"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Archive for February, 2011

Opinion: BINGE DRINKING:SOCIETY OR GOVERNMENT CREATION?


By Tony Barrett

In light of the governments’ new proposals to combat binge drinking, I believe it is time to set the record straight as to how this not so new cultural aspect of British society has come to be one of our present day nightmares. The past and present government has insinuated that it is societies fault for having no self-control, I disagree and so would most others.

What follows is my defence of society and to show that it was the last Conservative government that introduced a new legal framework governing the sale and distribution of alcohol making its accessibility easier, the Labour government that followed then relaxed the laws even further.

The results of excessive/binge drinking are numerous; one only has to walk up the high street after 10 o’clock at night. (With its clubs, bars wine bars all side by side all offering cheap deals for a few hours early on in the evening, encouraging us out earlier.) We see adults and youth of various ages in various states of inebriation some are lying on the floor being attended by paramedics, others are in direct confrontation with each other, policemen everywhere, A&E full of drunk people who have hurt themselves with their mates being a nuisance. All this is putting pressure on services that are already stretched. Paramedics Nurses Doctors the Police do not need to be wet-nursing the drunken idiots created by consecutive governments making decisions based upon. “Business Pressure, their own Greed, and the need to create forms of Social Control. They need to be protecting and caring for society.

Time after time we have heard the past and the present Government voice their concerns over the issue of “Binge Drinking.” Binge drinking has been about within the younger generation of our society for at least three generations. It has been made a lot easier since the 1990s. Before the introduction of new legislation, the lessening of the severity of licensing laws, there were only small windows of opportunities for us to be able to get a drink in drinking establishments. These establishments were only open for a few hours a day and even less on Sundays, off licences were a rarity on the high street.

When attending college in the early eighties, you couldn’t wait to get to the bar and see if you could beat your time on the yard of ale, or just pint for pint challenges. When on University campus in the early nineties the entire culture was one of lets get pissed. Football violence/hooliganism was at its worst in the late seventies and the majority of the eighties to see, what excessive drinking did to the mind set of opposing fans, this is not to exclude the other influences on the violent conduct, adding copious amounts of alcohol can be seen as adding petrol to a simmering fire.

Toward the end of the eighties a new trend was seen to be sweeping the country, described by the media as “Acid House Parties”. Adults gathering together to listen to music all night, take MDMA, (Ecstasy) dance the night away, whilst not touching a drop of alcohol. Returning home the next day on a great high. No hangover, did not have a bad night due to drunks in the towns. Very little expenditure, when these so called Parties first started the MDMA was free and pure and there was no admittance fee. Best of all did not have to listen to the appalling noise that was Brit pop music that did nothing for the soul and only appealed if one was under the age of 13. Coincidently with the availability of ecstasy on the increase we saw a drop in football hooliganism, ecstasy cannot take the entire credit some has to go the authorities for changing the infrastructure surrounding the watching of football within stadiums.

During the early part of the 1990s Night club owners, Publicans and the Breweries began experiencing a down turn in income, there were several reasons for this, fairly high inflation, low wages, high unemployment, restrictive legislation governing the availability of entertainment, and small windows of opportunity when establishments were open, and the lack of a “Drink Culture”. For those working and able to afford to go out and consume alcohol, it was a mad rush to get home from work, change, have something to eat, and get out before everywhere was shut.

Those within the Industry approached the government asking for a review of the licensing laws as their industry was suffering, they cited that it was mainly down to the rave culture, conveniently forgetting several other contributing factors. The then Conservative government had concerns with the rave culture;

 

  1. They were unable to Tax these events.
  2. They had no control over them.
  3. They were unable to engage with this culture.

The governments decision was to hold a review of the licensing laws, whilst to include within the CJB (Criminal Justice Bill), Sections that outlawed the setting up of Raves, an act that would serve to criminalise those wanting to dance the night away in friendly surroundings without alcohol. The review was going to take time therefore the Publicans and nightclub owners began employing Rave DJs trying to entice punters to their establishments. This worked totally in the favour of the Raver, there was somewhere to go for a warm up until 02:00am in the morning then off you’d go to an underground rave until the sun was up. It backfired on business because they had not taken into account, “we only wanted to dance”. Alcohol had no place, a side effect of MDMA and the absence of a “Drink Culture”.

With the review of the licensing laws, Nightclubs were able to remain open longer, gained extensions on the times that alcohol could be served, Supermarkets, Wine bars, Lap Dancing clubs Café bars, outlets of all descriptions all competing to get you as drunk as possible suddenly began springing up, the length of the high street. The unavailability of pure MDMA, the clamping down by local authorities on the Rave culture, and the heavy-handed tactics used by police forces when breaking up these harmless events. (It is a misconception that the organisers had no respect for the countryside or others. Most raves were sited away from residential areas, and the crews spent up to two days making sure they left the area as they found it.)

This combination of actions pushed vast numbers into alcohol consumption, the competition to sell the cheapest drink pushed the price even lower. The coalition of the drinks Industry and the past two governments served to encourage the consumption of alcohol on a vast scale. In effect once again becoming a peddler of an addictive and intoxicating substance. If the nation is inebriated there is less chance of it turning on the government, “Social control” comes to ones lips.

 

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Further Response To Andy Newman’s – ‘ANARCHISTS THE ENEMIES OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT?’


By James Walsh

I’ll reply on behave of the anarchist movement- I have no authority to do so, except myself.

I’m an enemy of the Labour party and Brendan Barber anyone who conflates that to being an enemy of the labour movement is the real enemy of the labour movement.

If Andy had wanted to have a decent critique of the Anarchists at Goldsmiths, I’d have started by poring cold water on the use of WRP slogan of calling for a general strike at the moment. It’s silly fantasy stuff. Or maybe he could could have tried defending the legalism of the trade unions- good job that such legalism isn’t respected in the middle east or Wisconsin. Some folk may think that the workers movement should be as sedate as a country club or nice cucumber sandwiches at Labour central office or number 10, I think that is a load of bourgeois values that should be dumped into the dustbin of history. Seems like you want TUC to a bunch of cops for ‘middle England’ respectability. Respectability will get you nowhere when the rich can be making money. As the torrent of individualist abuse on the comments prove the anarchists at was political and how does a little fracas at a meeting weaken the campaign? Tying your self to legalism and respectability is what fundamentally weakens any campaign against the establishment. But then again, the labour party are part of the establishment and so Brendan Barber and far too many in the trade union movement want to join him at that table or better called trough.

As to the infantile comments.
Point 2. OK lets talk substance abuse. We could talk about how about 50% of local trade union officials seem to be alcoholic gin soaked billy no mates, who use their position to hide from work and their ‘co-workers’ that their meant to represent. It just seems to be about having an office so they can recover before going back to their binge drinking. We could talk about the disgraceful behaviour at a friends union conference when drunken delegates abuse the catering staff. Anyway in my town we always left the glue sniffing to the lumpen proletariat and members of the SWP. Though the SWP have moved on to being just alcoholics now.

Point 3- Throwing stuff and booing is as near as a debate as is allowed at such rallies. Such speeches are no different than the bullshit of a stage managed rally the Americans get stereo typed for, but this country is no different except for less dancing girls. It showed commendable politics that they showed respect to the survivor of Hiroshima. As far as remember the feelings of the 150K audience was- why are these boring bastards droning on. Someone pushed in front of you at a bugger van (at least they weren’t veggies)- get over it, that is nothing to the rudeness and condescension that people like you talk at the public.

Point 4- is that disgraced Porter of the NUS talking? Lol- the misbehaviour was the greatest thing about that demo- it’s not like they where as cool as the French or Greeks, they know how to protest- the meek inherent nothing.

The Jarrow March was rightfully condemned by the CPGB at the time as cap in hand nonsense that achieved fuck all. A real march was the sort that burnt Luton town hall to the ground. That sentence he wrote says everything about the loyalist disingenuous rewriting of history that the labour party is all about.

Point 7- Neil Kinnock there is a real enemy of the Labour movement and the working class- now doing very well as part of the establishment gravy train. The miners had the right idea- except hanging may be too good for him.
So this prick has read a book about the Durruti Column, what a wanker. I could go on about the nonsense I’ve faced when selling class war from certain trots or how certain trots didn’t want to discuss there parties position on religious schools etc when I was on the anti state popes visit to London march, no doubt that will be counted as anarchist harassment as well.

Point 8. Some prick who doesn’t like people smoking and/or drinking. Your tea totalism is no threat to the state Mr Daily Mail. Where’s your great counter organisation of revolutionary over throw, lol.
You’d go down with out even a scuffle.

Point 9. No debate allowed. This poster wants to violently impose no debate as well. Copper of the movement, go buy yourself a brown shirt.

Point 10. Where is this ‘broad based movement’. You seem to want us to just follow the TUC like where their dumb soldiers (being lead to the slaughter). I want a movement like the anti poll tax campaign and miner support groups. As do all the ‘anarchists’ I know.

Point 12. Shall we have a look at the class background of the Labour Party- like Ed for starters. I think we should. Most of your sort stink of BO in my experience.

Point 14. As point 12. I can tell you Class War was when I was a member far less middle class than the Labour party or any other Left group. We could discuss the history of under cover cops in the trade union movement , it is thought that something like 1/3 of the NUM central committee was reporting to police during the miners strike.

Point 17- all ready covered- meek shit. How the labour Party always wants to disarm resistance.

Point 18- just to confirm that what they are mainly doing in Luton. I’ll give the GMB tops have tried doing a little outside that box, but the local official are bloody spineless useless non entities. The local PCS official has been good and one of the rail unions official has at least tried to some extent – that’s out of a town of 250,000.

point 20. Where is your credible alternative policy? Labour implementing 2/3 of the cuts the Tories propose? I have an alternative policy, it’s called socialism and full employment.

Point 21. What are you on? You ain’t going to do any fighting ever! And I bet you never have. Your a support of the Labour Party the loyal opposition that believes in caving in to the bosses law. What a craven two faced bastard.

Point 22- Very weak and not what you said at the time. Also point 14 called people coppers.

Point 26- My God! Something sensible. I could debate the finer points.

Point 28- we’re quite aware of your attitude- that’s why you won’t even be waking up in the morning come the revolution.

Point 29. Another labour Party dick. Notice how the Labour Party supports don’t even want to mention the history of the poll Tax, the miners strike, 1926 and militant marches against unemployment.

Point 30- clearly doesn’t understand what a flash mob is.

Point 31. I was a member of CW from about 93 to about 2007. I can say he’s talking shit for that period. How about some evidence- that wasn’t even credible hearsay. I do know a certain Union official in Norwich behaving like a nark and some evidence of a trot doing so in Luton. The whole relationship of Luton UAF and the police is very unhealthy. I do not know Ian very well but this sounds complete bollocks.

Point 32. Coalition of resistance is Counter-Fire not the SWP. Nice to see such well informed contributors to this blog. Lol.

Point 38. A ‘work makes you free’ merchant writes. Off to the Gulag comrades.

Point 40. Well it’s a rather self fulling definition of the importance of the TUC. Most union members are badly organised if at all, not surprising when the union tells you that membership is all about legal cover and cheap insurance. If the unions where organised they wouldn’t have need 6 months to organise a demonstration.

The last sentence is a moderately good point. But I’d think that’s one of those at Goldsmiths main criticisms. To a certain extent I agree with the unions that we should have been keeping our power dry and use the time to organise. I can say that Anarchists have been doing far more work , proportionally towards using that time to get organised and put over the message. The only ’socialist’ group who seems to have put any real effort in has been Counter Fire the rest have just been posing round the edges.

Point 41. Vote Labour- haha- that really saved us from the depression. It was a Communist front ( and all the better for that) that is usually called leadership which is something you don’t really offer.

Point 42- great point – I wish I was as concise. So do most others.

Point 44. Your point? South Africa- it is meet the new boss same as the old boss- unless your one of the tops. Which may tell where your coming from.

I always hate going to London specially when I’m going to droned at my some boring bastards. Maybe you should organise some legal and TV cover against the police if you feel people are afraid.

Point 45. I agree partly. I don’t think the unions are stopping the class fighting back. But there structure has disarmed the people .

Point 48. I agree- it’s a bit of a misnomer of a title. Unless you think socialist unity is about shooting anarchists, druggies and the work shy come the counter revolution.

Point 51. Aunt sally.

Point 52. labour mythologising again- Just repeating just makes you more wrong but does clearly show your role in trying to rewrite a pro loyalist history of Britain which is just make believe bullshit.

Point 52- What a patronising dick. That wasn’t a ‘working class’ view point. That was the view point of a labour party supporting pub bore.

Point 55- The Greeks have a real Communist Party- lucky sods! Not the meek yellow trud that claims to be in that tradition in this country.

Point 57/59. 2 million??- lol. Seems point 59 and most of those from the it’s ilk seem to believe in the propaganda value of a non deed.

Point 63. Socialists? Social workers with Gulags?
Point 67. She stood against independent workers control and for the control of the loyal opposition. Like most of the posters hear who miss call themselves socialist. Your party has just been in power for 13 years- and they where horrible. That’s being very over polite.

Point 70. What have the TUC done against the Bankers, I know what the Labour Party did- it gave them a bundle of cash hot of the presses. Anarchists have been active in the campaigns against the Banks and Tax avoidance of the rich something which I Think Bone’s blog often referees to. Your talking out the back of your head.

Point 72. I agree. Of course it’s a little more complex but still true. My old man was a leading trade unionist and half the time plus, he was sorting out the poor management of the bosses and doing their job for them. I guess you could say he was making the world a more human place but it certainly wasn’t revolutionary.

Point 74/77. Unity mongering is just another way of saying shut up your not allowed to criticise the ‘leadership’. Leadership just seems to mean who can get on the BBC and has bundles of cash. Both show that speakers at meetings they like are not about debate or even argument but for a few sound bites on TV and we are no more than non-payed extras.

Point 78. Now has a problem with white boys- fuck off you pinko social worker.

Point 80- let’s look nice for the BBC & daily Mail- get real- twat.

Point 79/83. Think that was some other tit from the EdL not Robinson. Coming from supporters of UAF who have offered to the liberal police against racism – I guess that’s where the Edl learned such talk. It’s the likes of these two posters who are offering to smash a real left of the street- but first they want to silence dissenting voices by not letting them speak and then they moan when they get heckled and call for a Stalinist policing of left criticism.
Yeah we’ve seen your sort before- wasn’t pretty was it and still isn’t with your sort of guy in charge in Libya.

Andy Newman’s pathetic article and commentary can be found here to which the above points address… http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=7746


Opinion: Ian Bone-ARE ANARCHISTS THE ENEMIES OF THE LABOUR MOVEMENT?


Thus asks Andy Newman on his Socialist Unity site. His excuse for running the piece is the egging of Brendan Barber at Goldsmiths last night. This has given Newman –  a supporter of Ed Balls, Galloway, Livingstone, Cruddas, Searchlight, Abbott, Sheridan  etc etc – an excuse to re-run his hoary old stalinist anti-anarchist lies.

The egging is compared to Class War’s assault on Neil Kinnock in Hyde Park in 1983.

Good.

In the build up to March 26th we can expect much more of the same from the Left as they see their tired old formulaic A-B marches and Vote Labour aims discredited.

A clear attempt to frighten the punters on the march from taking any action promoted by these ‘enemies’. It might have worked in the past Andy – Spain 1936 – but this time the horse has bolted with a red and black flag on it’s head and thousands of punters failing to accede to Brendan’s pleas to GO HOME at 5pm from Hyde Park.

You’ve been rumbled Andy – I’d check the flights to caracas if i were you…

http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/are-anarchists-the-enemies-of-the-labour-movement/


Miliband vs Cameron on the Big Society


by Rob Ray

How the Big Society really looks

Today we have not one but two theses on the Tory “Big Society” concept. In the Guardian, David Cameron defends it while in The Independent, Ed Miliband gets his critique on. So I thought today, humbly, I’d take both of their articles on from a libertarian communist perspective.

On the face of it, the Prime Minister and his pals head in the right direction as far as anarchist theory is concerned. The Big Society focuses heavily on “empowering communities” by removing state interference, on encouraging stronger community links and communal responsibility – all of which have historically been part of libertarian organising.

Indeed his most recent piece is no different, look at some of the language:

Cameron

Quote:

The first objection is that it’s too vague

It doesn’t follow some grand plan or central design. But that’s because the whole approach of building a bigger, stronger, more active society involves something of a revolt against the top-down, statist approach of recent years.

devolving power to the lowest level so neighbourhoods take control of their destiny; opening up our public services, putting trust in professionals and power in the hands of the people they serve; and encouraging volunteering and social action so people contribute more to their community.

With the exception of the “putting trust in professionals” bit, I doubt there’s many anarchists who would quibble with that. There have been conferences, local groupings and national organisations for years advocating decentralisation, the very word anarchy means “without government” (implying “with each other”).

But other lines are of concern – and what’s missing is more worrying still.

Quote:

if neighbours want to take over the running of a post office, park or playground, we will help them. If a charity or a faith group want to set up a great new school in the state sector, we’ll let them.

The key word which is missing here is “money.”

Cameron talks (elsewhere) about a mutualist model, of people setting up co-ops to run services. But of the things listed there, none of them make a profit. Which is one very important reason why the government is getting rid of them.

What you can’t do is find money in say, the charitable sector – because that’s an extremely mature market with the vast majority of its funds already allocated and little prospect for growth (in fact as jobs go across the economy it’s likely to become more difficult to find funding, not less). The £400m of government money being pledged to “make it work” meanwhile is a pale shadow of the amounts paid for the state functions it’s supposed to be replacing, it won’t stretch to replacing £3 billlion of council cuts, for example.

How then are communities with no money – which can barely keep the local community centre open without state/charitable grants, supposed to take over?

The only workable options are:

  1. Grab (dwindling) government money to fund it in an ongoing way, necessitating basically the same problems of state coercion of any important functions as if they were directly state-run
  2. Force it to become profitable, so bump up prices, force out paid roles and slash wages, or make previously free things a paid-for experience (this is often done alongside point one by public sector directors who have jumped ship to do the same job in the private sector except for way more money)
  3. Get a patron with a LOT of money to fund it for you, leaving the entire thing at the whim of (in the case of say, some of the faith groups Cameron nods at) lunatics out to expand their own dodgy interests.

What this amounts to is a partial move towards of the oldest model of capitalism going, classical liberalism, or perhaps even older, as Cameron appeals to the church to recreate its pre-capitalist role gathering and redistributing money – primarily from the poor, to the poor.

Quote:

The second criticism is that this is all a cover for cuts … I was talking about social responsibility long before the cuts.

And people were calling him out for being a liar even then.

Quote:

The third criticism is that this may work in the leafy sort of areas that I represent, such as West Oxfordshire, but it won’t work in the most deprived parts of our country. Now, I could point to the failure of the alternative – big government – to help the poorest in the last decade, as the poorest got poorer and inequality widened.

But there is another powerful point: a lot of this criticism is misguided and founded on snobbery.

People have the compassion, flexibility and local knowledge to help their neighbours and communities.

Bang on. Absolutely. This is where the rhetoric of Big Society dovetails near-perfectly with anarchist theory. Big government does not stop the widening of inequality and pretending that impoverished communities cannot pull together for the common good is pure and simple patronising bollocks.

But rhetoric is all that is. Inequality doesn’t stop rising if you sell off state assets, either, because the genius of Keynes when he created the social contract of the state as provider of safety nets and basic living standards was that he allowed capitalism to operate largely as normal while providing nominal security for the poorest on a hand-to-mouth basis, at least for a while. Nothing in the current setup stops the economically strong from exploiting the weak, which is the actual basis of inequality and changes not a jot if we switch to a neoliberal model.

What DOES happen is that the indirect factors, those less easily counted on the abacus, get demolished. The child whose only escape from a brutal home was the youth centre loses it and thus their only support network. The illiterate adult whose benefits are cut off cannot get help to understand the decision, because their local community drop-in has lost its funding (perhaps to the Friends of Battersea Park). Headline inequality figures may not change much, but the ability for the bottom rungs to survive? another story.

Quote:

Our approach will not merely enable them to build a stronger society, it will actively help them to do so.

And this is the crux of his wider lie. This approach is not going to build a stronger society because it has no intention of funding one. In conversations with other anarchists, one of the problems which comes up frequently for community organisers is the trade-off of volunteering against jobs. If you volunteer to run a park for free, the park-keeper’s wage drops out of the system. Not a problem for a stockbroker perhaps, but this tax-based income is a major form of economic redistribution. If you demand that people do jobs but refuse to use money you’ve taken off the wealthy to fund them, you are not helping to build communities but destroying their collective income.

The recognition of this contradiction, which sits at the heart of Cameron’s Big Society, is why anarchist community initiatives in the last while have tended to pull towards ideas like LCAP, or unemployed workers’ groups – organising to make sure people get that redistribution against the plots of the state to grab it back rather than to replace them with volunteer labour. If the working class collectively owned its own communities, the factories which employ them – the material assets of society in fact – Cameron would make sense. But it doesn’t, so he doesn’t.

I don’t want to pull the old “and this is why we need a revolution” out, it’s overused in anarchist writing, but well, if we want to offer autonomy to communities, really want to, we need to take control of the means of production, not merely the right to administer whatever peanuts survived your latest cull and weren’t bought up by private interests. That will require a class struggle against Cameron, because he is hardly likely to take on the current owners!

Quote:

Fourth, some people say that what I’m talking about is not entirely new.

Too true. It’s the same old BS. And to segue seamlessly into the second part of this analysis, my sentiment is somewhat backed up (as you might expect) by his opposite number…

Ed Miliband

Quote:

The reason why Mr Cameron’s Big Society is in such trouble is not simply because the Government is making painful cuts. The way it is doing it – so far, so fast – speaks to its ideological heart. It really believes that a small state will produce a Big Society.

But even more than David Cameron, Ed is disingenous in his approach. Just the line “so far, so fast” is evidence enough of the reality of his thinking.

While he recognises the ideological roots of the Tories, he glosses over his own legacy. A state bowed under with long-term debt from HIS government’s disastrous ideological commitment to private business in the form of PFI. Mass privatisation of services and where that wasn’t possible, the hated “arms-length” system. A million other little and large initiatives Labour put on while in power which the Tories are merely taking to their logical conclusion.

Labour was the pioneer of what Cameron is doing now. At its highest levels it accepts the need for cuts, agrees with the desire to privatise.

Quote:

There is a better way. It starts from a belief that our economy, our communities and our civic society are made stronger not by small government, not by “big government” but by a government which values and acts in partnership with them. So we reject the view, that our country will be stronger simply by government getting out of the way.I have been clear that we should recognise the shortcomings of the centralised state, and understand that government must be devolved and responsive. But if we care about vibrant communities, strong civic institutions, if we value the bonds that tie us each to one another through our clubs, societies and through our families and friendships, then the Government must act to support them where they need it.

He disagrees not with cuts, not with smaller government, not with Cameron’s statement that support should be given to “volunteers and communities”… in fact what does he disagree with in Cameron’s article? He seems to be arguing that while they both intend to do exactly the same thing, they are separated by their “beliefs.” What vacuity. What an utter indictment of his own politics!

He talks about the “re-contamination” of the Tory party towards the end of his piece, while acting himself as precisely the same brand of virus. I actively looked for a difference in views in his and Cameron’s approaches, and could find only that “so far, so fast” line, which is less a difference of view than of timing.

And so my criticism of Miliband must by necessity be short, because I have covered everything he advocates in my criticism of the Tories.

http://libcom.org/blog/miliband-vs-cameron-big-society-13022011


TABLOID PROPAGANDA AND THE GOVERNMENT’S WAR ON THE DISABLED


Posted by Phil Dickens at 17:01


The Daily Mail isn’t known for clarity, honesty, or objectivity. To the point where I have praise the patience of media watch blogs which dissect its bollocks on a nearly daily basis. However, given the current attacks on the disabled, I thought one particular round of bullshit deserved attention.
Nearly 2 MILLION on sickness benefits for years are fit to work
The implication is clear, no? All those bloody scroungers, stealing our tax money, leeching off the state, etc, etc. It’s about time the government cut off the cash flow to these worthless parasites.
Except for the fact that, as ever, the story doesn’t quite match up to the headlines.
Firstly, the implication that we’re talking about cheats or swindlers is nonsense. The main body of Mail’s own piece adds the following caveat; “the first reassessments of those on long-term incapacity benefit found that more than two-thirds of those checked could return to work if they received help.”
That is, they could live a normal life and earn a living despite their disability if they had the right equipment to do so. Examples of such help might be the high rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, or the Independent Living Fund, both of which are facing the axe under government austerity measures. When disabled people already face poverty and social isolation, whilst families with disabled dependants are suffering extreme hardship.
Not exactly a situation you’d want to cheat yourself into, is it? But rather than point out that these people could be independent and make a living for themselves with the right support, the Mail chooses to slur them all by implying that they are scroungers and cheats.
And it’s not just these peoples’ situation that is misreported. It’s their numbers too. Two million people across the country are cheats? Not quite [emphasis mine];

Trial re-tests of claimants in Burnley and Aberdeen found 68.6 per cent did not have a valid claim and were unable to prove they were too ill to take a job.

Some 2.6million people are on incapacity benefit or its replacement, employment and support allowance. Most long-term recipients will be reassessed over the next few years.

If the total proportion of invalid claims matches the results from the two trial reassessments, it would mean almost 1.8million people were receiving benefits despite being able to work.

So, in reality, 68.6% of people in just two cities were judged able to work. And, breaking that down further, only “399 people (29.6 per cent) were found to be entirely fit for work,” whilst “526 (39 per cent) will be given help and support so they can begin working again.” Taking the Mail‘s tack of applying this across the whole country, this would in fact mean that 769,600 people (not two million) were fit to work. 1,014,000 need more support in order to live independent lives.

Moreover, the 769,600 who are fit to work are not scroungers either.

Last January, a BBC investigation cited two former Atos doctors who “expressed concerns that the checks are being done too quickly and that the system is biased towards declaring people fit for work.” And they also revealed from a freedom of information request that “there are 8,000 ESA appeals heard every month. This is double the number of the next most appealed benefit, disability living allowance, which has seven times more claimants than ESA.” Lizzie Iron, head of welfare policy at the Citizens Advice Bureau, pointed out that, from this figure, 40 per cent of people who failed the assessment and then appealed won.

Both the TUC and the former President of Appeal Tribunals have also criticised the decision making process from Atos. Because, in short, they are integral to the government’s policy of “attacking the poor in a crude attempt to save money and curb public spending.”

What the Mail is shamelessly touting as proof that everyone who claims benefits is a work-shy huckster is nothing of the sort. It is the latest round of the government’s vicious attack on the most vulnerable. Those who stand opposed to this blatant victimisation need not only to challenge the government, but also the media, more than happy to do their propaganda work for them.

http://truth-reason-liberty.blogspot.com/2011/02/tabloid-propaganda-and-governments-war.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+TruthReasonLiberty+(Truth,+Reason+%26+Liberty)


Saturday Actions-Norwich The Place To Be! 2-4-1!


Lots on this coming Saturday!

At 12 midday Norwich Uncut have called a protest at Barclays Bank on Red Lion Street in Norwich as part of their

TOP TEN TAX SHIRKER TOUR

Bournemouth anti-Barclays action-Bank bricked up by local businessman

All the UK’s major banks make extensive use of tax havens in the course of their business. As a survey for the TUC showed, in 2008 Barclays were the biggest user but all four of our leading High Street banks had large numbers of subsidiaries in locations such as Cayman, Jersey, The Isle of Man, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Luxembourg.

One bank stands out from the crowd though. As MP Chuka Umunna showed in questioning of Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond before the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons in January 2011, his bank had 181 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands alone in 2010, an extraordinary increase from 143 in 2008.

Bob Diamond admitted he had no idea how many companies the bank of which he is chief executive had in the island, but said they were there for ‘tax efficiency’.

In plain, straightforward terms that means they shift the tax burden from the bank onto other people.

As this is Barclays who also are proud of proping up the arms trade this call out also goes out to all the anti-militarists and ant-Trident groups et al.

Bring tanks!”

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=146035495453992&index=1

Then just up the road the protesters will be heading up to Chapelfield Gardens bandstand for 2pm for

A LAMENT AGAINST THE CUTS

Oh misery...misery...

‘It is with great sadness that we at the Cutting Room and Soapbox Promotions present this special event, a Lament Against the Cuts, to take place at 2pm, by the bandstand in Chapelfield Gardens.

We live in times where bankers are receiving ridiculous bonuses despite ruining the economy, and cheap, corrupt politicians make promises they have no intention of keeping.

These are dark times, and we would protest if we thought that our protestations would ever be paid anything more than lip service by those in power. But sadly, it becomes ever more clear that protest will make no difference, because those in power are having far too much fun at our expense. Indeed, it is perfectly possible that the notion of poor people suffering is the only thing which enables George Osborne to maintain an erection.

What is left for us to do but lament?

The cuts must happen, the previous government saw to that, and now we have people in power who really relish the thought of saving small amounts of money by cutting front line services rather than cutting spending on wars or properly running the banks we were forced to bail out so many times because of the stupid and bad things they had done with our money.

So, if the current state of the world is getting you down, why not join us for a fucking good cry about it?

The Lament will be a truly touching spectacle and will feature:

– Help with your Depression
– A Demonstration by the Norwich Division of the National Self Harm Fellowship
– Representatives from the Depressed Satirists Society
– An Open Mic Lament, where you can vent some of your frustration
– Professional Mourners
– Weeping Children (with any luck)

If you know any maudlin protest songs, or sad poems, please join us, and help make the day truly cheerless.

Dress Code: Funeral

Please feel free to bring signs representing yourself, your work or union, or indeed whatever issue is making you most miserable. Placards are respectfully requested to be in the form of floral tribute only.

There will be a wake held at Over De Flames from 9pm, featuring music and dancing, so we can put these terrible events behind us, and hopefully get on with picking up the pieces of what is left of our lives.’

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182644911774357&index=1



Pictures From Today’s Gathering For Ian Tomlinson


taken from Random Blowe

This afternoon, the family of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller who died after being stuck by a police officer whilst passing by the G20 protests in the City of London on 1 April 2009, gathered at the spot on Cornhill where he collapsed. They left flowers and a poem to mark what would have been Ian’s 49th birthday tomorrow.

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