Archive for May, 2016

@jeremycorbyn I would like to see Tuition fee’s scrapped, certainly not allowed to rise freely.

May 27, 2016
Letter to Daily Mirror 17/5/16
If you agree that College Students should be charged for tuition fee’s, then allowing annual rises seems logical.
I question the need for tuition fee’s at all.
As a Baby Boomer, I was fortunate enough to be born at a time, when the common people were considered worthy of equality of opportunity; hence, the Welfare State.
I, like many of the politicians, who brought in tuition fees, was able to, not only, have those costs paid by the State but also given a grant to pay for my living expenses, away from home.
The case given, at the time, was that the Nation relied on an educated workforce to provide its wealth.
The more Engineer’s, Scientists, Innovator’s etc, that we produced, the greater our ability to pay our way in The World.
That argument doesn’t fail just because Thatcher decided that we should rely on The City and its modern day “adventurer’s”.
It doesn’t fail because Tony Blair’s “education x 3” meant that you, now, needed qualifications just to drive a fork lift truck.
The Nation still needs skilled people in certain area’s and it should be investing in them.
This sort of investment fits in with both Socialism and Capitalism and is one of those area’s that points up the whole idiocy of the ideology of the State shedding its responsibilities onto the Private sector.
Let the Private Sector run its own private education system, where it’s prepared to invest its own money.
If a company wants to run a Clown College (Homer Simpson), that’s not a problem, although company turning out fake architects would be.
Why have another company trying to keep track of whether graduates have reached a salary level, whereby they can begin repaying these fee’s?
We already have a mechanism to recoup the costs of the fee’s: It’s called Income Tax.
If your degree or diploma has any value, then you will be remunerated at a level, whereby you will be paying more tax, anyway.
If Labour were to get in power and remove this burden, they’d earn the gratitude of a generation facing huge debts, on all sides.
They’d also earn the gratitude of their parents.
They might even earn the gratitude of businessmen, who’d appreciate interviewing graduates whose qualifications were reliable.

#EUref #LeaveEU @UKLabour I just sent off my postal vote for #Brexit. This is partly my reason

May 27, 2016

trade 2015

We import more from EU than we export, so just on basic sums they need our trade more than we need theirs but the French will still buy our lamb and we’ll still buy their wine.

Then, again, we’ll probably sell them less lamb, because they’ll be slapping VAT on it. So rich, large farmer’s will have to sell more to us, at a lower price and Peta should be pleased that sheep won’t suffer long journey’s to French abattoir’s.

Wine should be cheaper, with no VAT, but I daresay The Chancellor will put another tax on “to help reduce boozing”.

There’ll be lots of swings and roundabouts, although overall, if sales stayed constant (Unlikely) , then theoretically, we the plebs, should find EU goods cheaper, because there’ll be no VAT.

Problem is, in reality, our Government will want to slap taxes on some imports, such as wine, and the EU won’t like that (hence lengthy trade negotiations).  Also, the EU will put VAT on our exports to them, which may impact jobs.  This complex. Consider Nissan making cars here for export to the continent. Their cars will be hit by VAT and sales may drop. Part of the EU deal was that Nissan use crap French components. This may no longer apply, meaning Nissan will regain its reputation and sales could rise.

There are lots of IF’s and BUT’s, which is why no-one can make an accurate prediction of what will happen.

Businesses with good management will make good decisions and lay out contingency plans during any transition. Bad ones will merely moan, give money to the Remain campaign and cross their finger’s.

Note also that we not only export more to non-EU than to EU but we also import less from non-EU.

We won’t be charging VAT on these imports, so they’ll be cheaper, so we may buy more from them, which could encourage them to buy more from us.

The only downside, I see here is where we buy things from the EU, add value and sell them on. They’ll carry some VAT, so will be pricier.

One other aspect of leaving the EU, is that we won’t have to accept subsidised tenders from their businesses, which should mean more jobs kept at home. E.g. trains not being built in Spain using Chinese steel.

It’s all complicated and for every swing, you can point at a roundabout but on the whole, those crude figures at the top of the page imply that we’ll be better off, or, at least, hardly any worse off than we are now.

And at least we know who our politicians are and where they live.

women’s pension theft

May 27, 2016
Letter to Daily Mirror 18/ 5/16 aqnd published version added beneath
Stephen Crabb’s description of a woman, born in the early 50’s, as “breezing through life not thinking” creates an image of a young, noodle-head girl skipping merrily down a country lane.
The reality is one of a woman growing up as rationing was just coming to an end.
Starting her working life in the sure and certain knowledge that The Welfare State would use a share of her Taxes and N.I. contributions to ensure that she would always have a financial safety net.
The Tories changed her pension age in 2011.
Assuming she was born in 1955 and began paying taxes at 18, she would have had 38 years paying in with 4 years to go, before retirement.
That’s not “breezing through life not thinking”.
That’s running 23.7 of the 26.2 miles of a marathon, then being told you must run another 3.1 miles and, in this particular case having another 1.2 miles added on, at the last minute.
This is neither fair, nor reasonable.
It’s certainly not practicable.
For the majority of ordinary people to be expected to find sufficient “spare” cash from their weekly wage, in a 5 year period, to pay for another 6 years of lost pension, is sick and all MP’s should feel ashamed of their callousness.
# Stephen Crabb’s description of a woman born in the early 50s as
“breezing through life not thinking” creates an image of a young,
noodle-headed girl skipping merrily along.
The reality is one of a woman growing up as rationing was just coming
to an end. She would start her working life safe in the knowledge that
the welfare state would use a share of her taxes and NI contributions to
ensure she would always have a financial safety net.
The Government changed her pension age in 2011. This is neither fair,
nor reasonable, and all MPs should feel ashamed of their callousness.

Do we need a Police Force now it’s been cut to a point where it is no longer able to function properly.

May 27, 2016
Letter to Daily Mirror 20/5/16
Theresa May is ultimately responsible for policing, regardless of the imposition of PCC’s to distance herself from cuts. Cuts, which are a consequence of George Osborne’s fictitious Austerity.
When people like Paul Smart, report a crime being actively committed, it is imperative that police respond and promptly.
It is not good enough shifting responsibility around, or appointing Counsellor’s and Press Officer’s to attempt to placate the victims.

Theresa May has three options: Ignore the Treasury and start signing off on police budgets, resign, or sack everyone in the line of command, down to the cop who told Mr. Smart that they were too busy.
Sorry, there is a fourth possibility. Scrap all pretence of running a police force, scrap all courts and scrap all prisons.

At present our Society is running on Inertia, with Government’s main concern being to poke into the intimate details of the lives of law abiding citizens, whilst protecting the privacy of those with money and paddling pools.

Time to scrap UN and its committee’s.

May 27, 2016
Letter to Daily Mirro 24/5/16
Your article on “smacking” begins with the statement that a panel of experts have called on the UN to ban smacking.
The use of the word “expert” gives their views added weight but what are they experts in?
Parenting? Smacking? Violence?
Degree’s and Diploma’s merely mean that you have absorbed the knowledge and views of someone else with similar qualifications.
They do not necessarily mean that you are right or even that you know what you are talking about.
By their very actions, of appealing for legislation, they have admitted that violence works.
How else would the UN implement that Law?
As a parent I adminstered a slap on the legs three times, only, but I was fortunate in that my children were of a suitable nature to accept that correction.
Not everyone will conform to acceptable Law, else we wouldn’t need prisons and there’d be no Wars.
We have to accept that we can’t make Law that prevents violence.
We can only punish and/or restrain those who cross a line.
The question is the whereabouts of that line.
Our present Law has it right in avoiding criminalisation of decent people.
It allows “reasonable” chastisement and that works for the vast majority.
I suspect that these “experts” only deal with the minority; those who use excessive violence and have emotional problems.
The only real concern is that Judges and Police be capable of deciding what’s reasonable in each case brought to them.

#EUref Politicians who despise populism and those voting for Trump need to re-evaluate their own attitudes.

May 27, 2016
Letter sent to Daily Mirror 27/5/16:
It is a sign of our times that Jean-Claude Juncker’s aide, Martin Selmayr, felt free to comment on the emergence of Mr. Johnson, Mr. Trump and Marine Le Pen as
“a horror scenario that shows well why it is worth fighting populism”.
It reveals an ignorance of the political scene shared by the people around him.
It also suggests that he and they despise the concerns of ordinary people.
Essentially, they oppose Democracy and believe themselves an aristocracy with a superior understanding of what’s best for the people over whom they have been given power.
It is worrying that such people do not realise that it is their contempt for voters, which has led to the emergence of these three clownish figures.
It is not these three, about whom they should be concerned, but their own arrogance and its potential consequences.
It’s as if the riots in Italy, Greece, Spain and France were mere irritations, rather than portents of a future that ill fits their European dream.
Taking an analogy; it wasn’t Fletcher Christian, who caused the Mutiny, aboard the Bounty, but Captain Bligh’s arrogance and his treatment of those who actually sailed the ship both before and after he lost command.


@jeremycorbyn @johnmcdonnellMP @UKLabour You’re wrong about #EUref

May 20, 2016

The EU is UNREFORMABLE because the big business dominated, neoliberal EU Commissars are not accountable to anybody and are already suppressing workers rights of collective bargaining,reducing people’s pensions and supporting the removal of workers’ rights in France
Read this report :

“Middlesex University meeting, organised by Middlesex University UCU, Thursday 19th May 2016,

What does the EU Referendum Mean for Workers and the Higher Education sector?

A debate between Dr Marina Prentoulis of Another Europe is Possible and Will Podmore of Vote Leave.

Thank you very much for inviting me to this meeting, may I congratulate everybody who has helped to organise this excellent initiative.
I am very pleased to see that Dr Prentoulis endorses the Leave campaign’s main point, that the EU as it stands is not a good thing. The EU is not a progressive cause. The French government is using emergency decree powers to impose cuts on workers’ employment rights and to attack trade unions. Mr Cameron tells us that the EU protects workers’ rights. So, what is the EU doing to protect French workers’ rights? Nothing.

The EU allied with the IMF is forcing poverty on the people of Greece. The EU that some claim protects workers’ rights instead demands the destruction of trade union rights as a condition of its bailouts. Dr Prentoulis said last year that austerity is not working. True. But now her party Syriza in power in Greece is imposing austerity. Last year, she rightly called the IMF’s proposals ‘undemocratic and absurd’. The EU endorsed these undemocratic and absurd proposals and Syriza is now imposing them on the Greek people, plus another 3 billion euros of cuts and higher taxes on the poor.

What has the EU done to higher education in Greece? Spending on HE cut from nearly €280 million in 2009 to €133 million in 2014. The secretary general of the Greek Rectors’ Conference says: “from the beginning of 2015, Greek universities have not received one euro from public funding.”

Mr Cameron tells us that the EU protects workers’ rights. So, what is the EU doing to protect Greek workers’ rights? Nothing.

Syriza embraces the euro and the EU which are inflicting this misery on the Greek people. Syriza thought it would reform the EU. Instead the EU reformed Syriza turning it into the EU’s enforcer.

That’s what happens when you stay in the EU, you end up enforcing the poverty you claim to oppose.

Greece has to leave the euro. As Lord King, the ex-Governor of the Bank of England, recently wrote, “if the alternative is crushing austerity, continuing mass unemployment, and no end in sight to the burden of debt, then leaving the euro area may be the only way to plot a route back to economic growth and full employment. The long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs.”

Mr Cameron tells us that the EU is a force for peace, that it prevents a hypothetical war inside Europe. Let’s look at some real wars and see what this peace-loving EU did about them. The EEC was born in the middle of France’s dirty colonial war against Algeria. The EEC endorsed this war. Bush and Blair’s war against Iraq? The EU endorsed it. Mr Cameron’s war against Libya? The EU endorsed it. The EU is NATO’s soft power. The EU is an agreement to export wars, to unite for wars against less developed countries in Africa and the Middle East.

For more than 50 years British governments have promised to reform the EU. Before we even joined the EEC, Harold Macmillan talked of reforming it. Thirty years ago, Neil Kinnock talked of reforming it. Mr Cameron talks of reforming it. And now Dr Prentoulis talks of reforming it.

But how? The EU’s acquis stops us reforming it. The European Commission outvotes us to stop us reforming it. The Council of Ministers outvotes us to stop us reforming it. Even the toothless European Parliament outvotes us to stop us reforming it. And the European Court of Justice overrules us to stop us reforming it. The EU is unreformable.

As European Commission President Juncker said, “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.” When we cannot change the laws under which we live, we have no democracy. Inside the EU we are not free to change policies we oppose, not free to vote out leaders we oppose. If we stay in the EU, we stay on the conveyor belt towards a single EU state. The EU tells us you have no choice, resistance is futile. But outside the EU, we do have choices.

The EU wants complete Economic Union, Monetary Union, Financial Union, Fiscal Union and Political Union by 2025 at the latest, to ‘be developed within the framework of the European Union’, so it applies to us too. They want a new EU Treaty next year. As French President François Hollande asked, “Do you really want to participate in a common state? That’s the question.”

The EU is not a market. Why would a market need a Parliament, an army, a supreme court, its own currency, its own flag, its own passport and its own national anthem? We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. Nobody says we have to be part of the USA to trade with it. We don’t have to accept the US Constitution to trade with the USA, we don’t have to obey their Supreme Court rulings, we don’t have to salute their flag, we don’t have to have a US passport, we don’t have to sing their national anthem. The USA and 164 other countries sell their goods to customers in the EU without being in the EU.

UCU Congress unanimously opposed the EU’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. TTIP is not a trade agreement, it is a giant protection racket run by giant corporations, US and European. Even the government’s own internal study concluded that it had ‘few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs’. TTIP is economic war against public services, against our NHS, so defeating TTIP protects our services and our NHS. TTIP is also economic war against the world’s developing countries, so defeating TTIP is an act of solidarity with developing countries.

Inside the EU, we are stuck in the services-destroying, NHS-destroying TTIP. If we were still in the EU and TTIP is ratified, we would be locked into it. President Obama told us that leaving the EU means no TTIP for us. Thank you Mr President. Leaving the EU would sink TTIP, so voting to leave the EU is a vote to save our NHS. Voting to leave the EU is an act of solidarity with developing countries.

Europe’s commissioner for health wants the EU to control member states’ health policies. And David Cameron, the man who put Jeremy Hunt in charge of our NHS, tells us that our NHS is safe in the EU. The only way to keep our NHS safe is to leave the EU.

We have excellent universities in Britain. No government should do anything to harm them. But of course government imposed tuition fees, which have harmed students, which happened while we were still in the EU. Attacks on our wages and conditions, on our union members, like the threat to sack UCU reps at London Met, are happening while we are in the EU. Mr Cameron tells us that the EU protects workers’ rights. So, what is the EU doing to protect UCU members’ rights? Nothing.

When Mr Cameron tells us that the EU protects workers’ rights, he is saying that his EU protects us from him, which is absurd. As we have seen, the EU doing nothing to protect workers’ rights.

Most EU technology and research programmes are designed to work with non-EU countries, so we could still get EU funding after we leave. Non-EU members Norway and Switzerland get EU funds for research. Non-EU Israel and Switzerland work in major European research initiatives like the Horizon 2020 programme. Non-EU members work in the European Research Infrastructure Consortium. In the EU-funded Ebola research programme, Oxford and Stirling Universities and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine work with universities in 11 other EU countries, and with universities from Switzerland. Since we have some of the world’s best universities and research institutions, we would still be a prime choice of partner.

What will the result mean for funding for the university sector? HEFCE confirms funding of £3.7 billion for financial year 2016-17 which will stand whether we are in or out of the EU. The same applies to the £4.6 billion a year science and technology budget, which is ring-fenced and protected.

We do not have to be in the EU to benefit from the EU’s Erasmus student mobility programme. Non-EU Switzerland, Turkey and Macedonia are in it; nearly every country in the world has opted in to parts of it. Why shouldn’t an independent Britain continue to support it too?

After leaving the EU, students could still study overseas and our universities would keep working with international education bodies. EU education cooperation schemes allow access to countries that are not EU members.

Staff mobility is vital. We do not have to be in the EU to have free movement of staff and students. 14% of academic staff in our universities are nationals of other EU member states. Good. 6% of students in our universities are from elsewhere in the EU. Fine. Foreign students have been coming to study in Britain since the 1300s.

Switzerland and Norway have free movement agreements with the EU. There is strong exchange of students between the EU and independent Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. We do not have to be in the EU to continue to work with academics from around the world.
If you fear what the Tories might do to us, why vote for what they want us to do? If we voted to stay in, we give Mr Cameron the green light to destroy us. The reality is that Dr Prentoulis is telling us to do what Mr Cameron wants, all the rest is just gesture, just rhetoric.

A recent poll found that 12 per cent want ‘ever closer union’ which is the only Stay option actually on the table. 26 per cent want our relationship with the EU to stay the same. But there is no option of stay the same: the EU is charging towards ever closer union, a single state. Remember what President Hollande said, “Do you really want to participate in a common state? That’s the question.”

37 per cent want us to stay in, but reduce the EU’s powers. This is the notion that we can reform the EU, but as we have seen this is not possible. There is no option of stay in and reduce the EU’s powers: the EU is still charging towards ever closer union, a single state. The only way to reduce the EU’s powers is to leave it.

So, add this 26 per cent and this 37 per cent to the 18 per cent who want to Leave, then 81 per cent of us oppose the ‘ever closer union’ we endorse if we vote to stay in. 81 per cent of us oppose the EU as it is bound to be.

If you want less Europe, vote leave. If you want security, vote leave. If you want a trade-only deal with the EU vote Leave. If you don’t want to be in an EU state, vote leave. As François Hollande said, “The only road for those who are not convinced of Europe is to leave Europe …. It is the logical path.”

If we vote Remain, we endorse Cameron and Osborne. We endorse what the EU did, and is still doing, to Greece. If we vote Remain, we send a very clear signal to the EU that we want to be part of a single EU state, that we want to be part of everything it has done, everything it is doing and everything it will do.

The point of a referendum is that the whole people decide, it is sovereignty, it is democracy. It is control, it is power. We the people are in charge – but only for a day. It should be for longer. After the vote, we need to keep this control, to hold this responsibility.

A referendum is not a popularity contest. It is not an election; it is not voting for one leader or against another. It is not backing one party or opposing another. The referendum is one question, do we the people decide our future or not?””

political problems might be easier to handle if thought of in terms of family issues

May 16, 2016

So much of our lives is controlled by decisions based on the philosophies of academics. These philosophies are based on a kernel of truth, which has then been expanded on, all too often to a point at which they become distorted and no longer relevant to the real World.
Karl Marx had a view on a World and a time, where Capitalism had become so distorted that it was destroying people’s lives and the World we lived in.
Communism developed from trying to implement solutions based on his philosophies and then distorted into Stalinism and Maoism, which became as evil as the Victorian Capitalism they were intended to cure.
The resurging Capitalism embraced the idea’s of Milton Friedman and developed into a notion of privatisation of all State run functions. When it came to our shore’s in Thatcher/Reagan era, it was well received because of the abuse of power that the Trade Union Baron’s were yielding. Privatisation of State run utilities was seen as a means of undermining that power and it did so; so successfully that its proponents ran rampant perverting the whole function of Government.
Instead of protecting the realm, they have been selling it; oblivious to the fact that once it has been asset-stripped, they, like locusts, will have nothing left to protect or sell.
The philosophy, now labelled as Neo-Liberalism, is creating a situation that will become as bad as Victorian Capitalism, or Stalinism.
Government needs to rein in this trend and create a new mind set, based on a new philosophy.
I don’t know what it should be but I offer this suggestion for those who may be able to contrive one.

When faced with a National, or International, problem, consider an analogy with a family level.
An intelligent householder doesn’t sell the house and furniture, then rent them back.
He doesn’t, then, take in lodger’s in the hope that they’ll provide sufficient income to keep themselves and him, which is what Neo-liberals would do.

Take the idea to other problems, with which Government is meant to cope.
Example 1:
A country faces a Civil War, what should we do? Stand by, or force our way in and separate the factions?
If it was a husband and wife fight, what would we do?
If it spilled out into the street, there’s no doubt that most people would step in and separate them.
If it was just raised voices reaching the street, most would ignore it, or treat it as a soap opera.
The problem comes when screaming is heard, which is the point at which Police might be summoned.

Example 2:
Should we stay in the EU, or leave it.
An analogy might be that you run a family shop and you joined a group of similar family businesses to buy goods in bulk and share services. Suppose then, that other member’s of the group, having been given executive powers, become more ambitious and want to amalgamate into a chain of shops with a brand name. At the same time they declare that their aim is to centralise all management functions in a new suite of offices, which they’ve bought. They’ll control all financial, human resources, tax returns etc. You will become an employee of the new Company but with the right to attend shareholder meetings and vote on the Board’s decisions.
What should you do?
Should you stick with the group, unable to grow your own business, implement your own idea’s, employ people you choose. If you leave, you might fail but there are other’s, like you, who are prepared to agree to bulk buying and sharing resources, without making demands on how much you sell, or at what price.
Possible security (not guaranteed), with lots admin., or possible risk of failure but freedom to make your own decisions.

Example 3:
Should we keep Trident?
You live in a rough neighbourhood. On your side of the street are the Yanks, a large bossy family, with lots of money, muscle and a willingness to use both.
On the other side are the Nasties another large bossy family, with lots of money, muscle and a willingness to use both.
You’ve a gun that needs bullets. Question is should you give up eating this week, so you can buy six bullets for it. (an extra thought is that your other neighbours want you to let them keep the gun and bullets in their house).

#LeaveEU Gordon Brown own goal in reminding us of the last time Britain saved Europe from dictatorship and EU.

May 11, 2016

Gordon Brown claims it is not British-in the spirit of a country that defeated fascism on the continent of Europe- to retreat to Europe’s sidelines, when there is a common fight against illegal immigration and terrorism.
What a fantastic own goal!
when Germany sent its illegal immigrants into Poland, Belgium, France and throughout the European continent, behind the full-on terrorism of tanks and stuka’s, where were we?
We were on the sidelines, fighting a European dictatorship, from beyond The English Channel.
It is only because we weren’t allied to that dictatorship, that Europe was freed.
It might even be argued that it was our independence, which prevented the Axis powers from being able to isolate and defeat the USA, creating a truly Globalised Government

#LeaveEU #devomanc is analogous to Gordon Brown’s EU claim. Look at Northern Powerhouse example

May 11, 2016

Gordon Brown says we enjoy holidays in Europe and football supporter’s enjoy European competitions, so we should stay in EU.

This pro-EU argument seems to be that because I would like to see Wigan Athletic play against Man Utd.,or Man. City and like to visit Manchester to shop, then I should welcome Wigan being run by a Mayor in Manchester.

He’d best check again.

It was Osborne, who imposed a Mayor on Greater Manchester, despite a few local referenda opposing a Mayor.
It is Labour politicians in Greater Manchester imposing Osborne’s austerity measures in the towns and cities tethered to Manchester. (not a good analogy for the main Labour platform of reforming EU from within)
Frankly, his arguments look a bit sick in view of what has happened to democracy at a local level.