Sunday, 31 January 2010

Quentin Gargan on Energy in West Cork


A Green Candidate from West Cork

"The Irish Greens has made the same error as the Czech Greens of becoming subsumed in a right-wing coalition and, with no basic radical ideology to rely on, becoming a prop for the ruling right-wing party.



This is the problem facing all Green parties that follow the creed of “neither Left nor Right, but Green”. They end up increasingly resembling green mushy peas served as a puree by the right.
Greens must stick to their radical roots on the left, while pushing the left to not leave the planet and climate change as an optional add on. This is why Green Left, inside the Green Party of England and Wales, stands by the ideas of eco-socialism and will continue to sound the warning whenever we feel that Green parties are going down the same disastrous road as the Irish."

http://links.org.au/node/1191

IRAN: God is not pleased

Click to enlarge


Opinion




Iran has hanged two people who have opposed the regime of the Ayatollahs for "waging war against God".
Homosexuals too are being persecuted and hanged for offences against God.
First, who is God, and if he/she exists how can a mere mortal have the gall or the temerity to speak on his/her behalf? Secondly, how can the regime assume that they are acting in the name of the Un-nameable and Unknowable and take upon themselves the dispensation of justice when it is they who have usurped the power of the Almighty?
It is time they interpreted the religious teachings in the way they were intended and in the light of Truth..


Female suicide bomber kills dozens in Iraq

Iraqis making a pilgrimage to Karbala to mark the annual festival of Arbaeen.
The attack happened as pilgrims walked through Baghdad
At least 41 people have been killed and 106 injured by a female suicide bomber in north-east Baghdad, an interior ministry spokesman has said.
The woman detonated an explosives vest among a group of pilgrims making the journey to Karbala, 80km from Baghdad. A witness described seeing a fireball.

Is Iraq the next holiday hotspot?

US soldiers stare at three busts of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad

By Tamsyn Kent 
BBC News Magazine



Saturday, 30 January 2010

Do People Care Sufficiently About Politics To Vote?


Now polls are suggesting a hung Parliament

BUT read this from Guido Fawkes
When Brown has gone after the election it seems inevitable that we will eventually have a Khrushchev moment, where a senior Labour figure articulates what everyone knows.  It will be devastating.  Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being.  He is at the centre of a culture of political bullying that has been unhealthy for the Labour Party and the government.  The loyalist cabal around him are unpleasant people who have no place in a healthy political culture, they are as secretive and malicious as they are vindictive and vicious.

If British citizens stay away from the ballot box, it's not because they can't be bothered to track down to the polling booth; it's because they see parties and politicians as "all as bad as each other" and feel powerless to do anything about it. They want their voice heard.
If anything, the coming election will be fought against an even more toxic background of anger and distrust stoked by the twin scandals of MPs' expenses and the banking crisis.
Trapped in the Westminster village, politicians and journalists fail to appreciate the massive gulf that's opened up between their activities and the hopes and fears of ordinary voters.
 Given the opportunity, people do care a great deal about politics and are prepared to put a lot of effort into debate 
Power2010 blog
With politics at such a low ebb, where is the change we so desperately need going to come from?
Baroness Kennedy

Comment
In Australia voting in a General Election is mandatory and everybody is obliged to vote. Thus the government is truly representative of the will of the people and nobody is allowed to abstain. In Britain the fact that so many abstain means that only approximately 60% of the electorate vote, and in a European election the number falls to around 40%.

The Impasse that is Northern Ireland



Until Northern Ireland reaches a state of complete devolution there will be no resolution of the problems which are a legacy of the arbitrary division of the south of Ireland from the north. Ulster is an integral part of Ireland. The people, whether or not their sympathies lie with the Republicans or the Unionists, regard themselves as Irish. It is only a matter of time before the island of Ireland is united.

Yet, there is still a way to go, and the situation is bedeviled by the continued, yet archaic, holding of parades, glorifying the battles which were fought between the Catholics and the Orangemen, and in particular the Battle of the Boyne. It is time that the parades (of this sort) were outlawed as they serve to keep open the wounds of the past, and keep alive the memories which are better forgotten.

The public needs reassurance that when unification is achieved all interests are represented, political, religious and secular, and treated equally and fairly and that no discrimination whatsoever will be tolerated. Partition never worked, wherever it was applied in the world, but has always created conflict or has led to the division of peoples who have a common ethnicity, with the resulted tensions which have ensued.

alanindyfed

Mark Simpson, BBC Ireland correspondent

The latest Northern Ireland political negotiations are now the longest sustained period of talks since the peace process began.

In the past 15 years, the parties have had plenty of long days and late nights - but never as many in one week as at Hillsborough Castle in recent days. The discussions began on Monday afternoon and by mid-evening on Friday they were still dragging on. One night, they finished at 0400 GMT; another night at 0530 GMT.

Even in the week before the ground-breaking Good Friday Agreement in 1998, there were not quite as many near-dawn talk sessions. More sleep was also had at the other 'hot house' venues over the years - from Leeds Castle in Kent, to Downing Street, to Stormont's Castle Buildings, to St Andrews in Scotland, to Weston Park in the Shropshire countryside. Hillsborough Castle has beaten them all when it comes to sleepless nights.

The negotiations to save the Stormont Assembly are not just a test of the peace process - they are fast becoming an endurance test.


The Situation

Northern Ireland is a land of contradictions, in its land, its people, and its politics. Its story is as fascinating, as it is tragic; as intellectually compelling, as it is violent; and as complicated as it is simple. For centuries, England has governed the people of Northern Ireland and has created and perpetuated the social conditions fueling conflict and violence that have plagued the province for 30 years, or 300 years, depending on when you start counting. It’s a beautiful, pastoral, land with 40 shades of green, beneath a dark cloud of enduring anger, sadness and suffering.

"The Troubles" in Northern Ireland really began when the British granted independence to the 26 of 32 counties in 1920 and partitioned the island, dividing the Irish people and imposing a different British identity on the North. In the decades following partition, the Irish people might have adapted and accepted the situation, but the governing class exploited and discriminated against the Irish minority, establishing an oppressive state and denying basic rights.

More here

Can you hear the call of freedom

The Time has come. Seize the Time.

Occupied England...


A Parliament for England? Why not?

Adam Price - English Independence

England would do well do declare independence before it is left on its own

Friday, 29 January 2010

In God We Trust


Son and Daughter of the American Revolution


Inquiry highlights


Angus Robertson, the SNP's leader at Westminster, says: "It's chilling that Tony Blair failed to show an ounce of regret for a war that killed hundreds of British troops and thousands of Iraqi civilians."


Plaid Cymru and SNP MPs were prime movers in calling for the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war.
Guardian reporter Steve Adams interviews MP Adam Price




    WHEN Adam Price walks away from Westminster next spring he will turn his back on one of the most tumultuous periods Parliament has witnessed since the Second World War.
    The Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr will have spent nine years among the grand, the great and the not so good of British politics and played an often central role in some of the key moments which have defined a generation – not bad for an Amman Valley miner’s son.
    “If anyone had told me when I was elected in 2001 that we would be going to war in five or six months and would remain at war for the rest of the decade, I would never have believed them,” said the 41-year-old.
    While the Bush-Blair invasion of Afghanistan may have welcomed Mr Price into the world of national and international politics, it was the 2003 war in Iraq which catapulted him into the spotlight.
    In 2004, Mr Price became the first person for more than 150 years to attempt to have a serving Prime Minister prosecuted.
    The impeachment process, while doomed to inevitable failure, brought unprecedented and – in the eyes of the Government – unwelcome attention on the reasons why Britain had gone to war.
    Never before had anyone questioned so keenly how and why the grave decision to send in the troops had been made Mr Price said: “We were lied to about the war and when we started the impeachment campaign things had gone quiet on Iraq.
    “But people were still dying there and no one was asking why.
    “People kept asking why we were doing it, but here we are, a few years down the line and an inquiry has been set up, so it was worth it.”
    A thorn in Blair’s side Even before the attempted impeachment, Price had earned himself a reputation as a thorn in the establishment’s side when he exposed Blair’s links with Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal in what would become the first of numerous scandals over political party donations.
    However, despite grabbing more than his fair share of headlines, it is interesting to hear that as he nears the end of his Westminster career, Mr Price’s personal triumphs were practical rather than sensational.
    “The thing I am most proud of is the work that we did with the Allied Steel and Wire pension fund,” he said.
    While pension funds are unlikely to set pulses racing among those not directly affected, Mr Price and his team changed the lives of 120,000 workers and their families by forcing the Government to pay out when the ASW scheme went belly up.
    “There were many workers, including 3,000 steelworkers from Cardiff, who lost their pensions after contributing for 40 years,” he said.
    “These people had been working in backbreaking jobs and had lost everything through no fault of their own.
    “I found a European directive that had not been implemented by the Government which forced them to set up a scheme to repay the pensions these people had lost.
    “If I do nothing else ever again in politics, I know that I can have a pint of Guinness with a few guys in Cardiff who know what we achieved.
    “I felt the impeachment was a democratic duty, but in terms of an emotional impact on me, fighting for justice for working people was something that moved me because I had been there myself as a kid in the miners’ strike when there was no money in the house.”
    While his ability to make things better for ordinary working people has clearly been a source of great pride for the former Amman Valley School pupil, the trappings of power associated with a seat in the Commons have sat uneasily on his shoulders. I can’t stand the place “I will not miss Westminster for one second,” he said. “I cannot stand the place.
    “I mean no disrespect and I was very proud to be an MP.
    “Being chosen as representative of the people is a fantastic honour for a native son of Tycroes, but I won’t miss the politics of Westminster.
    “I do not like the House of Commons.
    “The culture of the place is deeply regressive and reactionary.
    “It is a fundamentally unhealthy place where people wearing tights open doors for you.
    “After a while it affects you and a part of your brain when you are being treated like a petty prince.
    “MPs don’t walk, they swagger.
    “You begin to lose your accent and start to knock off your own rough edges.
    “I found that the working class boy from Ammanford was beginning to disappear.
    “I will be having a cold shower after I hand in my pass.”
    Looking back on his career, it is clear Mr Price – despite his reservations of the institution itself – views his time at Westminster as the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr with great pride.
    Mavericks needed “There is a particular privilege in representing the area that you are from because you have a connection with the people you represent,” he said.
    “These are the people you went to school with and it has been an honour to serve them.
    “I am very, very proud of what we have done.
    “People have called me a maverick, but isn’t that what politics needs?
    “To have people who will say things regardless of the political consequences.
    “Whether people have agreed or disagreed with me, I think the people I have represented have appreciated the fact that I was someone willing to take on the powers-that-be.”
    Few believe that when Mr Price stands down at the next election he will disappear from the political landscape of Wales.
    He said: “When I first stood for election I said I would commit to two terms and so I have been consistent, I didn’t ever envisage a 25-year career in London.
    “I always knew that I wanted to come home to Wales.
    My heart is in Wales “I had a job to do at Westminster and I hope that people will accept that I have done it to the best of my ability, but in my heart of hearts I knew it was time to do something different and my heart is here in Wales.
    “I always wanted to come back to the Assembly at some point and if I go into politics again in the future then it will be there.
    “I want to come back and contribute in some way to transforming our country.
    “The only way we are going to crack the enduring problems of poverty and disadvantage is to achieve prosperity and that is something I am going to devote the next phase of my life to.”
    Rather than seeing a return to the land of his fathers and a possible seat at the Assembly as an easy option, Price sees the move as a step up the political ladder.
    A cruel punishment “We in Wales send people down to London, but as a nationalist I think it is a most cruel and unusual punishment,” he said.
    “Many Assembly members view going to Westminster as promotion to the Premiership, but that is not healthy. It should be the other way around.
    “In Westminster they hold the shield to protect Wales, but it is at the Assembly where things actually get done in real terms – after all, if you cannot change a nation with 16 or 17 billion pounds then forget about it.
    “The Assembly should be the pinnacle of all Welsh people’s political ambitions.”
    Already viewed by many as the heir apparent to the Plaid leadership, Mr Price shifts awkwardly at the possibly of becoming a leader in the nationalist movement.
    He said: “Once you start to believe your own propaganda, you are finished.
    “When you lose self doubt you start to believe too much in yourself and your mission.
    “That’s when terrible things happen.
    The real heroes “The real heroes are the people you meet every day - the firemen, the ambulancemen, the paramedics.
    “What they do in one morning beats everything I have done in my entire political life and although it may sound trite, that is humbling.
    “There is a line in Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo when one character says ‘pity the land without heroes’, and Galileo turns and says ‘no, pity the land that needs them.’ “That would be my message – don’t put your faith in heroes because they always have feet of clay. They always get it wrong or disappoint.
    “There is a tendency, especially in small countries, to put our faith in heroes because it is an excuse not to put our faith in ourselves.”
    Whatever faults Adam Price may have, a lack of faith – in himself, his politics and in Wales – is not one of them.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Rewarding the Taliban with Dollars - Opinion

Breaking news:  Angus Robertson, the SNP's Westminster leader, tells the BBC: "Blair may have danced around the questions but his legacy of lies and illegality will be his last waltz."


Opinion

There must be a complete lack of understanding of the mentality and religious zeal of the Taliban to think that they would be bought off by US dollars and that this is a viable solution to end the war in Afghanistan.* First of all, these fighters are not in it for money, particularly when it is being offered by their opponents. The intention of Jihadists and Bin Laden sympathisers is to defeat the West as they consider Western society, as well as their own government, to be corrupt and misguided. They are also incensed about the Palestinian situation in Gaza and the apparent support which the Israelis receive from Western governments and the planting of Jewish settlements in Arab areas. Any Afghan who accepted money and defected to the Afghan government side would be regarded as a traitor by his former masters and this would increase the conflict and the risk of a civil war. Gordon Brown's policy of enticing Afghanis away from their cause by offering money as an inducement to desert is dangerous and will doubtless fail.


(disclaimer: *I could be wrong)


Video: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/4/20100129/video/vuk-news-headlines-morning-for-january-2-72087a0.html

The Chilcot Inquiry and Transparency in Public Affairs






Tony Blair gives evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry tomorrow. What is he going to say?

The transparent version:

"I thought that the U.N. had made a case for going to war with Saddam Hussein so I decided that we should go ahead and invade anyway. In any case we had the support of my friend President Bush who gave it his full blessing. No weapons of mass destruction were found but the British public were not to know that, and we must take the necessary steps to protect our country whether or not we are being threatened from abroad. We had a legal right to invade because the Attorney General told me so, after he had reconsidered his position and had second thoughts on the matter. Granted, it was underfunded and we did not have sufficient military supplies, helicopters and the like, but we had squandered so much on mismanaging the NHS and schools and other extravagant projects that we did not have the resources. It is all a question of priorities."


For more information, click HERE and HERE




SNP News: Afghanistan


"The Taliban has regrouped, the heroin trade is flourishing and we are backing a government with corruption problems. Meanwhile, too many ordinary Afghans are seeing precious little reconstruction and development. With even a cursory understanding of Afghan history it should be obvious that this is a recipe for disaster. We need a major rethink now."

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Platitudes are the Palliatives of Parliament


plat⋅i⋅tude

[plat-i-tood, -tyood]  Show IPA
–noun
1.
a flat, dull, or trite remark, esp. one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.

the quality or state of being flat, dull, or trite: the platitude of most political oratory.

















NO DEAL
Watching the proceedings in Parliament today where Harriet Harman, the Deputy MP, stood in for the Prime Minister who remained in the north of Ireland to mediate, along with the Taoiseach of Ireland, to resolve the differences between Sinn Fein and the Unionists over the devolution of policing powers, it was hard to separate the fluster from the platitudes.


Platitudes have become stock-in-trade for Labour politicians on their way to oblivion. The PM has a platitudinous in-word, repeated ad nauseam, and it is:
vigilant. It came into being after terrorist attacks and now has become an essential part of the PM's vocabulary, used in all circumstances and occasions. Listen carefully and you will find more...and more.....and more.....


The vocabulary of Labour ministers is strewn with trite remarks along with constant reminders of the efforts they have made to make society in Britain more equitable, better educated and increasingly wealthier, by creating employment and eradicating child poverty. The problem with their assertions is that they are blatantly untrue.




READING  http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/NEP.asp

This Deserves Wider Publicity



From Leanne Wood A.M.

A Living Pension IS Achievable


Plaid has recently announced ourfirst policy for the UK General Election. We want to raise the basic state pension to the level of the current pension credit and make it universal for all OAPs. At a stroke, this would lift thousands of pensioners out of poverty in Wales and enable them to adequately heat their homes as well as eat properly. Not too much to ask in one of the richest economies in the world, is it? With winter deaths increasing last year by 74% in Wales, something clearly has to be done to help older people with rising fuel bills.

Our political rivals have scoffed at these measures, bleating about the cost of introducing a basic decent standard of living for pensioners. All three London-based parties are competing to see who can introduce the deepest cuts to the public sector to tackle the budget deficit.

Plaid rejects the widely peddled notion that pensioners have to suffer and public sector jobs have to be sacrificed in order to balance the books after the massive bank bail-out. Why should the most vulnerable and lowest paid be punished for the greed culture of the wealthiest amongst us?

As part of our policy, we explained how the scrapping of socially useless projects such as Trident and the watered-down ID card policy would more than cover the costs of rolling out the pension in the first phase for those aged 80 and over.

In time, a living pension could be rolled out to all those aged 65 and over if the UK Government was to increase the tax on those who can afford to pay more. Compass recently identified £50 billion worth of savings, taking into account the scrapping of Trident and the ID card system and by clamping down on tax havens, non-doms and introducing a 50% tax rate for those earning over £100,000.

With some analysts predicting a hung-parliament, Plaid’s representation in the House of Commons could provide crucial in determining who takes power. Our MPs have a reputation for punching above their weight and representing the interests of their constituents without having to acquiesce to a London-based party machine. Our pensions policy also lets people know that there is an alternative to the cuts-based agenda of the big three UK political parties - there are some candidates out there who will speak up for some of our most vulnerable people.

Recognising the Need for Change


UK style of government 'needs urgent reform'

Palace of Westminster
Government initiatives are having "perverse" effects, the report warns
The UK's system of government needs "urgent" reform, a group of former senior civil servants has warned.
Ministers have to pass fewer, but better, laws as they get to grips with issues like the financial crisis and global warming, a report adds.
The Better Government Initiative also warns that government targets could prove to have "perverse" consequences.

The full article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8481943.stm

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bloggers Lead Where Others Fear to Tread

There seems to be a dearth of good ideas these days. Governments and political parties set up Think Tanks which consume a lot of the taxpayers' money and come up with very little to show for it. As a result the politics of change, transformational politics,  never gets off the ground and is left standing at the starting post. How futile and how embarrassing, but have no fear the bloggers are here and ideas and comments as well as a number of disclosures and 'leaks' are on display for all to see, peruse, examine and dismember. If there is no action in parliament, in the assemblies or in the council chambers at least there is action here on the Blogosphere, with an array of views, opinions, comments, proposals, objections, revelations and all the rest. Bloggers are indubitably doing a service for democracy and mankind.

More and more politicians of every hue check out the blogs to ascertain the direction in which the electorate is heading and to assess the political trends of the nation, whether that be the Welsh, the Scottish, the Irish, the English or the Cornish nation. New ideas are changing the face of politics in Britain from the voluntary contributions of bloggers who freely give their time to air their concerns and make a difference. Anybody, whether he or she is actively employed in the political sphere or not, from those who stalk the leaders and senior politicians in  the corridors of power to the blogger in the lonely cottage on the Welsh hillside, can express his/her beliefs and thoughts with a few deft strokes on the keyboard and make a contribution to the debate.

The media has come to recognise the existence of the blogs and several media celebrities possess a blog of their own. MPs and AMs have their blog and some make regular postings on matters of significance often on a daily basis while others make their appearance belatedly or blog at infrequent intervals. Blogs have their group of loyal followers who constantly keep an eye on the movement of events and consult their favourite blogs to weigh up the pros and cons and find a balanced view. Blogs are read around the world at all hours of the day or night and statistical counters show the locations where blogs are read as well as recording the size of the readership from day to day enabling the creator to estimate the impact of the post. Blogs have become an important and indispensable cog in the political wheel, a democratic breakthrough and a force to be reckoned with.

LABOUR GOVERNMENT THINKING PRIOR TO IRAQ INVASION

We think that the U.N. has made a case for going to war with Saddam Hussein so we will go ahead and invade anyway. In any case we have the support of President Bush who has given his blessing. No weapons of mass destruction  have been found but the British public believes they exist.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Transformational Politics in Wales

Welsh society, in company with British society as a whole, is in dire need of change, and not only change, but transformation. In Scotland the incidence of alcohol abuse is the highest in Britain. In England drug abuse is prevalent among the younger generation and teenage pregnancies are still on the rise. There is something drastically wrong with society; the malfunction begins in the home and in the schools. Education begins in the home and if the home is lacking in structure and guidance the effect will be reflected and magnified in society as a whole.

Education as it is today is not a preparation for life but a cramming institution for the purpose of acquiring qualifications and skills to gain employment. It does not devote sufficient time for relationship and communication skills, family responsibilities and social and community concerns, domestic management and home economics. The incidence of illiteracy is at an all-time high so that incorrect English finds its way into reputable newspapers and reports. A blatant example which is widespread is the confusion of "less" and "fewer", where fewer is rarely seen or heard, but is required for countable nouns, "less" being solely for uncountable nouns, yet it is used ubiquitously.

What is required is transformational politics, already in process in Scotland, which has the task of examining all aspects of society and the way it functions, identifying the areas which are problematic and creating radical solutions which can effect a real and lasting change. The present government has been ineffective and incompetent in these important matters, from the control of immigration to the prevention of drug smuggling and the prosecution of criminals. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the methods of dispensing justice, the role of the police and the management of immigration. Others matters deserve scrutiny, including the banking and financial systems, the infrastructure and the transport systems, public services - telephones, broadband and power supplies, housing and planning and flood prevention.

The imbalance between expenditure on the affluent South East and the impoverished areas in Wales and the North of England needs to be rectified and money directed to the places which are in greatest need. The cities which are run-down and desolate have been identified and these cities are in need of transformation, to bring them up to the standard of those which are vaunted as being pleasant and attractive and conducive to a good quality of life. Change is insufficient - only a radical and fundamental transformation will suffice. In Wales, the British parties do not have the vision - only a party that is true to the spirit of Wales can make a difference.

CLICK HERE

From RON DAVIES (surely you will remember him).............


I endorse Glyndwr one hundred percent
Unfortunately the Labour Party has turned its back on working people and the needs of our communities in Wales. It has squandered the rich potential of 13 years of rule and now serves only its own interests as seen from London.
Faced with a choice of Labour cuts or Tory cuts, we in Wales will have to unify and fight anew for democracy and social justice.
The fight will be led by passionate, articulate and committed patriots like Glyndwr Jones the Plaid Cymru candidate for Merthyr in the General Election to whom I offer my 100% endorsement.
Good luck Glyndwr.
Ron Davies