenger who was tasered after a luggage dispute with Easy Jet staff at Gatwick.
Mainly because, days earlier, Noel Gallagher had a 20-minute row at Heathrow after he was told to pay a £65 excess baggage charge on a flight to the South of France.
So why wasn’t he tasered?
If not for being a multi-millionaire giving low-paid staff a hard time over such a piddling sum, then for saying before the general election he couldn’t vote Labour because its leader was a communist, how he’s chuffed to be sending his kids to public school, and for jumping on to a yacht in St Tropez with Bono when he eventually unpacked his precious designer luggage.
( Brian Reade, 22.08.2015 )

Religious Freedom?
No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom’.
If you don’t like birth-control, don’t use it.
Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.

( Barack Obama )

Remember When George Osborne Kept Blaming Gordon Brown?
Remember when George Osborne kept blaming Gordon Brown rather than the global economic meltdown for the UK financial crisis?
He promised to eliminate the deficit and bring down public debt.
Well after five years as Chancellor, Osborne has cut the deficit by only a third (as Labour would have) and doubled our debt.
And who does he blame?
Global forces!
Do those forces mean something only when the Chancellor is Osborne, not Gordon?

( John Prescott, 06.09.2015 )

I Understand Tories.
I understand Tories.
I know what they’re about.

They’re wealthy, they’re greedy, and they try to con everybody else into believing that they too can be wealthy and greedy and everything will be well.
I understand that, I know where they’re coming from.
I’ve seen them around for a long time.
We’ve all seen them around for a long time.
I don’t need any lessons from them.
Nobody does.
What we do need is to be strong enough and bold enough to put forward a rational, sensible alternative which is about valuing everybody.

( Jeremy Corbyn )

Net Migration To The UK.
Net migration rocketed to 330,000 – a 40% rise in just one year.
It’s also been revealed the number of people living in Britain who were born abroad is 8.3million.
And it’s clear that these kind of numbers just aren’t sustainable in a country the size of Britain.

( Carole Malone, 30.08.2015 )

The Queen Hated Thatcher For What She Was Doing.
I’m a staunch republican but I’ve got nothing against The Queen as a person.
Indeed if we abolished her tomorrow I’d be happy to have her back as our head of state.
So long as the majority of us voted for her and the rest of her family were made to get a job.
In fact I’ve had respect for her since reading how she hated Thatcher for what she was doing to the miners and the poor back in the 1980s.

( Brian Reade, 05.09.2015 )

The Misunderstanding Of Islam?
If ISIS is not Islamic, what is it?

They follow the Koran to the letter.
The fact is, if this is a misunderstanding of Islam, how is it that so many millions are misunderstanding it in exactly the same way?
( Pamela Geller )

Religion is like a penis.
It’s okay to be proud of it, but don’t push it on other people, especially children.
Do not write laws with it.
Do not think with it.
( Len Firswood )

A Modern Version Of Slave Labour.
The number of workers on zero-hours contracts rose by 47,323 in the last six months, to a total of 744,442, officially.
The real number is much higher.
And I bet only a minority actually asked for so-called “flexible working”.
Millions would work a full week, if only employers let them.
The system is a modern version of slave labour.
( Paul Routledge, 04.09.2015 )

Islamophobia is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.
( Christopher Hitchens )

Sexual Offences On Public Transport.
Sexual offences on public transport rocketed by 25% last year, so, no, we’re not tackling it and women remain sitting ducks for predatory men.
Look at the latest rape figures for women – 69,000 a year at the last count, with only 1,070 convictions.
Look at the report from YouGov and the Thomson Reuters Foundation which says that 32% of women have been verbally harassed on public transport (and that’s just the ones who reported it – most don’t).
And 19% had been physically abused.
In the global rankings of safety, London’s transport system trails behind New York, Beijing and Tokyo, which is appalling.
In this country we pretend to take violence against women seriously – but we don’t.
We TALK about tackling it but with rapes and sex attacks at a record high, we’re clearly failing.

( Carole Malone, 30.08.2015 )

Amazon described as running a degrading, bullying workplace culture.
Was that the clincher for Jeremy Clarkson to join them?
( Brian Reade, 22.08.2015 )

Greedy Charities Are Big Business.
Time was when charitable organisations were modest affairs.
Little old ladies selling flags from cardboard trays on street corners, that sort of thing.
They were often based on churches and other religious groups.
They concentrated on homely issues like the protection of children and animals.
Not any more.
These days, charities are big business, and they ape the worst excesses of big business.
They boast highly-paid bosses, celebrity champions, royal patronage, fancy offices, large staffs and shops on every high street.
They spend millions on emotive TV advertising to rake in the money.
No charity is complete without an American-style chief executive officer, whose exotic six-figure salary is justified by the spacious argument that “we have to recruit and retain the best talent”.
The change from what went before happened because we have more disposable income, and where there is spare cash there is always somebody anxious to get their greedy dabs on it.
Charities are no exception.
I gave money to the British Red Cross and I never heard the end of it.
Letters, phone calls to my home, constant appeals to give more.
And that is low-level stuff by comparison with the high-pressure salesmanship that goes on.
Charity chiefs are going too far.
They set up a lucrative market in information-swapping, selling on our personal details to rival charities and other businesses.
Some of them have a fine disregard for who they sell to – so crooks and scam merchants get access to the life savings of vulnerable givers.
The result is one scandal after another.
One 87-year-old man suffering from dementia lost £35,000 to a tsunami of demands after his details were passed on to more than 200 competing charities and some outright criminals.
The RSPCA has been caught sizing up potential legacies from donors.
This isn’t charity.
It is sharp practise – old-fashioned capitalism, profiteering from the good intentions of people with a conscience.
The charities industry has an annual turnover running into billions of pounds.

( Paul Routledge, 04.09.2015 )

The Solutions For Syria By David Cameron.
The solutions suggested for Syria by David Cameron can seem quite confusing, so this is the simplest way to explain.
We should have bombed the dreadful President Assad’s forces a year ago, and supported his opponents, but decided not to.
We have a chance to put that right, but now we need to bomb the dreadful Islamic State’s forces, which are even worse, and support their opponents, especially President Assad.
The force opposing Assad that we would have supported a year ago is Islamic State, so if only we’d done that back then, we could now ask Islamic State if they could give us back the bombs we’d given them, so we could drop them on them instead.
Not only that, but if we’d bombed Assad’s forces a year ago we could help more now, by bombing those who had helped Islamic State, such as us, and bomb ourselves.
And if we really want to help people fleeing Islamic State, don’t let them come here as the last thing they want is somewhere to live in safety.
We should send them back – Islamic State can’t be that bad, surely?
And if we’d done that, it would be over by Monday.

( Mark Steel, 11.09.2015 )

The Most Dangerous Man To Government.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out.
Without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.
Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.

( H.L. Mencken )

Cameron’s Dismissal Of Refugees As A “Swarm” That Needs To Be Repelled.
It feels only right to thank David Cameron for his brave stance throughout this refugee crisis.
Or, as Theresa May prefers to call hundreds of desperate families fleeing war and hunger, the “events of this summer”.
In Tory circles, “don’t mention the war” has become “don’t mention the Syrians”.
And I want to thank him because he has unintentionally read the last rites on Britain’s century-old feeling of moral superiority over the Germans.
He was shamed into a face-saving U-turn yesterday by the rip-tide of emotion that photo of the dead child on the beach unleashed, but it was too little too late.
A British Prime Minister’s dismissal of refugees as a “swarm” that needs to be repelled when compared to Angela Merkel’s declaration that her people would welcome as many of them as they could take, left us without a goose-stepping leg to stand on when it comes to portraying ourselves as more humane than the brutish Hun.

( Brian Reade, 05.09.2015 )

Disabled People’s Rights.
It is both extremely worrying and deeply sad that the UK, for so long regarded as an international leader in protecting and promoting disabled people’s rights – now risks sleepwalking towards the status of a systematic violator of these same rights.

( Baroness Jane Campbell )

Sir John Major’s Private Chats With The Queen.
Sir John Major says that during private weekly chats, the Queen influenced his 1990s Government on a number of occasions.
“I have no intention of telling you what they are,” he told his radio interviewer.
No? Nice that a Tory premier and the unelected head of state can decide in secret how the lower orders shall live.
How cosy, and how wrong.

( Paul Routledge )

A Miserable Prince Of Wales.
A newly-discovered letter shows that back in the 1920s we had a ‘miserable’ Prince of Wales who whined to his married mistress about the ‘torture’ of being sent on a ‘loathsome’ first-class Caribbean cruise surrounded by ‘revolting’ natives.
Ah, that’s what I love about our monarchy.
In this swiftly-changing world it’s the one thing that always stays the same.
God bless ’em.

( Brian Reade )

Tax Avoiding Celebrities.
Several well-known stars have been named amongst 33,000 people, including doctors, lawyers and dentists, in tax avoidance schemes which have deprived the Treasury of £5billion.
The average UK wage is around £27,000, or with tax deducted, £21,315.
That does not stretch very far.
George Michael tried to shelter £6.2million, a fraction of his total wealth, in the Liberty tax avoidance scheme.
If he’d paid the tax due on that, it would have left him with around £3.3million.
George Michael is worth over £100million.
If he paid full tax on his total wealth, he’d still have £55million.
How many houses does he want?
How many cars can he afford to crash?
How much money does he need for goodness sake?
After all, as he and his fellow mega-rich tax-avoiders will already know, money doesn’t always make you happy.

( Fiona Phillips, 12.07.2014 )

In The Name Of Security.
In the name of security, the Government is fast-tracking legislation through Parliament that will allow it to collect huge quantities of our personal data.
We would do well to remember the advice of Ben Franklin.
“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety'”.
The Government has engineered a ‘theatrical emergency’ – in this case terrorism and hidden pedophile rings – to ram the Data Retention and Investigatory Bill through Parliament without proper debate.
It is an insult to the supremacy of Parliament, to democracy and to the trust of the public.

( David Davis, Conservative MP, 13.07.2014 )

Millionaire Ministers Never Need A Union To Stick Up For Them.
Tomorrow, Tolpuddle, for the annual commemoration of the 19th Century pioneers who paid with their liberty for their comradeship.
In 1834, six Dorset farm labourers were arrested, tried for administering a secret oath and sentenced to seven years’ transportation in the penal colony of Australia.
Their real crime was to form a trade union in protest at the landowners’ cruel cuts in wages.
They refused to work for less than 10 shillings (50p) a week.
That’s right, a week.
A national outcry greeted their punishment, and 800,000 people petitioned for a pardon for the “Tolpuddle Martyrs”.
The Government relented, and the men were released after a few years.
Their memory, and the vital role that trade unions still play for working people, are celebrated with a two-day festival.
Tory ministers choose this moment to unveil a Trade Union Bill robbing support for the Labour Party, legitimising the use of scabs and undermining the right to strike.
It should be called the Trade Union (Backdoor Abolition) Bill.
Millionaire ministers never need a union to stick up for them.
Only the voters can sack them, and we missed our chance.

( Paul Routledge, 17.07.2015 )

British Children Are Among The Most Depressed In The World.
Put your hands up if you were surprised to read that British children are among the most depressed in the world.
Thought not.
Look at the hand we deal them today.
We feed them so much food saturated in sugar that diabetes is a cert, warn them that every respected person their grandad’s age is probably a paedo and the only music they get to hear is the “ker-ching” symphony played on Simon Cowell’s till.
We give them expensive smartphones to shut them up, then scream at them for never getting off them.
We tell them their reward for studying hard is a lifetime of debt, with little chance of owning a house without rich parents, or getting a decent job without the right connections.
And if they didn’t do well at school the Tories now want to send them to Boot Camp to justify their meagre benefits.
( Brian Reade, 22.08.2015 )

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