Sunday 27 September 2015

Quick summary of what Corbynomics seems to be about...

A certain level of deficit is affordable. It has become almost impossible to make this argument. Journalists and commentators know that it's true but they seem to be pre-programmed to howl it down. Corbyn et al seem for the moment to consider that it's best to leave that argument alone. 

Instead, they are pointing out that the underlying question of Who pays for that deficit? is a better one to make. As we know, the Tories have made a political decision to get the unpaid and the low paid to pay for it, and for all of us to have worse public services to pay for it too. Meanwhile, the super-rich have made a killing. (both sides of this equation have been admitted a) by Clegg when he 'apologised' to the low paid) b) by the Telegraph when it said the quantitative easing had enabled the rich 'to make a killing' (their words).

So, Corbyn et al, appear to be saying that they will do other things to deal with this deficit: find the non-tax payers, (100 billion?), not renew Trident (100 billion?), use Quantitative Easing to finance council housing and railways (stimulates steel, concrete, glass etc production, creates employment, increases tax yield for government), increase tax take from super-rich. 

This argument would, they think (I'm guessing) put the journalist-politico deficit mob on the back foot because they would have to argue against this on the basis that it's bad for rich people and good for poor people???!!!!

Thursday 17 September 2015

Still angry about demands that we sing what we don't believe in....

(I wrote this on a comments thread at the Guardian when someone asked me what Jeremy Corbyn meant when he said that in future at ceremonies and public occasions he would 'participate fully' or some such. I said I don't know.)

"I'm not in the Labour Party, I'm not Jeremy Corbyn. All I can say is that I look a bit like him but that gives me no access to his thinking. As it happens I think it is an absolute outrage that Labour MPs and the liberal press couldn't defend the principle of freedom of conscience, that none of them could rise above the matter of whether they thought it was 'advisable' that he sing the anthem and defend the right of someone who is an atheist and a republican to not sing about a god who should 'save' a 'Queen'.

When I think of all the screeds of guff that are written about 'British values' and 'tolerance' and our wonderful freedoms and yet, when it comes to a moment when one of those freedoms is tested (freedom of conscience) a great baying and lynching takes place where people demand that someone should pretend to identify with ideas that he doesn't believe in.

And this is the country that explains about how brave Ridley and Latimer were, how we fought for our freedoms in WW2 etc etc etc. I can say, when I heard that Tory MP on the World at One going on about how 'disgraceful' it was of Corbyn to not sing the anthem, I found myself wondering just how safe that leaves us all. 

And as for the grovelling Labour MPs who can't even defend Corbyn against that kind of attack - pathetic. Either we have freedom of conscience or we don't. You can't have a sort of or a kind of a bit of a freedom of conscience. We're not talking about taking up arms here. We're just talking about a particular kind of public ceremony. And even diverging from that makes a certain kind of person call that 'disgraceful'."

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Why Labour politicians attacking Corbyn over National Anthem deprives us of liberty

Labour politicians attacking Corbyn over the National Anthem may be nasty, may be disloyal but it says something else to me. It also shows me that these people haven't even got the guts to take up a position on the basis of a) freedom of conscience and b) the memory of the thousands of people who died in WW2 who were atheists and/or republicans...and irony of ironies, almost all of whom would have voted Labour in 1945, if they had been alive.

So, what this means is that these people in the Labour Party can't even defend their own ground. They can't defend liberty. And they can't defend many of the kind of people who vote for them.

Instead they hope that by wrapping themselves in the flag and the so-called 'decency' of wearing immaculate clothes, that this will win them the affection of the right-wing press. It doesn't. Miliband appeared in public in immaculate outfits and sang the National Anthem loud and long. In effect, all this won him was the accolade, 'Geek in a suit' or worse - 'or 'Son of Jewish traitor wears suit'.

And in a small way, their collaboration with this chorus deprives us of our liberty. People we thought could and would protect our freedom of conscience, and our right to wear what we want are saying, 'No we won't.'

Thanks, guys.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Corbyn and Cauliflower Man

On the night that Jeremy Corbyn won,

over on the World TV News Channel,

following a harrowing look at the destruction in Syria

they showed a journalist asking Jeremy Corbyn

where he got his jumper from.

All over the world, within a few seconds,

we viewers could flip from

thinking of whole cities in Syria

lying devastated to:

Jeremy’s jumper,

and I wondered if any journalist has ever put a

microphone under David Cameron’s nose

and said

‘So, Mr Cameron, do you think you can

renegotiate the terms for Britain’s membership

of the EU and where did you get your shirt?’

Following the jumper revelations,

in a matter of seconds,

this world news package wanted to give us

an insight into how people have reacted to

Jeremy Corbyn’s victory

and once again they went to see the

all-in-one, standby, representative British voter:

the bloke in the market selling cauliflowers.

Why is it always him?

Spare him a moment’s sympathy:

Around every election time

thousands of journalists scour the country

trying to put their finger on the pulse

trying to gauge which way the wind is blowing

and they all end up at his market stall.

He’s just trying to sell cauliflowers.

That’s his job.

He goes to a wholesale depot at 4 in the

morning and buys

the cauliflowers that are just on the turn

and puts them on his stall.

He’s tired, he’s cold,

can’t you journalists leave him alone?

he’s just trying to get rid of 50 cauliflowers

and you’re asking him

what he thinks of Jeremy Corbyn?

Who knows -

possibly the only thing he remembers

about Jeremy Corbyn -

thanks to you guys -

is where Jeremy Corbyn

got his jumper.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Owner of national newspaper says, Why didn't they listen to me?

As owner of a large national newspaper, I would just like to say that I'm in a state of some confusion as to why or how so many people didn't listen to me on the subject of the leadership of the Labour Party. Quite apart from the message it sent to great people like Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson, it's almost as if all those people were putting two fingers up to me.

Why owner of national newspaper wants Labour leader who is a Tory...

As an owner of a national newspaper which always backs the Tories, I would like to say that it's my job to bring out a newspaper which is full of long explanations as to why the Labour Party should have a leader who agrees with Tory policies but who will nevertheless be someone my newspaper doesn't support. 

We will explain over and over why the Labour Party (which my newspaper hates) should not have a leftwing candidate because this will be disastrous for the Labour Party (which my newspaper would like to see rot in hell anyway).

Thursday 3 September 2015

People run

People run away from war:
my father’s uncle and his wife
ran away from war.
They ran from one side of France to another.
But the authorities divided people up:
some who ran away were good;
some, like my father’s uncle and his wife,
were not so good:
they were not born in France.
So they were put on a list
and had everything taken away from them.
They heard that people like them were
being put on trains and sent away to the east.
So they escaped and ran across France
This was a good move,
they were safe now,
all they had to do was wait.
While they were waiting
the authorities in this place got defeated,
they were seized, put on a train
put in a transit camp, then on another train
to another camp,
where they were killed.
People run away from war.
Sometimes we get away.
Sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes we’re helped.
Sometimes we aren’t.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Nice review of Uncle Gobb from 'Readingzone'.

Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed (with Neal Layton) publ by Bloomsbury.

Malcolm is an ordinary ten year old boy who lives with his mum and her brother, Uncle Gobb. Uncle Gobb has been a very important person for many years, and as a consequence is extremely bossy, as well as being very fond of worksheets, asking questions, correct answers and telling Malcolm do more homework. One day at school, answering the questions on yet another worksheet, Malcolm discovers something interesting - at the very bottom of the piece of paper it says 'Gobb Education'. Could this have something to do with his uncle? Malcolm and his friend Crackersnackers start investigating and realise that Gobb Education is responsible for all the other things that make school boring, such as the Getting On Well Chart, the Worksheet Chart and the Behaving Sensibly at Playtime Chart. Tackling Uncle Gobb about this involves a lot of questions, two very unusual genies and the Dread Shed, in which children who do not do well at school can be locked up. Adult readers will recognise a certain, unlamented former Secretary of State for Education and a lampooning of his policies, whilst children will enjoy a zany and funny exploration of the absurdities of school life.

Unemployment figures. Not.

How to make sure

that it looks as if unemployment is going down:

Take two people who want to work 40 hours a week

and give them each a 20-hours-a-week job.

This is one 40 hour job

and one invisible, uncounted unemployed person.

Release a monthly figure telling us that unemployment

is going down.

Rely on the press and TV to say that unemployment

is going down.

Unemployment figures.

No, it doesn't.