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Don’t turn away from the faces of child labour

June 12, 2015 – 10:56 am |

They’re hidden behind sewing machines or swinging hammers. They’re selling snacks street side or swinging machetes in sugarcane fields. They’re catching fish in a river or selling bird feed at a temple.
These are just a …

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Neoliberalism

The dominant ideology of modern times is hard to pin down but its influence is global and catastrophic. A mixture of bogus economic theory, direct assaults on behalf of class power and a Trojan horse to subvert democracy – everyone needs to understand the nature and influence of neoliberalism.

Corruption

Our taxes pay the wages of politicians, the police and the civil service. These people take our money and our trust to look after OUR interests. When they decide to play the game for themselves and their friends its called corruption and it should always be exposed and challenged.

Corporate Capture

Politics, the Civil Service, the media, the police, the EU Commission – the list of organisations that should bat for us but instead bat for corporate power is depressing – we chart the slide and the fightback. We follow the money, the cushy appointments, the backroom deals all the way to the top

Squashing Dissent

If there is one characteristic of the modern neoliberal era its that the establishment has become hyper-sensitive to any kind of criticism and organised protest. We keep track of all the latest legal and illegal ways that legitimate peaceful protest is undermined, bullied and squashed.

Spying

The role played by the ‘security services’ of the UK and the USA in the mass Orwellian surveillance of innocent people was exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden – we will trace developments of this terrifying new front in the battle to defend democracy and basic freedoms.

Featured, Guest Articles, Neoliberalism »

Krugman slams tory economic lies

June 12, 2015 – 4:41 pm |

One thing we’ve learned in the years since the financial crisis is that seriously bad ideas — by which I mean bad ideas that appeal to the prejudices of Very Serious People — have remarkable staying power. No matter how much contrary evidence comes in, no matter how often and how badly predictions based on those ideas are proved wrong, the bad ideas just keep coming back. And they retain the power to warp policy.

What makes something qualify as a seriously bad idea? In general, to sound serious it must invoke big causes to explain big events — technical matters, like the troubles caused by sharing a currency without a common budget, don’t make the cut. It must also absolve corporate interests and the wealthy from responsibility for what went wrong, and call for hard choices and sacrifice on the part of the little people.

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And the ultimate example of a seriously bad idea is the determination, in the teeth of all the evidence, to declare government spending that helps the less fortunate a crucial cause of our economic problems. In the United States, I’m happy to say, this idea seems to be on the ropes, at least for now. Here in Britain, however, it still reigns supreme. In particular, one important factor in the recent Conservative election triumph was the way Britain’s news media told voters, again and again, that excessive government spending under Labour caused the financial crisis.

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It takes almost no homework to show that this claim is absurd on multiple levels. For one thing, the financial crisis was global; did Gordon Brown’s alleged overspending cause the housing busts in Florida and Spain? For another, all these claims of irresponsibility involve rewriting history, because on the eve of crisis nobody thought Britain was being profligate: debt was low by historical standards and the deficit fairly small. Finally, Britain’s supposedly disastrous fiscal position has never worried the markets, which have remained happy to buy British bonds despite historically low yields.

Nonetheless, that’s the story, generally reported not as opinion but as fact. And the really bad news is that Britain’s leaders seem to believe their own propaganda. On Wednesday, George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer and the architect of the government’s austerity policies, announced his intention to make these policies permanent. Britain, he said, should have a law requiring that the government run a budget surplus — with current revenue paying for all spending, including investment outlays — when the economy is growing.

It’s a remarkable proposal, and I mean that in the worst way. Mr. Osborne isn’t offering the wrong answer to Britain’s problems; he’s offering an answer to problems Britain doesn’t have, while ignoring and exacerbating the problems it does.

For Britain does not have a public debt problem. Yes, debt rose in the wake of economic crisis, but it’s still not high by historical standards, and borrowing costs have rarely been lower. In fact, interest rates adjusted for inflation are negative, even on very long-term borrowing. Investors, in other words, are willing to pay the British government to make use of part of their wealth.

But Mr. Osborne sounds very serious, and, if history is any guide, the Labour Party won’t make any effective counterarguments.

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Now, some readers are probably thinking that I’m giving the likes of Mr. Osborne too much credit for sincerity. Isn’t all this deficit obsession just an excuse to slash social programs? And I’m sure that’s part of it. But I don’t think that’s the whole story. Seriously bad ideas, I’d argue, have a life of their own. And they rule our world.

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10 things you want to know about human nature if you’re fighting climate change

June 12, 2015 – 12:05 pm | One Comment

I’ve spent nearly a decade thinking about why people get stuck on climate change: stuck in debates, denial, what looks like indifference, and the awful discomfort that comes with the question “But what can I …

World Day Against Child Labour 2015: Facts and figures

June 12, 2015 – 11:19 am |

Millions of children are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic, manual, agricultural and other forms of work worldwide, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Rooted in poverty, child labour hinders chances of gainful future …

Don’t turn away from the faces of child labour

June 12, 2015 – 10:56 am |

They’re hidden behind sewing machines or swinging hammers. They’re selling snacks street side or swinging machetes in sugarcane fields. They’re catching fish in a river or selling bird feed at a temple.
These are just a …

The humbling of FIFA – how the U.S. will now decide where the World Cup is played.

June 8, 2015 – 11:15 am | One Comment

I believed it myself for a few hours – after decades of  media rumblings about corruption at FIFA, the FBI finally acted to ‘clean up’ the world’s least liked NGO.
‘Good and about time!’ I thought and felt …

The butality and cruelty that is turning the world against Israel’s apartheid state

June 8, 2015 – 9:17 am | One Comment

 
 
Israeli writer and journalist Gideon Levy has been called the “the most hated man in Israel”. For three decades he has been a lone voice, often facing death threats, telling his readers the truth about …

Beaten and clueless – ten policies to save Labour’s soul

May 18, 2015 – 10:22 pm | One Comment

 

The battle to shape our society never sleeps – it doesn’t end on election night and lie dormant for five years, its a daily struggle that the wealthy and powerful are 100% committed to.
The corporate media …

Hear us politicians and spin doctors – we are better than you…

May 11, 2015 – 8:00 pm | One Comment

Modern politicians love talking about aspirational people and families, but offer only the narrowest and most poisonous view of human aspiration and vision when doing so.
The people who the establishment love to caricature as ‘aspirational’ have only thing on their …

Labour leadership election to be decided by Waitrose tokens

May 11, 2015 – 11:48 am | 2 Comments

Today we focus on the declared front runners for the Labour leadership election.
In an unsurprising move, Labour has decided to allow Waitrose shoppers to pick their new leader.
Any customer spending over a £100 on wine or …

Anti-Austerity March captures the mood of many in our divided nation….

May 9, 2015 – 7:28 pm | Comments Off

If you were in Downing Street today and had to scrawl one word on a  banner to explain how you feel about a Tory win…
 

I feel better already…

Why did Labour lose so badly?

May 9, 2015 – 4:01 pm | 2 Comments

So Labour lost and were all but wiped out in Scotland. Ed Milliband fell on his sword quickly and took full responsibility – but where did it all go wrong and who / what was to blame?

A …

where has Sodium Haze been?

May 8, 2015 – 11:48 am | 2 Comments

I run this blog mostly single handed.
after the cowardly and murderous attacks on the children of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force I was coming across pictures and images that left me deeply distressed and …

UK Election: Ruthless sociopaths triumph

May 8, 2015 – 11:37 am | One Comment

David Cameron is a ruthless man – and the regressive neoliberalism that he and his party champions, has this morning,  secured five more years to subvert and betray the fabric of British society.
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It is a disaster – but how many  …

Child murders and war crimes in Gaza are being softly repackaged by the media. This must stop.

August 3, 2014 – 2:34 am | 2 Comments

Hundreds of children that were alive a few short weeks ago in Gaza are dead – their deaths were no accident or an act of god, they were killed by munitions launched by the Israeli Defence Force, weapons that deliberately …

RIP David Clapson, Another Man ‘Helped’ To Death By Iain Duncan Smith

July 28, 2014 – 7:15 pm | Comments Off

 
When Funghi, the unemployed alcoholic  featured in the recent Benefits Street television series, disclosed that he had been abused as a child, most of those condemning him on twitter did not even blink.  Such is …

MP’s Scrounging Is Out Of Control: Cap Esther McVey’s Housing Benefit

July 28, 2014 – 3:42 pm | Comments Off

MPs are being handed huge subsidies to rent second homes in London whilst thousands of the capital’s poorest residents are being socially cleansed due to slashed benefits and soaring rents.
Unemployment Minister Esther McVey claimed a …

Ecuador Doused In Oil, Two Months After Drilling Begins [Amazon Watch]

July 28, 2014 – 2:18 pm | Comments Off

After Ecuador issued a permit to drill for oil in Yasuni National Park in May, there’s already been one of its largest oil spills.  
On July 2, state-owned oil company Petroamazonas spilled 660,000 gallons of oil into the …

Debunking Israel’s 11 Main Myths About Gaza, Hamas and War Crimes [Medhi Hasan]

July 28, 2014 – 2:06 pm | Comments Off

You’ve got to hand it to Israeli spinners like Mark Regev. They are masters of PR. In fact, as the Independent‘s Patrick Cockburn revealed over the weekend, “the playbook they are using is a professional, …

We Need Electoral Reform To Save Our Democracy [Natalie Bennett - Green Party]

July 28, 2014 – 12:40 pm | Comments Off

After the massive loss of the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011, I spent a lot of time saying to downcast electoral reformists “don’t say ‘this kills reform for a generation’”. My argument had two parts: 1. This isn’t …

‘Let’s party!’ says Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair as Israel carpet bombs Gaza

July 28, 2014 – 10:28 am | Comments Off

WHERE was Middle East peace envoy last week as Israel invaded Gaza and committed horrific war crimes, killing over 1000 Palestinians, 80% of them civilians, 200 of them children?
Not at his official residence and office …

Whatever Israel says, why it is impossible for Hamas to use human shields in Gaza

July 26, 2014 – 9:42 am | Comments Off

 
Israel has a pathological disregard for the humanity of Palestinians and you can’t use human shields against an enemy that doesn’t recognise you as human.
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WHAT does it mean to use human shields? Employed by the …

Gaza: If we don’t protest – blood is on our hands too

July 25, 2014 – 2:14 pm | Comments Off

Surely the UK complicity in the slaughter in Gaza is something that no ethical Briton should tolerate?
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We all know that money and realpolitik drive UK foreign policy.
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We all know that the Foreign Office ensures that our relations with other nations are never polluted …

Academics call for Gaza ceasefire and just peace agreement

July 25, 2014 – 10:34 am | Comments Off

 
Hilik Bar (A thirst for Israeli blood, 21 July) reduces the charge against Israel to killing too many Palestinians. The story is more complicated. The government of Israel, having provoked the firing of rockets by …

The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders – with HMRC’s blessing [Independent]

July 25, 2014 – 9:58 am | Comments Off

One of the Tories’ biggest donors and a major contributor to the Scottish “No” campaign runs a vast oil-trading company which has potentially avoided UK corporate taxes on billions of pounds of profit with the …

‘BBC shame on you’- Demonstrations take place against the BBC’s coverage of Gaza and Israel

July 25, 2014 – 9:36 am | Comments Off

Approximately 5,000 protesters gathered outside the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) studios on Tuesday to protest the news outlets coverage of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Protestors accuse the BBC of showing bias towards …

Undercover police spied on grieving families of De Menezes, Groce and Reel [Guardian]

July 23, 2014 – 7:43 pm | Comments Off

Undercover police gathered intelligence on grieving families who were battling the Metropolitan police for justice, including the relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, Cherry Groce and Ricky Reel.
Police have approached the three families, inviting them …

Plans to Shackle Industrial Action Have a More Sinister Purpose

July 21, 2014 – 10:46 am | Comments Off

So now we know what the Conservative manifesto will say about industrial action.

Strike ballots will require a 50% turn out to be valid. Breaches of the picketing code of practice will be criminalised. A whole new list …

Liars! The National Charity Who Are Deceiving The Public About Their Role In Workfare

July 21, 2014 – 8:40 am | Comments Off

 

Some of the UK’s largest charities have a dirty little workfare secret and one of the best known has even resorted to telling bare-faced lies about their involvement in forced work.
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In a statement on their …

Chris Hedges interviews Noam Chomsky [VIDEO]

July 19, 2014 – 7:39 pm | Comments Off

 
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Western powers that arm Israel are complicit in war crimes against Palestinians

July 19, 2014 – 11:49 am | Comments Off

 
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, Brian Eno, many more call for comprehensive military embargo on Israel, like that imposed on Apartheid South Africa.

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Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military …