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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tax Payers Alliance

Serious questions... Could someone tell me what the Tax Payers Alliance is an alliance of?

Who are the organisations that have allied?

Do any of said organisations represent poor- average waged people? If so, what are these organisations and how are they constituted?

And have the BBC ever looked into the make-up of this organisation before they turned to them for an opinion?

Are the tax payers alliance fighting the "bedroom tax" or the disgraceful anti low to middle earnings tax policies of the Tory/Liberal Democrat Government?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

#bbcqt - #farage Good enough?

I wrote to the BBC complaining about a BBC Questiontime episode filmed in Scotland and the inclusion, at the last minute, of the proto-fascist Nigel Farage.

This is my email.  Their reply is in italics below. What do you think?.

"BBC Question Time this week was baffling. The programme was billed as being from Scotland, a devolved nation, with an audience of 16-17 year olds who, next year in the Scottish referendum for independence, will be allowed to vote. The panel hardly reflected this at all.

I am originally from Northern Ireland, so notice how panels are made up when the show travels to that devolved province. I always see the parties in the Assembly there well represented and in fairish balance.  The panel last night in no way came near to representing the Scottish Parliament- the Tories had the same representation as the
party with a huge majority - the SNP. Further, UKIP, who at the last polls in Scotland received 0.28% of the vote were represented by their leader, an English MEP. George Galloway, MP for Bradford, has been rejected by the Scottish electorate the past few times he has stood here, was also representing his party, RESPECT which gave up after a brief incursion, of organising in Scotland.

It would be impossible to represent a fair balance on the panel between the Scottish political parties because of the huge majority the SNP received in the last Scottish Elections, but the bias of the panel towards a "no" in the 2014 referendum was baffling. Over 50% of the people of Scotland voted for pro-independence parties at the last election. Perhaps the voting intentions of those who select Scottish panels -or otherwise- need to be examined in order to make the next rammy at least honest?"

Thanks for taking the time to contact the BBC about Question Time, broadcast on 13 June 2013.

We forwarded your concerns to the Executive Editor who passed on the following response:

Question Time is a current affairs programme that covers a range of subjects and debates issues in a UK context. It chooses panellists carefully across the series. We regularly invite politicians and non-politicians from one part of the UK to appear on the programme in other parts of the UK. This programme was no different – it was not an independence special discussing exclusively issues related to the independence referendum. It dealt with a range of topical issues in the news.

We aim to offer the audience across the UK as well as in the room, as wide a range of voices and opinions on the issues being discussed as possible. The only difference in this edition was in the makeup of the audience. 16 and 17 year olds have been given the vote for the first time in next year's independence referendum and we wanted to look at what sort of things were of interest to and influenced this age group, to acknowledge why these people were being given the vote. 

The composition of the audience reflected both those for and against independence, and contained a number of people who were undecided.

It was also broadly representative of voting patterns across the party political spectrum.

Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience.

Thanks again for contacting us.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints

Thursday, 20 June 2013

James Connolly on Independence

"If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs."

Shan Van Vocht (socialist newspaper) January, 1897.

Reprinted in P. Beresford Ellis (ed.), "James Connolly - Selected Writings", p. 124.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Commemorate the Peace Protestors of WW1

This month marks the birthday of Faslane Peace Camp- the extraordinary space set up in opposition to nuclear weapons that are based on the Clyde.  Over 200 warheads are based there- and if ever used, the murders committed would far out-weigh those murders by the ruling classes who have sacrificed lives for their profits throughout the twentieth century and the opening years of the 21st.

Have a good Birthday, Peace Camp. Hopefully after a Yes vote in the Scottish Independence referendum next year you will become a museum or garden for peace.

This week saw the Etonian led, upperclass Westminster Government set out it's plans for celebrations of the industrial scale murder their class forefathers meted out on Europe. Millions died in what became known as WW1 - a huge war of capital which really was an unashamed land grab for resources by billionaire businessmen who controlled the imperialist powers at the time.  These "celebrations" and macabre commemorations of deaths for "victory" over other imperialists do not represent me.  My family suffered dreadfully during this time and after the killing fields of Europe were "silenced."  Loss, alcoholism, broken families and pain that still echoes through the decades shaped our lives. And helped shape the dreadful legacy that still haunts my birthplace, Northern Ireland. The people of the UK still bear the scars of the destruction of body, mind, soul and community that that war of Upper Class greed imposed on the entire industrialised world.

In my opinion next year our "Peace Camp" on the Gareloch should be a focus for commemorating all of those who lost their lives in WW1. Many conscientious objectors died -many were murdered by the state as "deserters" - and Scotland had a proud conscientious objector population including socialists, Quakers, anarchists etc.

Many went to jail- and many lost their jobs as employers refused to employ them.  

John MacLean, the Red Clydeside leader 1879-1923 was a leading conscientious objector of the time who was jailed and tortured for his leading protests an protestors against the war of the owning class.

And the war gave rise to the social fightback by amazing class fighters such as Rent Strikes leaders like the brilliant Mary Barbour and her "army."

These things - and many other extraordinary events in opposition to the war and the ruling classes who sacrificed millions of lives for their profit, deserve commemoration and celebration.

Our Faslane Peace Camp as a space created in opposition to war and exploitation should be at the heart of that- and could be a focal point for many peace activists throughout the UK and beyond.

Count me in in helping organise any events next year!

Monday, 10 June 2013

World War One Cynical Celebration

Just announced by the Tory Minister for Culture: The commemoration of the butchery of WW1 cynically starts in Glasgow Cathedral on August 4th next year during the run up to the Independence Referendum in Scotland.

Am I being cynical in thinking Glasgow would not be hosting this if the referendum was not happening a month later?

I am totally disgusted at how WW1 is being twisted into some sort of "proud historical British moment."  It blew my family-and millions of others- apart.  The harm is still felt through the decades- alcoholism, abuse and poverty were the legacy of this dreadful industrial scale murder of generations of men from across Europe and beyond- and all of those impacted on my family.  WW1 was one of the most dreadful, murderous periods of the invasive, resource grabbing, imperialist British project, yet those at the top of our class system; the Eton mess in Downing Street; the post-Thatcherite upperclass counter revolutionaries who aim to have us all doffing our caps for unstable employment and food bank handouts, want us to remember how our forefathers sacrificed themselves unselfishly for the red white and blue profits of the jute, linen, steel and shipyard lords. They want us to celebrate around the pulpits of the churches of the vestment covered men who sacrificed their flocks to fight for "God and Country."

Would anyone like to join me in a demonstration for,

"No more deaths in illegal wars/interventions in the oil rich middle east.  White/red/black flag vigil outside Glasgow Cathedral 4th Aug '14?"

Stop the Wars and remember why people die in conflict. Rarely for freedom and most likely for rich mens land and resource grabs and  stocks and shares.