The story of my fight for the good of the planet and all on it...

Thursday, April 25, 2013


From 'Scriptonite Daily'.  You can read the full article (complete with references) here

"The countries which have adopted Austerity Programmes have seen their economies eviscerated. It is the act of Austerity itself which creates the human misery now associated with these countries. A quick comparison between Greece (adopted Austerity measures) and Iceland (rejected Austerity measures) demonstrates this point.

Greece accepted an £88bn loan from the IMF and the European Central Bank (and the Austerity measures attached) in order to bail out its banks and stay in the Euro.
The economy of Greece has shrunk every year for five years and the Austerity Programme has turned a financial crisis into a humanitarian crisis.

11% of the population now live in ‘Extreme Material Deprivation’ without enough food, heating, electricity or a telephone

Unemployment is now over 27% and continues to rise each month, while youth unemployment is now over 59%.

This level of poverty has enabled a resurgent fascism. The Far Right Golden Dawn party now has 18 of the 300 seats in the Greek Parliament. Immigrants are being routinely assaulted and killed in racially motivated attacks. Just days ago, a group of 200 immigrant workers protesting six months of unpaid wages were fired upon by their bosses. The assault left twenty eight with gunshot wounds and it was a miracle that no one lost their life.


Iceland refused to use tax payer cash to honour debts run up by the private sector, jailed the bankers responsible, kicked out the Prime Minister and put him on trial for his part in the crisis, and invited its citizens to write a new constitution.

Iceland’s economy has enjoyed seven straight quarters of growth averaging 2.5% a year

Iceland now has an unemployment rate below 5% (UK is at 7.9%),

Pensioners receive back around 96.5% of their average net income as pension.

Wages have continued to climb since 2011 and are now at an all time high...
There is an alternative to Austerity, and it has proved far more successful. There is no case in history where Austerity caused growth in a time of economic crisis."

It confirms quite concisely what I have felt about the austerity measures for some time now.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

There is only so long the Tories can blame the dole queue on the people standing in it

Rafael Behr wrote the below which I felt should be shared. It concerns Labours current stance on unemployment and the economy and their desperation to be taken seriously as a party once more.

"Labour... has seemed trapped between the urge to oppose the harshest of the cuts and the need to shed a reputation for showering workless households with other people's money. 2012 is, according to party strategy, the year that changes. Liam Byrne, the shadow work and pensions secretary, has embarked on a campaign to shift public perceptions of what Labour thinks social security is for. Writing in the Guardian on 2 January, Byrne warned against the instinct to meet Conservative policy with an outraged defence of the welfare apparatus bequeathed by Labour. The party, he said, repeating a Miliband refrain, should be looking to foster a "something for something" culture. That means aspiring to restore people's confidence that rewards paid out by the benefits system reflect hard work and contributions put in.

Many on the left are made uneasy by this kind of talk, sensing in it a capitulation to a tabloid-Tory conspiracy to vilify people on benefits as "scroungers". But most Labour MPs, channelling the disaffection of their constituents, know the party has to send a dramatic signal that it is not wedded to the status quo. Senior party figures privately accept that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has monopolised the welfare reform agenda with his promise to "make work pay". "We can't beat the Tories on their own terms on welfare," says one shadow cabinet minister. "We have to reframe the whole debate."

The universal credit, Duncan Smith's plan to eliminate perverse incentives that make benefits more attractive than work, will only be phased in from October 2013. Between now and then lies a period of economic stagnation, rising unemployment, greater job insecurity and a tighter squeeze on living standards. That combination is sure to change public perceptions of what it means to sign on.

As more people ponder reliance on the state safety net, fewer will be receptive to the caricature of feckless dossers living it up at the taxpayer's expense.
How quickly attitudes shift depends on how easy people think it is to get a job. The government currently maintains the pretence that work is available for those who look hard enough. That is the underlying assumption behind the Work Programme, a vast welfare-to-work project, presented as a panacea by the Prime Minister whenever he is challenged on the problem of unemployment.

Under the programme, private and voluntary sector organisations compete for contracts to place the long-term unemployed in jobs. Work Programme providers are paid according to how successful they are in keeping their "customers" off benefits. But if there aren't enough vacancies, the providers don't get paid and the financial viability of the system starts to unravel. As one senior manager for a contractor said to me recently, "You can't force someone into a job that doesn't exist." There is a growing anxiety around Whitehall that the whole programme will collapse or face a humiliating government bailout.

The Tories have so far had an easy ride on welfare. British people seem to feel more suspicion of people who receive benefits than gratitude that the option exists should they need it. Yet there are currently 2.6 million people unemployed and that figure is forecast to rise to around 2.9 million by the end of the year. There is a national average of 23 applicants for every advertised vacancy and the ratio is much higher in some parts of the country.

In such a climate, there is only so long the Tories can blame the length of the dole queue on the people standing in it. Eventually, unemployment will come to be seen, at least in part, as a symptom of government mismanagement of the economy and not just an expression of aggregate worker idleness.

That presents a huge opportunity for Labour. But before Ed Miliband can win an argument about welfare and work he needs to persuade people that his party's priority sincerely is helping people find jobs. Too many voters still see Labour's legacy as a system that was happy paying people to stay at home.

Rafael Behr is chief political commentator for the New Statesman

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hit on the Ed

I feel somewhat like a school bully, picking on the new guy but following a reading of Ed Miliband, new leader of the Labour party saying that the Iraq was wrong wrong and illegal I wanted to find out if he had always thought that.

A quick perusual of Ed Miliband's voting history will show you that Ed, the new leader of the Labour party has voted conistently against any sort of inquiry into the Iraq war and its legality. Of course, that was when the party was in power and didn't want any investigation into their illegal war.

Sometimes, the stories just write themselves.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Eight Principles of Uncivilisation

1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.

2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of ‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.

3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.

4. We will reassert the role of story-telling as more than mere entertainment.

5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.

6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time.

7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.

8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.


There are many things I thought of when I read the manifesto of the Dark Mountain Project. Firstly that in 2010, man should not be shackled by the cycles of the past. It seems too easy to smile smugly and see the familiar patterns played out on politics and society as if we have all seen it before and nothing changes. It is all too easy nowadays to dismiss alternative theories on social change such as Communism as the failed ideas of the past.

Then the Hung Parliament happened and I realised that we should not think in such terms anymore. If we are to develop we must realise that we are not trapped by the past. I am tired of feeling that everything

Humanaity has made tremendous advances in science and technology, but not in mind. Einstein was correct when he said that "The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking...the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind."

The Dark Mountain Project wishes to change that. The Manifesto hits you in the head and heart with a feeling you have been unable to express. 'The Event' by writer/director John Clancy cries out at the audience that something has gone terribly wrong with the western world (and thus affected much of the rest of the world) and we are all the victims. Distant from one another in an age when no one is beyond reach of telephones, computers or even telephone-computers. I am sure many people seem to feel that something along the way has gone wrong.

But like any major work that has hit me in the head and chest with massive, weighting spikes made of frozen truth it offers little in the way of solution. How can it? It has only just begun! It has only just crawled from the primoridal goo of the mind.

The project wishes to explore ideas of the coming probable ecopocalypse.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


How to Lock Down Your FaceBook Profile from Off The Broiler on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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