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Sarika Watkins-Singh Away Each Hour Of Hiraeth

What a storm in a teacup. But perhaps Sarika Watkins-Singh's words on the courtroom steps, delivered in pure Valleys brogue, will soften the hard hearts of those lurking with their legal micrometers and geiger counters, searching for every possible infraction, inconsistency, permutation, logical conclusion and slippery slope.
“I just want to say that I am a proud Welsh and Punjabi Sikh girl.”
How many other religions demand that jewellery be worn? Christianity doesn't, so they can all pack their moaning bags for a start. Either all state schools are secular, in which case everyone knows the score, or you have to accommodate the clear demands of the faiths involved. And since the government has caved in to superstition and made schools include 'an article of worship' in the curriculum, accommodations have to be made. In this case, the wristband is not in fact jewellery, but a spiritual handcuff, as the judge understood.
If the rule is there for H&S reasons it would be different, but if the rule is about adornment and the slippery slope to harlotry in the back of the class, this religious tag doesn't qualify. It is not adornment, it is a sign of faith.
In fact, it would be educational for young minds to be faced with this nice distinction, and be tutored towards an understanding of it. This would make the school experience more rewarding, and less confrontational. Teach them what the word 'nice' means, for a start.
They might also pause along the way to note that the culture of the Aberdare Valley, and much of industrial south Wales is partly the history of a once-banned non-conformist religious sect in the shape of the baptists. This is inconsequential enough in itself, but does at least demonstrate that history doesn't stand still, and that we are always a part of it.


I Live in Peckham. I Feel Safe.

I regularly walk the streets of Peckham, New Cross, Deptford and Bermondsey at night, alone, without feeling afraid. So do many other people I know, of both sexes and all sizes, and all of us have done so for many years without any trouble. How can this be possible in an areas which has seen such terrible slaughter? Especially in the past six months. We are loudly told that nowhere in Britain is safe. So my friends and I should be cowering behind double-locked doors until the mini-cab angel appears to escort us safely through the apocalyptic urban charnelhouse to our destination - if we are to believe the media, rather than the official statistics.
Meanwhile, the teenage boys who live in neighbouring flats are definitely terrified. They rightly feel in danger, and have the experience to justify their fears. They retreat into drink and drugs and TV, and choose to play the waiting game, putting their lives on hold until they reach an age when they imagine they will be safe. Several have even given up on school for this reason. In much the same way, teenage girls skip a stage of the real, dangerous world, and rush into motherhood to gain an identity of some kind, and with it some status. Teenage boys can gain a sliver of the same status by being the father, but this is not enough alone.
Why are young, fit, strong men, able to run like the wind, more afraid of their environment than me and my peer group? Why are they killing each other? The simple answer is because their environment is as suitable for them - as a species - as a desert is for a dolphin. In ecological terms, it is a hostile environment. Young homo-sapiens is not an urban animal - at least, not the kind of urban we have in London now. And as less real money is invested in nurturing them through their adolescence, and as the last shreds of community (look it up in an old dictionary) are torn apart by the tax-subsidised property industry and the road transport lobby, the chances of them growing into fully functioning human beings in this wasteland are getting longer with each shopping mall and gated yuppie estate.

The reason I feel safe and they don't is because, in spite of being immediate neighbours, we live in completely different worlds. My peer group have a non-geographical surrogate community created out of work and experience.
Teenagers have not had the time to establish such networks, and because of the failure of the education system and destruction of community spirit, many will never have much of a chance to. They are forced to fall back on the only support they know, from the tribal Old School network, which can carry with it all kinds of infantile vendettas and can be intensely territorial. Also, many will not get jobs, and any they do get will be menial and demeaning - and as such they are branded as a Loser among their peers, who watch the same TV and see the same images which glorify wealth as the only quality deserving of Respect.
They also see politicians and businessmen, the most respected members of society, routinely lying and breaking the law to get richer and even more respected, and they naturally assume they are just as entitled to resort to crime as anyone else.
They see politicians and businessmen starting wars to get rich, and naturally assume that if human life is that cheap to the most respected members of society, that they are just as entitled to place the same value on life to get what they want.
The media have recently been accused of glamorising knife crime, and of deliberately making people afraid, all of which is naturally true, but the overriding message glorified in the press, on TV, in music, movies, online, and by the games industry is that You Are On Your Own. Nobody will look after you but you. You are responsible for your own fate. There Is No Such Thing As Society. Their parents are bombarded with the same crippled ethos, and this is the result.
The media are striking back by accusing the government of lying. The recent statistics which show violent crime to be no worse than in the past are being distorted. The real rate of stabbings, in particular, being blunted by the reluctance of victims to report to the police.
There are no ways of knowing how much real truth there is to any of this speculation, but none of it alters the essential truth, that children across the country, but particularly in the inner cities, are being systematically robbed of their right to a normal, productive adolescence, and robbed of their opportunities to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. They are being robbed of their true individuality, and a synthetic substitute personality installed instead. One indifferent to the suffering of others, and ruthless in pursuit of its own interest. Perfect Alan Sugar material, in fact.
They are being robbed left, right and centre, and all the metal detectors, curfews, mandatory sentences and boot camps in the world won't undo the theft without massive, wholehearted, profit-free investment in communities and their people - all of them.
 In a world in which long-distance gap-year grand tours of the world are routine for some young people, others, such as my young neighbours, live in a virtual state of seige, behind invisible walls built of schoolday allegiances and a dozen petty squabbles which escalated into violence.
'Stevie's' friend sells a dog to someone else. A friend of
his recognises the dog as belonging to a friend of theirs, and so it all kicks off, ending up with stanley knives drawn and 'Stevie' ending up in hospital.
After that, a quarter mile section of the Old Kent Rd is out of bounds. As is the area near either of two rival schools, and much of Peckham and New Cross because of previous, pointless squabbles for Respect. Squabbles which would never happen if there was some achievable purpose to their lives. It is easy for the columnists and radio shock jocks to sneer that they had it tough and they made it to the top. They had the benefit of communities which still worked, and in many cases free university education. They grew up before the profit fetish had destroyed the youth service and the spaces children used to play and grow in. To today's generation of teenagers, the city is a battlefield, not a playground or the cornucopaeia of 'opportunity' and 'choice' touted by the media. It is their version of the cutthroat competition displayed by the nice adult middle class they see ruling the world. And this bearpit is how we teach them to be adults. This is their Nanny State. And their almost constant anger and resentment is entirely natural.



Poor Chav. Hate-Word Vandalism

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One meaning of the word 'chav', as now used, is as a derogatory label for a superficial person addicted to clothes with designer labels. A way to slag someone off. A superficial label in its own right which says more about the user than the person they are slagging off. By their own definition, people who use chav in its new, malicious sense, are therefore a bit of a 'chav' themselves - not to mention being a monumental slag.
Originally a gypsy word for child or youth, chav was commonly used as a term of endearment and greeting among the working classes. As a synonym for 'mate', as in a dozen regional dialect equivalents. 'Butt' and 'wuss' and 'man', for instance. It is there in the Only Fools and Horses dvd box set - from Boycie, if I remember, and it must be somewhere in the collected scripts of Galton & Simpson, and Croft & Perry. It was a real, helpful, social word, available to all to ease the flow of conversation and make a working relationship easier to maintain. And now it has been kidnapped, subjected to a garish media makeover, and turned into an insult. Now it is a slur whose only purpose is to generate the emotions of hate and contempt. All it can ever do is cause trouble - and for what? Why do we need to sacrifice a perfectly innocent, useful word to make way for this term of abuse? It's an act of vandalism far worse than anything any chav would spraypaint on a concrete wall in Walthamstow. Why does New Grub Street need it?

'Chav' also means a person with a blinkered or ignorant frame of mind, susceptible to loud aggressive behaviour in public, and a generally instinctive, hedonistic lifestyle. (Again like the Daily Mail and The Sun) But in fact it is now a term so wide as to be meaningless, other than in terms of its one true reference point, social class. However the Hackocracy likes to spin it, chavs are the working classes on their day out. On Epsom Downs in their funny hats, singing their raucous rude songs about winkles and puddings and beer. The same sneers can be heard in every Servant - Master gag in human history. They are a reflex defence mechanism of a middle class under threat from below. In this case from a working class with more spending power than ever and the historic new ability of co-ordination and communication. It is therefore more necessary than ever to control the language as well as to convey the message that the lower orders are simply not capable of dealing with money or success or fame - that they are simply too vulgar. As the Daily Mail calls the Beckhams"The celebrities that taste forgot." As if The Mail was an arbiter of taste. 
Farcically enough, by calling them 'chavs' the Mail is patronising the working class with a word which does in fact mean 'child'. But that is no excuse for giving hate such a word to use. In this case, one which enables the user to feel innately superior to a vast sector of humanity, and also to feel horror at the prospect of any possible bond or common purpose with these 'Yahoos' - another example of a universal term of alienation. A word which reinforces the notion of inequality; that some people are simply more human than others, and therefore more deserving of the good things of life. And some people are just animals who deserve to be herded and bred and driven and eventually culled like cattle .

From being the first word a baby heard, 'chav' is now a hate word. Another way of dividing people from each other rather than bringing them closer together. That is a little linguistic tragedy, but as part of the greater ruthless swindle of Consumerism, it is as much a babykiller as the girl who oils the spring that turns the thing that winds the nob, that makes the thingumybob - that's going to win the war!
Poor old chavvy is just another victim of this need. Another Rose Cottage in the path of the motorway. It's a shame the Fabian Society still seems to think it can have the motorway and the cottage. That it can eradicate the symptoms of class conflict without removing the causes. But what else can you expect from people in straw hats who travel by punt? Why can't they just say what they mean? People who use chav as an insult are just slags.
Already, entire towns are being labelled Chav Towns. The hunger of the media for stereotypes is insatiable.
And now the hate sites have started up, inciting violence against these new sub-humans.
One particularly raving lunatic claims of Stourbridge:

But beware, anyone not drinking Stella will be immediately glassed by some footballer’s jumper wearing try-hard and then kicked around the floor via his Rockport’s for being ‘a gayer’.
John Prescott on Class


Speed Cameras Don't Kill People - People Driving too Fast Kill People

The Burghers of Swindon (a dead town famous only for its page 3 models) have apparently decided to give up speed cameras and spend the money on some other, unspecified method of traffic control. Naturally, the mad petro-apologists are out in force again, claiming that speed cameras cause more accidents than they prevent, specifically, by causing a 'concertina-effect' as traffic speeds up between camera areas, then slows suddenly as it approaches them.
This argument that cameras cause people to drive recklessly is invariably made by the same people who claim that the poor are not forced by poverty to steal. That that the individual is always responsible - for the behaviour of their children, for their income, for all their misery - but not for driving too fast and for ignoring the safety of others while driving a car. Many drivers see speed limits as
recommended doses, or serving suggestions, rather than rules which are there for the benefit if everyone and which, sadly, are there to be obeyed - Jeremy. The individual is always to blame - except when in a car as powerful as 100 horses - which may well be true.
Human beings granted superhuman power have a
record of becoming monsters. The same principle that Power Corrupts is just as true about Joe Soap in his Vauxhall Sinatra as it was about messrs Schickelgruber and Djugashvili with their shock troops and tank battalions.
Happily, there is some hope in the coincedental news today that drivers who kill with their cars are now more likely to face possible prison sentences. They are still to be allowed to reduce you to a vegetable, or put you in a wheelchair for life, or indeed shorten your life drastically, and still only face a fine of just over £2000. But if they manage to kill you, your death is to be treated a bit less like an overhead of the transport system and more like a murder.



Political Correctness - Sneering in Safety

Or as it used to be known, in real English, 'respect', or 'decency' or 'fairness'. In the good old pre PC Days, men were men, and the little women and lower classes and all 'lesser breeds without the law' knew their place. Nobody had to worry about offending anyone or exploiting them because of their sex or skin colour or other circumstances of birth. It was the natural state of affairs and accepted by all.
And then people started to learn to read - even slaves. And they started to get ideas, and almost immediately realised that their lives were not worth any less than those who were patently living much more comfortable and enjoyable and longer lives - that they were as deserving of respect as anyone richer or whiter. That was when the rot set in.
The most famous expression of this newly emerged class-consciousness in recent memory being the four words 'I have a dream', which also happens to be the most concise expression of the demand for universal respect and equality of opportunity. From then on in the USA, it was not politically correct to treat black people as cattle. The same formal rights had been won for white women in Europe some decades earlier. Clearly, a consensus was growing. And when the newly liberated ex-colonies were added to the global masses demanding the right to have a dream, it became obvious that radical change was possible. The '60's' were upon us.

The power of this message was naturally very frightening to some, with its unavoidable implication of equality and the end of privilege. Being allowed to dream implies the leisure to dream, which implies that lifetimes of futile backbreaking labour are a thing of the past - for all. That everyone has the right to be treated with equal respect and enjoy a decent chance of advancement. Unfortunately, that is not possible in practise in our particular social operating system. It is not a command it understands, and one which crashes the system.
So the word 'respect' which everyone understands as a good thing, must be replaced with a more ambiguous, slimier word, or better, a phrase - indicating something thoroughly evasive, shady, suspicious and nasty. Everyone hates politicians. So make respect 'political', and you're half way there. Imply that respect is to be enforced in some way with the spinsterish word 'correct', and the demolition of respect, and the creation of the monster 'political correctness' is complete, and the mass media fighback against the struggle for respect and fairness can go ahead without appearing to offend the memory of a media saint, Dr Martin Luther King. The media has a word it can sneer in safety, albeit one it sdtole from the stodgy academic pages of a feminist treatise, and the career of the modern media hound is created. The snappy little liemongers who love to get their muzzles dirty and bloody for their paymasters in the Bahamas. The likes of Jon Gaunt, Carole Palone, Dan Leslie, Richard Littlejohn, and their massed clones are more to be pitied than censured really. It must be punishment enough to bear that eternal cold hatred for mankind in their souls.

In truth, what is now termed 'political correctness' is really a combination of natural everyday developments in modern society and nothing to do with party politics or correctness'- whatever that is.
Firstly, as a result of the massive expansion of the middle classes who do not Know Their Place, we are living in a far more litigious society than ever. This is a direct result of more people being able to read, write and spend. And so schools, local authorities, hospitals, and anyone else likely to risk a suit for damages has to take precautions, and these have to be written down and any employees trained in their application and blah blah blah.. I fall asleep even thinking about it.
Which is the state of mind perfect for surviving the other factor at work, namely the vastly increased bureaucracy made possible by computer technology, and its application to monitoring our lives in closer detail than ever before.
Almost every 'PC' story smirking from the smudgesheets of the Daily Mail can be filed under one or both of those two causes. The desire to get rich quick, and the need to control the lives of the masses. Both of which are vital to preventing a society which is capable of universal respect, and both of which are core values of the Daily Mail and the rest.


Sport R.I.P.

So much for all the promises of a clean tour this year. That cycling was now free of drugs.
There is almost no moral difference between the professional sport of today and the amphitheatres of antiquity. The degree to which human life is bought and sold is the same. Modern sportsmen may not be expected to die for our pleasure any more. But they certainly destroy their bodies in all sorts of ways for money, and the result is the same, our gasps at their performances, which wouldn't be as loud or profitable without the drugs which turn the athletes into chemical robots. The implications of genetic engineering in ' sport' are chilling - to abuse a noble word.
The reasons for these modern circuses are also very similar to the reasons of the Caesars. As a distraction. But also as a vast marketing machine for Consumer junk of all sorts.
The Olympics is often still unthinkingly held to be a wonderful display of physical perfection. A kind of global Agricultural Show, where the finest specimens of cattle and crops were paraded and garlanded by conformity to the rules of the Association. These standards of perfection have always been sinister and poisonous, and they still are.
The only difference between the modern Ideal of Perfection and the Classical one being that the former was a visual depiction of hereditary, theistic, hierarchical power, of the ethos of the God King who does not have to compete for his position, and whose body is therefore soft and undistorted by physical work. Praxiteles did not tend to worship muscle .
The modern bucket-necked ideal perfected by the gymnauts and their steroid suppliers is one of pure power. A depiction of the ethos that Might Is Right. That the thug with more muscle than you has the right to rule over you. Which is the same message pumped out by Hollywood.


Stuff the Pope and the Mullahs and the Rabbis, Women Now have Abortion on Demand via The Internet..

"Women living in countries where abortion is restricted - including Northern Ireland - are using the internet to buy medication enabling them to perform an abortion at home, it emerged today.A medical study found more than one in 10 customers on one of the most well-known websites needed a surgical procedure after taking the medication.Women in more than 70 countries, including Northern Ireland, have used the internet site Women on Web to purchase the drugs for £55 a time. "
So much for the sovereignty of elected government.
The women in NI are obviously committing a prosecutable offence, so have any been prosecuted? And if they are criminals, how are they going to be detected? The same way that China manages its' dissidents?
Of course, this does mean that if women in primitive regimes can get hold of chemical abortions online, they can also get hold of almost any kind of contraception. So there shouldn't really be any need for RU486 and the rest.
The only difference is that contraception is a constant expense, whereas abortion is £55 a time. And while there are always accidental pregnancies, the main problem are the arrogant, punitive administrations which pander to one of the various oppressive theologies or other. Now they can all kiss the arse of any woman with the price of the drugs and access to a computer.
But that's breaking a democratically determined law. So what happens next?
The internet has, in this case, enabled women to ignore the laws of the government elected to make them. So what is the point of McGuinness And Paisley placating the Pope if women can simply go around the barrier of state? If the country women live in says they shall not have abortions, and they contrive to have them, they are breaking the law, and there's nothing the offended legislature can do other than tell Google to block all traffic to sites offering this type of help.
Is this going to happen? Or are backward states which refuse women the freedom of their own bodies going to have to be dragged into the C20th, and realise they are fighting a losing battle against the power of the world wide web. Another triumph for the power of individual global communications. A repeat, in fact, of each technological advance which has wrung slices of liberty from the religious powers of the day.
As for the reports of the risks, the women taking them are perfectly aware of the risks they face in childbirth, and are making their choice between the two. A choice denied them by their governments.
Will this mean that governments are now under more incentive to respond to the new power of their electorate to ignore the commands of the state and follow their own morality? And if so, what sort of society will be created?
 Are we beginning to sit in the driver seat with our politicians between the shafts of the cart at last?
‘The Internet may fairly be regarded’, wrote one of the judges involved in the case, ‘as a never-ending worldwide conversation. The Government may not, through the CDA, interrupt that conversation. As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion’.

The Architecture of Freedom -- and of its enemies John Naughton



A cyclist has been fined for causing the death of a girl. Initially, the 'story' was that he was riding on the pavement, It seems this was not true, or that the editors chose to exercise some poetic licence in their presentation of the facts. The account believed by the court was that the pedestrian was in the road. This doesn't make the fine one tenth enough, but neither does it make it any bigger than a car driver just as carelessly yesterday, and we will never hear about it. Worse, the pedestrian might have been blamed.
The law is clear, it says that the cyclist must be able to stop to avoid any visible obstacle. Failure to do so implies responsibility. This obviously also applies to every motorist who kills a pedestrian who steps suddenly off the pavement into the road. The motorist can see the pedestrian, and the possibility that they would step into the road is always there. So they were going too fast and weren't prepared. Therefore they are guilty.
Although in this case the cyclist claimed he was able to stop, in general, if the cyclist is near enough for his voice to be heard, and going fast enough to knock a person down, he will probably not able to brake without a collision. When braking hard in that kind of situation, it is likely that the bike will go out of control, and attempting to slip through a gap can often seem to the cyclist to be the safer option.
So what if the roles were reversed? If the girl had knocked the cyclist off his bike when she stepped into the road without looking, and killed him. Should she go to prison?
Given that the driver of a car which kills a pedestrian who steps into its path probably wouldn't go to prison, then she probably shouldn't for causing the death of a cyclist - under the current scale of values. Cyclists should be aware that pedestrians are always likely to 'trespass' on the road, either accidentally or not. Naturally, drivers need to be ten times more aware of this.
Similarly, I saw a little old lady bounced off the pavement into the road by a careless jogger only a month ago. She was shaken, but not damaged, and the jogger was desperately sorry, but it could have been very different.
So should pedestrians therefore be taxed, licensed and have registration plates, as some idiots are now demanding for cyclists? Taxing bikes would certainly make a lot of people abandon cycling, which is the point, after all.
Every cyclist has faced the situation when there isn't quite time enough to make the right decision. When the brain simply freezes in panic. Likewise, if you put yourself in the position of this poor girl, you could say that she should have jumped. In theory, she had the time, but she didn't.
In Theory, it is everyone's responsibility to look out for their own safety. So if we were all to share the same space, rather than fight across vaguely defined boundaries for scraps of disputed territory, everyone would keep themselves safe, and few would die, as traffic-sharing systems tested in Europe have shown. Territoriality and competitiveness cause as much danger on the road as anything else. And the this fierce competition is caused, as always, by overcrowding. An overcrowding which callously writes off thousands of lives every year as another of the acceptable overhead expenses of keeping the wheels of commerce turning.
In some parts of the world, legal minds would be twitching in anticipation of class actions on a grand scale. After all, what's the difference between the acceptable collateral deaths of road transport, and those of the tobacco industry? Both are caused by activities which are a matter of 'choice'. And in the U.S. the tobacco barons famously lost.


Boycott Redruth Youth Curfew

As if on cue, the corpses of Redruth now decide to put their lifelessness and spite on display by demanding that all young people be locked up indoors after 9pm in the summer holidays. Apparently, the sight of young, lively activity, and the sound of young voices is frightening to the cadavers who run the town.
Naturally, it will take more police to enforce this nasty, dirty, pettyminded little directive than it would take to keep the streets safe from the tiny minority of troublemakers - of all ages.
In the last 30 years, youth budgets across the country, at local and national level, have been slashed. In that same period, the demonisation of young people has reached hysterical levels.
The young people of Redruth should know that they can't arrest you all, and their parents should know that they can't take you all to court. But even more significantly, that if your children are made to feel like a problem by society simply because of their age they are going to be a problem, and if they are treated as criminals, they are more likely to commit crimes. And nobody wants that.
If the good old boys of Redruth are genuinely concerned, they had better start working to recreate some kind of community where they live. Otherwise, they are going to continue to live in misery and fear. Because there will always be young people, and they will always be a nuisance for as long as their basic, developmental needs are stifled.
I know it seems like a tall order, but Redruth is not going to solve its perceived problems by criminalising every teenager because of their age. That is a sure recipe for disaster. Only a functioning community, which young people feel part of and which is an integral part of their conscience, can help. The concerned residents should be lobbying for resources, and for the refurbishment of any resources they do have left after the ravages of the Right To Buy, and the car industry.
Treating youth as either a mental illness or a manifestation of the Devil is not going to help either, and neither is blaming the parents in an age when many parents have less control over what their kids think than the music industry and the producers of Hollyoaks.
If they want the streets to run on time why not go all the way and have a total midnight curfew. Nobody allowed out after 12 without 'papers'. That should put a stop to people enjoying themselves and make the paranoid feel a bit safer. Everyone's a winner - except for everyone still alive, of course.

What is the cause of British paedophobia? Partly it is displaced bigotry, as with every passing persecution fad. With every other minority group legally safe from persecution, only the young are available to be safely picked on. And they have very little legal, economic or social status, so they deserve all they get.

'We came for the Blacks, and got a good kicking.So we went for Women, and they humiliated us into submission.So we went Queer-bashing, and even that was made illegal.'
After making fun of the Welsh got boring, we realised that there was no season on young people, rebranded them 'Hoodies', and the rest is history.


Nye Bevan Awake! Britain Needs You in Her Hour!

It is a shame that the grimy doings of Ray Lewis and Boris Johnson's cavalier sense of society have managed to partly overshadow the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service.
It is even more shameful that it has distracted from the fact that Britain is a chronically Paedophobic state, which only sees young people as a menace to be defeated as ruthlessly as possible.
The inevitable tactic of the right, when cornered as they are today, is to demand "Well, what would YOU do?"After all, they don't know. The hope being that there is no hope. The implication being that, in this case, the only way to teach children respect is to make them afraid, as embodied in the teachings of The Lewis Cult. The confusion between Respect and Fear is common among petty dictators and tories of every stripe. And naturally, the only remedy within their scope is fear. Teach other people to be afraid of you and they will do what you want them to - whatever that might be.
Nowhere, in the squalid lexicon of right wing so-called 'thought' is the notion that the main beneficiary of sociable behaviour is the person behaving sociably. That Virtue is It's Own Reward. Everywhere, the message is that 'Values must be instilled' in some forceful, no-nonsense manner, by repetitive physical violence if necessary. Tough Love. Lots of shouting and bullying - as in The Lewis Cult. Teach kids that the way to succeed is to be fearsome, and that will stop them carrying knives. It is perhaps Johnson's greatest betrayal of London that he fails to see the absurdity of that infantile proposition.
I realise the reactionary right haven’t got a clue about all this. It is unfair to expect them to. By definition, their primitive anti-social ideology is incapable of understanding how society works, and so cannot be expected to come up with any ideas for making it better – not that they want to, of course. Their objective has never been a better society but a more profitable one for the few greedy, ruthless, selfish, unscrupulous people willing to exploit the disadvantages of others. As this week’s shameful revelations have shown – and co-incedentally, as was also revealed by the story recounted this week of the struggle to establish proper health care in Britain against the concerted and rabid opposition of the tories and their cronies.
So to create a better society, sympathetic to the needs of children and their parents,
the forces which are destroying the communities which used to mitigate anti-social behaviour have to be faced down.

  • Control the property market.
  • Bring the car industry to heel.
  • Make the owners of the hate-mongering gutter press pay some tax.
  • Provide proper places where young people can meet and learn how to engage with one another and people of different ages.
  • Restore community centres to communities, and communities to the people who live in them.
Every community needs a centre. The greedy impatience of the last 30 years has seen most community centres either demolished, sold to the dodgiest con merchants of all - the churches, or converted to luxury housing. The one of the sourest betrayals of all, a Labour Southwark council sold a well-used swimming pool, gym, tennis court and creche, with a distinguished architectural and social heritage, to the highest bidder. This was once known as The Peckham Experiment, and was one of the most advanced, humane pre-war health projects of all. This act of municipal vandalism would have delighted Johnson and the bullying weirdo Lewis, who are incapable of caring about kids because their politics insists that kids must be dominated, not nurtured. That is why we have an underclass of kids who feel that society is their enemy, because politicians like Johnson, Thatcher Blair and the rest ARE their enemies, devoted to suppressing all their natural needs - which are in direct conflict with the most powerful business sectors - and corralling whatever abilities they have in the direction of preserving the political and economic status quo. Of carrying on with the same reactionary social policy that 'We've always done it this way, so we'll carry on doing the same.' Which is the worst excuse for thought in human history.
In the last 60 years, most of Victorian Britain has been finally buried. By 1970 most houses in the country had plumbing, electricity and access to a free painless dentist. The NHS was thought to be one of the last nails in the coffin, as it was. But there is still one task left for any politician seeking to fully provide for Britain that which a ramshackle Victorian Free Market system cannot. Namely, a National Youth Service, to replace the current ragbag of charities, voluntary organisations, local government initiatives, Coca Cola marketing opportunities, religious madrassars of all faiths, and straightforward loony sect leaders and charlatans like Ray Lewis - all failing miserably to deliver any significant results in the battle against the sickness inflicting the young generation - the rulers of the future.
A casual glance will show that the current youth provision landscape as chaotic and devastated as the post-Somme post-Great Depression medical provision which confronted Bevan and Beveridge. It is the job which the Attlee government might have got around to in a second term had it realised that when the bombsites and other free play spaces had been redeveloped, and Britain grown prosperous and frantic once more, that the needs of children would tend to be forgotten, as they have been, with the result that they are now killing each other in London at the rate of about one a week.
Tackling this will provoke just as much opposition and hatred as did Nye's Bevan's Act of Parliament to save the health of the nation from the profiteering quacks and self-appointed quartermasters of national pain and relief, the tory BMA. Any act of parliament will face blatant anti-democratic sabotage, as committed by the medical profession in 1948. So it will take a very large politician to lead such an initiative. And that is the problem.
"Where oh where is he? Where can that man be?"He or she will have to face even more vitriol and lies than did Bevan, if that is possible, given the expansion of the mass media since that time. But whoever it is, they can take hope from events in the most unexpected of places, the deep south of the USA, from the chilliest corners of which Ray Lewis sought inspiration for his doctrine of Marching to Strength, but also where Barack O'bama is now using the power of personal publishing to win in states where jews are traditionally too black.
Kids now have a voice of their own. Some of them, a representative section, are able to voice their concerns and articulate their needs. When confronted with the "harsh voices " raised against improving public health, Nye Bevan only had the "silent voices of the poor" to comfort him. This time, the voices would not be quite so silent - if there are any politicians with Nye Bevan's guts.
Ray Lewis's passport to the unquestioning adulation of the tory party was, as far as anyone can discover, that he was:
a) not afraid to deliver the good old 'Clip Round The Ear' to any child who displeased him, and anyone who does that is fine by your average tory.
b) That he had something called 'charisma'. The ability to influence others.
Much nearer the truth is the theory that he was merely a weirdo cult leader who seemed to have had a pathological need to shout and scream at children. Whatever he was really, David Cameron loved him for it. Both seem to be nothing but sad reactionaries who can't tell Respect from Intimidation.
Nye Bevan had charisma and could make things happen. He was a dreamer and a builder. Ray Lewis is just a drab little glory-seeking power-worshipper of the most orthodox kind, as are his tory admirers. If only they were to realise that the NHS started life, not in the learned mind of Beveridge, or the political ambitions of Nye Bevan, but anonymously, on some cold wet Wednesday night in Tredegar in the 1890's, when a resolution would have been passed to establish the Tredegar Worker's Medical Aid Society. There will be minutes somewhere detailing who originally realised that a co-operative effort would provide far more peace, health, relief and happiness than the survival of the economically fittest, as was the delusion at that time. But there is no statue to him or her outside Bart's or King's or across the Thames from Parliament at St Thomas hospital. As is often the case, the nameless and silent are often responsible for far more good than the noisy and famous.
There are a smattering of organisations now which understand the genuine needs of young minds and bodies, and which are fighting a losing battle against the rod-wielding gutter press, determined as ever that pain should always be available as a means of controlling youth. But they can never hope to succeed while they rely on random patronage, and for as long as their methods and ideas remain unmonitored and largely untested.
But in general, the field of 'play provision' is a branch of the construction industry. A cash-cow for a grant-chasing cabal of second rate landscape gardeners with a portfolio of second year BA designs to palm off on gullible councillors and residents' associations over-stuffed with leaseholders - whose only concern is that it doesn't cost them any money, and it takes the sound of children away from their windows. For some reason, children's voices do not add to the value of an ex-Right To Buy property. Shabby little spiv outfits with names like 'Spacewurx' and 'GroundSpace' are all too ready to cover land with great play potential with their bland, dead flatpack solutions. They should be the first to be taken out and shot.
Bernard Crick, the prominent biographer of George Orwell claimed in one of the centenary TV documentaries that Orwell said he would have given up all his literary achievements to have been Prime Minister Nye Bevan's speechwriter in a socialist government. I would dearly love to know the source of that claim. It says everything about two of the greatest Britons ever, both of whom would readily accept that the real work of civilisation is done by the little nameless people of history. Like the people who created the Tredegar Workers Medical Aid Society, even though it was only a matter of self-defence, rather than any great money-making scheme. Perhaps somewhere there is an organisation now at work with young people, and a humanitarian strong enough to champion its vision, which could together do for Britain's neglected and alienated young people what T.W.M.A.S. and Nye Bevan did for the nation's health.
See Also: 'Kiddispoons'

The Money Was Just Resting In My Account, Boris

I quote at random from tomorrow's Mail on Sunday about Ray lewis, Youth Guru and blue-eyed-boy of Boris Johnson.
He was yesterday facing claims that during a posting to the Caribbean island of Grenada in 1997 he organised a charity raffle but failed to give the first prize - a car - to the winner. One of his parishioners there came forward, saying the holder of the winning ticket never received the prize.
I only hope that the writers of 'Father Ted' ('Think Fast Father Ted' Series 2 8 March 1996 – 10 May 1996) will not be held responsible in any way for the alleged villainies of Ray Lewis, charismatic hero of brand new London Mayor, Boris Johnson and Tory leader, David Cameron, both of whom saw no reason to explore the past of a man with such lantern-jawed get-up-and-go and other public school business cliches.
"Realising that they can't give the borrowed car away, Ted and Dougal rig the raffle in order for them to win and return the car. The plan involves Ted, as the emcee, calling the number 11. This number will be Dougal's. On the day of the event, Ted and Dougal work feverishly ..."" etc etc
with hilarious consequences. You get the general idea. If there's a better Father Ted imitation doing the rounds, I'd like to hear about it
Dr Reginald Buckmaire, a longstanding member of the island's parish council, said the car was going to be bought with the money raised in the raffle.'We got some and I don't know what happened to the rest,' he added. 'You draw your own conclusions. I feel bad.' Mail on Sunday
The trouble is that from inside London, as the list of squalor grows, it doesn't look quite so funny. Still, Boris looked happy enough in his pink hat at yesterday's Gay Pride, looking festive. And after all, that's what he's best at. What his boss, David Cameron is any good at, only time will tell. In fact, as Father Jack would say. "That would be an ecumenical matter...."
The glorious Father Ted was, of course, tragically cut to a mere three series by the death of Dermot Morgan. Londoners won't be worried about the Old Etonian Twerperies of Bojo & The Chaps ending as suddenly - but without any deaths, naturally.
- as Boris Johnson would have been saying quite a lot lately, and not for the last time. Expect the similarity to the well-meaning but hapless and bungling Father Ted to fade and the resemblance to the deranged Father Jack to grow as does the pressure of responsibility on this pickled teenager. Or better, as Nye Bevan would have called him, this "petrified adolescent."
The truth is that Lewis is a bullying weirdo and his cult should be the object of deep suspicion. Like many adults beaten as a child, he believes that Respect and Fear are the same thing, never having learned any different.
He now wants to drill that debased morality into some of the most vulnerable kids in London. To teach them that violence gets results. And by doing so, intends to make them stop being violent. The man is clearly deranged.


Marie Winehouse - One of The Ruins That Cromwell Knocked Abaht A Bit..

Synchronising medialets.
Amy Winehouse staggering through her set at Glastonbury on saturday night followed by the TV biopic of Marie Lloyd doing her drunken syphilitic swansong.

"In the gay old days there used to be something doing
No wonder that the poor old abbey went to ruin.
 Those who raise their voices sing and shout of it,
You can bet your life there isn't any doubt of it.
 Outside the Oliver Cromwell last Saturday night
I was one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit."
Marie Lloyd was 52, Amy Winehouse is 24.


The Tory Breath Of Fresh Air......

DAY 65. July 4th 2008
Sunny Ray Lewis Takes The Bullet.

Ray resigns in confusion, blaming the media, who are spoilt brats who cannot 'defer gratification', apparently. Tell it to the Daily Mail, Ray, they say on today's front page that the wheel has already come off the Bojo cart, and they got him elected almost as much as the Evening Standard, so they should know all Boris's failings by heart, having concealed them throughout the period when they might have been of some democratic use to London's electorate.
Co-incedentally, Channel 4 says that the Bishop of Barking told Raymond that he was on the Lambeth List less than 12 months ago. As Raymond was denying all knowledge of this fact last night on BBC, that makes him (or his Grace the Bishop of Barking) a big fat liar, whatever comes of the dozens of other allegations about his financial and sexual principles, and his alleged tendency to beat up the kids in his care. Whether he is any good at deferring gratification only the expensive enquiry into Boris's first 64 days in office will tell.
 The antics of minor buffoon Ray Lewis should not be allowed to overshadow those of his maestro. As widely predicted months ago, Boris is looking like a harrassed horsehair sofa at his first test. Some predicated this fatal discombobulation would come sooner, some later, but everyone with an ounce of sense saw that this was not a natural statesman or administrator - who was sure to bungle it sooner or later on a momumentally farcical scale, and then just as likely to adopt the Billy Bunter defence as any other.
"I never stole your rotten cake - it didn't have many plums in it anyway!"
I think it's cruel to watch a dumb animal suffer like this. Will David Cameron not put him out of his misery? But then, who will put Cameron out of his? After all, he was one of The Few who did not have the required ounce of sense. So who else has been given the Dai Cameron seal of approval - that we don't know about yet?
Only time will tell.
Perhaps Cameron's biggest fan (on and off) Kelvin McKenzie, can now tell us whether this masterstroke of judgement means Cameron is 'an idiot' as McKenzie once called him, or some sort of genius. Do tell, Kelvin.
 And then we have this 180 degree reversal from the Daily Mail. More lies from a multi-billion pound business. So new? The Mail is obviously in a moral and intellectual free-fall as hopeless as that of the Boris administration and the bankrupt reactionary tory ideology itself. As the most powerful tory in Britain, Gordon Brown should be watching these events and learning, not laughing.
DAY 64In a 180 degree U-Turn from his position of a few months ago, Boris Johnson now tells us not to Have A Go but to Run Away. But why doesn't he say what we SHOULD do to help a woman being attacked in an alley?

Mr Johnson, who lives a few streets from where16-year-old Ben Kinsella was attacked, revealed what one 'very nice ex-jailbird' had told him -

 'If you see a fight in the street, don't risk it because someone might have a knife.' The mayor added: 'I'm afraid that may sound like a lack of public spirit if someone is being badly attacked. But if I was giving advice to my kids and there was a bar brawl in Islington, it would be to look after themselves.'Everybody is shocked by the level of violence we are seeing, particularly towards young people, and we must all work as hard as we can to reverse this dreadful trend.' says the Daily Mail 
Which is simply restating the potential dangers of helping others and can only have the effect of making people more afraid, and by doing so, hand over control of the streets to the real criminals. But that doesn't seem to bother the Mail, which doesn't offer any constructive suggestions either.
Boris's job as mayor is to raise the morale of Londoners and offer constructive suggestions to making London a better place. Making people more afrid than they need to be is not the way to do this, something which a genuine mayor would know instinctively. In the event of an emergency facing London, a genuine mayor would offer ways in which we could all help and feel that we were acting together to counter the threat.
Something like a certain speech by Ken Livingstone on
July 7th 2005, which made every Londoner feel more of a Londoner - not more afraid of London, and even made many non-Londoners feel like Londoners.

Instead, all Johnson can do is tell people to run away, which may be interpreted as evidence of Bojo's Born Again Beatnik credentials, or maybe not. True, if we all ran away, there wouldn't be anyone to rescue or anyone to rescue them from. But a genuine beatnik would at least urge people to dial 999 as they ran...
DAY 64 ctd.

And now it seems Boris has a scandal to deal with. Ray Lewis, his choice as deputy turns out to be a dodgy disciplinarian and skypilot who is almost as tongue-tied and musclebound from the neck up as his boss. He is not even in post and The Mayor has to call an emergency press conference to announce the enquiry to clear his deputy of serious financial and sexual allegations.
Briefly, it appears that for several years, after serious complaints were made to the church about him in the Caribbean, Sunny Ray has been on the so-called 'Lambeth List', which is an episcopal Directory of Vicars deemed too dodgy to be allowed a parish. . Ray denies any knowledge of any complaints, or of being on the list, claiming that he retired from the church in 1997. Coincedentally. Time will tell, both for him and the Johnson administration - if that isn't to abuse a noble word.
Now all we need to know from the compilers of the Lambeth List is whether they told Sunny that he was blackballed or not. Be rude not to. So is there an Evening Standard hack out there with the grey matter and pep to call someone at C.of E .HQ and ask:

"Did you tell Ray Lewis that you'd banned him from office?"
If they did tell him, he is a liar.
If the Standard doesn't ask, it is the liar - by concealing the truth. But we knew that all along.
At least Lee Jasper took two terms of office to give the Standard enough half-truths to set them on his tail. Surely he also deserves the privilege of an enquiry to clear his name of the smears published in the gutter press..
By the way, whatever did happen to the mountain of corruption Boris promised to reveal at the heart of the Livingstone administration? Same thing that happened to Saddam's WOMD presumably. After all, the gutter press of Gilligan and other broken-backed right wing hacks was printing a 'Dodgy Dossier' on Ken every day. Gilligan could even have cut and pasted previous famous efforts of his, knowing that in this case, his bosses would supply even less scrutiny than at the BBC. After all, there was an electorate to mislead, and a Fool to place in Office.
 DAY 63
Boris claims today to be 
"expeditiously expiditing the no-strike agreement as expeditiously as possible."
"Never heard of him", said head of the main union involved, Bob Crow, on Ken Livingstone's LBC radio phone-in a few minutes later. And he should know. According to Crow, Johnson has not talked him, or offered a meeting of any sort, and what's more, if he had done, Crow would have told him where to stick his no-strike agreement. So what is this 'expedition' Bojo claims to be embarked upon? In his pith helmet, possibly.
Boris is making London up as he goes along. God help us all. Still, three years of this will serve to take some of the glitter off the embryonic Cameron regime.

Mad Ground Zero Plans Under Threat

Port Authority executive Christopher Ward is warning that
"The schedule and cost estimates of the rebuilding effort that have been communicated to the public are not realistic."
In other words, a bit mad. Anyone with any sense and humanity knew all along that the proposed Freemarket Tower was the worst and stupidest replacement for the already hated Twin Towers - until they were destroyed and contrary to media assumptions, the Twin Towers were not New York's favourite buildings.
 Given the circumstances of their destruction, the only sensible plan would have been to turn the entire site into a water park at the centre of a new junction between the Hudson and East Rivers, offering some sense of reconciliation and cleansing the money district in more ways than one.
 Naturally, this will never happen, unless the mysterious dispossessed Welsh owner of lower Manhattan and the Edwards Billions is discovered and authenticated and says no. Which isn't going to happen either. So by 2013, or 16, or 18 we may have another monstrously expensive monument to the same forces and paranoia which destroyed the original stars of the 1976 remake of King Kong and Phillipe Petit's 'Man on Wire'.


Tom Daley Vs Primark
How can this boy on the end of a diving board help being compared and contrasted with the millions of child labourers in India and other places, at the sweaty end of the Primark profit-chain? How can the sight of this child with the eyes of the world on him not remind us of the millions of lives which are destroyed each year so that we can cheer ourselves up cheaply with a new shirt or dress every week, so that consumerism can get its quick fix behind the bikesheds?
 The answer to both questions must be because it must seem natural to us that these lives are destroyed. Otherwise, we would never shop again with confidence. Just as it seems natural and worthy that India is now a rich and powerful country, with a growing oligarchy of billionaires, and a market presence to be proud of.
 It is also natural that with access to such token wage bills, Indian entrepreneurs should attract manufacturing jobs away from the west, causing unemployment, but at the same time, making unemployment more tolerable by reducing the cost of clothes in Primark. And naturally, unemployment is more tolerable in Britain than in India because we have a welfare state. So isn't it time India had one too? Now that she is an embryonic super power. In fact, isn't it time that the western business cabals started demanding that India bear its fair share of global poverty, and allow the jam of manufacturing employment to be spread a little thinner but a little wider. In other words, it is time that the CBI started lecturing India (and China) on social policies it would once have described as socialist.
 This is assuming, of course, that the likes of the CBI do not relish the prospect of India sliding into a form of Neo-Feudalism, based essentially on slave labour - because if they are prepared to accept that political model in India, why should we assume they would be hostile to it in Britain? Especially as it seems to be so profitable. In fact, why should Digby Jones have any problems with the Chinese political model, given how stable and long-lasting it obviously is.
 Whatever muffled outburts of defiance we get to see in the smoggy Beijing august, it's safe to predict that there won't be many demands for fair housing benefit and access to universal trade union rights from many western media machines. And yet without this economic safety net, a system based on a vote every 5 years is a pale imitation of democracy, and
can still run on slavery, as India, the biggest democracy of all, shows.
Beijing Olympics 2008

Fiona Bruce Misses The Point

If you think there are pictures of Ms Bruce here, you were misinformed. Blame Google.

old kent road clearchannel babe

Dear old Fiona Bruce.
 She spends 40 years looking down on the world from her stillettoes, and eventually comes to the reasonable feminist conclusion that every woman will have been sexually molested by the time she reaches 50. And apart from the also reasonable suggestion that the offenders be made to bite off their own testarossas, her solution is that women should be forever vigilant against this ever-present threat. Which again sounds reasonable enough, if a decade or three too late. Her book, published today, seems to be crammed with sensible Girl-Guide notes on how to not be robbed, swindled, forgotten, attacked or killed. Don't forget your keys, girls! In other words, on how to be as sassy, sorry 'Savvy' as she obviously is.
One bi-product of co-writing this book has apparently been to raise her awareness of the extent of casual, mundane, everyday, Carry-On style sexual assault. The disgusting, traumatising sort of event which women are supposed to laugh off.
As most women know, this is a universal experience, and therefore as a co-incidental guest on today's 'Wright Stuff', Fiona was part of a bemused panel which found that almost every woman in the studio had been molested at least once, and she which was forced to ask over and over:

'Why do they do it? Why do men feel they have the right to molest women in the street'
without anyone pointing out that women are perpetually offered for mental molestation on every street corner, almost always by depictions of women in the style of Fiona Bruce or Shobna Gulati.
There was even some loose talk about a campaign of sorts. Posters were mentioned, but only as a means of countering this menace, and not as part of the problem. Not one member of this highly savvy gathering of media folk were able to make the connection between the landscape of drooling, open-crotch posters, and videos of submissive women offering themselves for the price of a bar of chocolate, and the reasonable assumption on the part of the molestor that if women in general go along with the spirit of this transaction, then sex is a commodity which men are entitled to on demand. As the savvy young lady in the underwear promises:

'Christmas Kisses Guaranteed.'
 Any sort of campaign must take account of the fact that advertising does work, no matter what the advertising industry says, and that the image it regularly conveys of women is of being sexually available and vulnerable. Sexually desperate and vulnerable men will believe this applies to all women. But that would mean taking on the advertising industry and all the industries it pimps for. And what are the chances of that from people like Fiona Bruce and Matthew Wright, who have so much to lose?
The enemy of women is the money market which uses their bodies to empty shelves. Which creates the 48 sheet posters of them for mental molestation on every street corner.
The media classes seem totally unable to make the connection between their marketing of sex on demand, and the inevitable, resultant demand for sex. Which is not sex at all, but politics at its most basic level.
This of course is not the same as saying that all men will react that way - the gross Strawman argument of Dan Leslie and her mates at the Daily Wail, but some certainly will, and do. And some will take the next leap from groping on tube trains to serious sexual and physical assault. The reason why such 48-sheet porn should be taboo is therefore the same reason we regulate gun use.
In the meantime, the other effect of using sex to sell drain cleaner is to degrade women in general. To make them a bit less human. Which makes criminal assaults and abuse even more likely, but which also makes the law less likely to protect women in the first place, if laws define the acceptable norms of social behaviour.
So what we are seeing in Fiona's misgivings, and the findings of today's UN report on sexual harassment is a retreat from feminism and the triumph of the commercialisation of women. Too little feminism, not too much.