David Cameron

Brexit Blues

Oh well, that’s us fucked, then.

In the short term, it’s possible I’ll be a tiny bit better off, because the largest single day drop in the value of sterling now makes my few American book sales worth more. Of course, that’s going to be a tiny consolation when the inevitable slash and burn budget does its best to take away what’s left of everything that’s good about this country.

Almost immediately, the Brexiteers were saying that they hadn’t really promised all those things they promised. Which is nice.

Some people who voted Leave are trying to tell the rest of us that they didn’t mean it, really, and they’d take it all back if they only could. It’s hard to be angry at such stupidity.

The section of the Labour Party that lost the last two elections think that this is a great time to get Jeremy Corbyn out of the way, so they can start work on losing the snap election they hope will be called for November.

If anyone wants to set up a Kickstarter or Patreon that will ensure David Cameron doesn’t go a week without getting at least one email or letter that’s just a picture of a pig, I will try to scrape together some money to back it.

And if any Brexiteer wants to sneer and call me a bad loser, I’ll know that, if the tables were turned, they would have spent the day throwing the biggest toddler tantrum ever, whilst claiming that MI5 had stolen the result in some pencil based conspiracy.

A little Sunday morning Photoshop- Nothing of value inside…

Nothing Of Value Inside

Number 10 door from the official 10 Downing Street Flickr account. Used, as far as I can tell, within the rights assigned to the photo. ‘Nothing of value….’ sign photographed by me yesterday*.

*On what used to be Walkabout, on Quay Street. I don’t think I ever went in, but I did photograph racists forming up for a march outside it.

You can share larger versions from Flickr, if you’d like.

Do you really want to be trapped on an island with these people?

So, we’re halfway into the second week of what’s going to be a tedious and depressing EU referendum campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised if half the country has already become bored and irritated by it all.

I’ll come straight out and say that I’ll be voting to stay in. There’s a lot wrong with the EU, and the only way to fix the problems is by staying in and arguing more effectively for reform*. Also, it’s naive to think we won’t be affected by EU policies if we leave. We’ll still have to meet the standards they set if we want to trade with them, and there’ll be a load of new restrictions on travelling, living and working on the continent.

My stance puts me in the unsavoury position of being on the same side as David Cameron, George Osborne and Tony Blair. I’ll live with that. Not least because of the incredibly low quality of so many of the Brexit supporters. A short list, off the top of my head-

Nigel Farage A caricature of the worst stereotypes of England made flesh. The only good thing I can say about Farage is that, whichever way the vote goes, he’s going to be even more irrelevant after June.

Boris Johnson A man who plays the buffoon in the hope that we’ll not notice all his cheap political game playing. And the fact that he is a bit of an incompetent. It’s hard to take seriously any claims that Boris’ stance is for anything other than the chance to be leader of the Tory party and possibly PM.

Michael Gove Gormless, useless little man, who has only got as far as he has by taking advantage of the friendship he has now betrayed with the Prime Minister.

Iain Duncan-Smith Let’s face it, Duncan-Smith wants out of Europe to save his own skin. He’s scared that a European court might one day hold him to account for introducing policies that have driven thousands of the most vulnerable to early deaths and pushed people to suicide.

Nigel Lawson Walnut faced former Chancellor who now makes millions of pounds conjuring up weak arguments for gullible climate change deniers to keep spouting, thus slowing down progress on fixing the greatest imminent threat to everyone’s way of life.

John Redwood Supposedly hyper-intelligent former minister, who was once known as the Vulcan, but now looks more like Dobby the house elf. Redwood’s highly intelligent and deeply considered opinion on matters of climate change and energy policy somehow always sounds like the sort of thing Nigel Lawson’s group has dreamt up for gullible climate change deniers to repeat endlessly.

David Icke Really. David Icke supporting something is the equivalent of having it stamped “100% guaranteed bullshit”.

These are the people who will be running this country if the referendum results in us leaving (well, apart from Icke, he’ll probably say something incoherent about lizards, then disappear back to wherever it is he hides). They are scum, and they’ll be even harder to escape from, because they’ll trash your chances of going to live and work in Europe.

A vote to stay could be the first part of a double whammy. First, do serious damage to the careers of the would-be leavers by rejecting their campaign. This will have a knock-on effect of destabilising, maybe even splitting, the Conservative party**, offering an opportunity for more sensible parties to sweep in and kick them out at the next election.

It might not happen, but I’m an optimist.

*And kicking out all the UKIP MEPs. Really, is there anything less useful than a UKIP MEP? They’ve been elected to something they want the country to leave, and their constant refrain is how terrible the EU is for Britain. They could use their positions to fix those problems, and make things better for thr UK. But then, that would show that the EU is capable of doing good things for Britain, making the case for staying in. So UKIP MEPs must just sit on their hands and make things worse, because it’s the only way they can achieve what they want. They’re actively making things worse for us, under the pretence that they’re working to make things, somehow, better.

**Actually, either result could have this effect. But In is the best for the majority of us.

I’m too old to be an extremist, I’ll settle for being a terrorist sympathiser

If you don’t do and say just what the Government wants you to, then obviously you’re an enemy of freedom.

Apparently, there are ‘experts’ who think that being a teenager looks exactly like being a terrorist.

A leaflet drawn up by an inner-city child safeguarding board warns that “appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policies” is a sign “specific to radicalisation”.

Parents and carers have also been advised by the safeguarding children board in the London Borough of Camden that “showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists.

Other apparent hints listed include young people changing friendship groups or styles of dress, secretive behaviour, switching computer screens when adults approach, or glorifying violence.


David Cameron has appealed to Conservative MPs to give him an overall parliamentary majority in favour of military action in Syria by warning them against voting alongside “Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers”.

Those sound like the words of a man who isn’t confident he’s going to win the vote on bombing Syria. I do hope he loses, not just because bombing’s so obviously the wrong plan, but also to see him get increasingly petulant and pathetic as the reality of defeat dawned on him.

The UN is investigating UK’s ‘grave violations’ of disabled people’s rights

The United Nations is carrying out an unprecedented inquiry into “systematic and grave violations” of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government, Disability News Service (DNS) can finally confirm.

DNS revealed last August that the UK appeared to have become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD).

The committee said last summer, when approached by DNS, that it was not allowed to say whether the inquiry was underway.

But DNS is now in a position to state definitively that the inquiry is taking place, and has been underway since January 2014.

I wonder what happens when the UN CRPD comes back with a conclusion that the government is a human rights abuser. Does it open the possibility that Iain Duncan Smith, Cameron and others could be prosecuted?

Source: Confirmed! UN is investigating UK’s ‘grave violations’ of disabled people’s rights

And so it begins

A couple of years ago, I noted how the coalition government seemed to be rolling appalling ideas out the door on a regular basis, as if to overwhelm and confound attempts to hold them to account. Well, the new Conservative government has got straight down to continuing the policy.

Within hours of the result, it was announced that payments to help disabled people in work are likely going to be cut.

There are plans to bring in the “Snoopers’ Charter”, so that we can all be spied on by the security services.

And, yesterday, Michael Gove, one of the most hated people in UK politics, was made Justice Secretary, where he will be working to scrap the Human Rights Act and bring in a “British Bill of Rights”. Previous blather about a British Bill of Rights have suggested that you forfeit rights if you don’t uphold certain responsibilities. Given the last government’s form, one of those responsibilities could be not being poor or disabled.

As other people have done, I’m going to list the rights and freedoms set out in the Human Rights Act below, and ask- which ones to the Tories want to do away with?

Right to life

Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment

Right to liberty and security

Freedom from slavery and forced labour

Right to a fair trial

No punishment without law

Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence

Freedom of thought, belief and religion

Freedom of expression

Freedom of assembly and association

Right to marry and start a family

Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms

Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property

Right to education

Right to participate in free elections

The Snoopers’ Charter and removal of benefits from vulnerable people act against two of those rights, for a start. There are bound to be others.

Unlike 2013, I’m better prepared to argue and campaign against the coming disasters of another five years of the Tories. One of the ways I’m going to do this is by not dwelling too much on all the idiotic ideas they come out with. I’ll report on them here, so that more people know about them, but mostly I’ll concentrate on positive alternatives and actions. I’m a member of the local Green Party, and I’ll be campaigning with them on issues, as well as trying to find ways for folks to help themselves.

And I’m going to keep on writing. I’m going to entertain and inform in ways that are going to make them want to remove the freedom of expression from whatever mess Gove comes up with.

The British government is leading a gunpowder plot against democracy | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

The more I hear about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the worse it sounds. But it gives so much power and advantage to the rich and corporations that, obviously, our government doesn’t want to do anything about it, and would rather no-one talks about it.

When David Cameron and the corporate press launched their campaign against the candidacy of Jean-Claude Juncker for president of the European commission, they claimed that he threatened British sovereignty. It was a perfect inversion of reality. Juncker, seeing the way the public debate was going, promised in his manifesto that “I will not sacrifice Europe’s safety, health, social and data protection standards – on the altar of free trade – Nor will I accept that the jurisdiction of courts in the EU member states is limited by special regimes for investor disputes.” Juncker’s crime was that he had pledged not to give away as much of our sovereignty to corporate lawyers as Cameron and the media barons demanded.

The British government is leading a gunpowder plot against democracy | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian.

The Cost of Cameron: 100 Worst Failures of David Cameron’s Government from May 2010 to Dec 2013

The Cost of Cameron, by Éoin Clarke
The 100 worst failures of David Cameron’s Government from May 2010 to December 2013. (note all 100 points are evidenced. Click on the word “evidence” at the end of each point to reveal the proof of the claim made therein.)

via The Green Benches: The Cost of Cameron: 100 Worst Failures of David Cameron's Government from May 2010 to Dec 2013.

This government is so bad I don’t even know where to start

I want to direct some justified anger at the government. They seem intent on destroying everything good about this country and leaving behind a wasteland which only benefits billionaire tax evaders, incompetent bankers and Paul Dacre.

The problem is, almost every week they do something else appalling and the anger gets diverted and redirected. It’s almost as if their survival policy is to keep wrong-footing decent people by throwing up a smokescreen of ever changing petty, sociopathic, shit ideas so that we’re too confused about what we should be aiming at. Anyone who tried to confront Cameron, Osborne or Clegg with even a small list of the things they’re fucking up would run the risk of looking like a babbling, incoherent weirdo.

Having said all that, here’s another five reasons to hate these scum.

It used to be that when politicians wanted to bury bad news they’d orchestrate its release to time with a distracting event. Seeing Iain Duncan Smith publicly criticized for wasting at least £140 million of public money over Universal Credit at the start of this month, it struck me how we’ve slowly reached another level. “Unmitigated disaster”? “Alarmingly weak”? These words were used to describe Universal Credit but could easily have been levelled at a number of largely unreported changes to the benefit system. Nowadays, bad news is buried by even worse news. The sheer volume of inefficient and unethical changes to social security this Government has enacted means some of it doesn’t even get noticed. Which, for a set of politicians hacking at vulnerable people’s support systems, is worryingly convenient.

So, here’s five benefit changes the government doesn’t want you to know about.

5 benefit changes the government don't want you to know about.

Fight for the right to an NHS

TUC Demo, Manchester, September 29th 2013

And sundry other things the coalition would like to destroy or privatise. Over 40,000 people turned out from around the country for the demo and marched around the city centre on a route carefully designed, by someone, so that the Tories, hiding behind their ring of steel, didn’t have to see them. I took some photos, and some of my favourite sights and signs are in this Flickr gallery.

They really are the greenest government, after all

When David Cameron promised that a Tory government would be the Greenest ever, no-one really believed him. But, if you take a different interpretation of green- inexperienced, unqualified for what they’re doing and incompetent- I think he was right.

The Environment Secretary is ready to believe any lie, so long as it casts doubt on climate change. The Health Secretary believes in homeopathy. Most people wouldn’t trust the Education Secretary with crayons and the Chancellor doesn’t understand money*.

So, Dave has given us the greenest possible government, which is a terrible thing.

*To be fair to Gideon, he seems to be in tune with the financial industry. He’s enamoured of the same bad ideas and has the same dumb faith as them that their imaginary money schemes will pay off when experience says they’ll just bankrupt everyone but the bankers again.

Plan A is to destroy everything of any value, isn’t it?

Funding cuts have lead to Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Rail Museum in York facing closure.

The cuts were part of this moronic “austerity” plan the Government is so keen on, despite the fact it’s not only not working but making things worse. Sneakily privatising the NHS (something almost everyone in the cabinet will benefit from financially) and bringing in policies that kill people are far worse than the closure of a few museums, but it gives us a taste of the wasteland that’s going to be left behind by this bunch of morons.

…and this is why people think the Tories are scum

Allegedly, the victim-blaming, bullying, poor people killing changes to the Social Security, the NHS and anything else the Tories feel like destroying are all about helping decent, hard working types. People who “who get up in the morning and work hard” in Osborne’s own words. Except that, as their wrong-headed policies continue to be useless, they’ll need to find another bunch of people to blame, and those scapegoats will be the low-paid.

Minimum wage could be frozen or cut if it starts to cost jobs or damage economy, Government suggests – Telegraph.

Cameron, Osborne and co. will shaft anyone less powerful than them in the name of their dogmatic, greedy and useless policies. If they really wanted to bring the benefits bill down, they’d raise the minimum wage, because lowering it is just using taxpayers’ money to subsidise unscrupulous companies. Introduce the Living Wage and you reduce the number of working people who are still so poor they need benefits (80% of benefits claimants, I read somewhere) and stimulate the economy in numerous ways.

But the Tories won’t do that, because they’re scum.

Calums List | This Welfare Reform Death Toll Has To Stop

Adding to my post from last week, Calum’s List

Hate to call it Calum’s List, but a lady intent on committing suicide due to the Welfare Reforms called it that, and the name has stuck in the internet Search Engines. “Calums List” is a Memorial Page to those who have departed this life, or been strained to near that limit. It is hoped that this Memorial Page will help narrate the problems, and in that way, persuade the Government and Parliament to improve Welfare Reform and make it FAIR and FIT FOR PURPOSE.

via Calums List | This Welfare Reform Death Toll Has To Stop.

“How many poor people can we kill with this policy?” 3

If there’s one thing the eighties should have taught us, it’s that the the Tories are scum. They’re a bunch of chancers who care more about their, and their cronies’, wealth than the nation’s health. They’ll take anything that benefits us all equally and find a way, preferably by stealth, to take it off us and give it to a rich, tax avoiding chums. If they can then find a way to have those of us on low to middle incomes pay for the dodgy deal, all the better.

The current government keep coming out with policies designed to kill people. They can’t be so stupid that they don’t see the damage they’re doing, so the only conclusion is that they’re a bunch of evil little sociopaths. So long as the ones who suffer are the little people who can’t afford to lobby then they don’t really care.

Assessment to Disability Living Allowance has been effectively privatised, turned into a box ticking exercise with incentives to fail as many people as possible and discourage those who could be helped from even applying. The changes have already killed people*.

Coming soon, we have the Bedroom Tax, which, you’ll be shocked to discover, is going to hurt poor parents and the disabled. Because someone who is already down can’t fight back as well and is easier to kick some more.

From April, Legal Aid is changing so that it no longer covers Family Law. People aren’t going to be able to settle custody battles, they’ll lose contact with their children and- without a doubt- some will be trapped in abusive relationships that see them being killed.

But, because they haven’t squeezed anyone enough, the Tories are now hoping to use the cover of the almost non-existent threat of “welfare tourism” to try to make changes which will make it even harder for anyone to access state aid they’re entitled to.

If the Tory government is bad, then the party is worse. The policy that has the party members up in arms isn’t any of the ones that will hurt people and destroy the country, but a rare example of Cameron and co. doing something humane and decent. Starve the sick and the poor, steal our money and give it to your pals to filter offshore and privatise the NHS all you want, they say, but don’t you dare let two people of the same sex call their union a marriage. That’s beyond the pale.

I want to believe we can get away from these people, but I don’t see who would take over. The Libdems are probably going to be relegated back to their previous status of novelty act at the next election** and Labour still carry the stink of Blair. The “new force” in British politics is UKIP, apparently, but they have undertones of racism and overtones of incompetence. I’m going to investigate the Green Party and, failing that, secession.

*When even the Daily Mail- the go-to newspaper for victim blaming- can bring itself to say there’s a problem, you know something is horribly wrong.

**I held out such great hopes for the Liberal Democrats at the last election, and I voted for them. To say I’m disappointed in them would be a massive understatement.

David Cameron gets it, sort of

David Cameron knows that if you want to keep a country from descending into anarchy and crime, if you want to give its citizens the best possible hope for their future and you want to create prosperity then you have to spend money providing support for the poorest citizens. He also knows that this is the best, and in the long term cheapest, investment to prevent criminality.

At least, he knows this as far as foreign aid is concerned. Speaking at the G8 summit in May he rightly defended the UK’s foreign aid budget, making the point that-

We should be in no doubt that if we get this wrong, if we fail to support these countries, we risk giving oxygen to the extremists who prey on the frustrations and aspirations of young people.

Now if only he could recognise this at home and have the balls to invest in our future even if it means tax rises for his rich friends.

(This is not a call to cut the foreign aid budget. I know that you’re intelligent enough to realise this, but some of the other people reading this post may not be.)

The Government wants to waste our money spying on our emails

The Government is looking to spend up to £2billion finding ways to read everyone’s internet and email traffic. Whilst they’re expecting the rest of us to suffer through their cuts they’re wasting a huge amount on a scheme which will achieve nothing, apart from maybe generating tons of false positives from people discussing their latest exploits in Medal of Honor.

The Open Rights Group has a petition to sign to tell Clegg, Cameron and Theresa May how bad an idea you think this is.

(It’s tempting, after two posts featuring reference to Godwin’s Law, to claim that this is just the sort of things the Nazis would have done. But some people have a hard time recognising sarcasm/irony, so I’ll let it be.)