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 '


Allan said...

One small thing...

Isn't it (New) Labour policy to privatise the Post Office, or rather Parcel Force?

But yes, it is time to stand up... and make the intelectial case for targeted cuts. Cuts to the pay of the heads of service. Cuts to the tax burden of the low paid. Cuts to "consultancy" fees and the ties to PFI/PPP. And crucially a tightening of tax loop-holes. No-one is advocating this, and they should be presenting this as the alternative.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Allan) 05/08/10
There was a proposal to part privatise the Post Office which was vigorously kicked out by the rank and file members and the unions.

Try reading the aims of this group as outlined by Tony Benn; then you can say “OK but really: what else have the Romans ever done for us” try not to sound so silly, if you are opposed to the initiative just say so and stop nit picking.

Stay in you corner and cringe and sneer away to your heart's content and let others get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Thank god for Tony Benn.

Why can't he be leader of the Labour Party instead of the posh boys from Oxford who’ve never had a day’s poverty in their lives?

Then we might have a Labour Party that was worth of the name instead of the idiotic right-wing George Bush following of Tony Blair, and this half witted woman who cares only about wimmin's rights (unless they get in the way of her husband of course). Working class men can bugger off!

The Tory cuts are all hitting the poor: I see from today’s papers that they intend to get rid of milk for kids just like Thatcher did. The council house contracts are a scandal. They treat poor people like horses in a stable; no concept of a house being a home. Tory benefit cuts will have sick people, with no chance whatsoever of a job, being put on JSA level payments to save a few million quid. In the meantime bankers' bonuses are back to the idiotic sums that they were at 4 years ago, garden parties continue at the palaces and all the top social events are still in place; the BBC continues to insist that it can spend or money like water on people like Alan Yentob’s first class flights.....

Tony Benn is a proper socialist. We should be listening to what he says. Labour should be fighting this battle in parliament not leaving it to an elder statesman, even such a fantastic one as Tony. Where’s Miliband or Miliband with their Oxford educations? Where is Harry Hardman with her aunt the Countess? Where is Balls...another Oxford boy? Even Diane doesn’t live in teh same world as we do with her lad at public school.

I support Mr Benn’s movement lock, stock and barrel.

Brilliant. And thanks you for bringing it to my attention.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 10:05
Some would say that Tony Benn was also a ‘posh boy’ but I take your point: the other candidates are all Oxbridge but they are not strictly speaking ‘posh boys’ the Millibands are sons of Polish Jewish immigrants who escaped the Nazis and the other 3 are all working class people who were educationally bright enough to go to Oxbridge.

I agree the Party has changed though when I joined 45 years ago there were far more people from the shop floor who were MP’s and cabinet ministers, my solution to that is get more working class children into Oxbridge and do away with privilege we should round up not down.

I agree with your assessment of Blair but: I think you are being harsh on his wife: she is a QC and certainly no half wit and the press did a brutal job on her.
Thanks for the support in the broadest terms.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 10:05
Some would say that Tony Benn was also a ‘posh boy’ but I take your point: the other candidates are all Oxbridge but they are not strictly speaking ‘posh boys’ the Millibands are sons of Polish Jewish immigrants who escaped the Nazis and the other 3 are all working class people who were educationally bright enough to go to Oxbridge.

I agree the Party has changed though when I joined 45 years ago there were far more people from the shop floor who were MP’s and cabinet ministers, my solution to that is get more working class children into Oxbridge and do away with privilege we should round up not down.

I agree with your assessment of Blair but: I think you are being harsh on his wife: she is a QC and certainly no half wit and the press did a brutal job on her.
Thanks for the support in the broadest terms.

Anonymous said...

Well, to be fair Councillor, the Posh Boys were from middle-middle class intellectual households...albeit that they were immigrants. They were used to having the intelligentsia of the Labour party round for tea!!

What I mean is that they didn't come from council estates and resultantly (I grant you like the son of an earl, Mr Benn) have no experience of what it’s like to live in a dump on minimum wages; to have second rate everything from housing to food; no idea what it's like to chose between food and heat and no idea what it's like to live in a multi where the rest of the residents are taking serious drugs and are permanently some of the Dundee ones....

I’m a natural Labour supporter, albeit a middle class one. I hate privilege; I hate position and I refuse to recognise it in any way. We’re all god’s bairns said my granny... and she was right.

I’m not a communist, but I do believe in the redistribution of wealth, and as you say, the party you joined many years ago has changed (to my mind beyond recognition) and seems to care deeply about bankers and finance people, more than it does about lads from the back streets who can’t get a job in a factory because there are no factories.

When Scotland is independent I will support a Labour kind of party.

In the meantime we need someone to be fighting the Tories and their lap dogs the Lib Dums!! There is no one else but Labour .... and what on earth are they doing?

By the way I didn’t mean Mrs Blair-Booth when I talked about “this woman”. . Mrs Blair is a private citizen and not in politics. I have nothing much to say about her except I heard her talk once and she was very sensible... much more so than her husband; more grounded and less impressed with titles and position. I get the impression, though, that the two of them love money more than anything else in the world, but you may know differently.

No, in fact I was referring to your current English leader Mrs Harman, who seems to care not a whit about anything except “wimmin” and their “rights”. Well the last time we had one of them in charge look what happened.

It’s high time she, who need not concern herself about matters to do with the leadership race, concerned herself with a Tory party that seems to be worse than the one led by that devil incarnate, Mrs Thatcher.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 09/08/10
You can’t blame the candidate’s for their back grounds and you don’t have to live in a slum to be a Socialist.

“When Scotland is independent I will support a Labour kind of party”

I sincerely hope that day never comes; independence is a side show for people without a political philosophy or a view of the future.

The Blairs loving money above all else is a SUN editorial jibe. I think Cherie would have made a better politician than Tony though.

Harman is on a mission to see women better represented and I don’t disagree with that but: I don’t believe in positive discrimination I believe in creating a level playing field for all including women.

Anonymous said...

Why do you not want Scotland to become independent? Do you think we are not capable of looking after ourselves without help from the imperial power?

I don't think with respect that it was all a Sun thing about Mrs Blair...after all the sun at that time was on your side. it was only within the last few weeks before the election that they changed horses and became a Tory rag instead of a Labour rag. Cameron must have offered them more. (Of course he won't deliver. Delivery isn't his thing.) Mrs Blair gave an interview where she explained that her greed was actually a psychological worry that she would ever be poor again. Based, I imagine, on the fact that she was poor in her childhood.

I agree that she would have made a better politician than Tony, but then, anyone who could have stood up to Bush would be better than Tony, who started off well and then fell in love with the Whitehouse and its occupant...despite him being thick and as right wing as it’s possible to be without being a South American general!!

I realise that you don’t have to live in a slum to be a socialist, but I don’t think you understand poverty and the real feel of it unless you have suffered it. The lads I work with are hungry at times. Some of them have few clothes; their houses are cold and damp and their health poor. If you come from an Oxbridge background you are unlikely to have suffered much of that... and if you have it was a long time ago. There’s no empathy.

I too think that women should be able to do most of the things that men do, but there has to be a realisation that after 40 years of equality law the only real thing in the way of them doing this is that they aren’t elected. In short the public doesn’t want them by and large. There’s absolutely nothing to stop a woman now. There’s a female Queen and there has been a female Prime Minister (!!!!) Mrs Harman is a one trick pony. It’s all she talks about. She turns every question she is asked into a platform to talk about “wimmin”. She even thinks Sarah Palin is good because she’s a woman!!

Good discussion though... and I’m genuinely interested in your answers. I’d love to know what makes the Labour Party tick. :-)

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 15:02
Whether we are capable or not of being independent is irrelevant we are better off as part of the UK.

I used the SUN as a metaphor for red top papers: I have never heard Cherie Blair describe herself as greedy and I don’t believe she ever did I think I mentioned she is a QC.

I don’t have any problem empathising with the poor and hungry and I have never experienced either to a great degree.

Harman has the same opinion of Sarah Palin as I have and it isn’t good.

“There’s absolutely nothing to stop a woman now”

Yes there is it’s called “Sexual Discrimination” and it has never gone away.

Anonymous said...

Mrs Blair said in an interview on Radio 4 that she was avaricious because she had a terrible fear of being poor again. That was why she liked to hoard money . I know she’s a QC, as I believe is her husband. That is no bar to people being avaricious.

Why are we better off as part of the UK? (Serious question. I think it drags us down and I’m happy to explain why. Not in the least anti English. I have lived there and loved it. I just think we’d be better off like any other country, on our own, standing on our own feet. I think our intellectuals are second to none, our craftsmen are some of the best in Europe and we are capable of administration. We send so many people to England who rise to the top of the pile. We are a kindly and caring society based on justice and compassion. We could do so much better unfettered.)

I saw Harman on QT defending Palin. I think that all the laws have been angled for many years to give women the advantage over men, and yet people do not chose them as MPs. That’s democracy. Most men and a lot of women feel that women are not so capable of running things as men are. Many I suspect secretly (because of course it has to be secret now) think that women might be better in the kitchen. That’s the way it works. I mean there is no law that says that men have to be preferred over women, so why after 40 years are so few of them at the top. If it is discrimination it must be that people don’t vote for them. Maybe you have an alternative suggestion. I have a female MSP and she’s very good. I wouldn’t swap her, even for a man.

I do think that if you’ve had privilege you are unlikely to be able to empathise with people who live at the bottom of our class conscious and deeply socially divided society.

But we have got away from the origins of this discussion which was that Tony Benn, my hero has had to come out of retirement to fight the Condemned.. and in that we can rejoice. If anyone can do it it’s Tony. I wish he could be the next prime minister which is what your next “leader” will be when we manage to get Cameroclegg removed from Downing Street hopefully (as the governor of the BoE said, for a generation.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 09/08/10
Cherie Blair is well enough educated to know that avaricious and greedy are the same thing and I don’t believe she said this you will have to prove it to me.

“I think our intellectuals are second to none, (No they are not; they are better than some and worse than others) our craftsmen are some of the best in Europe (and some of the worst) and we are capable of administration (so is anyone) We send so many people to England who rise to the top of the pile (as well as those who sink to the bottom) We are a kindly and caring society based on justice and compassion ( society’s countries and nations are not just or compassionate, people are. Scots. are no different from anyone else) We could do so much better unfettered ( no we could not)

“I saw Harman on QT defending Palin”
If she was she would have been defending her gender not her politics.

“laws have been angled for many years to give women the advantage over men”
No they have not, the laws have been put in place to provide equality for women and they have not worked.

“Most men and a lot of women feel that women are not so capable of running things as men are”

A very robust statement of apparent fact without any evidence of any kind, you must try to do better.

“there is no law that says that men have to be preferred over women, so why after 40 years are so few of them at the top”

I have already answered that it’s called “sexual discrimination”

“Tony Benn, my hero”
I think if you do the research you will find that your “hero” Tony Benn is on my side on every disagreement we have had, I hope he is still around when we get rid of the Tories the next time.

Anonymous said...

I’m sure Mrs Blair does have a reasonable vocabulary. Don’t get too excited about being a QC. It’s not a HUGE deal. But she’s bright enough in many ways. As is Tony, although from what I can make out she’s brighter and marginally more principled; he is more cunning and has no principles at all. He’s certainly good at making money I’ll grant him that. I can’t prove it to you one way or the other. It was an interview some time ago when it was put to her by Jenni Murray that she had a reputation for being greedy. She said that she couldn’t help but accumulate stuff. It was saving for a rainy day. She was so terrified that she’d have to go back to the bad old days when she had nothing. She apparently knew real poverty, unlike Tony.

You don’t have a lot of confidence in Scots do you. Does that mean that you think we would founder on our own? We need the English to stop us from going under? The Maltese with a smaller population than Edinburgh can manage. The Icelanders with the same population can manage. And yes there was a little local difficulty there but they have put it right and their economy is picking up well. They sacked their government and changed things and now all is looking up. They can manage ...why do you think we are too stupid to do so?

QED. Mrs Harman only ever defends her gender. She’s a one trick pony. Wimmin, wimmin, wimmin. She could defend Sarah Palin, I imagine that she has Mrs Thatcher as a hero. She certainly has a countess in her family. Fine socialist! Not.

Well, I imagine that if men and women had any confidence in females we’d have elected more of them. They have exactly the same chances as we do now. They are allowed to stay on at school; they are allowed to graduate form universities; they are allowed to apply for and do men’s jobs; they are allowed to stand for parliament, and go to the House of Lords in their own right; they are allowed to have HP agreements and credit cards without their husbands’ signatures ... And all of these things are things that didn’t used to happen. Why are they not elected? Because no one wants to vote for them. Possibly because a lot of them are like Mrs Harman and if it’s not got to do with wimmin they are not interested.

Sexual discrimination does not exist in law. If it, like racial discrimination, discrimination against disabled people and gays, etc still exists, it is not because the law hasn’t been changed in most ways to accommodate them. The exception to that being gays who are not allowed to marry and may be kept out of people’s boarding houses i understand, if the person owning the boarding house is a bigot. If any of these groups fail to get on it is because PEOPLE don’t want them.

How many disabled people are in parliament despite there being no legal reason why they should not be? How many minority ethnics? How many openly gay people, apart from most of the Tories who went to public school (joke)? Few. Because people don’t want them to represent them... as with women. It’s called freedom of choice.

The only way round that is positive discrimination. Force us to have women. Even most women least ones with brains ...are against that.

Tony Benn is on your side? Nice. I thought he had little time for Blair and Blair. I’ve no idea what he thinks of Palin. I should imagine he’s a unionist but he hates the EU... strange... however, I think he has more respect for us than you appear to.

That leaves me Petula Clark and Nelson Mandela.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(tris) 10/08/10

I don’t believe Jenni Murray would have said that either; if she had it would have been news headlines; still you are getting closer to Mrs. Blair at last.

I have no more confidence in Scotland than I do in other countries.

Whether we would flounder on our own is irrelevant in this matter.

Scotland would not go under without the English we would just be worse off.

You need better examples than Malta and Iceland if you want to be taken seriously.

I don’t think “we are too stupid to do so” that’s another irrelevance.

Harman is a staunch supporter of equality for women and I support her in that, she is also a labour party member and MP and she does these things without any problem she is not unique in this. Having a Countess in her family is yet another irrelevance.

Women are in general terms the equal of men with the caveat that men are generally physically stronger. Since Physical strength is not a prerequisite for membership of the House of Commons or the Judges Bench or the head of a Bank or Multi National company etc. etc. that only leaves one thing Sexual Discrimination.

Sexual Discrimination does exist in Law in many forms not least of which is the Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Gay women, ethnic minorities and people with physical disabilities are like women in general they are equal to men with the same caveat about physical strength which does not apply to Gay men. The reason they are underrepresented is bias and discrimination.

Like Tony Benn I have respect for people whom I have respect for that does not mean everyone gets my respect or his for that matter.

Let me put you straight about something for the sake of clarity. I couldn’t care less where someone comes from and one country is the same as another to me; the fact that I was born in Scotland is meaningless to me, I really don’t care about countries I am more interested in people. There is no character advantage of any kind attached to being born in a certain place it’s an accident of birth and that includes Scotland, I’m an Internationalist: I feel the same toward a German an English/Irish/American/Chinese/African as I do to my fellow Scots. put as simply and as honestly as I can that means I like some and dislike others!

Anonymous said...

It seems that everything I say that doesn't fit with what you want to hear is an irrelevance.

We clearly disagree about a great deal.

By the same token I care very little about countries and I too prefer people and have despite good qualifications, chosen to work with people in a job that pays much less than I could earn. I do however, get immense satisfaction from getting kids from areas of multiple deprivation into work.

What I hate about being part of Britain, apart from the pomposity and the semi permanent Tory government (red or blue), is the fact that the country’s economy is run from London to suit the south-east of England. I’d like an economy that was based on my own country’s economy.

I can’t prove what Jenni Murray said, and you know that. But I’m not a liar.

Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ireland. I chose Iceland and Malta because they are tiny... and yet they can manage to run themselves without any help form an imperial power. I might add San Marino, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican.

Why can’t oil rich Scotland manage? Why are we better with a country that demands that we waste money trying to relive what some think are the ‘glories’ of Empire, by being the junior partner of the world’s most powerful state.

It was sickeningly pathetic to see that fool Cameron crawl up Mr Obama’s back passage.

You may call it sexual discrimination.... I say it is democracy. People by and large do not want women MPs. If they did there would be woman MPs. Many of the ones that we do have particularly on your side are there by positive discrimination... and you get people like Hazel Blears and Jacquie Smith out of that... or, worse still, I think, Margaret Moran. Enough said.

Mrs Harman seems incapable of opening her mouth on any subject without bringing wimmin into it. Insisting that either the leader of the deputy leader of the labour party should be a woman... no matter how incompetent she may be is plain madness. It would be like making that little man the Tories have in Scotland a cabinet minister.... because it was all they had.

You are right in a way ... it is sexual discrimination. The public don’t want wimmin in charge. They remember the last time that happened and the society fell apart, particularly in Scotland.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

If 2 candidates are trying to get the same job and the only thing which is different between them is the fact that one is a woman and that is why the job goes to the man; that is Sexual Discrimination.

I feel obliged to tell you that despite your reference to me calling some of the things you say irrelevant that this whole post is in fact irrelevant because you are repeating yourself ‘ad nauseam’

Anonymous said...

Does it? I expect that you have some evidence that, in the scenario you propose, the job automatically goes to the man? (I suppose that it may do in local government recruitment, with which I have had almost no contact. I thought, from the little I’ve heard of it, that it was extremely politically correct.)

I suspect that it rarely does in real life; business, commerce, where I place most of my clients. There one takes into consideration who can best do the job, rather than quotas of whatever minority is in fashion. If the job is small and fiddly (small assembly work for example) employers prefer women; if it involved lifting and carrying (manufacture of furniture for example) they prefer men.

Most employers, however, I come into contact with are wary about making life difficult for women and when there is little between candidates I have seen an employer favour the woman, because the man is unlikely to bring a sexual discrimination charge.

In any case the truth is that the “absolutely nothing between them” situation is one that almost never occurs. Qualifications may be the same; experience may be the same, but ability to "fit" and to actually do the job usually differs in some way, and that helps you make the choice. I know, I spend my life doing recruitment and selection.

I'm sorry I'm causing you nausea lol, (but I'm impressed by the Latin, not to mention the literary illusion).

Naturally, in view of this I shall refrain from further bothering you except to wish you a warm, good afternoon.

Best wishes.