Monday, June 29, 2009

G20 - Police not competent

MPs on the Commons home affairs committee spew apologia for police behaviour at the G20. Now our MPs have failed their responsibilities to the public over the G20 and found in favour of the police.

Principle among these apologists for corrupt policing is committee chairman Keith Vaz with a remarkably Orwellian abuse of reality:
"What's acceptable, what's within the police rule book - the use of distraction tactics, for example, slapping or hitting people - shocked the public, therefore, they need to look again at these tactics and consult the public to decide whether or not such tactics can be used again."
So beating citizens is a 'distraction tactic'? If any other citizen used that line they'd be laughed out of court and into the cells. Vaz is suggesting that extra-judicial punishments are justified when handed out by the police to those challenging a corrupt government. Soundbite crap about consulting the public is spectacular fuckwittery.

The excuse that the fault lies at the feet of inexperienced officers is bullshit of the highest order. It's little more than a variation on the 'bad apple' theory. The fact that the commons select committee let Commander Bob Broadhurst's story fly, despite the fact that most of the incidents involved highly trained territorial support group officers, indicate that they are either as dishonest as him, or too utterly fucktarded to sit on an important oversight committee.

Like the Kinsgnorth incidents, the behaviour of the police officers there was not out of the norm. The operations were clearly directed at a senior tactical level and supervised by mid level officers on the street.

This doesn't let those officers on the street dishing out violence to peaceful protestors off the hook - the 'following orders' excuse doesn't wash - and they should be facing criminal as well as disciplinary charges for gleefully acting as agents of government oppression.

Also, as the commander on the ground, Broadhurst's bollocks should be on a plate.

Keith Vaz standing down would be a bonus too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cashing in on checking out

After Jacko croaked on Friday the mobile phone operators must have made millions out of the joke texts flying around. Now with re-entry into the charts, Jackson is making bucket loads of money again, and with the media only too willing to keep it hyped through speculation over his death, it looks like the cash registers are going to keep ringing for the moment. It looking like it's the best career move Jacko made in years.


After driving up the A1 and back this weekend, both times in fog, I can easily understand how crashes like those on the A19 yesterday can happen. On my A1 journey, several times I was overtaken by lunatics flying through the fog while I could barely see 50 metres in front of the car. Some couldn't even be bothered to switch on their fog lights.

Life is so fragile and can be snuffed in an instant, so I really can't understand what motivates people to drive like this.

The Branley Bunch in the White House

It looks like Allen Branley is trying to sell a line to voters in Westoe that he didn't lose his seat but is instead involved in some kind of crusading David Davis moment.

Chances are he would win a bye-election, and continue to mock democracy.

Word to Curly.

Friday, June 26, 2009


To Gordon Brown issuing a statement about Michael Jackson.

This will be a good day to bury bad news. Now we've got at least a week of Jacko media frenzy to face.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Order, order!

Not in South Tyneside's big house it seems. The Alliance is turning local politics into a chimps tea party in more ways than one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Killer costs

I've seen first hand the effects of an asthma attack - the desperate gasps for breath, the terror in the eyes. Asthma can be a killer, but fortunately one which can treated. So today's news that financial worries causes some people to think twice about using their preventers should be a warning for us all.

Many people who suffer long-term illnesses like diabetes receive free prescriptions, but most asthma sufferers have to pay. However, this inconsistent approach is unlikely to be resolved by this or the next government, given the huge numbers being bandied around about budget cuts. Some interesting chronic euphemismia from David Halpern (along with David Miliband one of Blair's Third Way architects) is worthy of note:
"Billions of public spending can be saved, for instance, if services for those with chronic conditions like diabetes are redesigned around self-care."
As we've seen today with the asthma study, self care begins to fail when cash becomes tight.

Both the Tories and Labour will choose to target cuts in areas which won't affect their vote negatively, aiming to keep the affluent and middle class South East voter happy. That means the disenfranchised who are less likely to vote or whose votes have little demographic influence, like those on low incomes, will be hit hardest. And with an NHS hemorrhaging cash as a result of the failure of the Tory and then Labour PFI con job, it's likely that healthcare will take a big hit.

Whilst business, like the banking and motoring industries are being feather-bedded, chances are that those hardest hit will be those who most need essential services like socialised healthcare.

Missing inaction

As Curly has already reported, it looks like Allen Branley has dropped off his electoral perch and stood down as a councillor. This came after criticism that Branley was visible by his absence.

Now Allen Branley has been cut from the list of South Tyneside councillors on the council website (despite his name is mentioned on a council press release about a surgery on Saturday) which supports Curly's hot news.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Repression in the UK

When the police are seen acting like thugs, often we hear the defence that it's only a couple of bad apples.

The policing operation at Kingsnorth last year had already raised doubts about the bad apple theory. Kingsnorth revealed a systemic culture of repression towards demonstrators, with police officers regularly abusing the law and using violence to shut down protest, under the watchful and no doubt approving gaze of senior officers.

The same contempt towards civil liberties was repeated this year in London at the G20 protests, when without provocation police charged peaceful protesters at the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate. People were beaten by those who are meant to defend the law, and one man who wasn't even involved in the protest died after an encounter with violent police officers.

Today's revelations in the Guardian show that the Kingsnorth story isn't over. Thanks to the police's forward information team (FIT) recording the demonstrations and Freedom of Information requests aquiring the video footage, we are able to see a police eye view of what went on, and through hearing their own words, get into the minds of the people who are supposed to be entrusted with protecting our persons and our civil liberties.

The language used by the FIT officers, the hiding of police identification and the violent behaviour towards someone who simply asked for their numbers illustrates that these police have nothing but contempt for the public.

It's easy to blame it on the bad apple theory, but it doesn't wash. There are too many examples of anti social police behaviour now to defend that argument. A quick search on YouTube is all it takes.

In Kingsnorth, these officers were supervised and this video footage has probably been examined already by senior police, but nothing has happened to these men who put innocent people into dangerous neck grips and hog tied them before throwing them into a police van, arrested on manufactured charges.

These police are not our defenders. They have no care for civil liberties and clearly get off on violence. They are enemies freedom and democracy. They have been given too many powers by successive governments through laws which are constructed in such ambiguous terms that the law can mean whatever a police officer says it means. We rightly agonise over the corruption of the law makers in Parliament, but the abuses by the law enforcers on the streets should meet similar ruthless scrutiny. At the minute, how can we trust the law with either body?

There needs to be a serious reform of the police and a new system of accountability, and offences investigated by a body with more powers than the pathetic and toothless Independent Police Complaints Commission.

There needs to be a start to regain public confidence. These officers at Kingsnorth need to be brought to justice. Watch the video. Every single one of them involved should be dismissed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Aiming high

Ah, the art of spin. A super new school is ahead of schedule - despite the fact that the old school is still standing and the local residents who will be impacted by the works haven't been informed of the changed timetable.

But more worryingly, why will the new school have a frickin hair salon? Is this some new policy where students will be encouraged to keep their career expectations low? Will the economy need hairdressers and beauticians?

And I thought Mortimer's enforced dance curriculum was bloody stupid.

As long as our kids can do a jig and do their highlights then the future must be bright. I suppose we should all thank Labour and South Tyneside Council for the next generation of X Factor hopefuls.

Come fly with me

If you have to fly somewhere, which airline do you fly with?

Personally, I would choose the one paying their staff, particularly the aircraft maintenance crews.

Sweet smell of ermine

Roy Sydney George Hattersley, aka Baron Hattersley of Sparkbrook, has had a go at the hereditary monarchy, in particular Prince Charles, for committing the cardinal sin of criticising one of (Lord) Richard Rogers' proposed works.

There's a sweet irony when folk like Hattersly and Rogers complain about the very establishment that has ratified their titles.

If Hattersley and Rogers have such a problem with the interference of priviledge and patronage, perhaps they should abandon their seats in the Lords?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

European Election Results for South Tyneside

BNP 4433
Christian Party 401
Conservative 5147
English Democrats 957
Jury Team 548
Lib Dems 4313
NO2EU 699
Libertas 185
Socialist Labour Party 743
Green 1999
Labour 9263
UKIP 5449

Friday, June 05, 2009

Brown's Sugar

The clever rats don't join sinking ships, so why is Alan Sugar joining Brown on the bridge? I can see why Brown chose Sugar - Susan Boyle is having some problems at the moment.

Sugar was already in the engine room of Gordon's business brain trust, and as his company Vilgen won a £30m government contract to supply computers to the NHS, association with Brown so far has been painless.

Of course, as someone who enjoys the 'Suralan' tag, a peerage must be very attractive, especially since the telly bully will only have to tip his forelock to Brown for another year at most.

It seems only right that a wealthy man, who is given a job to help the rich stay rich, will be called a 'Tsar'. Now what happened to the last Tsar?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Labour's inaction on climate change

Joan Ruddock's hilarious defence in the Guardian of Labour's complete failure to get to grips with climate change, and the following responses, illustrates two important points:

1. Joan Ruddock is off her trolley.

2. Everyone knows it.

True, there'll be more than two points, but on every issue that Ruddock has tried to claim victory, Labour has failed miserably or fallen short of the required standard. The craven dishonesty even goes so far as to imply that Friends of the Earth's Big Ask campaign was somehow a Labour idea:
It's a model that Friends of the Earth campaign for other countries to adopt in their Big Ask, a sign perhaps of greater optimism and ambition than the Green party demonstrates.
Utterly utterly dishonest. The Climate Change Act was a result of FOE's Big Ask campaign, not it's progenitor. Parliament set about watering down the original Big Ask aims to such a point to make a Climate Change Bill just about toothless, except as PR fodder for Ruddock's rancid propaganda.

Dishonest. Fail.

Gone to pasture

That's the Dairy Farmers of Great Britain. That's the cooperative that is contracted to supply most of the North East's primary schools with milk.

Back in 2007 South Tyneside Green Party reported that the cooperative had stopped supplying school milk in the traditional 'third' glass bottles because its bottling machine was broken, instead supplying the milk in 'tetra' cartons. When the company decided not to repair the bottling machine, South Tyneside parents were handed an increase in the cost of milk as supplying the milk in cartons was more expensive. Essentially the council tax payer was subsidising the company's change to a less sustainable mode of milk distribution.

But this wasn't just a problem in South Tyneside - schools and parents all over the region were affected.

The loss of Dairy Farmers is seriously bad news for farmers. The loss of the cooperative will increase the power the large supermarkets can exercise over the farmers.

In hindsight, it seems like the cooperative's decision not to invest in repairing or replacing the machine may have been an indicator of much more serious financial problems within the cooperative.

No longer walking the earth

Goodbye to the king of kick ass kung fu coolness David Carradine, found dead in a hotel room in Bangkok. A generation of 70s kids like me were brought up with his chilled 'Grasshopper' Caine in Kung Fu and reintroduced to Carradine as the icy and ruthless Bill in Tarantino's brilliant Kill Bill. Ostensibly an action tv series, Kung Fu was threaded with an absolute ethical imperative and displayed a model of personal social responsibility.

An unconventional life ended equally unconventionally.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cameron taking the PiS

There's an aphorism that says something like you are known by the friends you keep. Now that David Cameron has taken the Tories into a political bloc with Polish right wing party PiS and is wooing other East European parties, we are given an insight into what's really eant by 'compassionate Conservatism'.

Punkscience has already called shenanigans on Cameron's trustworthiness.

Now Cameron has got into bed with folks who are no strangers to homophobia, climate change denial, rabid nationalism, racism and religious fundamentalism.

These guys make the BNP look moderate.