UK Foreign Secretary Didn't Know What The Customs Union Was. Boris Johnson, the former UK…
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 )
Amelia Dyer, 1838 – 1896 ..
In 1896, two bargemen were sailing slowly up the Thames when they noticed a brown paper parcel floating on the water’s surface.
The men hauled it aboard and made a shocking discovery.
Wrapped inside was the body of a child strangled with a tape which was still around its neck.
The parcel had been weighted with a brick.
The gruesome discovery was actually nothing new – in the previous six months the bodies of no fewer than 40 strangled children wrapped in parcels had been fished from the river.
But this one yielded a vital clue: a name and address written inside the brown paper.
It eventually led detectives to Amelia Dyer, a hugely overweight woman of 56, who would convince young mothers with babies born out of wedlock to let her look after their children for a fee.
Instead, she would strangle them and dump the bodies.
Advertising in upmarket newspapers, she called herself Mrs Harding, Mrs Thomas or Mrs Stanfield, and would move town to avoid suspicion.
Above her door was written the Bible verse: “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven”.
To her own young daughter, she called herself “the angel-maker”, explaining she was sending babies to Jesus because he wanted them far more than their mothers did.
Her crimes continued for decades, even as she was twice committed to insane asylums.
She is suspected of killing as many as 400 infants during her life.
Dyer told police the babies they found strangled with white tape was “how you could tell it was one of mine”.
Tried at the Old Bailey in London, a jury took just six minutes to find Amelia Dyer guilty of killing seven infants whose corpses could be directly linked to her.
She was hanged at Newgate Prison on June 10, 1896.
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
Eleanor Of Aquitaine, 1122 – 1204 ..
The mother of Richard the Lionheart and King John, she was the Queen of England (1154-1189) and much of France at a time when the British aristocracy was still largely Anglo-Norman in complexion.
A formidable personality, a vast inheritance, and a long life helped make Eleanor – who became Queen following her marriage to Henry of Anjou (later Henry 11) – arguably the most powerful woman of her age.
And despite her Anglo-French blood, and the fact that she was buried in France, she always had a passion for England, and was in many ways English at heart.
As she put it: “I am, by the wrath of God, Queen of England”.
A lot of people were critical of her.
One commentator spuriously claimed that “her exceeding beauty injured all nations” – by that, meaning that the reason the medieval world was at one another’s throats was because of her looks.
But rather than be cowed by such criticism, she played on her reputation and wore scarlet-coloured dresses that made her stand out even more.
She was the first woman who really understood about brand management.
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 )