This is the speech I made at the rally against the SDL this time last year, when Edinburgh Council gave them permission for a short march from Abbyhill to the East End in May 2012.
“We’re still here – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, of all faiths and none – we’re here, lesbian, gay, bisexual, straight, and transgender – young and old, Scots of all ethnicities and cultures, against the SDL. Some Tories have been telling David Cameron that the reason he’s slipped in the polls isn’t the cuts or unemployment, it’s the reform of the House of Lords and gay marriage. We’re here because we believe in working peacefully, democratically, respecting differences, to get equality and human rights.
“One of the Equality Network supporters of this march was telling me as we walked along about how years ago he and his boyfriend had gone to a BNP march in London, dressed in lumberjack shirts and mini-skirts, to dance in front of the BNPers and taunt them.
“We know what they’re like. They cannot bear difference. They cannot bear diversity. They want their rigid and cold ideas enforced on all of us.
Filed under Politics, Racism
One of these things is not like the others? After all, Thatcher’s sole political merit was that she was pro-choice. Let me explain.
Ding Dong the Wicked Old Witch is a jolly song. As Angry Women of Liverpool note in their feminist analysis of how to discuss Thatcher’s death “there are so few songs you can sing joyfully about the death of somebody thoroughly deserving”:
Tough one. The history of witch persecution is fraught with the very foundations of modern capitalist and patriarchal oppression, as anybody who’s read Silvia Federici knows. But there are so few songs you can sing joyfully about the death of somebody thoroughly deserving.
You want a proper argument in defence? Give me a minute. Continue reading
Who is that Ed Miliband chap again?
This is the MP I want to lead the Opposition. Because today, she did.
‘When I made my maiden speech a little over two decades ago, Margaret Thatcher had been elevated to the other place but Thatcherism was still wreaking, as it had wreaked for the previous decade, the most heinous, social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country, upon my constituency and my constituents.
Filed under Politics, Women
Margaret Thatcher was born in Grantham and died in the Ritz. In another world, she might have become a chemist, following in the footsteps of Dorothy Hodgkin and Rosalind Franklin. Instead we may owe her for Mr Whippy ice-cream. Among her other achievements, in what is still today a male-dominated party, Thatcher first stood for election in 1950, and became the MP for Finchley in 1959 – which seat she held for the next 33 years.
During that time she destroyed much of the heavy industry in the UK, especially in Scotland and Wales, primarily because she didn’t like trade unions: she set the trend to privatisation going which led to the high prices and inefficiency in our public transport, our gas and electricity, our water, our post-office, and our health service. She supported Section 28, the cold cruel legislation which made it unlawful for teachers to stand up against homophobic and transphobic bullying. She abolished the rates, fattened landlord’s pockets with the poll tax, and said bluntly that she “didn’t believe in society”. The only thing I can think of she did that I ever liked her for was voting pro-choice (and causing lots of Tory MPs to trot after her like lambs into the No lobby) whenever anti-choice legislation was proposed.
IDS claimed he could live on benefits:
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Iain Duncan Smith was challenged on whether he could live on £7.57 a day, which was said to be the lowest rate of jobseeker’s allowance given to adults under 25. In fact the current rate is £56.25 a week.
“If I had to I would,” he replied.
Michael Gove talked about people living beyond their means, and Labour spending too much on welfare, and claimed this justified the Tory/LibDem cuts cuts cuts workfare cuts.
Michael Gove used to work for Rupert Murdoch as a journalist at The Times, until he was selected as the new Conservative candidate for the safe seat of Surrey Heath in the 2005 election.
Gove and his wife Sarah Vine, had bought a nice house in Kensington for £430,000 in 2002.
Between December 2005 and April 2006, Michael Gove used the Additional Costs Allowance (meant for an MP to claim for their second home) to claim more than £7000 for furnishing this house:
Around a third of the money was spent at Oka, an upmarket interior design company established by Lady Annabel Astor, Mr Cameron’s mother-in-law.
In a virtually-empty House of Commons, a handful of MPs stood up to oppose the cheap-work conservatives on the front bench, with a Labour Whip instructing party MPs to let the workfare bill pass, and cheat thousands of the poorest people in the UK out of the money the courts had ruled they were due.
The lonely Opposition in the House of Commons this afternoon:
Is it not the reality that this is a multi-billion pound failed flagship scheme, which was condemned by the Public Affairs Committee as extremely poor? Having lost a case and fearing that they will lose the appeal, the Government, instead of respecting our justice system, are abusing our emergency procedures to fix the consequences of losing? Does that show not a shocking disrespect both for our courts and for the principle that workers should be paid the minimum wage?
Read Seven Reasons Why You Should Stop Bitching About People On Benefits. Today’s debate – from Tory, LibDem, and Labour – was for the most part just bitching about people on benefits, who – sanctioned unlawfully of the money they were due – might be so impertinent as to want the money taken away from them unlawfully given back.
The idea that a day’s work deserves a day’s pay has become an ideal for radicals.
The idea that Labour ought to be the party of the left, standing in opposition against cheap-work conservatives, has … just gone, for a clear majority of Labour MPs.
As Channel 4 News publicly exposed the Universal Jobmatch site as a scammers paradise in December 2012: even easier than the old job scams offered via the JobCentre websites, this just required a scammer to register as an employer (no verification) and post job details, then harvest CV data from the jobseekers who applied.
From the Department of Work and Pensions website: Home \ Advisers and intermediaries \ Updates \ Universal Jobmatch:
Universal Jobmatch is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) online service which is radically changing the way people look for and apply to jobs. It’s one of the biggest changes to the labour market in 27 years.
Universal Jobmatch is open to all jobseekers, regardless of whether or not they are claiming a benefit.
But if you are claiming a benefit, DWP can make you use it. Continue reading
A universal welfare state is the essential bedrock of a civilised country. A civilised country ensures that no one goes without healthcare because they can’t afford it, no one is treated as if worthless because they cannot work, and that anyone who loses their job needn’t fear destitution for themselves or for their family if they don’t find another job instantly. A civilised country ensures that no one needs to work when they are too young or too old or too disabled or too ill. This is not a system that can be replaced by random acts of charity: to become civilised, we pay taxes and national insurance and we all benefit.
Iain Duncan Smith became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in May 2010 – a role he has held ever since, despite efforts by David Cameron to unseat him in the 2012 reshuffle. He has virtually no further-education qualifications and spent several months on the dole after leaving the Scots Guards in the recession of 1981. But the next year he married a very wealthy woman, the daughter of a very wealthy man, and he and his wife and four children still live in a house rented from his father-in-law on his wife’s father’s estate: he became an MP in 1992, inheriting Norman Tebbit’s safe constituency of Chingford. Whatever Iain Duncan Smith’s experience of unemployment thirty-two years ago, it’s safe to say that in thirty years he hasn’t had money worries – except when he became Leader of the Opposition and it was discovered he’d given his wife one of those plum “assistant” jobs which used to be a bonus for the spouse or child of an MP.
Asked in a candid interview on BBC2’s Newsnight whether he minded if “people call you a liar, some people call you a war criminal, protesters follow you; it’s difficult to walk down the street in a country”, he replied: “It really doesn’t matter whether it’s taken its toll on me.
“The fact is yes there are people who will be very abusive, by the way I do walk down the street and by the way I won an election in 2005 after Iraq. However, yes it remains extremely divisive and very difficult.”
By 23rd July 2002 George W. Bush had already decided to invade Iraq.
For Tony Blair, at the time, it seems quite clear what his reasoning was.
- Saddam Hussein was a terrifying dictator – anyone who travelled in Iraq while he ruled there confirms that.
He had unquestionably been guilty of horrifying atrocities, though as those had been committed at a time when he was regarded as a useful Middle Eastern dictator, they had then been ignored by the governments of the US and UK. He had been using Iraqi oil money for internal investment, building Iraq up to become a fully-developed nation (yes, he also spent it on his “palaces”, but so did every other Middle Eastern dictator with oil: he also spent it on Iraqi industry and infrastructure, and that’s what really bothered oil magnates). He had invaded a neighbouring country with intent to conquer and occupy (Gulf War II).