Tag Archives | United Kingdom

Thatcher’s Legacy: Austerity and the Attack on the Poor and Vulnerable

Mob

Via orwellwasright:

If there’s one thing the British government and its media mouthpieces can rely on it’s a general public who are quite happy to spread their propaganda for them – not since the riots of 2011 have I witnessed such a degree of slavish, unthinking  repetition of falsehoods and lies as can be seen on forums and social media networks in response to the recent wave of cuts to the welfare system. This feeling of despair at the gullibility of the general public was compounded by the response by many to the death of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher; the gushing eulogies and beautification of a woman who supported brutal dictators such as Pol Pot and Idonesia’s General Suharto, while decimating British industry. It’s as if people have lost the ability to think for themselves, finding comfort in a patently false narrative which blames the victims of savage austerity while simultaneously ignoring or excusing the crimes of the rich and powerful.… Read the rest

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Attacks Against Emos And Goths To Be Considered Hate Crimes In United Kingdom

In five years, Bronies will be added to the census. The Huffington Post UK writes:

A police force has become the first in the country to record attacks on goths, emos and punks as hate crimes. Abuse towards alternative subcultures will be classed in the same way as those based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

The historic move was welcomed by the mother of teenager Sophie Lancaster, who was kicked to death in Bacup, Lancashire in 2007 because she was dressed like a goth. Miss Lancaster, 20, was kicked and stamped to death because she was dressed as a goth in a park in Bacup in August 2007.

A police spokesman said: “From April 2013 Greater Manchester Police also now records alternative sub-culture related hate crime.” There are no immediate plans to change the national hate crimes register, but last year Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone acknowledged that the five recognized categories of hate crime was “an incomplete list”.

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Londoners Take To The Streets To Celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s Death

Beginning in the afternoon, until riot police dispersed the crowd after midnight, the center of the South London district of Brixton apparently became enveloped by partying yesterday. Brixton Buzz has an extensive collection of photos:

A substantial crowd gathered in Windrush Square in Brixton last night on the news that Margaret Thatcher had died. By 6pm there was already a large crowd filling the square. It got a bit silly by the end, and riot police were called in.

 

 

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Margaret Thatcher’s Hearts And Souls

She failed in her dream of using economic policies to create a society of citizens who believed only in individualism. Via New Left Project, Tom Mills writes:

Much has been made of the ideological power of Thatcher’s political vision, but in reality she did not seek to persuade people that ‘there is no alternative’. Rather she forced people to accept as much by attacking the social bases of collective action and ideas, emasculating those institutional forms that could make building any alternative possible or even imaginable.

Like the Marxists she despised, Thatcher believed that ultimately it is the material conditions of life that determine political consciousness, and she sought therefore to bring about institutional changes which would carry with them an ideological reorientation. Hence why in an interview for the Sunday Times in May 1981 she made the chilling remark that, ‘Economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.’

The policy innovations in the Thatcher years represented a profound shift towards a political economy based on rising asset values rather than income.

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Science: Britons Really Do Hate Immigrants

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown helped seal his 2010 electoral defeat after a live mic caught him calling an elderly voter a “bigot” (in reaction to a bigoted statement said voter had made about Eastern European immigration).

Now, a new study by the British Sociological Association scientifically validates that Britons, in fact, are among the most xenophobic people in Europe – second only to Greeks. Rating their perception of immigration on a scale of 0-10, Britons from the governing Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition reported averages of 4.4 (for Conservatives) and 5.9 (for Lib Dems). Voters supporting the opposition Labour Party rated immigrants at a 4.9.

Nonetheless, the study concluded, British attitudes toward immigration softened in direct relation to their exposure to eastern Europeans. Researcher Anne-Marie Jeannet, of the University of Oxford, explained that,

“This may be because Central and Eastern Europeans are not physically dissimilar to the natives in Western Europe.
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Anti-Austerity March Hoped To Be The Biggest Protest In U.K. History

Organizers of the largest protest in history to this point, the 2003 march against the invasion of Iraq, are among those hopping to orchestrate a watershed moment for the global movement against austerity, writes the Independent:

The new “People’s Assembly Against Austerity” will march through London on 22 June, and, with the help of the Stop The War Coalition, intends to break that group’s record for the largest public rally in the nation’s history. The group claims it will be “an alternative democratic forum to a Parliament that has failed the people it is supposed to represent.” It will be, they hope “the launch-pad for mass resistance to austerity”.

Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Katy Clark, Director of Executive Policy at the Unite trade union Steve Turner, head of the National Union of Teachers Kevin Courtney, comedian and disabled activist Francesca Martinez, as well as Independent columnists Owen Jones and Mark Steel, are the figureheads of a group they hope will appeal to anyone against austerity, regardless of background.

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Jedi Most Popular Alternative Religion In UK

Jedi-temple.info JMANew census statistics from the UK show that Britons are becoming Jedi Knights in droves. The rest are Metalheads.... Report in the Telegraph:
The new figures reveal that the lightsabre-wielding disciples are only behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism in the popularity stakes, excluding non-religious people and people who did not answer. Following a nationwide campaign, Jedi made it onto the 2001 census, with 390,127 people identifying themselves a decade ago as followers of the fictional Star Wars creed. Although the number of Jedis has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the past 10 years, they are still the most selected "alternative" faith on the Census, and constitute 0.31% of all people's stated religious affiliation in England and Wales. The latest official population survey also revealed 6,242 people subscribe to the Heavy Metal religion...
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United Kingdom Proposes Mega Archive Of Citizens’ Internet Activity, Phone Calls, And Messaging

To stay positive, think of it as the creation of a giant quilted tapestry, weaving together everything anyone in the country says or does. Via the Washington Post:

British authorities on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every Web visit, email, phone call or text message in the U.K. — and in a sharply-worded editorial the nation’s top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists.

The surveillance proposed in the government’s 118-page draft bill would provide authorities a remarkably rich picture of their citizens’ day-to-day lives, tracking nearly everything they do online, over the phone, or even through the post.

Home Office Secretary Theresa May said in an editorial published ahead of the bill’s unveiling that only evil-doers should be frightened. “Without changing the law the only freedom we would protect is that of criminals, terrorists and pedophiles,” she said.

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Austerity And The UK Riots

riotsAre the riots that have engulfed North London and elsewhere linked to the recent slashing of funds for education, social services, and youth centers? The London Review of Books blog says, duh, yes:

Anyone who says the riots don’t have anything to do with the cuts should have a read of ‘Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe 1919-2009’, a discussion paper issued under the auspices of the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s international macroeconomics programme and currently doing the rounds on Twitter, which looks at the relationship between budget cuts and civil unrest across Europe since the end of the First World War:

The results show a clear positive correlation between fiscal retrenchment and instability. We test if the relationship simply reflects economic downturns, and conclude that this is not the key factor.

So much for ‘criminality pure and simple’.

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Senior HSBC Economist Warns Soaring Food Prices Could Trigger Unrest In UK

Sky News reports:
A senior economist at the worldwide bank HSBC has warned of civil unrest in Britain if food prices continue to soar. Speaking on Jeff Randall Live, senior global economist Karen Ward cautioned that the UK could experience the kind of food riots seen in other countries. "Even in the developed world I think we have very, very low wage growth, so people aren't getting more in their pay packet to compensate them for food and energy, and I think we could see social unrest certainly in parts of the developed world and the UK as well."...
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