Democracy and moral principles are being abandoned in the name of Trade Deals

A marker of a functional liberal democracy is an ability for groups to organise without state or police interference. Another is an ability to protest against the state in a peaceful way without facing reprimand. Authoritative regimes like North Korea and Iran are rightly condemned by the global community when they violently react to autonomous groups organising extra-state or counter-state movements.

On the other hand, the United Kingdom can be praised for allowing a vast array of groups to organise and protest against various perceived injustices. This, though, does not mean the United Kingdom is a liberal democratic utopia. Authoritative measures are still carried out by the British police with the approval of the government.

In September 2017, over 100 activists were arrested after they protested against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event in London with 46 subsequently taken to trial. The DSEI is a leading event where the defence and security sector can come together to trade and share knowledge.

It is co-organised by the Defence and Security Organisation, a government department. Each transaction that occurs at the event has to be verified and approved by the government. The government is also allowed to invite who it wants, even if it contradicts other projects. For instance, at the DSEI event, delegates from six countries which the UK government itself consider to be human rights abusers were invited. This included stakeholders from Saudi Arabia who represented a country currently engaged in a state-sponsored terrorist campaign against Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been heavily criticised by journalists, international human rights organisations and international bodies for their role in Yemen. Robert Fisk, an award-winning Middle East correspondent for the Independent, reports that there is increasing evidence that the Saudi regime is deliberately targeting civilian infrastructures. These infrastructures would be influential in rebuilding Yemen once the war is over. Their destruction means the effects of the war will be felt long after the immediate conflict is over.

On top of this, Human Rights Watch brought out their report on the situation in January 2018, reporting that since December 2017, 55 civilians, including 33 children, alone have been killed by six coalition attacks. There has also been a deliberate attempt to block humanitarian aid into the country. These factors, along with others, constitute what the Middle East director at Human Rights Watchdog, Sarah Leah Whitson, calls “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

What Fisk and Human Rights Watch describe are war crimes committed by a Saudi coalition. By being complicit in the transaction of arms to regimes like Saudi Arabia, the UK government, too, is complicit in war crimes. If you were a shopkeeper at a store that sold axes, you would not sell an axe to a known axe-murderer just as if you were facilitating an arms trade event, you would not sell weapons to countries committing war crimes.
However, despite this elementary moral principle, the UK government still invited representatives of the Saudi regime, as well as representatives from other regimes committing atrocities around the globe. For every war crime committed whilst using a weapon bought at the DSEI event, the UK government is complicit. If we applied the same Nuremberg principles which were set up by the allied forces after the Second World War, then members of the UK government would be convicted for their involvement.
The DSEI event itself has committed crimes on a global scale by facilitating arms sales to countries committing war crimes, which is likely to impact untold numbers of civilians around the world.

Protesting against the DSEI event was a moral imperative for many, which led to thousands doing so. Their methods were peaceful with activists exercising their right to protest. As Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) report, protesters set up blockades and other creative protests to disrupt the event as much as possible. However, many activists were still arrested, many were taken to trial and convicted.

This demonstrates that even leading liberal democracies can show their authoritative side and complicity in criminal repressive wars.

The internet: an exciting yet dangerous arena

Technology is moving fast, especially cyber-technology. While it is no secret that the development and continual growth of technology has been the biggest, most remarkable, and most significant trend in human history since the Industrial Revolution two centuries ago, the development and dissemination of internet-related tools have been most impressive, especially in the past decade. The world has moved from knowing nothing of computers to now having mini-devices that could fit into the palm of a child and connect users throughout the world on a virtual network known as the internet. Even young children who may not even know how to count or talk are already toying with mini-smartphones and learning numbers and alphabets on such smart devices.

For young people, the internet is also indispensable in terms of social and professional networking: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and quite a few others are pretty much a must-have these days. With the availability of such a big and powerful network, it is clear that the world we live in is very different from that of our seniors just a few decades (or years) back. There is also compelling evidence that this virtual must-have network is both exciting and dangerous and leads to potential conflicts of interests between different classes of society. I illustrate this with the remarkable rise and fall of online transport and accommodation services such as Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb.

Uber and Deliveroo have experienced a rather marvelous emergence as two of the most popular apps for food delivery and transportation. Recent estimates show that people who work for these two enterprises count in thousands throughout the First World, which suggests that the number of customers who use these apps must be even higher. Airbnb emerged slightly earlier and has also been immensely popular in attracting thousands of room bookers worldwide. As was publicly announced last year, Uber lost its license in London and experienced a massive reduction in its number of drivers not just in the capital of England but in many cities worldwide. Similar things have occurred to Airbnb which has also been restricted by the government in Japan. Deliveroo has survived better, though faces pressure over drivers’ wages, and one may surmise that an official persecution will happen sooner rather than later.

For those who have benefitted from these online services, you may feel rightly disappointed by the governments’ crackdown on them, since these services are immensely useful and convenient for the frequent travelers among you. They allow you to plan your journey with maximum ease and minimum fuss. As opposed to calling travel agents and wait on queue as in the old days (which was the standard procedure less than ten years ago), everything now seems to be available just a click away. The more ideological ones of you (coming from the left) may also lament the fact that these various crackdowns are undemocratic, as they severely restrict civil liberties and people’s choice to work for themselves as freelancers. Indeed, a restriction on freelance opportunities is a significant detriment to the lives of the modern citizens who feel that they are entitled to professional freedom and autonomy i.e. be their own boss. One may argue that these online booking services symbolize the future of world at work where one is no longer bound to a particular company/corporation and has to abide by office hours but is professionally independent through opportunities on the internet.
However, the more conservative among you (perhaps right-wing) may point out that these internet enterprises, if allowed to develop at the current rate, will cause instability in our society by endangering pre-existing services (public and private), since if these were to become the mainstream mode of travel and accommodation, there would be a massive curtailment in the need for taxis and buses, or hotels and hostels. Furthermore, the more general issue of freelancing is that it is in direct opposition and threat to the modern world of work and if freelance opportunities continue to grow in the form of industries, corporate finance may be threatened to the extent of extinction, which would entail a global economic disaster. For those who prefer stability to change, therefore, halting the rise of these dangerous online services is indeed a sensible option.

Whatever one’s perspective, one thing is clear and that is the internet has become so advanced and useful that it has become a dominant driving force in our rapidly and constantly developing world. This may explain the recent controversy of abolishing net neutrality, the use of internet censorship in authoritarian countries, and the tracking of terrorist activities by Western anti-terrorist institutions, all of which are specifically targeted at the internet. Clearly world governments and institutions are well aware of the potential (and dangers) of the internet, and while curbing the use of it may be seen as a tragedy for our liberal democracies, it is regarded as necessary by the upper strata of society for national security and global stability. Internet is hence an exciting yet dangerous arena and given how popular it is (and how much more popular it will be for future generations), its prospects and dangers will continue to haunt mankind.

How Neo-Liberalism killed wage growth

The success of more radical politicians should not be a surprise, since the 1980s and the dawn of Neo-Liberalism the working class have suffered and inequality has widened.

Since the Thatcher era in the 80s, productivity has increased dramatically due to automation and technological advances. And whilst productivity rose, in soared the era of globalisation where workers wages have remained stagnant.

Keynes’s Golden Age vs Neo-Liberalism and the Washington Consensus:

A reason why we no longer tax the rich properly:

How capitalism has failed the majoirty: UK

^ In addition to this, 16 million working age people in the UK have less than £100 in savings, living paycheck to paycheck. Prior to 1980 the UK peoples were net savers, post 1980 you can see whats happened.

^ This chart shows that the majority of new income generated from the explosion of profits post 1980 has not been passed on to those who created those profits. It’s gone to our corporate elite, not the workforce.

How capitalism has failed the majoirty: USA

For a country that has no universal healthcare nor free education to spend that much on war does nothing more than create enemies with whom to fight. US total military spending + reserve = $1Trillion a year. For Comparison, Russia spends $60Billion. As does the UK. The banks however are making a killing off Arms in general.
What happened to executive pay post 1980: US

^ This doesn’t even cover their hard assets. This is just the excess cash they don’t know what to do with because there is virtually no return on investment to be found in the global economy and you can only buy so many shares before the returns do not match your outlay. It is now $12 Trillion and counting as of 2016 and its also a big driver behind a rising stock market above a stagnant global economy.

When wage theft took off the in the USA

UK- A mirror image

You can replicate this picture in most capitalist countries. A model exported via financial markets of the US & UK over the 1980’s and 90’s is now dominant. It is supply side economics or “neoliberal” economics as the media likes to say without a clue as to its history (nor the citizens of Chile murdered for its founding, but that’s another story).
Generally speaking, modern capitalist economics doesn’t give a damn how much money is in your pocket, you are only a consumer. Only when you can’t increase your consumption year on year by taking on more debt do the asset owning classes care (1929/2008) but only enough to pillage your country’s savings to allow them to keep lending you the wages you no longer get for what you produce for them per hour, and haven’t done since before 1980, never to change.
Indeed,it’s getting worse.

Points of interest:

66% of all shares globally are owned by 1% of the population. That 1% decide the board of directors who make decisions in their interests that effect the economics and thus lives of billions of people.

In the UK, half the working age population has less than £100 in the bank. Thats 16 million people. The next 4 million have less than £1000. These are working people, in their millions, that after working the entire year wouldn’t have enough left in the bank to pay for a new combi boiler. The USA and many other western nations are no better.

The solution:
Question: Do I think going back to the laws and tax rates of 1945 -> 1980 (a return to Keynesian economics) will help? NO. If we reverse history with laws, when we are grey and mostly gone, the new generation of the 1% will use their wealth to undo everything working people achieved, as they have done many times before. The repeat of history has to stop if this world is to survive, the instabilities of capitalism have to end if all our people are to live with dignity. And you can only do that with systemic change.

How Modern Socialism can solve these problems, and what Corbyn wants

Along with this is a law that UK Labour party will pass that states that any company selling up, merging, off shoring, or closing, its’ workers will be given the option to take control of and operate the company or the buildings and equipment that the company has here if a multinational chooses to leave, and the public bank Jeremy will create will provide the loans to do so.
The corporations will not be allowed to take the equipment and resources the UK taxpayer subsidised if they leave. The workers left behind take that over. It’s called Democracy @ work and Germany already has similar laws including that 45% of the board of directors of a company employing over 1000 people must be taken from the base work force. All combined, it’s a major reason why their manufacturing hasn’t buggered off to China.

If the UK/USA had these laws by 1980 the last 40 years would have been very different indeed. It would have made it so much more difficult for capitalism to abandon the country’s in which it grew up, and with the tools and factories left behind turned over to the workers the corporate elites would have to compete with the workers they left behind for their UK market share which they would lose once the word got out in favour of the UK workers at X factory v shoddy Chinese goods from x Global Capitalist Supranational Corporation.

We are told three lies regarding Karl Marx & Socialism by our historians, teachers, parents, media, and the defenders and beneficiaries of capitalism:

The Media Says Socialism is:
1) Central planning

2) Government ownership

3) Single party rule i.e. the USSR on wards …

He never wrote a single word on these three topics above, nor did he ever propose “an economic model to follow”. He was a critic of capitalism. For the private sector, he wanted nothing less than democracy at work in order to save capitalism from itself and save us from capitalism. He saw and documented the future from 150 years ago, and our leaders response was to discredit him through manipulations of economic fact and history taught from the youngest age in the farthest schools for eternity.

His entire and only focus was on the problems and injustices of capitalism and how to solve them, this is why our ‘Captains of Capitalism’, our education, our historians and the media have lied to us for generations. His life and writing are a danger to the slave master relationship that the asset owning classes want regardless of the country where they control the show, capitalism promised to get rid of this slave master relationship which is a hangover from feudalism with liberty, equality, and fraternity and then it failed to do so anywhere on this earth, instead creating a global version of the hunger games with a trans boarder capable elite.

In summary, Capitalism, has collapsed twice in 75 years and had 11 downturns in between for the USA, 6 for the UK, now entering the 12th/7th since the depression. We need to move far quicker than we are at reclaiming our economies for the many not the few.

Death in waiting room under investigation as NHS crisis worsens

An emergency department in Dudley is under investigation after a man died in a waiting room. The Trust does not discuss individual cases but have confirmed that a man died in Russells Hall’s emergency room in November.

Elsewhere, One doctor working in A&E apologised for the overcrowding which he said had caused “3rd world conditions”.
The stories of an NHS Winter Crisis are starting to become normalised, but some of the details that have emerged in the past week are truly shocking. Years of Tory austerity, mismanagement and privatisation throughout the NHS has left the staff fighting an uphill battle to provide care for those in need.

It’s tempting to get carried away in reeling off the stats, but it’s important to remember that each one of the 17,000 patients left waiting in ambulances is someone’s mum, dad, grandparent or child. The nature of sickness is such that one day it could be you. The human cost of Tory callousness has never been so clear.

Jeremy Hunt broke his silence on Twitter this morning to essentially accept that the NHS is in crisis. Theresa May later apologised for the on-going situation which has seen ‘non-vital’ operations cancelled. While the Prime Minister says she knows how “difficult, frustrating and disappointing” the cancellations have been for people, there has been no effort to mitigate the crisis.

Platitudes from May about the NHS being “better prepared for winter than ever” are clearly not going to placate the growing public anger, which started at the ballot box in June last year when Labour denied Theresa May of her parliamentary majority. Public sector workers, suffering years of a pay-freeze and seeing the service they have worked in for decades decimated by the Tories, turned to Labour in huge numbers.

Jeremy Corbyn has been quick to lay the blamefor the crisis at the feet of May and Hunt for the long-term under-funding of the NHS. As the British Medical Association stated this isn’t just about one aspect of the NHS, it’s a systemic crisis. With GP appointments almost impossible to attain, A&Es across the country full and beds taken with people suffering from cuts to social care, there is nowhere for people to go.

The NHS has cared for people for more than 60 years, but it wont survive much longer with the Tories refusing to give it the funding it needs to flourish. The Tory drive for privatisation is costing British lives. Now, more than ever, we need a government that works to improve the life’s of the people they serve, and not one that caters to the wallets of the wealthy.

Gender inequality rife throughout Africa

The largest gender gaps are observed in West and Central Africa, where 79 girls are enrolled in secondary school for every 100 boys.

Although, African leaders declared that this year was “the African youth decade” and launched a number of youth employment strategies to help the increasing unemployment figures, its still on the rise. There is no doubt that more needs to be done to give the youth the educational resources they need to thrive, but as the region continues to increase its military spending, they are cutting education which is having a devastating effect on rural areas.

The rural poverty across the continent is something that is constantly spoken about, so it is not surprising when it is stated that the rural children are at a disadvantage learning only key skills needed for manual labour work. Many parents who send their children to school see this as a way to climb out of poverty, this would be the case if the money is continuously invested, and many of the African countries weren’t exploited by their leaders.

Teachers must be paid a fair salary, and students need up to date resources.

Many of the children who are sent to school still severely lack in the skills necessary for employment. A large focus has been placed on urban areas by ensuring new infrastructure and leisure facilities are built, which is all well for tourism but, does not ensure youth are given the skills they need to contribute to the economy of the region.

To address this education crisis, African governments must direct more resources towards rural areas by implementing policies that give the youth of the region the opportunity to succeed.
Surely, the most urgent priorities for the government besides taking care of the welfare of its citizens should be the provision of schooling for its children. Many were perplexed on the announcement back in 2012 that Western Cape government was considering closing 27 schools in the province but, since then there have been many additional schools built providing the Western Cape with some of the largest campuses in the southern hemisphere.

In South Africa public spending on education is 6.4% of GDP; the average share in EU countries is 4.8%. However the issue that continues to affect school children is not the amount spent on schools, but the quality of the teaching. This has massively affected the results of science and mathematics tests, ranking South Africa 74th out of 75th in the league tables.

A Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol said: “The key message is that a first step to improving education quality and equity in rural areas is through improving monitoring and evaluation systems. The evidence indicates that providing value added data to policymakers and practitioners will improve evaluation processes at all levels of the education system – national, regional, county, school, class and learner”

Another way in which the education system can be ‘enhanced’ is employee education, many children from poor and underdeveloped regions cannot afford education fees and many of them end up giving up school in order to take care of their families or undergo child labour, providing them with skill based subjects and teaching them the fundamentals of surviving in the tough industries whether its crafts, dairy, carpentry etc. This will allow them to have a better and safe employment option rather than core labour.

Looking back, a year in review

Editor in Chief – Iwan Doherty:

2017 has been a year of recovery. After the horrors of 2016, democracy regained her footing. After the triggering of Article 50, the UK snap general election was the most important one in my lifetime. The Conservative party went into the snap election in the strongest position they’ve been in since 1983, yet when Corbyn’s message got out they saw their lead evaporate. The result: Theresa May hiding under the desk with Corbyn knocking on the door at Downing Street. Labour have come out of decline but still have a long way to go to get the party back in power.

Across the world, the defeat of Le Pen was welcomed, but Macron’s anti-worker approach has seen the door creak open for a radical progressive to win in France. Across the pond Alabama sent a Democrat to the senate for the first time in my lifetime, deciding Liberalism was better than Pedophilia. Although I do not expect a blue congress come this time next year without the left winning the primary battles in the summer. Names like Pelosi and Feinstein need to be replaced by the likes of Jaffe and Hildebrand for the Democratic Party to win back it’s working class base.

However in 2017 something awoke. Hope. And it’s brought Socialism back with it.

Communications Director – Henry Jones:

2017 has, undeniably been a terrible year. We’ve waited all year for good news. I haven’t seen any of it. Take those BBC (sorry Adam) Breaking News alerts we get on our phone. The vast majority have been incredibly depressing.

Having said that, we can find solace in the incredible acts of human kindness and generosity that have been witnessed in response to the various acts of terror over the past year. While we cannot whitewash the comments from those who spout unhelpful rhetoric like ‘all Muslims are terrorists’ or even our Prime Minister’s meaningless platitudes that never translate into anything meaningful, we must always hold in our hearts the actions of those who give us hope in these trying times.

I’m talking about the taxi drivers who turned up outside the stadium in Manchester after the bombing, ferrying people free of charge to the hospital, or to safety. Or the people in London who opened their homes and businesses to people during the Borough Market attack. Or our Police Force, who run towards danger when we run away from it. 2017, more than any year before, highlighted the positive traits of our hugely diverse and wonderful nation.

In spite of all the chaos and sorrow, you can count on us to get up and carry on, with tea, or a lager. Here’s to 2018. There will undoubtedly be more pain, sadness, and Tory madness. But we’ll jolly well carry on fighting for the values we are passionate about.

Editor – Adam R. Brosnan:

2017 has taught me that the actions of the ruling classes do not have consequences. We are constantly fighting battles that clearly have no place in a democratically civilised society but because they are committed by the ‘haves’, they aren’t seen as the crimes that they are – these include; fox hunting, watching porn on your computer in at work, expenses fraud by Nigel Farage, Tories illegally using call centres to canvas,Tory austerity being correlated to 120,000 deaths, Lord Ashcroft avoiding millions in tax, May’s husband’s firm outed for having not paid corporation tax for 8 years. The list is literally endless.
These actions are morally repugnant to democracy, but their contempt for democratic values is further demonstrated in the way the Conservatives are actively trying to suppressing the votes of those who are likely to oppose the activity outlined above (e.g. filibustering vote to allow 16 year olds to vote/attempts to introduce voter ID laws).

They claim these actions were to preserve democracy and maintain the integrity of our political institutions. This, however, is a blatant lie and in the case of introduction of voter ID laws – taken straight out of the Republican playbook that actively works to suppress the votes of minorities in impoverished areas that would likely vote against the establishment.

I am happy with the progress made by Labour, but when the governing party writes the rules and is in the pocket of the elite who interpret politics (the media) – I am not sure the rose-tinted future of socialism and equality is a viable one. However, it can be if Labour (once in government) immediately addresses the media monopolies that have manipulated the will of the people for their own selfish greed for far too long – if not, our movement will falter and remain an ideal that we couldn’t quite attain.

Head of Recruitment – Zach Ntim:

Grenfell Tower is a horrific tragedy that hopefully will go down in British history. Mostly because it could have been prevented.
I’ve always found it odd hearing people refer to Grenfell as North Kensington, as a North Londoner; it’s Ladbroke Grove/Latimer Road, either way on the morning of the fire, like many other Londoners I went to *North Kensington*. I had no real plan or any real money to give, I just felt the need to help.
By the time I got near, all direct routes were shut off. No tubes, buses or cabs would take me into the area. The closest I could get was South Kensington, to where I was left stranded for about 2 hours. Hanging around looking at pimped out Ferrari’s parked outside grand Georgian homes. Just minutes away from the Palace, in the backdrop was the smoke of Grenfell. I was always consciously aware of the vast inequality in the UK, but this was a particularly sobering realisation for me.
One the 14th of June 2017 this country changed forever, I just hope it is for the better. #Justice4Grenfell.

Head of Promotion and Advertising- Owen Morton:

I think its fair to say that 2017 has been a massive year in British and global politics. There’s been a return of politics to front line of conversation, real change is on offer, not seen since the 1970’s.
In terms of the UK, we saw an almost fairy tale story of redemption. When Mrs May called her election, designed by the Tory cabinet to sweep her to victory with a mandate to rival Tony Blair, no one could envision what would follow. Those weeks were like a dream for me. I was surrounded by people who were laughing, giddy with excitement due to the Labour Party’s impending doom, but I along with millions of others stood up against the onslaught of Tory bile. I’m not for one second going to argue that Corbyn won, but I can say with some conviction that he didn’t lose it. Since then we have seen the polls move in the right direction. There is still work to be done but we’re definitely on the front foot.

I could talk all day about British politics, but its important to acknowldge the wider world around us. A populist president slipped into the Oval Office with no majority, and since then has been careening from one global disaster to the next. However, it’s the new year. Optimism shall rule – we can still change the course of history.

Rohingya crisis: A textbook example of religious extremism

Aung San Suu Kyi, the once inspirational leader of Myanmar, has been stripped of her 2013 Nobel Peace Prize and various other honorary titles after the international community’s increased attention on the so-called Rohingya crisis.

Muslim minorities in Myanmar have faced systematic torture, murder and expulsion at the hands of Buddhist extremists led by the infamous and militant Ashin Wirathu.
The UN has described the Rohingya’s treatment as a “textbook example of religious extremism and ethnic cleansing.”

Religious extremism and ensuing acts of terror are indeed a prominent theme in today’s world, but religious justification for mass violence and terror is actually a well-established trend in human history. The Protestant reformation in the 16th century, the Medieval Christian Crusades, and the Jewish Holocaust of the Second World War.

And now the Buddhist-Rohingya conflict. One cannot help to think: why so much hatred against the other in the name of religions that preach love, peace and harmony? Let’s not forget that the religions in question here (Islam, Christianity, Buddhism) all contain teachings that promote peace rather than hate. How is it that these militant groups have derived justification for violence and murder from such polar opposite premises?

The ethical arguments are complex and unique for each case and, in many of these cases, require close examination of the religious evidence that has been misinterpreted and manipulated craftily for evil purposes. Still, one may generalise by pointing out that in all of these conflicts there is a blame-rhetoric of labelling the other side as the aggressor/initiator of violence and hence the culprit of the situation at hand who deserves to be punished by force if not death. This justification for self-defense is then supported and augmented by appeals to religion which function as propaganda in garnering momentum for the mobilisation against the evil common enemy, as is now seen in Myanmar, Syria, Egypt and Iraq.

One falls into a vicious circle – if not logical regress – of mutual finger-pointing unless one manages and dares to identify the root cause of the conflict by discovering the perpetrator of the original act of provocation, which may indeed be very interesting. One thing is for sure, however, and that is the human price of all of these conflicts is always massive and tragic.

The number of deaths and casualties in Myanmar is quickly approaching the millions, of whom the majority are Rohingyan civilians, women and children. If this vicious argument continues, it may be impossible to bring a halt to these acts of aggression.

Grenfell: The Forgotten Tragedy

Early in the morning, on the 14th of June, our nation was struck with the devastating news that a tower block in West London had been engulfed in flames. Over 200 firefighters, and 40 fire engines, attended the scene. Harrowing images dominated the news for over a week, and public frustration was brought to a breaking point.

It was clear that residents had previously expressed concerns surrounding fire safety within the tower block, and yet no action had been taken. The unavoidable disaster prompted calls for this horrendous event not to be politicised, often by those deemed partly responsible. It’s clear that all previous governments failed. Profit was put before safety, and subsequently money outweighed the cost of human life. It’s devastating to say the least.
I’m surprised how quickly attempts were made to subdue the public, and ensure that frustration died down. Of course it’s necessary to avoid social disorder, but to avoid accountability is cowardly. It was unsurprising that Nicholas Paget-Brown was forced to resign following this tragedy. The cries of local residents, following the swift election of Elizabeth Campbell, went largely unheard. They cried ‘shame on you’, called Councillors ‘murderers’, and demanded that Ms. Campbell ‘resign’. So, almost six months on and where are we? Nobody has been prosecuted, the majority of residents remain unhoused, and little action has been taken to address poor fire safety standards in public buildings.

Our government has failed to learn from past mistakes. Henceforth, they are implicit in any future disasters. If there’s one thing we can take away from this horrendous event, it’s that we can now appreciate the value of fire safety measures and the role of fire fighters. Never forget. Refusing to retrofit sprinkler systems in high rise buildings, cutting budgets for emergency services, and failing to act upon past promises doesn’t help alleviate the problem. Taking immediate action will. It’s time for the government to step-up, work with other parties, and tackle endemic issues within our society. Because let’s be clear, this disaster wouldn’t have occurred in central London.

If the BBC is not reformed it will be at the expense of our democracy

Over the past year since the election it has become increasingly apparent that our treasured national broadcaster is strongly opposed to informing the public of goings on that do not reflect well on the ruling party.

We are constantly reminded that Russia Today (RT) is the propaganda arm of the Russian government. While I, and no one else can reasonably claim that the BBC and RT are two sides of the same coin, it should be formally addressed that the BBC is deliberately avoiding reporting that reflects poorly on the ruling party.

For instance, cast your mind back to the snap election last year. While it was reported by many outlets that the Conservatives were being investigated by the police for allegedly using call a centre to directly contact voters in marginal seats, the BBC were silent. The Conservatives insisted that they had not done anything wrong and the call centre was hired as part of legal market research and direct marketing. However, the legality of a crime is not for the defendant to adjudicate. They can deny any wrong doing all they like, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Welsh police (serious economic crimes unit) are nonetheless investigating the allegations.

Without delving into the legality of this issue, as I, and I assume the readers are not of competent legal mind, it is still an important story that the public should have been informed of at the national level. There is an argument to be had that it is just an allegation and therefore not of importance until it has been investigated. However, I don’t recall any hesitation to report on manufactured outrage at Corbyn during the salacious ‘traingate‘ that was ultimately ratified as a Conservative/establishment smear campaign based on lazy opportunistic ‘journalism’.

Some will argue that the call centre investigation was reported on, but those people should be reminded that burying the lead in a local Welsh BBC site is not good enough. The election impacted all of us in the country and therefore should have aired on national TV at prime time, but apparently it is not as important as a man sitting on the floor of a train.

Most recently, the BBC have ignored a devastating report by the British Medical Journal that has gone as far to conclude that Tory austerity can be correlated to 120,000 avoidable deaths under their rule. These deaths are at the expense of their false economic model of self-imposed austerity to somehow promote growth? This is not a biased ideological claim, it has been substantiated time and time again – most convincingly by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

What austerity actually does, is demonise the most vulnerable in society and whip up racial tensions that only serve as scapegoats for the actual problems of everyday people. It is easy to blame an immigrant for your misfortune, but it is extremely difficult to mount an argument against the moneyed classes when your trusted national broadcaster refuses to effectively hold these people to account.

Even when the BBC appears to hold these people to account, as seen in the Paradise Papers documentary, its not good enough because the news section of the company refuses to tackle it with the same veracity, of say, a man sat on the floor of a train. Those familiar with The Peoples News know that we reported on the dubious tax affairs of the rich and famous well before the documentary aired. However, let me detail how the BBC has come to serve a specific purpose in this country.

As mentioned, The People’s News reported on the likes of Lord Ashcroft and Walmart well before the documentary aired. But, because ours is a humble operation, it is to be expected that it can’t really take hold on a national level, and the attention such reporting does get, ends up causing disjointed/isolated uproar within our growing, yet still very modest, social media circle.

Now this is the interesting part: once the BBC aired the Panorama documentary, it had the effect of unifying the country’s outrage to speak in one concerted fashion, which has the effect of creating a momentum that can be grappled with on a national scale. This is because the BBC, unlike The People’s News, has a direct line of contact with everyone in their homes. However, even when The People’s News wrote about Ashcroft, this was not ground-breaking news – it is an old story that never gets any traction because those in power and owners of news outlets are taking part in the exact same methods used to avoid tax.

With this critical point in mind, it doesn’t matter that the BBC aired the documentary because the newspapers and other outlets don’t keep the issue relevant by sustained reporting, leaving the story to fade into the 24 hour news cycle. Whereas, to use the ‘traingate’ example again, once this was reported on, the papers and other sources ran with it because it was politically expedient to do so as it smeared the leader of the opposition.

The BBC wasn’t set up to occupy these establishment biases, but it can no longer be ignored that it has become a propaganda arm for the ruling party. It is not overt propaganda, but omission of certain stories that don’t reflect well on the current government still falls under the umbrella of propagandist.

It seems odd that a government priding itself on capitalist/free market values insist that we continue to subsidise the BBC through our TV licenses while they deliberately misinform us. This is particularly troublesome when Tory policy has been correlated to the deaths of the lowest earners in society. Yes, the BBC does some excellent work, but they should remember that by omitting some of the news, they are losing the trust of the nation and worst of all, backing us into a corner and forcing us to pay for a service that abuses its viewership’s trust. This is especially unethical when you consider that their policies are suppressing wages and adding outgoing expenses that many of us simply cannot afford.

It is not my intention to encourage anyone to break the law, but while paying a TV license is mandatory, and not paying can result in significant legal trouble, if everyone unified and threatened to withdraw our funding if our grievances aren’t addressed – can they really impose any legal consequences? After all, we are paying customers – paying to be misinformed. We need reform, for the sake of our democracy.

Why Neo-Liberalism will destroy this planet

Ecology: The Crisis of Capitalism & why it will kill us all.

Neo-Liberalism, our dominant economic ideology. The ideology that supposedly won the day for capitalism, but has capitalism won the battle and lost the planet? The impact of Neo-Liberalism on our environment might be too much to bear.

Let’s start with some simple immutable scientific facts:

The global Capitalist economy doubles in size over the course of 30yrs @ avg norm of 3% growth a year.With each doubling comes a doubling of energy and resources required*Source Post Carbon institute. IEA.Man-made Co2 emissions take roughly 37yrs from emission to become fully active participants in climate warming.Co2 is cumulative and persistent over millennia. Meaning every gram we have emitted as a species over the last millenia is having an effect on us today, when this was small scale and the population low it was inconsequentioal, today Co2 production is a global industry and it will not naturally resolve itself within acceptable human time frames if we dont take massive immediate measures.Above 2.3oC of warming = runaway warming. All life on earth will be in terminal decline by 2100.The system will not save us. Paris climate deal in 2015 promised not to break 1.5 oC of warming, but constant rises in temperature may now be inevitable due to the lag to effect. Consequently any measures we put in place to reduce carbon today, will not be felt for decades. We have no time left for discussion yet we are locked into an economic system that demands it survive at the cost of this world.Transportation accounts for 20.7% of global emissions*2013. Nothing can replace the 1.2billion fossil fuelled vehicles we have today, we do not have the electrical generating capacity nor the available space in emissions before 1.5oC to produce a billion electric cars and infrastructure globally, and charge a third of that number in electric vehicles. Their limited range impairs their usefulness to a global economy with supply chains that cross continents.There will be near 2 billion fossil fuel vehicles in use by 2050. 150 to 250 million electric vehicles. Yes it is progress but it will be too slow to be of use.

If we stopped all man made production of CO², right now, Temperatures would still rise for near four decades due to the lag to effect of man-made Co2, meaning it may already be too late to avoid 2.3oC never mind 1.5oC as set out by Paris climate talks.

It is my belief that I have spotted something that our climate models missed and our world leaders either do not know about, or they do not want you to know the following. We only discovered the 37yr lag to effect in 2012. This means all warming experienced so far is prior to 1980, i.e. prior to globalization’s accent. Post 1980 we massively increased our rate of Co2 emissions year on year, in effect, we turned the gas up on the stove, and only now, 2015> do I believe we will see the full effects of this. If I am right, changes will happen far quicker than models previously suggested which in turn may lead to all life on earth being in terminal decline by 2100 as crops fail and resource wars rage.

Take a look at graph. Ask yourself how much needs to be done and can a profit motivated society solve these issues without some miraculous intervention.