Tuesday, 13 September 2016

May`s easy ride,changing definitions,powerhouses and UK`s secret files

Thursday`s Leader column pointed out how May`s government has enjoyed "a relatively easy start" and has a "comfortable 41%-27% lead over Labour" (The prime minister has made the call that will shape her leadership, 01.09.16). Perhaps this would not have been the case had the media made more of the Tories` "claim that ministers had assessed Saudi Arabia was not in breach of international humanitarian law" to justify their sales of arms for use in Yemen, and then, the day before parliament`s summer recess, admitted no such assessment had taken place, yet there had been no "attempt to deceive" (UK in denial over Saudis arms sales being used in Yemen, claims Oxfam, 23/08/16). An unbiased press would have lambasted the government for lying to its people.
     We are frequently informed how this government will get "tough" on irresponsible capitalism, but far less so, if at all, about the the biggest Tory donor in the second quarter of 2016 being a certain Gerardo Lopez Fojaca. He is naturally, based in Luxembourg, so that his capital gains tax is 0%; he is the CEO of a company with links to Russian banks sanctioned by the EU and US, and he owns companies named in the Panama Papers.

   Giving £20m of taxpayers` money to help a firm provide decent railway services when its profits are £100m, is equally squalid. If the British people were given the facts, opinion polls would not be so depressing, and even Labour MPs might realise change is possible. 

Paul Mason`s article on the entry requirements for Britain`s investment banks reminded me of the Barclays` then CEO, Antony Jenkins, back in February, 2014, saying how payment of, what the majority of us view as "obscene", bonuses was the only way to "attract the best people"(G2,Fancy a job in finance? 06/09/16). Stephen Hester over at RBS had made the same point two years earlier.
    It seems it`s not only the shoe colour which changes crossing the "demographic faultline", that is White Kennett Street; definition of the most simple of words clearly undergoes serious re-interpretation too!

I cannot believe John Crace omitted this from his "new lexicon" (G2, Brick truthers, "facts" and ultrashambles, 07/09/16).
Northern Powerhouse (n)
A political wheeze dreamt up by George Osborne weeks before the 2015 general election, A promise that the Tories would spend billions on ultra-fast railways to boost the north of England`s economy, after five years of decimating government grants to northern councils. With opinion polls pointing, at best, to the Tories sharing power in a coalition, it was a pledge, Osborne believed, which would be dropped at the earliest opportunity.

Ian Cobain`s excellent "long read" highlighted Britain`s secret and "undeclared" wars, brutalities committed by our troops obeying orders such as the need to "show a ruthless disregard for civilians", and the many examples revealing profit to be a far more important determinant of foreign policy than principle (Britain`s secret wars,08/09/16).
  Sadly, such revelations are presumably merely the tip of this historical nightmare; as the Guardian has reported in the past, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repeatedly failed to obey the thirty year rule, with the result that an archive containing 1.2 million files going back in British history as far as the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Crimean War in 1856, exists under lock and key, unavailable to the prying eyes of historians (Academics consider legal action to force Foreign Office to release public records,13/01/14). Such manipulation of history is disgraceful, and all MPs should be urged to do their utmost to get those files released. Until they are, students of our history will only be studying the establishment`s biased view of our past, and the involvement of our soldiers in unreported wars, like the current one in Yemen, will continue, as will the duplicitous behaviour of government ministers. 

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