Friday, August 27, 2010


A little while ago I gave my opinion about the Govt. attacks on so called benefit cheats. I stated that this high profile attack on the tiny number of benefit cheats was a diversion to get the population looking the other way while the massive fraudsters who dodge paying tax get away with billions of pounds. Cameron says while polishing his knuckle duster things which are guaranteed to have the SUN and the DAILY MAIL salivating and every lounge bar Alf Garnett in the land licking his lips in anticipation. “£1.5bn is being stolen from taxpayers” says Dave “it’s unacceptable” "It's quite wrong that there are people in our society who will behave like this. But we will not shrug our shoulders and let them get away with it any longer." He doesn’t mean them all though; I’ll come back to that; you can hear the retired cretinous old colonels in their Whitehall clubs harrumphing in support.

Tax fraud perpetrated by the Tories friends costs the country an estimated £95bn a year while benefit fraud costs £1.5bn per year! Dave’s remarks on this? Let me know if you can find any. Meanwhile Dave has appointed Sir Philip Green to carry out an external review of public spending cuts; this guy paid himself a tax-free dividend of £1.2bn which found its way to his Monaco-resident wife’s bank account, in order to avoid UK Treasury attention. A tax saving to Sir Philip or a “nice little earner” as he would no doubt call it of £300m. “All in this together” that’s another one of Dave’s. ‘Barrow Boy’ Green gladly supported the Tory pre. Election promise to reduce tax and was met with the following response from guess who?
"I have no time for billionaire tax dodgers who step off the plane from their tax havens into the country where they make their money and have the effrontery to tell us how to vote and how to run our tax policies. If some of them came onshore and paid their taxes it would make a useful dent in the budget deficit." Gordon Brown? Alistair Darling?Jim Sheridan? Me? No it was none other than Vince Cable the man who promised to bring Libdem values to the coalition, yes he really did use the phrase Libdem values.

And finally, no reference to benefit fraud could ever be complete without mention of the world leaders in the field; that dysfunctional family of scroungers who soak us for millions of pounds every year; The Windsors; over the years this workshy bunch of simpletons have taken more in benefits than an army of benefit cheats could ever have done. Prince Charles for instance works a 7 hour week and gets paid £2,000 an hour paid for by us while we also pay £180,000 for paper clips envelopes and pencils as well. Dave doesn’t include them or the tax dodging millionaires when he refers to us “ALL BEING IN THIS TOGETHER” does he? Dave’s favourite gear is reverse; at speed; all the way back to the glorious Thatcher years; I bet all those who voted Libdem are really proud of themselves; can anyone ever bring themselves to vote for them again? and remember they are cheek by jowel with the SNP in Renfrewshire Council, some people have no shame have they?

Monday, August 23, 2010


Friday 20/08/10 - 2 PM, to Reid Kerr College to meet; question and listen to Ed. Milliband as he takes his mobile hustings around the country. Readers who are astute enough to visit my site regularly will know that I will be voting for Dianne Abbott; the voting however will be carried out by stating your preferences and numbering them. A process of elimination will then follow so; I took the chance to listen to another candidate, notwithstanding my declared preference for first past the post the experience was worthwhile. I have always taken the view that it is well nigh impossible to find a candidate for anything with whom you will find yourself in total agreement and so it proved with Ed. Milliband, and Ms. Abbott and the others for that matter. There is only ever one candidate who fits that bill and that is our good selves.

The famously taciturn American President Calvin Coolidge returned from worship services one day, “what did the preacher preach on asked his wife “Sin,” he replied. “Well, what did he say about it,” she continued. “He was agin it!” Coolidge answered.

So it was with Ed. Milliband he was predictably in favour of most things his audience were for and “agin” what they were “agin” This loosely tends to be the case with most political parties, their leaders and members, excluding of course the likes of the SNP, BNP and SSP where dissent is as rare as a rocking horse's s***e; otherwise we would not have political parties. It falls therefore to the individual to do some research on the candidates because it would be very unlikely that someone would decide on who to vote for based only on a hustings meeting. The wretched coverage of the leader’s debate at the last election where the now exposed Clegg was given the hard sell from the deviant British media only to crash and burn on Election Day was handy proof of that.

Back to Milliband minor however; he is as expected a very impressive candidate with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the issues, unruffled; friendly and incandescently bright. The standard of candidates in fact for this leadership election is very high indeed and he did not let himself down as he took questions from everyone on any subject even including what music and books he liked. He famously comes of course from a kind of family that are considered “left wing royalty” with radical left wing Jewish parents who fled Nazi Occupied Europe. His dad will be no stranger to anyone who like me is a political anorak. Ralph Milliband was a political historian and thinker of huge authority he was also a Marxist as was their mother, Milliband raised a huge laugh when asked which brother she would vote for when he answered “neither, she will vote for Dianne Abbott”

Our diligent,hard working Labour MP Jim Sheridan arranged this meeting and the members and other invited guests raised a varied set of questions; it was a robust, and friendly exchange of views and the standard of questions and knowledge of our society and political ideas demonstrated by those present was very impressive indeed. Ed. Milliband enjoyed the meeting as did those who attended; there is no substitute for hearing statements and opinions from the horse’s mouth rather than having to rely on the rancid bias of our media and that proved to be a breath of fresh air as well.

The running order for my vote is 1/ Abbott 2/ Milliband minor 3/ Milliband major 4/ Balls 5/ Burnam. I’m sure all my Labour readers will do the right thing and do what I tell them right?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Five years ago the movement named in the above title was formed to strike back against Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians; it was formed to the sound of much derision and bluster from Israeli inspired groups who described it as a puny attempt to damage Israel which was doomed to failure. That is of course exactly what was said by reactionary racist observers of the Anti Apartheid Movement in South Africa. Those reactionary racist observers are now to be found in Israel and various other places where Israel’s influence is strong, mainly America. The organisation calls for Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions against the State of Israel and has now spread from Europe to the USA itself.

It is designed to force Israel to recognise the decisions of the UN to end its occupation, abandon its illegal settlements on Palestinian land, end racial discrimination against its Palestinian population and recognise that Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their homes taken from them by Israeli force. This is similar to what the progressive fair minded people of the world supported to end Apartheid and support the Civil Rights movement in America.

Financial companies in several countries are boycotting Israel and people all over the world are now “reading the labels” in supermarkets to make sure they are not buying Israeli goods. Some particularly devious Israeli’s have been stamping “produce of the West bank” on their goods when in fact they are West bank settlements, stealing Palestinian land and then pretending that they are Palestinians to sell their goods is just about as low as you can get in my book but some Israeli’s have no problem with it. Where are the protests from Jewish communities around the world who are opposed to such behaviour? At the very least they should be shouting that as Jews they do not support Israel, to their credit some already do this but not enough.

Trade Unions around the world including in America are on board and well known celebrities like Elvis Costello, Meg Ryan and Gil Scott-Heron have refused to perform there and Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu among others have condemned Israel. Those I referred to who said it would be a dismal failure are now being forced to think again. Some brave Israelis are supporting a protest movement called “Boycott from Within” The vicious Israel Govt. have responded with a quick bill through the Knesset which will impose heavy fines on any Israeli citizen who takes part in such boycotts. Remember this is the state which keeps telling us that they are the only democracy in the Middle East, Israeli democracy means “Buy what we tell you and if you refuse you will be breaking the law” this is proof positive that the State of Israel is only too aware that what started as a small protest in South Africa and became world wide is descending on them and it can’t come soon enough. Do your bit however small and “read those labels” no matter how small the amount is don’t spend it on Israeli goods I guarantee you will feel better for having done something.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Another part of my past has gone with the passing of Jimmy Reid; I was in my twenties when Reid came to prominence. He rose from relative obscurity as one of the leaders of the takeover of the shipyards by the workers to prevent closure by the Tories; out with the coal disputes the greatest political upheaval since before WW 11. Reid was not the leader of the shipyard workers as some lazy journalists are now saying he never claimed to be and never would, there were people beside him and behind him who were every bit as important particularly the razor sharp mind and iron will of Jimmy Airlie, Reid was their spokesman and what a spokesman he was. He was inspiring at the time of the “work in” and he made the period burst into flames as he challenged the Govt. As a young activist these were heady days; we learned a lot and it stayed with us, as William Wordsworth said about the French Revolution, “Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”

Throughout my life in politics I have always enjoyed public meetings where you could hear great speakers or orators to give them their due and he was one of the best, among those I have heard and met were him, Tony Benn; Norman Buchan; Gordon Brown; Mick McGachey; Reid’s nemesis Arthur Scargill; Lawrence Daly and still way out in front Michael Foot. I even had the great fortune to hear The late legendary Rev. Donald Soper at Hyde Park Corner and spoke to him after his address to the crowd; he was a frail old man at the time but his voice carried far, he was inspirational.

Jimmy Reid rose like a lion; blazed brightly for a couple of years and like Icarus he fell and never rose again, I remember my late great friend Davie Speirs saying to me when I asked him if he had seen Reid on the Parkinson show; “that was the end of Jimmy Reid the revolutionary” and as was so often the case Davie was right because it was the end. His new found celebrity made it possible to “get aff the tools” as we say here and his life changed entirely. So much so that his former comrades in the Communist Party who were tough men and women devoted to their cause never saw him in the same way again and neither did I. I still met him a few times after those days although I couldn’t say I knew him but he was a different guy by then he was Jimmy Reid the TV star every establishment show’s favourite socialist.

“Every political career ends in failure” (Enoch Powell) and Enoch was right you don’t hear me say that often but, Powell was referring to political failure when they eventually lose and stand down, that wasn’t Reid’s case he lost a lot more than a political credibility and he became very bitter, leaving the Communist Party where he belonged but couldn’t get elected; Labour where he tried and failed again; then the SSP which was a cruel joke on him considering his past and finally to the SNP, the great International Socialist fetching up with a bunch of narrow minded hidebound nationalists. As a young communist he crossed swords with the young Arthur Scargill and Arthur beat him in an election for an important post, Reid never forgot or forgave.

So it was that decades later when the miners were locked in their desperate struggle with the Thatcher Govt. he turned on Scargill publicly saying that if “Kamikaze pilots had a union Scargill would be their shop steward” that comment finished him with his former comrades and admirers. Nothing more needs to be said about that but, the old warrior McGachey called him “broken Reid” a terrible state of affairs.

Jimmy Reid made his mark and he rightly enjoys a high place in Scotland’s Labour movement, my cousin in Chicago recently sent me this quote and I now paraphrase him and F.Scott Fitzgerald “the golden cup was broken but it was golden and no one can take that away” I will look back fondly on him, he was not the first and won’t be the last to be led astray by the acclaim and bright lights, he learned the hard way what “the system” can do to someone whom they consider to be dangerous.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


(Brecht) above asks who is the worst criminal, the banker or the robber, he asked this decades before the present crisis! The vulnerable old lady who does not receive the amount of Social Security Benefit she is entitled to is a far greater scandal than the person who receives benefit fraudulently, and the former sum is far greater than the latter. That fact though does not suit the Condem Govt's nefarious purpouses with their latest scam. Some things never change, such as the entirely predictable attack on “benefit fraud’ by the Condem coalition. This red herring has been used so often by backward-looking Tory Govts. That it has become a matter of when not if it will be trotted out again. This time it comes with an ominous Tory innovation: private firms will be used as snoopers and for every false claim they come up with they will get a bonus (bounty hunters). I wonder what these firms will be like and what kind of people will join the rush to create them, I predict a pretty unsavoury bunch and many will be “poachers turned gamekeepers” shady characters who are experienced at bending and breaking rules who have no compunction in using their expertise to exploit others. We should prepare for a lot more dumbing down of society when this kind of thing starts.

Neighbours will be encouraged to spy on each other and report suspects for financial reward so we can look forward to an outburst of public spirited citizens appearing in our midst. The result will have minimal effect but it will do what the Govt. wants by shifting blame for rising unemployment, crime and misery on to a group who are small time cheats who make very little impact on the economy. This will allow big time crooks and tax dodgers to escape the limelight; such people can loosely be described as the “Tory Friends Club” now expanded to include the treacherous Libdems of course.

Benefit cheats are of course committing crimes but: is it really as bad as the Condems say? they claim that approx. £5 billion is lost through cheating or error: this is a deception: they are deliberately not giving the true picture which is that of the £5 billion approximately £4 billion is made up by errors and approximately £1 billion is caused by cheating, that is less than 1% of all claims. This is a deliberate omission and it is Govt. sponsored lies: “£5 million lost each year by social security payments screams the headline” and the public have the idea deliberately planted in their brains that it is £5 million worth of fraudulent claims which it is not and it’s nowhere near that figure. This is typical of the lack of moral fibre which we have come to expect from the Tories and their wretched lapdogs the Libdems.

There is another side to this business of deliberately cheating the system for financial gain and it dwarfs the activities of those whom the Govt. is targeting. I refer to the super rich whom I referred to earlier as “the Tory/Libdem’s Friends Club” Tax Havens-Tax Loopholes- Tax exiles-we are all familiar with the names and no doubt you could add some. The seriously rich are the biggest crooks in our society not the guy who cleans your windows while on the dole: these people who BTW usually masquerade as patriots of one kind or another employ batteries of lawyers to find loopholes which allow them to avoid tax. This means in many cases that a multi millionaire pays less than a cleaner, welcome to Capitalism, some people love it! Some of these shysters like to influence the way we live and make laws for us to observe. Some like the patriotic Lord Ashcroft even lied to his own Party about his status while chairing the Party and sat in the Lords like a Ruritanian flunky making laws. The last Labour Govt. started to tackle this seriously and set about bringing new rules and laws etc, you can forget that now with this Govt. of millionaires.

The third part of what I consider to be a national scandal unaddressed by the Govt. when it talks about social security is the vast amount of money, far greater than that obtained by cheats which is not being paid out to those who are entitled to it. Those who do not get what they are entitled to are generally the old and vulnerable who fear the system and it’s complications and tend to make do with what they have despite their lives being made difficult because of the lack of help which they are due. Many of these people are of my parent’s generation who are reluctant to claim because they do not want to be seen as a burden, they will invariably say “I don’t want charity, I will manage” nowhere near enough is being done to reach such people and the money unclaimed runs into billions.

The Condem Govt. are pulling a massive con trick here, our Social Security/Tax system is grossly unfair and the rich are as always the winners while those in need suffer. This dishonest reactionary mob of privileged chancers will continue to pull every trick going to protect themselves and their rich friends and will avoid tackling the very real inequalities that the system allows; they are beneath contempt and have a cheek to call anyone crooks.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tony Benn Still Fighting 'Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you - Ye are many - they are few.' (Shelley)

Today sees an article in the Guardian by Tony Benn calling on people to organise: prepare to protest and fight back against the forthcoming cuts. He is involved along with others in setting up a group of like minded people from all walks of life who are prepared to stand and fight against the Con-dem Govt. On behalf of this group he states “We reject these cuts as simply malicious ideological vandalism, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Join us in the fight” the organisation is called - the development of a national co-coordinating coalition of resistance. threat are the jobs: pensions: homes etc. of the most vulnerable in society “there is no such thing as society” remember who was the author of that statement? They reckon that the services that they (the Con-Dems) lust after like the NHS, Postal and Transport are ready to fall into their clutches this time. They think the time is right to hand them to their rich friends because the working people of this country are beaten and cowed. They think we no longer have the stomach for the fight, I think they are mistaken.

Working people who depend on these services are not the ones responsible for the financial crisis it was the high flying spivs and shysters: bankers and high risk gamblers playing with other people’s money who did that. Let’s get this sorted once and for all “we are not all in this together” I don’t feel any togetherness with the millionaires who now run this country and it’s an insult from them to use such catch phrases, they are treating us with contempt, I feel your pain smarms multi millionaire PM Cameron yes I bet he does, from his manor protected by great wealth. Exactly as society should be according to them: ‘the rich man in his castle and the poor man at the gate’ the job losses are estimated at 1.3 million, where I wonder will they come from?

I will now shamelessly borrow another part of Tony Benn’s article and you can see if it appeals. “An alternative budget would place the banks under democratic control, and raise revenue by increasing tax for the rich, plugging tax loopholes, withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, abolishing the nuclear "deterrent" by cancelling the Trident replacement”

I will paraphrase the organisation’s main aims :- Oppose privatisation – oppose unemployment – support economic and social recovery – oppose racism and scapegoating as solutions – Liaise with similar groups abroad – organise public protest – support this new initiative. We urge those who support this statement to attend the Organising Conference on 27 November 2010 (10am-5pm), at Camden Centre, Town Hall, London, WC1H 9JE.
This is the first big organisation of this kind to appear across parties and groups in the country it will be crucial to make it grow and defy the Govt. I hope that names like that of Tony Benn and the many who have also signed up to it will attract others to help: we can’t stand idly by. I genuinely think that this is the most precarious period that we have faced certainly in my lifetime, I know it’s sometimes fashionable for people on the left and progressive areas of society to carp about each other but the fact remains that the Labour movement and everyone in it over the years has made great progress, helped by people of many political parties and none, it’s time to reassess the situation, if we don’t we run the risk of losing a 100 years of progress. Have Cameron and Clegg and the Cabinet Millionaires got it right: are we beaten: will they make us roll over? Well will they?

As my friend and comrade Robert Moore of Paisley Labour Party observed in a most iluminating way 'Now I understand Toryspeak - .."Broken Britain" was not an observation on what was happening before the election- the Tories were boasting about what they had in store for us '

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


I am beginning to wonder if my recent and ongoing quarrel with big chief Eileen McCartin the Libdem leader is causing her to unravel a bit, if her recent hysterical letter in the Paisley Daily Express is anything to go by I could be right. She stridently accuses me of insulting her dead parents! A quite appalling thing to do (did she think about what she was saying?) and a terrible accusation to make: she made the same accusation at a full council meeting and it was met with incredulity by everyone. I think I can say with confidence that no elected councillors that I have met and I’ve met some crackers would do such a thing: not even her. Folk were asking would Cllr. Kelly do such a thing, would anyone? My sworn enemies looked at her with expressions which said she had lost the plot and I think she had. I think it prudent that I should reproduce the part of the article written by me that she so irrationally seized on in her desperation to land a blow.

I wrote an article in which she featured and not in a pleasant way: I make no apology for that: had she said Cllr. Kelly has insulted me I would immediately have said you are correct but what she said was that I had insulted her dead parents, here is the passage she refers to. I finish the piece by adding this insult to my previous comments about her it is of course designed to wound using humour, probably with hindsight humour is a bit risky when dealing with someone like Cllr. MCCartin “suffice to say the money her parents spent on the Swiss Finishing School was a waste” Now, who is being insulted here? her or her dead parents? And here is another point she overlooked in her revenge filled rush to retaliate. How could I insult her dead parents when I did not know they were dead? Answers please Cllr. McCartin I know you are reading this. The paradoxical and rather sad result of her conceit is that people reading this will know that I did not insult her dead parents and also that I did not know that they were dead. But readers also cannot fail to notice that she has in fact cynically and quite dishonourably exploited her late parents to try to injure me. I confess to finding Cllr. McCartin a very difficult person to like her crass actions and her attitude to her late parents here demonstrate why, she is an unprincipled bully whose moral principles and policies are always for sale to the highest bidder.

Her letter to the PDX contains a couple of other howlers suggesting that she was unable to count to ten before putting pen to paper, she states and I paraphrase “Cllr. Kelly hates me and my party because we refused to prop up a useless dying breed of Labour Cllrs. in 2007” she forgets or is conceited enough to overlook the fact that the events she refers to were conducted in public on election night before a big crowd at Linwood Sports Centre and guess what? She was negotiating with both the SNP and Labour to do a deal and she did what those who know her knew she would do, she sold herself and her party to the highest bidder. There were no principles involved at all it was a case of ‘what’s in it for me’ nothing else mattered to her.

Last but not least she displays just how far over the edge her quest for revenge has taken her by saying that “if Cllr. Kelly is attacking me we must be doing something right” She and her treacherous party in Renfrewshire were humiliated at the election and won 4 out of 40 seats and the Libdems sit at 12% in the national polls and still sliding but: Cllr. Big Chief McCartin does not do logic: she brooks no argument she is all powerful “ we must be doing something right” she says and here is the rub for all you residents of Renfrewshire this woman is Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social work Board and much more as well as being Deputy Leader of the Council, in the absence of Cllr. Celia Lawson she could be the public face of Renfrewshire, meeting dignitaries etc. could Renfrewshire recover from that? this is what can happen under voting reform, be warned.