Friday, 30 July 2010

Jailed for throwing an egg

A bloke who threw an egg at 'Baroness' Warsi and called her 'Cameron's bitch' has been banged up for 6 weeks. As the Daily Mail reports :

A Muslim convert who pelted a Tory peer with eggs was jailed for six weeks yesterday.

Gavin Reid, 23, targeted Baroness Warsi as Islamic extremists shouted abuse at her, including 'Cameron's bitch', in a 'planned and deliberate' confrontation.

At least three eggs were hurled at the high-profile champion of Muslim women's rights, one of which broke on her face, soiling her hair and jacket.
Protester who hurled an egg at Muslim Tory minister Baroness Warsi is found guilty | Mail Online

I have to say that this seems a bit much for what is often accepted as a legitimate means of protest. I can't seem to remember anyone previously jailed for this type of protest in the past, and there's been plenty of historical precedent for egging politicians. Take the odious Nick Griffin of the BNP, he was egged a few months ago but I don't remember any police or court action involved.

Was it because he is a muslim or that Warsi is a muslim? Makes you wonder.

And should it be 'jailed' or 'gaoled'?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

UN declares clean water a fundamental human right

Image via Wikipedia
Sounds good, and I expect you were surprised that access to clean water wasn't already a fundamental human right.

The UN has declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental human right.

About 1.5m children under five die each year from water and sanitation-related diseases.

The resolution was passed with 122 nations in favour, none against and 41 abstentions.

But is there more to it than meets the eye? It's one thing desiring access to clean water, it's another thing ensuring it and making it possible.

So how could it be done? Well why not transfer a nations right to another organisation that would make this happen? What about the World Bank, or the IMF? Hold on, haven't those unelected organisations already been involved in liberating the water supply system of a number of countries ( cue Bolivian riots ) ? Hmm.

Utopian dream or back-door neoliberalism? We shall see.

BBC News - UN declares clean water a 'fundamental human right'

Greek Lorry Drivers Stand Up To The EU And IMF

Seems those Greek workers are getting uppity again. This time it's the lorry drivers looking to spoil the party.

Apparently they're upset with their industry and livelihoods being 'liberalised' on the orders of the EU and the IMF. Seems the shameful Greek government are using a law normally reserved for times of war or natural disasters to requisition their vehicles.

Greek police have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of lorry drivers protesting in Athens.

The drivers are refusing to obey an emergency government order for them to end a crippling strike.

The strike, now in its fourth day, has paralysed Greece, depriving petrol stations of fuel and prompting tourists to cancel holidays.

Bottles were hurled outside the transport ministry as drivers tried to climb the gates and get inside.

Here's to the Greek workers, standing up for their rights where their own government has caved in like a squashed apple pie crust.

The Right To Work Past 65

Take a fact, spin it through 180° and you get a Daily Mail headline.

Since the banks trousered all our money to shore up their little gambling system the pension of the people has been under scrutiny. After all it's a big pot and would keep a bus full of bankers in the style they've become accustomed to. So sally forth the ConDem overlords to tell us that the chances are we'll not be able to draw our pension at 65. (Really they're hoping we'll die before drawing it). From the wings comes the Daily Mail to spin it as the government giving us the right to work past 65 years of age.

Well that's ok then, you can't have too many rights, can you?

Laugh? I nearly cried.

Workers will no longer be forced to retire at 65 from next year under radical Government proposals to be unveiled today.

Ministers want to end the idea that people are 'past it' once they hit the existing retirement age.

From next October, it will be illegal for firms to get rid of staff when they reach 65, allowing millions who are facing retirement to stay on, the Daily Mail has learned.

Employees will not be forced to work beyond 65, but will have the option to do so and could even stay on into their 70s or 80s.

Read more:

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I should cocoa!

Cocoa beansImage via Wikipedia
As reported in the Telegraph, "Even Willy Wonka might struggle to use this much chocolate. Yesterday, somebody bought 241,000 tonnes of cocoa beans."

An odd story you may think but it's a fantastic example of why we need to knock this unbridled capitalism on it's head and replace it with something that serves the people of this world.

Someone bought all of Europe's cocoa, and we know not why and we know not who. In the real world our reaction should be along the lines of 'why the hell should I care'. But in the make-up-the-rules-as-you-go-along world of capitalism this strange act affects everyone both directly and indirectly.

Since this resource is now controlled by one person or organisation they can, if they wish restrict supply. Even the thought of it has sent the price of cocoa to it's highest level for 32 years. If they were to restrict supply then the price would go ballistic and whoever held that stock would make a killing. And a killing is what they are looking to make.

So we can see that this 'price' of cocoa isn't related to the 'value' of the cocoa as a substance but the price is related to how the market reacts. Which begs the question as to why we have a system that allows this sort of activity? And the answer is because it can make a few people extremely wealthy. They can control the price, they can transfer money from the consumer to their pockets by the simple act of buying. As my mum would have said, "Money comes to money."

In the end this sort of high finance shenanigans needs to be dismantled so that the ability to do such things no longer remains. By democratic force or by the force of the people.

How long though, how long?

Friday, 9 July 2010

Left Anti-Semitism?

It's not a website I normally frequent but there appears a peculiar story in the Brussels Journal. It's about the increasing harassment of Jews in Amsterdam.

As with any harassment of identifiable people groups the Dutch Police use undercover decoy tactics to hold accountable those guilty of such attacks. It's commonly used to identify people who are considered to actively harass groups such as prostitutes, gay persons, or the elderly. And to me it sounds a pretty good tactic. Who could find anything wrong with that?

Well it seems one particular party does, but only when the undercover police are dressed as Jews. The website reports Evelien van Roemburg, an Amsterdam counselor of the Green Left Party, saying that using a decoy by the police amounts to provoking a crime.

But only when it's the Jews. Apparently.

I would hate to think that a party that is identified by many on the left as 'of the left' in fact turns out to have such tendencies. Perish the thought.

But it could all be Daily Mail style reporting by what is obviously a right-wing website.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Local LibDem Highs and Lows

My local Tories knocked up a despicable election leaflet for the local elections earlier this year which was racist at worst and disingenuous at best. I blogged about it here.

Now the local LibDems have sent round a leaflet a major part of which is refuting the claims of the Tories. And good on them. Here's a few choice items from the list:

  • Rushmoor's waiting list is actually 2766 of which only 89 are Asian-Other. 
  • Rushmoor housed 5 Nepalese families between April 2009 and March 10
  • Rushmoor council estimates 3,000 Nepalese in Rushmoor against the 9,000 the Tories claimed
  • GP problems are nationwide and no data exists down to council level
  • Mayfield is not the 3rd most deprived ward in Hampshire. Breaking Mayfield down there is one area which can be ranked 3rd. (likely the one I live in!)
So good on the LibDems but their good work in unraveling the racism from the Tories is somewhat let down by the same leaflet highlighting their support for the ConDem government and their somewhat flexible principles!