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Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo
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Winning Ugly

The Daily Heil and the Daily Excreta and rest of the off-shore and foreign owned British media are greeting the supposed Brexit day with made up drivel about new dawns and nonsense about splits in President Macron´s family , while -with no irony at all- Boris Johnson´s father applies for French citizenship . So Brexit Britain. As bitterly divided as ever and with the incompetent clique of Conservative journalists, PR bullshitters and other ne´er-do-wells who by a nasty fluke have ended up in power are costing the country millions every time they take another ill-judged or unfair decision. The latest nonsense is the series of U-turns on the second jab for elderly patients and the hokey-cokey on whether schools reopen next week.  The far right have got their victory.  They have Britain out of Europe and a clique of like minded inadequates in charge. They won. But they won ugly. They won by bare faced lies. They won with the support of dodgy foreign money.  They won with a corrupt and b

Britterdämmerung

  The growing problem for the Conservatives now is that, while a no deal is likely to cause a pretty sharp economic contraction, even a "deal" cannot now avoid most of the same problems. The core of the cabinet has no business experience and their critical failure to understand that UK PLC needs time to plan and respond in order to avoid disruption is now leading the country to a major crisis. The infrastructure of customs and immigration simply does not exist and the utter incompetence of the Home Office starts with the useless and unpleasant Ms. Patel herself. I could go down the cabinet, but everyone, even Tory loyalists know: Johnson is NBG and most of the cabinet are worse. "Even the best of political leaders would struggle in the current crisis" is the get out clause the Tories are giving themselves, but in the country at large public opinion seems increasingly to believe that the Tories have caused the Brexit part of the crisis themselves and their handling o

Peace, Retrenchment, Reform Part I

In December 1905 Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman (C.B.) became Prime Minister and a month later he led the Liberal Party to a landslide victory. It was by some margin the most radical government to date.  115 years ago C-B still chose the old Liberal campaign slogan of “Peace, Retrenchment, Reform”.  Over a century later James Oates thinks the future success and prosperity of our country now depends on rediscovering our Radical traditions and has written three articles on translating them into a coherent programme for the future.  This is the first essay: “Peace”. Peace: The Place of Britain in the World The challenges we face Liberalism, from the Midlothian campaign of 1880 onwards, has always been an outward looking ideology.   We understand that there are core democratic principles that do not change, no matter what the country or the culture. These principles are enshrined in the United Nations Charter and include an unbreakable commitment to the dignity of the individual, the

An Ever Flowing Stream

“But let justice roll down like waters,     and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:4 The response in Britain to another murder of a Black Man by American police has been curious. The UK is much more comfortable inhabiting the past than discussing the future.   Working out a path towards a more just and fair society is hard to do, it involves discussing the warp of the crooked timber of humanity, accepting difference, making uncomfortable choices. So, we did not do that.    We choose instead to condemn the past, rather than build the future. This is not to say that there is nothing to condemn in the corpulent complacency of the tycoons of the slave trade. The profits in trading human lives were made in suffering and blood that seems inconceivable to any rational human, and yet it was so. Nevertheless, the past is no less difficult than the future, for every Edward Colston there was a William Wilberforce. Eventually the British Empire was among the very firs

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi