Category Archives: OPINION

Oh, Stanley

Death-penalty-map

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, I stumbled upon this piece by Timothy Stanley, a Daily Telegraph contributor and American historian. American in the sense that he loves American history. He’s not a yank.

Anyway, his piece was about the death penalty potentially being discussed again in Parliament. At least, that’s what he started off thinking:

Britain is talking seriously about the death penalty for the first time in over a decade. It was last discussed in Parliament when the Human Rights Act was passed in 1998, and now blogger Paul Staines (of Guido Fawkes fame) is petitioning for another House of Commons debate in 2011.

It seems Dr. Stanley has fallen at the first hurdle here. From what I can gather, Britain is NOT talking seriously about the death penalty. Paul Staines is. And, of course, the Twittering classes are buzzing, as are most politico/commentary blogs. These groups are from representative of Britain.

The ePetition process has to gain 100, 000 signatories before it ever gets anywhere near Parliament, and, at time of writing, it has garnered only 7, 992, so, hopefully, the dear Doctor won’t be the only one to fall at the first hurdle.

He goes on:

We can expect anti-death penalty campaigners to point to America as an example of why it should stay banned.

Not so careful reading of the petition to maintain the ban doesn’t just point to America, but states:

British Justice should not be in the same league as China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Syria

I understand the Doc is an Englishman in New York, or, rather Los Angeles and occasionally Washington, but, in the scheme of the debate, I don’t think the US version of capital punishment will, or should, be used as the only example of what’s wrong with the sentence.

Accepting the many obvious injustices in the US legal system, there is an instinctive British snobbery towards Americans that renders any comparison between our two countries unflattering.

I don’t think the reason the death penalty was outlawed had anything to do with snobbery. But, good try.

Another chestnut:

the reason for the decades criminals spend waiting for their execution is simple: money-hungry lawyers and sympathetic liberals keep on appealing their sentences.

Is the Statesophile of the belief that innocent men have never been executed by the state? Execution cannot be rectified. People must always be allowed to appeal their sentence. What about the case of Sally Clark, wrongly convicted of killing her children, who was released 18 months later. Under the terms of Staine’s petition, she would have been executed, without a doubt if ‘sympathetic liberals’ and their appeals were ignored, an act which, as it happened in reality, exposed major floors in our justice system, not to mention if Clark had been executed.

But, in the ultimate form of cognitive dissonance:

Opponents will point out that the death penalty is practiced in the states with the highest murder rates. This is true, but it doesn’t mean that executions don’t work – it just means that they take place where they are needed most.

A vicious circle, if ever there was one. And, Dr. Stanley exposes his right-wing, conservative, and self-confessed Sarah Palin, gun loving buffoonery for what it is. BULLSHIT.

OMG, the Guardian is trying to use Jedi mind tricks on us! Close your eyes!

Guardian Media Group

Image via Wikipedia

 

EffComm, the “helpful home for resources related to a variety of training sessions on presenting skills and data presentation: “Communicating Effectively”, “Power & Point” and “Presenting Data & Information”, claims the Guardian Media Group (GMG) is trying the use jedi mind tricks, a Confundus Charm, or something else, to ensure we don’t understand their 2011 Annual Report.

Look at the Revenue graph in the last link.

I’m no Ian Malcolm, but within a second my brain registered that GMG’s revenue fell significantly since 2007.

However, EffComm, helpful as they are when it comes to Powerpoint etc, claims the designer was trying to make the reader believe revenue had increased, and was

attempting to sweeten a rather bitter pill

I don’t get excited about maths, or graphs, but, I’m madly paranoid and love a good conspiracy, however, I don’t think the X (or is it Y) axis was actually the second shooter on the Knoll. But, keep up the good work. I love having Powerpoint presentations explained in a way that makes me care.

Home brewed split atoms anyone?

Swede Richard Handl, arrested for possessing nuclear material, claims he was trying to split the atom in his kitchen. However, it appears he contacted the police himself, with concerns over his potential creation. Swedish authorities don’t seem be quite on the ball, considering that this bloke’s radiological hocus pocus was detailed on his blog.

Paranoia and damage control does not equal care

Several mobile phones

Image via Wikipedia

We posted in June, following Panorama’s Undercover Care-The Abuse Exposed, in which an undercover reporter gained a job at Castlebeck’s Winterbourne View care home, which has since closed, and recorded the abuse doled out by support workers to their vulnerable clients, ranging from waterboarding to actually pinning disabled adults to the floor with a chair. The abuse was first exposed by a whistleblower, nurse Terry Bryan, but was ignored by his employers and, more shockingly, the care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

Castlebeck, the provider at the centre of the abuse scandal, is ultimately owned by Swiss based Lydian Capital Partners, an independent private equity fund which

invests in market leading businesses in order to achieve long-term capital growth(The webpage this was retrieved from, strangely, is no longer accessible, along with contact details. Hmmm)

It counts amongst its senior team Irish tycoons and entrepreneursJP McManusJohn Magnier, and Dennis Brosnan, as well as home-grown businessman Mike Parsons.

This group has investments, and ownership, in numerous service providers, including Cygnet Healthcare (a secure mental health care provision), Wellness Foods, and Barchester Healthcare…

Now, as an update to our earlier post, we can reveal that within Lydian’s other investments, care staff are being instructed to

…shadow new staff, because apparently new starters… are taking payments from newspapers to report on the goings on within…homes.

This apparently followed the reiteration of the ‘No Mobile Phones’ policy, and sections of the said policy being reproduced in poster form and placed at strategic points throughout the home.

It’s understandable to apply such a policy, given the possible reasons a nefarious individual may have to take pictures and recordings, more clearly demonstrated by the exposure of a nursery assistant in a pedophile photo sharing group; this is intended to protect people in care, who often to not have the cognisance to consent, let alone fully understand the world around them.

However, I can’t help but think that this latest action is not simply intended to protect vulnerable adults, but rather, an attempt to prevent further disclosures which harm the ‘caring’ facade of these large, profit-making, private care homes.

It casts a cynical approach to whistleblowing procedures. Information we have seen indicates that said procedures lean heavily toward dealing with issues in-house, and recourse to external bodies is a nuclear option, of last resort, which is why policy and regulations need to be immediately revised, so that declarations under whistleblower law should be made directly to the care regulator, cutting out the senior managers with an eye to the ‘Dealing With The Media’ file beside their computer.

Even more so in organisations who have dubious recruitment practises, where it is normal for entire families to be employed in the same unit.

Most services provide their employees with the basic, statutory protection under whistleblower laws, but, without the foresight to considers situations where, having reported the malpractices of carer A, an employee is left to work alongside their husband, carer B, who’s less than happy at what you did.

All of this only creates an environment in which the reporting of malpractise is, in the first place, the real nuclear option, and often results in negative consequences. Information is not yet gathered about the proportion of whistleblowers who go on to be subject of some form of detrimental treatment, but, stories indicate that whistleblowing should, sadly, be approached with extreme caution and fear, and often, with a career change on the horizon.

In the meantime, at the centre of all of this, are the most vulnerable in our society. Lest we forget.

UK: Filming in a public place leads to arrest of art student.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A true Cognitive Dissident?

It seems Melanie Phillips checked our blog, and got the idea all wrong, as demonstrated in her latest piece in the Daily Mail today.

Mentioning Breivik’s drug habits and patriarchal problems as possible reasons for his, quote ‘psychosis‘, it seems dearest Melanie is trying ever so hard for it not to appear that she, and some other (insert minority group)-phobes,  and a murderer have similar political attitudes.

Gaunty is, erm, well, a prick. That is all.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

They just don’t get it: Clarkson

I posted this week on the spectre of nationalism (and the inherent pseudo xenophobic racism) which erupts now and again throughout Europe, highlighting that, even after the Second World War and the millions of dead, not much has changed, and a vein of intolerance, based around nationality, religion, and, yes, colour, continues to thump, thump, thump under the surface of continental, right-wing cultures, not out-of-place in 1930’s Berlin.

This month, we’re looking at some of the people who contribute, in some way or another, to this ideology of intolerance.

Let’s have a look at some crap from people who live in this Little England:

Jeremy Clarkson:

When I was their age it was crystal clear. Newspapers would report: “Fog in the Channel: Europe cut off.” Peter Ustinov would arrive at JFK airport and, having studied the signs saying “US citizens” and “Aliens”, he’d ask a security guard where the British should go. We were separate, different, better.

Reminding ourselves that Peter Ustinov, the quoted epitome of Britishness, the same Peter Alexander Baron von Ustinow, was son of a German father and Russian mother, with a fair distribution of Ethiopian, French and Italian ancestry. Not that I’m disputing his nationality, because, IT DOESN’T MATTER, but be mindful of the people you use to demonstrate Britishness, given that Ustinov was clearly just say British (It helps that his German father was a spy for MI5.)

We had saved the world from tyranny so often we’d lost count; 

Was that because the British Empire, the largest empire humanity had ever seen, which encompassed entire continents at various times in its history, was less than tolerant of other powers within its borders, and our governor’s ruled like tyrants in North America, Africa, Australia, India etc, thereby removing the functionality of other tyrants?

We were defined by our brilliance, our superiority, our technical know-how.

Of course, in the same that if I travelled back to Victorian London with a fully charged iPod, I would be defined by my iPod. The Industrial Revolution started in Britain, and, therefore, and obviously, defined us. It wasn’t as if the rest of the world, from the 16th to 19th century, had everything we did, but thought, ‘Wow, the British rock this better than we do’

Empire? When I was at school, teachers spoke with pride about how a little island in the north Atlantic turned a quarter of the world pink, but now all teachers talk about is the slave trade and how we must hang our heads in shame.

I forgot Jeremy left school last month, and has such close grasp of the current history curriculum. Aside from this, the problem with boasting about ‘turning a quarter of the world pink‘, was that it was mostly at the expense, and exploitation, of native cultures.

I believe people need to feel like they’re part of a gang, part of a tribe. And I also believe we need to feel pride in our gang.

This demonstrates what bolsters nationalism: tribes, historically, fought one another, not just for survival, but supremacy, revealing a modern undercurrent of militarism, and a pride in the days of militaristic glory, the kind that Prussian monarchs would have exuded. Whenever Britain is glorified, it usually includes something related to the second world war. Britain has never been a militaristic nation. That’s why people find it hard to swallow when moron’s bleat on about ‘Rule Britannia’. The likes of Clarkson remind me of WWI veteran general’s, who never fought, but sipped brandy, trying to remember the glorious battles.

This is the only country in the world where the national flag is deemed offensive. 

Yes, because, the likes of the EDL and BNP, believing in the kind of tripe Clarkson does, saw a niche in quiet, calm, ‘Britishness’, and perverted the flag. We never had a reason to flutter the flag at our front doors; not because we had nothing to be proud of, but simply because we didn’t see the need to, in the same way I don’t need to walk around with a placard saying ‘I’m Gay’, because I’m neither proud, nor ashamed. I just am. In the same way I am just British. I just am. It’s an attempt to identify with our tribalism, and hark back to militaristic glory, and, usually, challenging someone to say/do something contrary.

I sometimes get the impression Kate McCann is being hounded precisely because she has a stiff upper lip.

I don’t think it is, Jeremy.

Today disabled people get a statue in Trafalgar Square just because they got pregnant.

Again, I don’t think that was quite why. I think it was more because of its artistic and critical challenge, and not a commentary on  the success of someone’s fertility. That’s just an uneducated guess.

Cowardice is the new bravery.

Is Clarkson actually a Klingon Viking? Are we all to aspire to an honourable death in battle?

I want to end with a question. It’s addressed to all the equal opportunity, human rights, diet carbon, back room, bleeding heart liberals who advise the government: “I am English. Why is that a good thing?”

Not for the reasons you think, Jez.

FCKH8

Melanie Phillips, you’re going to FCKing H8 this

The Indy’s front page tomorrow


Breivik, and Europe’s perennial problem

As the number of victims of terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, and his actions last week in Norway, is revised to 76, more details are emerging of his motivation for the atrocities.

This morning, his lawyer claimed Breivik was insane. This much is obvious.

Breivik, the knight and face of residual European fascism

One of the reasons Breivik’s case is going to be held in closed session, aside for reasons of his own safety, is that, in fact, Breivik has already stated his case.

His manifesto, ‘2083-A European Declaration of Independence‘, contains various sections and articles, one of which is the behaviour of his followers, or Justiciar Knights, when apprehended and arraigned for the acts of terrorism, and the manner in which to address prosecutors and the court:

We, the PCCTS, Knights Templar and the Justiciar Knights of Europe and this country, have dedicated our lives to defend and sacrifice ourselves for the freedom of our people, our culture, Christendom and our nation

The closed session clearly removes the ability for Breivik to further spread his beliefs, and encourage further such terrorist acts by similar minded citizens, especially given his claims of international cells.

Breivik’s actions were apparently motivated by the supposed Islamization of Europe, believing that western governments are promoting Islam, revising history to this effect, and indoctrinating youth, through the Church and educational establishments.

Of course, as usually occurs in nationalist/xenophobic literature, is the distortion of facts, spun into perverted beliefs, usually wrapped up in a completely stupid argument:

A lot of people believe today that Christianity still is and was as evil as Islam?! I can attest to the fact that this is absolutely incorrect. Jihadi motivated killings, torture and enslavement count for more than 10 times as Christian motivated killings. However, the politically correct Western establishments want us to think otherwise

Or, maybe, this little chestnut of nonsense from Breivik’s manifesto:

I believe people need to feel like they’re part of a gang, part of a tribe. And I also believe we need to feel pride in our gang…if you say you are a patriot, men with beards and sandals will come round your house in the night and daub…slogans on your front door

(However, what is surprising is that the last quote didn’t just come from the fascist, murdering terrorist’s document, it also came from a publication much closer to home: The Times, and, a member of the Chippington Norton-set, the middle-aged-man’s-homo-erotic-mid-life-crisis-in-human-form, Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson, in an article titled ‘We’ve been robbed of our Englishness‘. And, I’m sure Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail, didn’t mean for her comments to be quoted so fully. Like Sunny Hundal, I don’t claim that Breivik’s actions were inspired by Phillips, or Clarkson, or Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, and all the others he quotes.)

What Breivik’s actions demonstrate is that the spectre of nationalism, in all it’s racist, xenophobic, and fascist ‘glory’, is ever-present on the European Continent, and continues to haunt democracy, tolerance and equality. This time, it claimed the lives of 76 people, as though 78 million was not enough.

As if Europe could somehow forget the trouble (‘trouble’, in this context, being an understatement for murder, rape, extermination, genocide etc) that ensues when you support nationalist policies, we see far right xenophobes gaining power in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, France, and, of course, Germany. Only this month, the remains of Rudolf Hess were exhumed and cremated to prevent pilgrimages from Neo Nazi’s.

A disturbing revelation from Breivik also, is of his apparent connections to the English Defence League, though this is denied. Of course.

What is some what comforting, is that our own home-grown racist bigots, of the white and pseudo Christian variety, have neither the deeply dangerous intelligence, nor the funds, to mimic Breivik, and usually are undone by a few pints and a football match.

Andy Hayman, the Grand Guffaw of the Murdoch Empire

Out of the mire that is the ‘Phone Hacking Scandal’, one of the people who have proven to be the Jar Jar Binks of this saga, is Andy Hayman, former Met Police Assistant Commissioner.

His outstanding performance before the Home Affairs Select Committee this week demonstrated beyond all doubt the reason why this buffoon is a ‘dodgy geezer’.

Can I just draw your attention to Andy Binks’ response to the question of whether he had ever taken a bribe: ‘I can’t believe you suggested that!’ Why can’t he believe that? Given the circumstances…

Mr. Hayman resigned in 2007 following dodgy email and text in a very dodgy context, dodgy expenses, following accusations of a dodgy inquiry into dodgy copper Ali Dezaei, dodgy handling of the investigation of the Stockwell Tube Shooting of an innocent man, a dodgy investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, then, while leading the investigation, a dodgy dinner meeting with the people he was investigating, and he now WRITES AS A COLUMNIST for The Times (Murdoch owned, of course).

Andy Hayman, it has nothing to do with your accent, the reason you were referred to as a dodgy geezer, is..BECAUSE YOUR A DODGY GEEZER.

He said he would eat his words if there were any new evidence in the Hacking cases…well, I fear the upcoming inquiries may very well serve up a nice plate of deep-fried corrupt-must-be-pursued-without-favour-or-fear, with a side order of regardless-of-the-repercussions wontons.

Enjoy Andy! because, I’m looking forward to you being roasted and shish kebabed!

Manifestations Of Mind

The team leader, demonstrating to the team how you abuse someone, this technique involves the use of a chair to pin the vulnerable adult, in this case Simone, and the application of foot to hand.

Last month, BBC’s Panorama programme, Undercover Care-The Abuse Exposed, explosively provided not only an insight, but literal window, into some of the abuses that can take place in the UK care system.

From waterboarding to a knee in the throat, from prompting suicide, to slapping someone in the face, the actions of a wide group of support workers at Bristol’s Winterbourne View care home, Castlebeck’s unit for people with learning disabilities, and the failure of the regulator, the Care Quality Commission, to act on information provided by whistleblowers, demonstrated to a shocked and disgusted nation the ‘standards of care’ currently stalking the corridors of these 21st Century Bedlams.

To date, 13 have been suspended, and nine have been arrested and bailed, and Castlebeck have apologised. As has the CQC, and the Government has not ruled out a public inquiry.

What has been exposed demonstrates the need for the largest overhaul of the care system, and the services provided to people with special needs, to date. I am addressing the concerns for this group specifically, as anyone with any experience, will understand, ‘one size does not fit all’.

I must start by declaring an interest: I am a support worker with adults who have autism, aspergers and other complex needs . I also have a younger brother, who uses non-residential care services. This provides a rather dynamic view, and approach, to the work I do, the standards I apply to myself (as well as those which regulate my profession), and, just as importantly, the standards of my colleagues, and, my employer. This doesn’t mean I think I’m some sort of one man justice league or Six Billion Dollar Support Worker; it’s my job.

Blogger, mental health author and former nurse, Connor Kinsella, writing in his blog about the state of care, and the evolution of the system from the asylums of the early 19th Century, asks,

Has anything changed, and what other reasons are behind such appalling abuses?

Well, money matters

Castlebeck, the provider at the centre of the abuse scandal, is ultimately owned by Swiss based Lydian Capital Partners, an independent private equity fund which

invests in market leading businesses in order to achieve long term capital growth (The webpage this was retrieved from, strangely, is no longer accessible, along with contact details. Hmmm)

It counts amongst its senior team Irish tycoons and entrepreneurs JP McManus, John Magnier, and Dennis Brosnan, as well as home-grown businessman Mike Parsons.

This group has investments, and ownership, in numerous service providers, including Cygnet Healthcare (a secure mental health care provision), Wellness Foods, and Barchester Healthcare, about to become the third largest private social care provider, assuming it consumes the failing Southern Cross.

What we must ask, armed with this information, is this: is being rich a good enough qualification to be operating a care provider?

the business is supported by strong future demand based on the demographics of the UK population, the long-term growth in older population and rising affluence continue to offer opportunities for investment in the sector (from the financial report of one of Lydian’s businesses)

I mentioned evolution of the care sector. It would appear that funding care has, sadly, yet to grow a thumb, as the problems, moral and ethical, were noted by John Connolly, resident physician at the Middlesex County Asylum in 1830, when he wrote:

care…being generally lucrative…the prospect of certain profit allures some capable of no feeling but a desire for wealth

Of course, this case brings to light more than just the question of private vs public care. I disregard the argument that if carers were paid more these abuses would never take place. What this argument means, is, if the pay was better, it would attract better people. No, it wouldn’t, unless providers ensure better recruitment practises.

Recruitment, training, care

Imagine, you struggle to understand the world and communicate. You don’t understand why you have to get dressed, what the green light at the crossings means, or what people are saying to you, you can’t tell others you need to go to the toilet, or understand and explain why, when you have to go in the bath, it upsets you, or even makes you angry. You need someone who is going to be your champion, your voice, your comforter, your translator, your support. Someone who understands you.

The right people must always be recruited. How do you know who are the right people, I hear you ask. Well, the CRB check is a start…at least they’re not on ‘the register’. Then, maybe, just maybe, there should be say, a qualification? Should this be combined with some experience? Of course!

Care is a vocation, not a professional half way house. A lot of support workers have come from a background totally unrelated to care, usually due to unforseen circumstances, and without any intention. I was a retail manager before I was made redundant several years ago. However, it was that job that was the half way house for me. Social work was where I was headed in college, but, circumstances change. I’m now in the sector I felt I needed to be in.  I wish I had qualified in my social care studies, to back up my own personal experiences of care, before I’d started, a situation I’m rectifying with my employer’s assistance. Thankfully, a lot of providers do train their staff to the highest standards. Some offer degree courses, alongside their work based learning. This is great. But, these qualifications and experiences should be gained before you’re expected to put your arm around someone to comfort them when they’re upset, or, as sometimes happens, redirect and talk someone down when they want to jump out of second story window. As Panorama showed, Wayne would have been discovered long before he entered Winterbourne and terrorized its residents had this been the case.

Sadly, other factors affect the standard of care in residential units like this. On a Facebook group set up shortly after the abuses were shown on BBC, someone asked

How did they employ so many like that in one place? Did they get each other the jobs or what?

A very pertinent question. Sadly, it’s true. Best friends, husbands and wives, fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, sometimes whole families, all working under the same roof, with the same group of service users. This doesn’t mean that all such people are ‘bad’ or going to do something ‘bad’, or, would refuse to report something ‘bad’, but, imagine you work in a care home, as does your daughter, and your daughter pokes a service user in the eye, or, throws them in the shower, fully clothed, to cool them off because, they got angry when she poked them in the eye? What would you do? Of course you would speak up…or would you? What happens to family life, after you daughter looses her job, and is barred from working in care again, or, is imprisoned for her abuses? Or, your autistic son tells you he’s been hit by his carer. When you ask who saw it, the only other person there, the only other witness was the carer’s uncle? These are a desperate situations, surely ones which no one should ever face.

Firstly, and most importantly, because abuse should never take place, but secondly, because responsible care providers should act with some propriety and professionalism. Protecting vulnerable adults is ensuring their safety, at all times.

What’s just as disturbing, is care providers who don’t foresee such problems, and who, in fact, incentivize the employment of friends and relatives, and thus create a closed shop culture, in which instances of abuse or neglect are allowed to go unreported.

Earn £250 simply by referring a friend to work for any…home, contact your home manager (A message featured on a carer’s payslip)

The response ‘You know what kind of person you’re taking on if they’re sponsored by an existing employee’ is a very poor one. You can’t know everything about someone’s character, even your family’s, especially how they would react to strange and difficult situations. What if your care assistant son was punched by a client with mental health issues, who thinks they are a character from Star Wars, and he retaliated, punching them back, or pinning them to the floor with a chair, and you, their team leader, saw it?

Come off it. It’s a untenable situation.

Risk assessments are a major feature in care planning, but, it usually focuses on the use of lifts, crossing the road, the administration of medication etc. Surely, risks should be evident in the employment of friends and relatives.

This also makes a mockery of whistleblower procedures. Most services provide their employees with the basic, statutory protection under whistleblower laws, but, without the foresight to considers situations where, having reported the malpractices of carer A, an employee is left to work alongside their husband, carer B, who’s less than happy at what you did. What would you do? My advice: without hesitation, speak up, and weather the storm. Afterall, it’s someone’s life. But, some don’t for fear of retribution and revenge, and this will continue to happen, unless prevented by adequate statutory provisions, robust policies, and their application by fearlessly professional employees, from the top down.

Terry Bryan, myself, and all the other people who actually care, will keep on fighting, speaking up, and being a voice for those that have none. We’ll continue to laugh, sing, joke, explain and support. Not because we’re angels, or heroes, or anything like that. Simply because we care.

What all of this highlights, in an admittedly very poor way, is that NOT A LOT OF CARING IS GOING ON. There are too many self-interested people in the sector, where there’s an awful lot of money to be had by cutting corners and turning a blind eye, while the most vulnerable in our society undergo waterboarding, get kicked, slapped and punched.

This needs to stop. Things must change. Now.

What’s left of the Left

On your marks–get set.., GO! The ‘March For The Alternative’ is in full swing. Tens of thousands have descended on London to protest the coalition government’s plans to cut public services.

The intent is to

…give a national voice to all those affected by the cuts…show that people reject the argument that there is no alternative.

In the run up, the long run up, I’ve been bombarded with several tree’s worth of literature from my union, urging me to take part. I haven’t. Because, I’m not sure were my position is. I’m not sure I want to back my union, and the rest of the Trades Union Congress. Because, I’m not entirely sure of their motives.

Don’t get me wrong, I HATE the Tories being in any way, shape, or form, in control of my past, present, or future, and UTTERLY DETEST the Jellied Eels, sorry, Lib Dems.

However, what I also dislike, as does the Chief Medical Officer, is fat people getting fatter; The fat people in this case being public sector workers and, to some extent, union bureaucrats.

I don’t need to catalogue the failures and problems of the Coalition. Their problems are omnipresent. What is annoying me is the hypocrisy of the public sector.

It seems public sector workers have basically dropped a bollock at the thought of their pay being cut, or their pensions being touched.

‘We’re all in this together’ is the phrase that has been most abused since this government came to power, but if I have little in common with the Bullingdon Club, and the cabinet millionaires, I likewise have little in common with the public sector, and, in fact, the cause of the TUC.

Today’s march will no more achieve its goals than the marchers did before the Iraq War (though, it was an exciting day out, but did spoil my trip up to Trafalgar Square).

However, what I do agree with, wholly support, and wish I was there to participate in, is the actions of UKUncut.

As I’m writing, the group, formed in October 2010, is currently occupying Fortnum & Mason’s.

We are going to have to endure a period where there is not going to be much money floating, but we must ensure that what is there, is spent correctly, and money that should be there, just like Fortnum’s £10million, Vodaphone’s £6billion, Tesco’s £90million, is collected



LIVING ON A BUDGET

Well, George ‘Porgey’ Osborne, has delivered his second Budget as Chancellor of the Exchequer; the second of the Coalition Government.

There doesn’t seem to be any highlights, which was to be expected, I suppose, during these apparent times of austerity. Austerity being relative, of course.

What I did want to point out amongst all of this bluster (and there will be bluster, but, not here as there’s a chance I may develop Carpal Tunnel syndrome if I were to list the issues arising from this new ingredient in the soup of nonsense), is something we should all bear in mind…the people making all of these decisions are not all, as good ol’ Porgey puts it, in this together.

Let’s remember that 23 of the 29 members of the Con Dem government are millionaires, with Lord Strathclyde (£10million) topping the list. Two have made their fortunes from direct involvement in the banks (one of them ACTUALLY with RBS),  four made it from their City investments, and three married wealthy heiresses (heiress being the operative word for daughters of Baronets). And, just to throw this into the mix, David Cameron and his wife are descendents of Royalty…not it that makes a difference to talent, and hard work of course…)