Nick Clegg says Lib Dem-Labour coalition possible

Seems Nick Clegg is touting his party round looking for another host to latch onto.

I wonder what the Labour leader’s response will be?

Ed MacDonald, or was it Ramsay Miliband?

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Sacco and Vanzetti

August 22nd or 23rd of August 1927 the US State murdered Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.

“Did you see what I did to those anarchist bastards?”

– Presiding Judge Webster Thayer

Read more at libcom.org, and also at http://saccoandvanzetti.org

And here’s a great version of the song Sacco and Vanzetti by David Rovics.

Authored by Chris Hall

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Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed (or MPs Pay)

4. Independent Parliamentary Standards Authori...
4. Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority take part in welcoming and briefing New Members (Photo credit: UK Parliament)

Can you believe the arrogance of it?

Give MPs a pay rise or risk another expenses scandal, says IPSA chief

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10161649/Give-MPs-a-pay-rise-or-risk-another-expenses-scandal-says-Ipsa-chief.html

So says the well paid Chief of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, ‘Sir’ Ian Kennedy.

Here’s a third option: Pay MPs the average working wage and let them truly be representative of those whom they represent, not the swivel eyed, money trousering, big business arse licking career politicos that a lot of them are and aspire to be.

My Old Bloggings

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair was...
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair was subjected to calls for impeachment during his time in office. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Looking at the wayback archive I can find my earliest bloggings back in 28th April 2001. Was coding everything by hand, not much in terms of blogging platforms that took my fancy.

Some things don’t change! I was banging on about Blair back then, as well as slavery, liberals and animal welfare.

26 Apr 2001Bribe
Tony Blair promised bonds for each child born if Labour is returned to power. Have you ever seen such blatant electioneering? I just can’t believe that a government would have the front to trot out ‘policies’ like this just before a general election. they should be ashamed of themselves. I used to be a Labour party memeber back in the early 80’s. How things have changed. Power is everything for Tony and his cronies now. Bring back Michael Foot!
13 Apr 2001Sudan
Check the national and international papers. The government in Sudan is still encouraging the slave trade. They are allegedly supplying weapons to the Arab traders who raid the Southern Sudan and bring back captives. We’ve come a long way since Christ was crucified, died and rose again. Or have we? Hmm..
01 Apr 2001BBC
The atheists and trendy liberals at the BBC have struck again! They’ve just broadcast the first part of a series looking at the life of Jesus. Apparently they’ve removed references to the establishment of God’s Kingdom cos it may offend the Jews. Uh? Not content with that they are using the programme to rationalise the miraculous. Still, what can you expect from a Religious Affairs department who have constantly blocked attempts by christian broadcasters to gain a licence for a national Christian radio station.
28 Mar 2001Animal Welfare
Am I the only one who thinks that we’ve lost the plot when it comes to the husbandry and welfare of the animals we have been given for our food?
I believe we pay far too little for our meat and dairy products. I can buy a whole chicken in the supermarket for less than a fiver. I believe that the supermarkets, farmers, distributors etc have to make a profit, so ask yourself the question, where’s the squeeze being put? On the care and welfare of the animal of course.
I pray we get real about the resources that God has given us.

The General Election

So Gordo’s set the date, the media has gone into a frenzy and already I’m bored. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the cult of celebrity and the media will be spinning out of control to bring us the ‘character’ of the party leaders. Truth is, I don’t care. It’s a turn-off. But the media really has no choice, as Neil Clark says on his blog:

For the sad truth is that the vote on May 6 will be the most meaningless poll in modern British political history.

In a country which takes great pride in its ‘democratic’ credentials, and which sees its divine mission as spreading ‘democracy’ across the globe, the British voter will be presented with a choice of three main parties advocating almost identical policies on the most important issues of the day.

You have it there, no difference except by degree. All the major parties are cooking from the same menu which is giving me indigestion. For the past 15 years there has been a powerful clique in Labour working to disengage the party from it’s socialist roots. Can it ever recover? I don’t know. But it’s present policies are nothing compared to what Labour should be coming out with.

Disarmament
Nationalisation
Control of the nation’s infrastructure
Rebuilding our manufacturing base
An end to our foreign adventures
Building a representative Parliament
Increased public spending
Putting the blame for the financial crisis where it belongs
Tackling inequality and encouraging diversity
Repealing anti Trade Union laws
Rolling back Thatcherism and free reign capitalism
Higher taxation
Plugging the tax loopholes that the rich enjoy

Drop those policies in my lap and you have my vote. Come to me with spin and fake tan and you know where to stick it.

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The Left and Faith

Fotografía de Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, teólog...Image via Wikipedia

I know I shouldn’t but I take great delight in watching the rise in blood pressure that invariably develops amongst certain on the left whenever faith comes into the conversation. I’m reminded of the numerous occurrences from the Hammer films popular in my youth where Christopher Lee’s Dracula recoils from the crucufix or clove of garlic held aloft by Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing. There is somethng about ‘faith’ that many have difficulty grasping, of seeing beyond their typecasting or negative preconceptions or even dare I say, bigotry.

There is a long and sweet history of faith working in the realms of the ‘left in the UK. We can look back to the radical christian and faith movements that flourished around the time of the English Civil War, to the reformers calling for the abolition of slavery, to emancipation, to relief for the poor, to housing and employment and trade unions. We can look to the almost remembered past where icons of the labour movement were driven, at least partly or initially by their faith in their desire to obtain justice for the workers and for the poor. Think Hardie, Lansbury, Mann and many others. In times not so long ago we have seen some influence of Liberation Theology and the Catholic Workers Association within the Catholic community. In today’s times we see the activities within the peace movement of many people who define themselves by their faith. And also in foreign climes people of faith have contributed to the struggle against oppression. Dorothy Day, Father Thomas Hagerty, Merino, Metz and Chavez spring to my mind.

This isn’t to say that we can make a statement along the lines of ‘faith = left’ as there are also many, many situations where the churches and those of faith have sided with the oppressors for their own ends or where their interpretation of theology leads to marginalisation and inequality. But as the church itself is not one politically homogeneous structure, neither is the left. Just as the church can act and appear in a variety of conflicting ways and thoughts so does the left. Just as the church and faith groups can cherry-pick their understanding of the activities of the left, so do those on the left allow their own prejudices to colour their view of the church and people of faith.

One thing which does concern me is the current opinion whereby faith is something that needs to be actively expunged from public view and life. Less of a case of freedom of religion and more along the lines of freedom from religion. The left itself in a worldwide view has been at the sharp end of oppressive governments and states where being seen as left-wing is a portent of the breaking down of a door and the sound of boots in the hallway before becoming one of the ‘disappeared’. Or where being seen on the left causes employment issues. We’ve seen this in the structure of the European Union where people who were previosuly part of the ‘Communist’ state establishment in former Warsaw Pact countries have been denied positions within the EU governmental framework. So I do get worried when I see the left in power denying people a public platform because of some perceived worldview that someone may have. We are all subject to our worldview being shaped both by what we believe, what personal philosopy or politic we hold to and what we are fed by the media. Not one of us has ever had a single thought that hasn’t been influenced somewhere along the line by our history, culture or personal experience.

But there are parties in existence where the ‘marxist’ left have become bed fellows with faith groups. Respect is one where the SWP have worked with muslim and other groups to form a political party of broad support that has had council success and put one MP into Parliament. We have seen in the recent Euro elections that the various factions and parties of the left have been unable to make a political breakthrough under their own steam. Low turnout and split votes have retained the dominance of the incumbent political parties. The best outcome for those of a progressive view in this political climate is through coalition and compromise. I think we have seen the first fruits of that, and my hope is that the left is a broad enough ‘church’ to encompass all groups that make up society without discrimiation along faith or religious lines.