Tweedledum and Tweedledee

I found this telling pair of photographs on Twitter and retweeted them at once because I was so struck by the similarities between these two men. Now, thanks to the skill of my amanuensis, they are up here for you to see too, the POTUS and El Duce. Two self obsessed, power hungry Fascists, striking a pose which they think will show their followers how invincibly powerful and superior they are and which actually reveals them as petty, arrogant, narcissistic and cruel. Fascist leaders have a lot in common and none of it is admirable. And one of the worse things is that they all need and use a mob of angry, bellowing men – and women- who can be worked up by lies and propaganda until they will act in any way their dictator/leader wants them to. In Mussolini’s case it was dropping poison gas on totally unarmed Ethiopians, so that their beloved leader could start building an Empire, in Hitler’s it was hating Jews so much that they would beat them up on the streets and agree to sending them to concentration camps and gassing them, in Trump’s it was working his followers into such a lather that they would take to the streets with their flags and guns and trash the Capitol. As a result, five people died, many were injured and there were 60 arrests.

It will be interesting to see what steps Joe Biden and his newly elected Government will be able to take to control the uprising and punish Trump as he richly deserves. I hope they will be decisive and taken as soon as possible. Fascist dictators need to be dealt with as early on in their careers as possible. They are very dangerous men and if they’re not put under strict control they do a lot of damage.

We can’t help our allies across the Atlantic very much, except by cheering them on and sympathising. We have a Fascist government here, lead by the man Trump calls ‘the British Trump’ and that’s going to take all our energy in the next few years. It’s not called Fascist yet – except by those of us who have recognised it for what it is. There are still far too many people who swallow his lies and the media propaganda in his favour and say he’s doing his best, given what a terrible situation we’re in. But those of us who know what we’re up against also know that we’re going to have a Herculean job to cleanse his particular Augean stables and it won’t be done in a day.

George Orwell knew it was coming and gave us fair warning of it many years ago. Take a look at this

‘When I speak of Fascism in England,” he wrote, ”I am not necessarily thinking of Moseley and his pimpled followers. English Fascism, when it arrives, is likely to be of a sedate and subtle kind (presumably, at any rate at first it won’t be called Fascism.)”

I reckon he was spot on.

But it isn’t just Johnson we are up against. It’s an evil ideology and there are a whole pack of them all eager for power for themselves, and equally eager to keep us out of the EU otherwise they would be forced to pay their taxes (which is what Brexit was all about ) who will take over if and when their current leader is removed. To cut that cancer from our body politic could take years. God help us. But to cheer you up at least we’ve got one mouth out of the way – even though he had Trump’s blessing. And we do have a very different ideology to work towards. As this very different man explained.

”Patriotism,” he said, ”is about supporting each other, not attacking somebody else. It’s about loving your country enough to make it a place where nobody is homeless or hungry, held back or left behind.”

This entry was posted on January 9, 2021. 2 Comments

Blake’s Cottage Yet Again

During the last few weeks people have been asking me what has happened to Blake’s Cottage and my answer has had to be ‘Nothing as far as I know.’ And then this week a visitor to my blog took at look at this now very dated piece. I wrote it on October 12th 2016, which is more than four years ago, when I was gathering signatures for a petition to ask the three men who ‘hold the cottage in trust for the nation‘ to get on with the repairs it needed. And I’m repeating it now because it shows that in all this time NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.

”Sorry to come back at you on Blake’s Cottage for the 2nd time in two days – I’ll put a fun blog up later I promise! – but this needs to be said and said quickly.

Several people have contacted me about my last blog feeling despondent and saying ‘if they haven’t any money, there’s no point in signing the petition.’ This is to try to convince them and others who might be thinking in the same way that the petition is in fact even more necessary and pressing now then it ever was. If we just sit back and do nothing, the triumvirate will go on dreaming about the money that they truly believe they will eventually be given and nothing will be done at all for years. That’s sad to say, but it’s true and the eventual outcome of this shilly-shallying will be that the cottage will degenerate so far that it will either be pulled down or collapse.

What we need now is massive pressure from as many people as we can persuade to sign the petition and make it grow. The more signatures we get, the nearer the time will come when a) the press and television take notice of what we’re asking, b) the matter becomes public and c) the triumvirate will be under such heavy pressure that they will finally have to admit that they don’t have the money to do anything to the cottage beyond prop it up with steel supports and that they will, however reluctantly, have to hand it over to the National Trust or English Heritage. That is the obvious and inevitable result of the situation they are in and the sooner we achieve it, the better.”

But the petition was ignored and NOTHING WAS DONE. And now the cottage is in an even worse state than it was then and even nearer to the time when it will be condemned and pulled down. And even worse, no one seems to know how to contact any of the three men who are supposed to ‘hold it in trust for the nation.’ As one man who’s been trying, put it. ‘They seem to have vanished into thin air.’

Well I’ve done my best to contact all three of them but with precious little success and this is what I’ve managed to come up with. I hope it helps.

1) It is impossible to find any address or contact number for Dr Michael Phillips ( I’ve tried on several occasions).

2) Peter Johns has left the house he owned in Lavant and although I have his mobile phone number, he is friendly but quite unable to help. He says funds are coming in but very slowly and that they are all honourable men who are doing their best. Which is soothing but useless. He tried to reassure me by telling me they are all contactable via the BCT website.

So I went into the site and discovered that the only contact number is Tim Heath’s mobile which he doesn’t answer.

3) And what of Tim Heath? Well he is doing a Trump, squatting in his late mother’s house and refusing to budge, to the considerable annoyance of his brother who has been trying to sell it ever since their mother’s will was proven. This is the house that was featured in the Daily Mail article (which I wrote a blog about) so I know the address as well as his mobile number.

As far as I can see, the only possible solution now is for one or other of the three trustees to apply to the National Trust to see if they would take the cottage over. It is now totally unsaleable. You only have to walk past it to see that. And how would we ordinary Blake lovers be able to persuade any of them to do that? That’s the question we face now. Oh for the backing of a reputable national newspaper.

This entry was posted on December 10, 2020. 2 Comments

Christmas sweeties for the idiots.

Batten down the hatches, my fellow writers, readers and friends. This one is political and I’m writing it for two reasons.

The first is because of the Prime Mendaciter’s asinine announcement that we can all get together with our friends and families over Christmas and have a jolly old time. This is Johnson handing out sweeties to the idiots, so that we all think what a jolly, cuddly old buffoon he is and fail to notice that this decision is foolhardy and extremely dangerous. Pandemics don’t shut down for Christmas. But after all, as Cummings said, it doesn’t matter if a few thousands of us die. We’re just plebs and we need culling.

But there is a second reason too and this one is equally dangerous and even more alarming. Yesterday I read an article in the Guardian written by George Monbiot, a journalist for whom I have great respect. It was headed ”There is a civil war in Capitalism, and we’re the collateral damage” and what it examined was the profound and largely unnoticed change that has taken place in our society. He describes it succinctly.

Broadly speaking,’ he writes, ‘there are two dominant forms of capitalist enterprise. The first could be described as housetrained capitalism. It seeks an accommodation with the administrative state … and can coexist with a tame and feeble form of democracy.”

But the second form is another matter altogether. He calls it warlord capitalism and it’s an accurate description, for it is run by rapacious billionaires who have money and bases all over the world. Their greed for money and the power it brings is absolutely boundless. The more they have, the more they want and they will use any means, however damaging they are to the rest of us, in order to get their own way. They are dangerous and ruthless people. To his lasting credit, George Monbiot names a lot of them.

He starts off by writing about two books that described the process, one written by Friedrich Hayek and the other by Ayn Rand (and no I hadn’t heard of her either so I looked her up. She was a Russian American born in 1905 so she was seeing capitalism in its infancy and was very impressed by it. Many of us have a different view.) But then the article continues and he names the men who are influencing events now and how they are doing it, starting with Trump’s friend and ally, Steve Bannon, who has recently been banned from Twitter for calling for the beheading of Dr Antony Fauci, and was one of the massive backers of the Leave Campaign. Then he goes on to name the other massive supporters of the campaign, all of them billionaires and all of them warlords, Peter Hargreaves, another billionaire who backed the Leave campaign with another massive donation, Robert Mercer from the USA, Christopher Harborne who is based in Thailand, Jeremy Hosking who has business interests in Dublin and Delaware. The gang is worldwide, obscenely rich and hideously powerful. And they don’t care what happens to the rest of us as a result of their machinations.

And let there be no doubt about this either. The Brexit campaign was not run to give ordinary men and women ‘freedom’, whatever that means now, and a better chance in life, or to keep immigrants out of the country, as the gullible were told, it was run solely to ensure that the warlord billionaires didn’t get forced to pay the taxes they owed.

As George Monbiot puts it. ‘We are just caught in the crossfire of capitalism’s civil war.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Much loved toys

I’m giving you a gentle blog today, because it makes a nice change and because I’m too much of a coward at the moment to offer a tough one. I’ll adjust my protective shell and get back to work on those later.

This one is about much loved toys and it was my younger daughter Caroline who set me thinking about it.

She has had a toy seal since she was a baby. She called him Dodo and loved him dearly and he went everywhere with her, as is the way with much loved toys. But at 61 years old he was rather the worse for wear, no longer his original snow-white, cuddly self, but grey and grubby, totally eyeless and decidedly flat. So, as she is temporarily off work and has some time to spare, she decided to resuscitate the poor thing He’s been washed and dried and all his elderly stuffing has been taken out of him and replaced by new, (Oh how I wish someone would do me that service!) he’s got one new eye (she stitched one in with brown wool but didn’t have enough left for the other, which will have to wait until she can get out and buy some) and he’s now quite his old cuddly self. She brought him round to see me today, trailing lovely memories with him. It was like meeting an old friend.

The second loved toy is the bear in the red bow. He is called Jingles because he had bells in his paws. and he belonged to my first daughter Mary and was another much loved animal and omnipresent animal who went everywhere with her. Now like Dodo he is very old – 64 to be exact – and the bells have long since fallen silent, but like Dodo, he has been brushed clean and lovingly repaired with a new muzzle and new paws and a brand new red ribbon, as a final admiring touch.

The third is the very elderly and hairless bear sitting in the middle between the other two. He needs very tender care these days, because he belonged to Larry and was the first special toy in the family doing service as a bed-mate and pillow when they were both very young, and continuing in office from then on, presiding over his workroom from the top shelf, above all the books, when his master was a six-foot much loved teacher. He can’t be repaired now because his fur is so worn and he’s been flattened by so much wear but he is still an object of great affection. because of the man he belonged too. Ah my dear Larry, we do miss you.

And here’s the final much loved ‘toy’ (if books count as toys). I found it in the library in our house in Longley Road And took it with me when I left. It’s on my library shelves still and it’s so old it’s an antique. Printed in 1915. I wrote the poem about it when I was in my thirties when I’d begun to understand how poetry worked.

‘Jack Bruin or love-lies-bleeding.’
My favourite fairy story as a child
Was cruel and frightening and little known
And so absorbed with triplefold delight.
The hero was a hairy commoner
Called Bruin for he looked so like a bear.

Newly arrived at manhood, off he set
To seek his fortune. And he found a well
Both Freudian and deep, which he descended
(Such the intrepid folly of our youth) and once below
Fought dogs and dragons wading in their blood,
And won a bride, willing and beautiful
(Such the simplicity and ease of dreams).
There seemed one problem only in his way
How to ascend the tunnel with his love
And find again the common world of day.

New friends and knowledgeable offered aid.
There was an eagle made a daily flight
Straight up the tunnel, and if he were paid
With hourly slices of some tender meat –
Two sheep were quite sufficient in this case –
Would carry passengers. The deal waas made
His shoulders firmly in the eagle’s claws
Bruin departed carrying his mate.

His friends were helpful, but Arithmetic
Was quite beyond their fairy story minds.
Bering the weight of two instead of one
The trip took longer and the meat ran out.
The carcases were clean. The eagle shrieked.
Without his pay, he’d cast them down to die.
Jack Bruin hesitated, kissed his girl
And carved the next slice from his quivering thigh.
And so throughout the rest of the ascent
He fed the heedless eagle with himself
Emerging to the world a bloody wreck
Unconscious, with his bride about his neck.

But wait, read on, the story isn’t done.
There’s more to come and it’s miraculous.

Out of the Forest, bearing magic salves
A goblin came to heal our hero’s wounds
And grow a covering of new young flesh
Without a hair in sight, a perfect mend.
So love and ointment conquered in the end.

This entry was posted on November 24, 2020. 4 Comments

One for amusement!

This map strikes me as rather amusing, because it shows where my blog followers and readers have come from, and it tickles me to think that it’s travelled so widely. I’d love to know who all these people are, they feel like friends although of course some of them could read me and be very disapproving.

The table below analyses the number of people from each place and that’s interesting too – or at least it is to me. Who on earth knows me enough to follow me in Kyrgyzstan, Gambia, Haiti? Can you see my mind boggling? Perhaps it’s a travelling salesman who follows me from all the places he/she visits.

Greetings to you all though, whoever and wherever you are!!

United Kingdom22703
United States3107
New Zealand170
Hong Kong SAR China74
South Africa34
Isle of Man12
European Union12
United Arab Emirates5
South Korea5
Czech Republic4
Saudi Arabia4
Dominican Republic2
Côte d’Ivoire2
Cape Verde1
Sri Lanka1
Trinidad & Tobago1
St. Lucia1
Myanmar (Burma)1
Faroe Islands1
Costa Rica1
This entry was posted on November 18, 2020. 2 Comments

Welcome back Jeremy!

The Labour party has reinstated Jeremy Corbyn after suspending him 19 days ago. At the time of writing they haven’t made up their minds whether to restore the Labour whip, which is interesting because that is a decision that needs to be made by the leader (Keir Starmer) and the Chief Whip (Nick Brown), which would put them right in the spotlight.

All sorts of reasons are being offered by the media for this sudden change of heart, but interestingly the one that seems most obvious to me nobody has mentioned at all. And that is the fact that the party is now haemorrhaging members. And that bit of information is being kept secret too, but in my cynical way I suspect that it is because there are rather a lot of them. I don’t think we ought to forget – although the press would prefer if we did – that Mr Corbyn attracted around 400,000 new members. And again interestingly, it’s not possible to find out from the press how many there actually were, but you’ve only got to look at the crowds who gathered to hear what he had to say.

Margaret Hodge must be spitting feathers today, poor baby. She was so sure that she and her friends had dealt the death blow to Corbyn’s political career. Do you remember how triumphalist she was? ‘He’s yesterday’s man…’ she said. ‘He is absolutely irrelevant… as we’re looking to the future.’ 

In fact a lot of us would say, he’s the most ‘relevant’ man in the whole of the Labour party, although thankfully there are one or two like Andy Burnham and Ed Miliband who come very close second. We are not all Corbyn-baiters thank god and most of us are ardently in favour of government for the many and not government for the obscenely wealthy few.

Watch this space.

This entry was posted on November 18, 2020. 4 Comments

One down, one to go!

Like millions of others all over the world, I followed the nail biting count after the Presidential Election in America very closely, sometimes with aching impatience, sometimes fluctuating between a flickering hope and an anguish of despair. I felt the democrats had to get rid of this impossible man and yet I was afraid that his incessant propaganda would win him a second term. The final result made me weep with relief. Now and at last the orange man baby had been given the sack by the electorate.

But sadly, that isn’t the end of it. By his very warped nature, he was bound to deny the result so it was no surprise that the propaganda coming out of his office in the days that followed, shrieked that the result had been ‘cooked’ and that it was all the fault of voting by mail. He went so far as to suggest that 50,000 people in Ohio who had voted by mail, had voted illegally. “This” he said was evidence of a “rigged election”. The director of the FBI countered by saying there was no evidence of widespread fraud but the man-baby ignored him and started to post pictures of garbage bags which he claimed contained votes for him that had been deliberately thrown away. As if that weren’t bad and petty enough, less than a week after the results were out and early in the morning, the White House North lawn was dug up, a fact reported by Betzy Klein, who covered The White House with the CNN team and pictured here.

Pictures have been a great help to us over this whole affair. This excellent photoshopped cartoon-come-picture made me laugh and was certainly a comfort. But the plain blunt truth is that the American’s have yet to get this dangerous man out of the White House and out of power. At the moment he is still there. He has his finger on the nuclear trigger and having sacked his attorney general Mark Esper, there is no-one around with the power to prevent it and he also has access to all sorts of private information that could be very damaging to a lot of people and which he would have no compunction at all in using. For this is a man without a conscience and without morals. He couldn’t even bring himself to write the customary letter of congratulation to the man who is going to succeed him. This is an unheard of thing, for every other ex-President has accepted defeat gracefully and written a congratulatory note to the new incoming President, as one American to another.

The President elect has got his work cut out.

But then so have we. For the man in power in this country is just such another as man-baby Trump. Like Trump, he tells lies as easily as he breathes, like Trump he uses propaganda very skilfully – remember the red bus and its fraudulent claim? and all those ‘Turks’ on the other infamous poster supposedly queueing up to invade our country – he is a racist and a womanising misogynist, his speeches are not just untruthful but alarmingly illiterate, piffle paffle, wiffle waffle, one grindingly unsuitable metaphor after another. And he is still firmly ensconced in power with most of the media backing him and, like his role model, means to stay there. He is going to be very difficult indeed to dislodge. I don’t know which of us, the millions of democrats in America and the millions of socialists in this country, have the most difficult job.

But the democrats who voted Trump out have shown us the way to start.

One down and one to go.

This entry was posted on November 11, 2020. 3 Comments

Now what?

So Keir Starmer has thrown Jeremy Corbyn out of the Labour party to the horror of all his many followers, both in the party and outside. Twitter was fizzing with the news yesterday as soon as it was announced and more than one person was wondering what would happen to the Labour party now.

I think we need reminding how many people joined the party in the first place because they were inspired by this man, who really does believe that the Labour party should represent the ‘many’ and not just the ‘few’ and stands for justice and fairness and is not in the least racially prejudice – which is more than you can say for our Prime Mendacitor.

In the last count reported on Twitter 400,000 people joined the Labour party simply because of Corbyn and the vision that he gave them. For although he was much maligned by the right wing of the Labour party and the bulk of the media, Jeremy could move the crowds and inspire hope and optimism amongst the listeners at his many enormous rallies, like no other man in the party, although Andy Burnham comes close.

Now they are questioning how on earth such a thing could be allowed to happen to him.

Margaret Hodge speaking on television yesterday, let the cat out of the bag. She was talking about the statement that Corbyn issued after the EHRC report had come out and she said ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s statement demonstrates that he is in permanent denial about the extent of the problem… He’s yesterday’s man… he is absolutely irrelevant… as we’re looking to the future.’ How’s that for triumphalism? And doesn’t she gloat?! No surprises there because she has hated him for a very long time and now she thinks her friend Starmer has got rid of him for ‘good and all’. But have they? I wonder.

Other people on Twitter had very different ideas and interpretations. Here is Mark Hebden quoting from the report and saying ‘Five hundred thousand cases of antisemitism had been investigated by the EHRC and TWO found to be in breach of the equality act.’ ‘Yeah,’ Mr Hebden mocks. ‘Labour was “riddled” with antisemitism in the last five years.’ And he goes on to say ‘now do the Tories.’

By that time people who had joined the Labour party because of Jeremy Corbyn, were handing in their notice, others like @Josie64 were saying ‘this is now the time to form a new party with Jeremy Corbyn as leader.’

And take a look at this.

As you’ll notice a new hashtag had been brought into play #WeAreCorbyn.

Maybe, as another writer said, ‘UK Labour have not stabbed Jeremy Corbyn in the back. They have committed suicide.’

Tony Benn saw this coming a long time ago and predicted it neatly. ‘If the Labour party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists,’ he said. ‘The media – having tasted blood – would demand that it expel its socialists and form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which would be allowed to take office now and again when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British capitalism would be made safe.’

A prescient man our Tony Benn for isn’t this exactly what is happening now.

I think the next few days are going to be extremely interesting. I would love to think that we would have a new huge socialist party led by people like Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Andy Burnham. For these are people who are in politics not to feather their own nests and make obscene amounts of money for themselves and their friends, but to care for the huge majority or ordinary, hardworking, decent people. The ones Shelley was talking to when he advised us to ‘Rise like lions after slumber’ and reminded us that:

‘Ye are many, they are few.’

This entry was posted on October 30, 2020. 8 Comments

Responsibility versus Greed.

‘Look here, upon this picture, and on this’ as Hamlet said to his mother. The two pictures I’ve put up here are symbols of the current state of our nation. On the left hand side is Andy Burnham who is not just a handsome man but a man with principle, the right hand picture shows our Prime Mendacitor, a man with no principles at all, except for making money for himself and his friends. This has never been so clearly shown as it is now.

This Tuesday, Andy Burnham was told by the PM that Greater Manchester was going to be put into Tier 3 lockdown and asked the Government to assist the people in Greater Manchester who would lose their jobs in consequence by giving them financial help. He had estimated that it would require “Fifteen million pounds a month was what we costed was needed to support people across the 10 boroughs that make up Greater Manchester.” And that would add up to £90 million pounds up to the end of the financial year. During the discussions Andy Burnham said they would accept a lower figure of £65 million but could not possibly manage on less. At that point Johnson did what he always does in a tight situation, he closed the discussions and walked away.

At which point Andy Burnham made a passionate, public statement, standing up for the people he’d been elected to serve and lead. This is what he said.

“People here in Greater Manchester have been living under restrictions for three months, and they have taken a heavy toll on people. They are struggling. Businesses are on the brink of closure. To accept any further restrictions in these circumstances would be certain to increase levels of poverty, homelessness, and hardship within our city-region.”

“Let’s be clear who is most affected by a Tier 3 lockdown: it is people working in pubs, in bookies, driving taxis. People too often forgotten by those in power.

“At the start of these negotiations, together with the Leaders of our councils, we made a commitment to all of those people that we would look out for them and stand up for what is right. It cannot be right to close people’s place of work, to shut somebody’s business, without giving them proper support so they can look after themselves, their families, through a very challenging winter that lies ahead of us.”

“We have been clear throughout: we could only accept further restrictions with full financial support. We put forward a costed package of measures – a detailed package of measures – but in particular to support people on the lowest incomes and people who are self-employed. These would be people who would need support to top up the furlough to 80%, recognising people can’t live on two thirds of their wages; people who are self-employed, also with 80% of their income, so they could make ends meet. That was the commitment that we made.”

“In negotiations with the Government we were prepared to reduce our request to £75 million, and we even were prepared to go even lower – £65 million as the bare minimum – to prevent a winter of real hardship here. That is what we believe we needed to prevent poverty. To prevent hardship. To prevent homelessness. Those were the figures that we had: not what we wanted, what we needed to prevent all of those things happening. But the Government refused to accept this, and at two o’clock today they walked away from negotiations.”

“I don’t think it is right to ask people to go into a lockdown, to accept further changes within their lives, without supporting them through all of that and what it entails. It can’t be right to do that.”

“I don’t believe we can proceed as a country on this basis through the pandemic – by grinding communities down through punishing financial negotiations. We are asking a lot of the public at this difficult time, and we need to carry them with us, not crush their spirit.”

“I want to finish by speaking directly to the people of Greater Manchester. We will carry on fighting for you, we will carry on putting your health first. But health is more than the virus. We will support people’s health in the broadest possible sense. Tough days lie ahead. Please, everybody, observe the law at all times and follow the public health advice.”

“Above all else, please look out for each other, as I know you will.”

There speaks a principled politician and what a joy it was to hear him.

But in order to understand this situation fully, I’m going to quote from an article in The Guardian, written by George Monbiot, partly because it is so succinct and detailed but also because I totally agree with him.

“If you are not incandescent with rage,” he writes, “you haven’t grasped the scale of what has been done to us. The new surge in the coronavirus, and the restrictions and local lockdowns it has triggered, are caused in large part by the catastrophic failure of the test-and-trace system. Its £12bn budget has been blown, as those in charge of it have failed to drive the infection rate below the critical threshold.”

Yet the waste and inefficiency caused by privatising essential public health functions is off the scale.”

The government’s irrational obsession with the private sector is symbolised by its appointment of Dido Harding to run NHS test and trace. She worked at McKinsey, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and as chief executive of TalkTalk. After a disastrous hack of the TalkTalk database, exposing both the details of 4 million customers and Harding’s ignorance of the technology, she acquired the moniker Dido, queen of carnage, a nice pun on Christopher Marlowe’s play. In 2014 David Cameron, an old friend, made her a baroness; she sits in the House of Lords as a Conservative peer.

One of the government’s most controversial contracts is with Randox. It gave the global healthcare firm a £133m deal, without advertisement or competition, to supply testing kits. In July, following a series of errors, the government withdrew Randox testing kits, on the grounds that they might be unsafe.

The test-and-trace system might be a public health fiasco, but it’s a private profit bonanza. Consultants at one of the companies involved have each been earning £6,000 a day. Massive contracts have been awarded without competitive tendering. Astonishingly, at least one of these, worth £410m and issued to Serco, contains no penalty clause: even if Serco fails to fulfil its terms, it gets paid in full.

Why is failure rewarded? Why are contracts issued with so little accountability or transparency? There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but you might expect the government’s Anti-Corruption Champion to investigate. Or perhaps not. He is John Penrose MP, Dido Harding’s husband.” – Jobs for the boys!

The head of Serco, Rupert Soames, is the grandson of Winston Churchill and the brother of a former Tory MP. His wife, Camilla, is a Conservative party donor. An email of his, leaked in June, suggested that the coronavirus pandemic could go “a long way in cementing the position of private sector companies in the public sector supply chain”.

The government has bypassed the lean and efficient NHS to create an outsourced, privatised system characterised by incompetence and failure. The system’s waste is measured not just in pounds, but in human lives. It is measured in mass unemployment, economic crisis, grief, isolation, long-term illness and avoidable death. So much for the efficiencies of privatisation.

On Monday 21st September 2020, the Labour party or to be more specific, the Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds published a “‘file of failure’ detailing about £3.9 billion that Labour said the government has mismanaged and spent on ineffective schemes and equipment.”

The details are a hideous list of corruption.

  1. “£133 million was handed over to Conservative donor Randox Laboratories for testing kits, of which 750,000 had to be recalled by the Department of Health and Social Care because they turned out to be unsafe.”
  2. At least £150m of a £252m face mask contract with Ayanda Capital was wasted due to the unsuitability of one type of mask ordered.”
  3. “Serco was contracted for £108m and Sitel £84m to run the national contact tracing service until late August, when their contracts were renewed despite poor performance. It is reported to have cost taxpayers £900 per person contacted by the scheme.”

‘In response to the publishing of the file, a Unite spokesperson said: “Labour is absolutely right to shine a light on the cost to the country of the Tories’ approach to getting this virus under control. The cronyism and chaos sickens voters. The funnelling of masses of public cash the way of their mates while at the same time talking of cuts to benefits to ‘pay’ for this crisis is just the same old Tories. Not acting in the public interest and certainly not up to the job.”’

And now, they are refusing to give Greater Manchester even the limited financial help they are asking for. The clash between responsibility and private greed is now so obvious I don’t think anybody, except the massively brainwashed, can possibly ignore it.

Strength to your arm Andy Burnham and thank you for the stand you’ve taken.

This entry was posted on October 22, 2020. 4 Comments

A new love affair

This is the first time I’ve seen a love affair develop between a cat and a two year old boy. At first I thought it was just cupboard love because our Frankie fed Dixie treats whenever he came, but then all sorts of other signs made me re-think.

Yesterday Dixie was a real pain in the bum. He sat all over the keyboard so that we couldn’t work, he sat in the kitchen on the microwave and glowered and he watched the road, pretty well all day, obviously waiting for our Frankie to arrive, only of course our Frankie doesn’t arrive on a Wednesday.

But this morning there he was and here they both are in the kitchen enjoying one another’s company and yes there is food involved, because Frankie feeds the cat treats, but the affection is there and obvious.

Ain’t love grand!