Tag Archives: Britain

What Our Government Don’t Want Us To Know About Syria

article-2407552-1B8A4E81000005DC-908_638x584 06-g20-rt

Diminished Dave doesn’t seem to be enjoying his job much at the moment. He probably wishes he was still on that Cornish beach – anywhere but St Petersburgh where his standing as the great leader of a great world power seems to have dissolved along with his ambition to be an even bigger war criminal than Tony Blair and hang with the big boys in all the important meetings. Gone are all those photo opportunities for the history books he longs to be in, where he could stand proudly shoulder to elbow with Obama as they announce their strategic aims for the destruction of more Syrian lives. He must feel he’s let himself down, he’s let Eton down and he’s let Queen and Country down.

But before you weep in anguished sympathy for this miserable wimp consider how he, and his hero Obama, continue to let humanity down. For despite all his craven assertions about how much he respects democracy and the will of Parliament and the people he’s still sticking to the big lie about Syria – he still claims along with Obama, in the face of no credible evidence, that Assad gassed his own people. Either he’s as gullible as the Americans hope the public are or he’s a cold and calculated liar, as this video strongly suggests…

 

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US revealed as enemy of world

Here is an excellent article from Finian Cunningham

 

US revealed as enemy of world.

Duncan Smith Wants To Change The Legal Definition Of Child Poverty So He Can Eradicate It In Time For The Election.

Steve Bell cartoon 16.07.2013  poverty_2061048a

Thanks to the Child Poverty Act 2010 – legislation brought in by the last Labour government – the Coalition is legally committed to working towards meeting targets for eradicating child poverty in Britain by 2020. Given their current performance this has now become a tragic joke. Nonetheless, it is a statutory duty and we should do all we can to hold them accountable for it.

The Act sets the ‘poverty line’ at an income that is 60% or less than the average net household income, adjusted for inflation. The Act also defines persistent poverty to be having an income that is 60% or less than the average for three consecutive years after 5th April 2010. The target is for there to be 5% or less of children living in families with such an income by 2020.

According to the latest available figures for 2010/11, when housing costs are included there were 13 million families in Britain living beneath the poverty line. This was before the full impact of welfare reform began to bite. That figure is now likely to have shot up sharply as an inevitable result of benefit cuts , rising rents and food prices.

 images      However, the Child Poverty Act contains clauses that allow the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions the freedom to alter the targets for poverty reduction by redefining the legal meaning of persistent poverty. He can do this provided he does so before 2015 and, more importantly, provided he has the consent of the Children’s Commissioner.

In effect, before the next election, Iain Duncan Smith has the power to redefine the ‘poverty line’ in Britain so long as he can persuade or browbeat the Children’s Commissioner into agreeing with him.

Back in June of last year Mr Duncan Smith provoked a row by suggesting he was going to do just that although he was vague about the detail and made no mention of his statutory duty to secure the consent of the Children’s Commissioner. The Independent reported that:-

“Mr Duncan Smith announced plans to scrap the way poverty has been defined since the 1970s – below 60 per cent of the median income. He argued that it would be better to tackle poverty “at source” and to take account of other factors such as drug addiction, worklessness, welfare dependency, debt and family breakdown.”

ids     Then in November 2012 IDS announced he was launching a consultation exercise to look into how poverty could better be defined other than just by income. This consultation closed on 15th February this year. Based on the Tory’s ideological view of poverty as mainly the result of ‘chaotic’ lifestyle the government proposed that there should be eight dimensions of poverty measurement but it seems the academics and organisations taking part in the consultation almost without exception disagreed with their proposals, saying it would be conceptually impossible to devise a credible measurement tool to accurately measure child poverty based on the categories suggested by IDS .

More significantly for the Secretary of State though is the response of the Children’s Commissioner whose report was based on a consultation with children themselves and stated in no uncertain terms that for them poverty meant having little money and living in bad housing. It would seem that the consent he needs to proceed with his plans is unlikely to be forthcoming.

poverty2804_468x431      So far as I can discover, six months on the government have not yet published the outcome of this consultation. But as the election creeps closer and as the devastating impact of their welfare reforms bites deeper and deeper, its not hard to imagine that the government will be desperate to do all they can to portray their performance in the best possible light. Given how central to their deficit reduction platform welfare cuts have been its vitally important to them to be able to claim that child poverty has reduced and that if any still exists its not their fault.

IDS needs another cunning plan.

_62813107_maggie     The current Children’s Commissioner. who stands in his way,  is Dr Maggie Atkinson who was appointed in 2009 by Ed Balls from her position as director of children’s services at Gateshead council  which she’d held since 2005.

Last November Dr Atkinson came in for some highly unusual criticism regarding another  report she produced about the sexual exploitation of children by predatory gangs of men. According to one news report:-

“An unnamed government source is widely reported to have questioned the report’s methodology and calls some of the language used in it “hysterical”. That highly unusual intervention prompted an exchange today in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s question time.”

In response to that question David Cameron said a strange thing, considering that the contentious report had already been published in full:-

“We need to give every encouragement to the Children’s  Commissioner to make sure that the final version of the report is produced.”

cam   Is Cameron implying that the government would be putting pressure on Dr Atkinson to alter her report?  Is this why a link to the ‘FULL REPORT’ published online here in November doesn’t work? Is that why the report published on the Commission website is now entitled ‘INTERIM REPORT’ ?

And doesn’t it seem strange that there is also a version of the report published on the same Commission website in JULY 2012 with the odd title of ‘ACCELERATED REPORT FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION’?

What could the difference be between an ‘accelerated report’ and an ‘interim’ one? Its not possible to examine the version posted as ‘FINAL’ because the link doesn’t work but the version now calling itself ‘INTERIM’ looks awfully like a complete, fully referenced report to me whereas the so-called ‘ACCELERATED’ version has the look of an interim report produced for briefing purposes.

My instincts tell me there’s something fishy about all these versions and I’m inclined to think that Dr Atkinson and her team have been told in no uncertain terms to doctor their research to suit the government’s agenda. In other words pressure has been applied and it looks like she has given in to it.

I’m not concerned here with delving into the details of this particular report and the possible objections that might have been made which led to the apparent correction of the ‘hysterical’ content. That will only be possible when the final (doctored?) version appears and comparisons can be made.

images (4)   My immediate concern is with the implications this odd situation raises in terms of the statutory redefining of child poverty by Iain Duncan Smith.

What was the nature of the pressure put on Dr Atkinson to alter a research report to suit the government’s sensibilities? And if she can be made to bend to such pressure once, will she be equally obedient if put under similar pressure from our Fuhrer-like Secretary of State for Work and Pensions should he decide to persist with his plan to change the legal definition of poverty in order to be able to deny the misery he’s brought to millions of children and possibly even claim it no longer exists?

Or will the Children’s Commission suffer the same fate as the CQC where reputations were very publicly destroyed forcing resignations followed by the politically convenient appointment of Tory-friendly Board members and a Chief Executive who was once a Tory MP?

 

 

 

 

 

UK On Fast Track to Third World Status Says US Commentator.

not interested      He’s not interested in …

_69113648_69113647  the living conditions of people living here…

He caused them but he doesn’t have to put up with them.  

Read what an American observer thinks of Breadline Britain… 

 

 

Force-Fed UK Austerity

By Stephen Lendman
4-11-13

Since 2008, America, Britain and other European nations force-fed austerity harshness. Neoliberal and imperial priorities take precedence.

Bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and privileged elites alone benefit. Ordinary people lose out entirely. Public needs go begging. Human misery grows. Things go from bad to worse. Nothing ahead looks promising.

Britain made things harder. Parliament imposed the largest welfare cuts in modern times. More on them below.

They come when Prime Minister David Cameron wants UK nuclear defenses upgraded. He wants billions of pounds spent doing so. He claims Britain faces threats that don’t exist. An “ultimate weapon” is needed, he says.

His Daily Telegraph op-ed headlined “We need a nuclear deterrent more than ever,” saying:

(A)s prime minister, with ultimate responsibility for the nation’s security, I profoundly disagree with” naysayers. The “nuclear threat has not gone away.”

“My judgment is that it would be foolish to leave Britain defenceless against a continuing, and growing, nuclear threat.”

Saying so defies reason. Wanting billions of pounds spent on what’s not needed reflects deception writ large. Britain’s FY 2014 budget allocates 44.7 billion pounds for defense.

Billions go for nuclear deterrence. Cameron wants billions more. It’s worth the cost, he says. No cheaper options exist, he claims.

He wants Brits to think wasteful spending will protect Britain from nuclear attacks. Estimates run up to 20 billion pounds. It reflects multi-year spending.

At the same time, he supports massive welfare cuts. They come when Queen Elizabeth got a five million pound pay increase. In FY 2013-14, she’ll receive 36.1 million pounds (around $54 million). It’s up from 31 million last year.

She gets regular pay increases. They come from the Crown Estate. Its properties are worth eight billion pounds.

She’ll now receive 15% of their profits. In 2011-12, they earned 240.2 million pounds.

The Queen claims she needs the money. Royal priorities aren’t cheap. Annual expenses keep rising. She’s having a hard time making ends meet.

She’s dismissive about ordinary people’s suffering. It’s their problem, not hers. Let ’em eat cake doesn’t wash. A former monarch learned the hard way.

Tough times keep getting tougher. Ordinary Brits struggle to get by. Britain’s coalition government made things harder. On April 3, Russia Today headlined “UK govt imposes avalanche of cuts,” saying:

Low-income and financially vulnerable families will be hit hardest. Opposition Labour MPs called new cuts announced “the beginning of ‘Black April.’ ” It’s hard imagining why. They’re as neoliberal as Tories.

From June 2007 – May 2010, Gordon Brown was prime minister. Austerity began on his watch. Budget cuts hit ordinary Brits hardest. Brown said “Labour will cut costs, cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes, and cut lower priority budgets.”

He targeted public sector worker wages, pensions and other benefits. At the same time, Britain spent 94% of its GDP on bank bailouts. It amounted to taxing every Brit about 30,000 pounds.

Labour and Tories conspire against ordinary people. Austerity is policy. So are harsh welfare cuts. Imposed them inflicts enormous hardships. Earlier amounts totaled tens of billions of pounds. In January, another 14.2 billion were announced.

New ones are toughest of all. Britain’s Baptist Union called them “unjust (forcing) the most vulnerable (to) pay a disproportionate price.”

Methodist Church Public Issues Policy Adviser Paul Morrison said they “make April fools of us all.”

“We are witnessing what happens when we create a culture that blames poor people for their poverty.”

“It is a lie to say that most people on benefits are lazy, that they have an easy life or that they are responsible for the nation’s financial deficit.”

“When people are willing to believe those lies, poor families pay the highest price.”

At the same time, wealthy elites got a tax cut. In late March, Britain slashed its 50% top rate to 40%. Corporations got a 1% cut.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s “granny tax” left around five million middle-class pensioners up to 323 pounds worse off. It’s when they most need help. They face other harsh budget cutting measures.

Welfare benefits will be cut another 10 billion pounds by 2016. On average, around 18 million Brits will lose 500 pounds annually. Billions more welfare cuts were announced earlier. Where this ends who knows.

Cameron wants public spending cut 5.3%. Expect more cuts to follow. Since financial crisis conditions erupted in 2008, one in 10 Brits lost their jobs.

The latest measures are worst of all. They include a new “bedroom” tax. It’s on local council and housing association tenants. They get housing benefits.

Recipients claimed to have a “spare” bedroom face cuts totaling 14%. Those with two “spare” ones lose 25%. Britain calls the measure an “under-occupancy penalty.”

Imposing it seeks to encourage more efficient social housing use. It inflicts enormous harm on vulnerable households. Expect more ahead hitting them harder. It’s coming in waves. One measure leads to others. Like America, Britain’s heading for third world status.

Hundreds of thousands of people are affected. Many will become homeless. Britain’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne said the new bedroom tax will “end up costing more than it saves as tenants are forced to go homeless or move into the expensive private renter sector.”

Around 90,000 households are affected. Less than 4,000 smaller homes can accommodate them. In April, “personal independence  payments (PIPs)” replace disability living allowances.

Private consulting and information technology services firm ATOS will assess whether benefit claimants can work. It’ll be paid up to one billion pounds to do so. In the past, it claimed stroke victims were fit to work.

ATOS aims to remove another 500,000 claimants from benefit rolls. Doing so will throw many of them in the street. They’ll risk losing out entirely.

New Health and Social Care Act legislation affects them. Enactment reverses 1946 free, universal National Health Service care. Government no longer has a legal duty to provide it.

Newly created Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) now have a “duty to arrange” what used to be mandated. Doing so shifts costs on the backs of vulnerable Brits least able to afford them. Commercializing healthcare lets predatory private profiteers take full advantage.

Combining austerity with welfare cuts heads Britain for third world status. Poverty and unemployment will rise further. So will public anger. On March 30, protesters targeted London’s Trafalgar Square.

Unionists joined anti-poverty campaigners, the disabled, homemakers and others.

Simultaneous gatherings were held in cities and towns nationwide. Thousands turned out in Glasgow. “Axe the bedroom tax,” signs read. One protestor spoke for others, saying:

“We won’t forget what they are doing to working class people.”

Another said:

“They have just shut the soup kitchen in Waltham Forest despite having a real problem with homelessness. I’m a working single parent. Now I’ve a tiny boxroom, and I’m faced with the choice between food, heat or paying the ‘bedroom tax.’ ”

At issue are numerous other cuts. Expect new ones to follow those announced. More recent ones began last October. Dozens of imposed changes were made. They include:

 

cutting support for mortgage interest from 6.08% – 3.63%;

 

scrapping the Child Trust Fund;

 

reducing the Council Tax benefit;

 

ending the Health in Pregnancy grant;

 

abolishing the Disability Living Allowance;

 

cutting legal aid;

 

freezing the Child Benefit and Working Tax Credit for low-income workers; and

 

much more implemented from October 10 through mid-April.

Making ordinary Brits bear burdens they can’t afford is policy. Expect new imposed hardships ahead. Tories and Labour are in lockstep. It bears repeating. Britain’s heading toward third world status. It’s on a fast track toward getting there.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Is William Hague telling the truth about Britain’s plans for Syria?

images (17)I haven’t blogged about international issues yet because there seems to be so much going on here in Britain I just haven’t had the time. But this doesn’t mean I’m not interested. When it comes to Syria I’m downright appalled at the holocaust that is taking place. But I’m also confused by all the conflicting media reports and the stuff you can read on line. Its hard to know who’s telling the truth and after two and a half years just which factions are involved and who’s supplying who with arms etc. What started out, ostensibly, as peaceful protest has deteriorated into a free for all. One thing that is clear though is that as in every conflict its the innocent and vulnerable who suffer, who are forced to flee their homes in search of safety.

images (1)Today I received the following email from a contact containing some worrying news suggesting that the UK government haven’t been exactly truthful with us about their involvement in Syria.

“Hello All, Got this off Global research today spread far and wide please, Alan.

Subject: SYRIA: FAO ATTORNEY GENERAL, FOREIGN SECRETARY, HOME SECRETARY & COMMISSIONER OF POLICE

Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2013 13:06:30 +0100

The former French Minister of Foreign Affairs has publicly made a statement that the British Government intended to overthrow the Syrian government for political reasons, long before there was civil unrest (fomented by the British) in Syria. “…Britain had been preparing gunmen to invade Syria two years before the crisis there flared up in 2011…”

I attach the video of his public statement. Clearly his statement has very grave and serious legal implications. We would like written confirmation that the U.K government will make a Full statement in the House of Commons over why the UK government has clearly misled the U.K people and the International Community. We expect that statement would include an announcement of a public inquiry.

http://youtu.be/JrzZ3mXd8BI

http://brianhaw.tv/index.php/blog/1799-15062013-video-french-confirm-britain-wanted-war-with-syria-years-ago

We would also expect the U.K government to publicly provide a written assurance that the U.K government will under no circumstances, now supply, to anyone, any weapons that could be used in Syria. In addition following a public inquiry it is expected that the U.K will need to provide substantial reparations for the serious harm already caused to Syrian people, by the U.K government.The written response by email, of the U.K government, is required as a matter of urgency.

Babs Tucker. Parliament Square Peace Campaign    www.brianhaw.tv

  The video is from a French news programme, and is therefore in French.

For those of you who’s French is a bit rusty, like me, here’s a short synopsis of the interview with ex-French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumas:-

“BRITAIN PREPARED FOR WAR

The former French foreign minister confirms the British, along with Israel always wanted war with Syria, all along and he said no. Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas said that Britain had been preparing gunmen to invade Syria two years before the crisis there flared up in 2011. During a TV show, Dumas said

”I was in Britain two years ago, and I met British officials, some my friends…they admitted that they were up to something in Syria. They even asked me to join them in my capacity as a foreign minister, but I declined,” he added. He indicated that the plan of striking Syria had been prepared in advance long before the 2011 events, adding that the goal was to overthrow the Syrian government that considers Israel an enemy.”

article-2005478-09BE31C9000005DC-727_468x311Brian Haw died in 2011 aged 62 and Barbara Tucker and others have continued protesting against war in Parliament Square 24 hours a day. Brian kept up the fight from 2nd June 2001. On 16th January last year the Metropolitan Police confiscated their tents, the only shelter they had, and they’ve been without shelter ever since.

After his death Conservative MP Peter Bottomley proposed an Early Day Motion for a memorial service but there was a sting in the tail as well when he says he :-

“believes it could be appropriate for a memorial service in Westminster to mark his passing; and also hopes that to mark his life the unsightly camp of hangers-on in Parliament Square ends and a plaque be set in the pavement.”

Sounds a bit like a bribe to me. Funny too, how not long after the Met went in and took their tents.

As I said above, information about Syria has been confusing and often contradictory. Its hard to know which accounts to trust. But for me the fact that Brian and Barbara have been protesting solidly day and night for twelve years in all weathers gives them the kind of credibility sadly lacking in our so-called ‘right honourable’ rulers in their warm,comfortable offices just down the road in Westminster.

Will they respond to Barbara’s email? Will we finally hear truth from their lips for once?

On past performance, sadly, I’d say the answer is a resounding “No”.

Homeless living in caves, #homeless #austerity

Just found this and couldn’t believe that in 21st century Britain people would be reduced to such dire circumstances. commonlyknownasmildred also has posts about a 60 year old man,George Rolph, an ATOS victim who has gone on hunger strike.We certainly do live in desperate times…this blog is well worth a visit.