‘[...] The intense nervousness over how the Scots might vote extends far beyond the territory’s rugged mountains. Many in Europe fear that Scotland’s independence fervor could ripple across the continent, where a number of separatist campaigns have simmered for years. The hotspots range from the mountainous Basque region at the border of Spain and France to the Mediterranean island of Corsica to the lowlands of Belgium, where many in the Flemish majority want to say tot ziens to their French-speaking countrymen. Some of these movements have a history of violence; several more seem merely rhetorical—and, well, quixotic (independent Venice?). But taken together, the sovereignty pushes are yet another reminder of how tenuous the notion of one cohesive “European Union” truly is.’
‘The government has been asked to investigate whether BT is aiding drone strikes with a specially built military internet cable connecting US air force facilities in Northamptonshire to a base for unmanned craft in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.
Evidence is mounting that the $23m (£13m) fibre-optic circuit built by BT in 2012 was installed to facilitate air strikes in Yemen and Somalia by US air force drones, according to a complaint filed by the human rights group Reprieve.
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said its study of the social background of those “running Britain” was the most detailed of its kind ever undertaken and showed that elitism was so embedded in Britain “that it could be called ‘social engineering'”.
[...] The commission’s 76-page report mostly focuses on analysis, but it does include recommendations, saying government, schools, universities, employers and even parents all need to play their part in promoting social diversity.
Looking at the background of more than 4,000 people filling jobs at the top of government, the civil service, the judiciary, the media, business and the creative industries, the commission investigated where they went to school, on the grounds that going to a private school is reasonably indicative of a wealthy background.’
‘Cardiff city centre has been turned into a high security ‘prison’ with 10 miles of fencing – which is being dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ – ahead of the Nato conference next week. Police have erected the nine feet high security fencing around Celtic Manor resort in Newport where Barack Obama, David Cameron and other world leaders will meet in Wales on September 4 and 5, as well as the city centre. It comes as former foreign office minister, Kim Howells, issued fears that home grown Islamic State terrorists could be planning to attack the 2014 summit.’
- ‘Ring of steel’ for Nato summit in Newport and Cardiff
- 9,500 police drafted in for Nato summit in Wales
- Medieval Cardiff Castle Reinforced Amidst ISIS Threat
- Appeals for Newport taxpayers not to face costs of protests
- Schools almost 40 miles from Nato summit venue set to be hit by expected disruption
- World leaders at NATO summit will be treated for free on the Welsh NHS
‘Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has unveiled a series of measures which will scale back the way police can stop and search suspects. Tougher thresholds will mean officers in England and Wales are able to use the most controversial form of stop and search powers much less frequently.
Another new measure will make it compulsory for police to record whether or not a stop and search led to anyone being arrested. More than 20 police forces have agreed to implement the restrictions immediately after Mrs May failed to persuade Downing Street of the need for compulsory reforms.’
‘Imagine the scenario. You meet someone and, from the outset, the attraction is mutual: silently shared smiles, lingering glances. You bond over shared interests and worldviews, and exchange telephone numbers. You start sleeping together and – as your pulse quickens every time the phone rings – you realise you are falling for each other. Days are spent together, walking in parks, trips to the cinema, romantic meals; time apart becomes difficult. Eventually, your partner moves in, and for years you share everything. Maybe you even have a child together. Then – suddenly – they appear depressed and become distant. One day, they are gone, leaving only an apologetic note on the kitchen table. You then discover everything you knew about them was false. They have invented a fake identity; their backstory, opinions, entire life, all a lie. They are undercover police officers, and were sent to spy on you and your friends.
It sounds like a dystopian fantasy belonging in the Stasi archives of former East Germany. But this is the experience of several British women who are pursuing a civil case against the Metropolitan police. Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that four undercover police officers who spied on activists would not face sexual offence charges, including rape, sexual assault, sexual intercourse by false pretences, as well as misconduct in public office. These women consented to sleeping with men they believed were fellow activists, not police officers spying on them – and yet the CPS believes there is “insufficient evidence” for a prosecution.’
‘A set of classified documents published by The Intercept on Monday shows how the National Security Agency (NSA) makes more than 850 billion records about various forms of communications available to other U.S. governmental agencies through a portal similar in look and feel to a traditional web search engine.
The search tool, called ICREACH, provides access to all communications records collected under a Reagan-era executive order, known as executive order 12333, that targets foreign communication networks. The purview of 12333 has recently attracted negative attention due to the lack of oversight of its surveillance, and the lack of public information regarding its use and breadth.
In the wake of the revelations sourced from documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, much public discourse has focused on how the government uses, and shares data that it collects — which agencies have access to specific information, and how privacy is treated have been key topics of discussion. The Intercept’s most recent report throws light onto one way NSA-collected metadata is shared inside of the larger U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities — simply, widely, and often, it appears.’
‘Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.
The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks or longer, according to company marketing documents and experts in surveillance technology.
The world’s most powerful intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ, long have used cellphone data to track targets around the globe. But experts say these new systems allow less technically advanced governments to track people in any nation — including the United States — with relative ease and precision.’
‘British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 have identified the man suspected of the horrific beheading of American journalist James Foley, according to British media reports. The hooded man with an English accent is believed to be 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, known to fellow Islamic State militants as Jihadi John.
The former rapper left his family home in an affluent west London suburb last year to fight in the civil war in Syria. In early August he tweeted a photo of himself wearing military camouflage and a black hood, while holding a severed head in his left hand. British SAS forces are hunting Foley’s killer, using a range of high-tech equipment to track him down and potentially free other hostages.’
‘Tony Blair‘s role advising countries with poor human rights records has come under scrutiny again after he gave Kazakhstan‘s president advice on how to avoid his image being tarnished by the killing of 15 civilian protesters by police… The former Labour leader’s consultancy, Tony Blair Associates, set up in the capital, Astana, in October 2011, signing a multi- million pound deal to advise Kazakhstan’s leadership on good governance, just months after Nazarbeyev was controversially re-elected with 96% of the vote and weeks before the massacre.
[...] Activists say Blair’s appointment has produced no change for the better or advance of democratic rights. In its World Report 2014, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the country’s “poor human rights record continued to deteriorate in 2013″. It said torture remained common and referred to restrictions on free speech, dissent and religious worship… Blair and his companies have been awarded a string of multimillion consultancy contracts with private corporations, dictatorships and regimes, including, Kuwait, the UAE and Colombia.’
- Tony Blair gives Kazakhstan’s autocratic president tips on how to defend a massacre
- £7m-a-year Tony Blair tells tyrant: This is how you gloss over a massacre
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2014: Kazakhstan
- Tony Blair’s Kazakhstan role has failed to improve human rights, activists say
- Kazakhstan’s autocratic president tells David Cameron: I would vote for you
- Oil rich dictator of Kazakhstan recruits Tony Blair to help win Nobel peace prize
- Tony Blair’s moral decline and fall is now complete
- Buckraking Around the World With Tony Blair
- Tony Blair’s star turn in Kazakhstan video
- Blair works on makeover for Kazakhstan
‘Britain will not work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle against Islamic State (IS) extremists, the foreign secretary has told the BBC. Philip Hammond said to do so would not be “practical, sensible or helpful”. Former head of the Army Lord Dannatt and ex-Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind called for the move following the beheading of US journalist James Foley by IS militants. Mr Hammond also defended the monitoring of suspected extremists in the UK.
The UK government has called for President Assad to be removed as Syrian leader as a result of his actions during the country’s civil war. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, the foreign secretary said to co-operate with the Syrian regime would “poison” what the UK was trying to achieve. He said: “We may very well find that we are fighting, on some occasions, the same people that he is but that doesn’t make us his ally.” Earlier, Lord Dannatt called for a dialogue.’
- Britain must talk to dictator Assad to defeat ISIS/ISIL, says former head of the Army
- Pressure mounts on Europeans to take more action against Islamic State
- France’s Hollande criticises ‘major powers’ for allowing the Islamic State’s rise
- France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms
- Poll: Britons have little appetite for anti-jihadist battle
- Cameron urged to be clear over Iraq strategy
- British troops will not set foot on Iraqi soil, David Cameron insists
- Church launches bitter attack on PM’s ‘incoherent’ Middle East policy
- Western-backed rebels in northern Syria caught in two pronged onslaught
- Syria opposition calls for help amid Islamic State gains
- US ‘told Syria rebels’ to seek intervention
- Why Arming the Syrian Insurgents is Self-Defeating
- Hillary Slams Obama for Not Arming Syrian Rebels Even More
- Hillary Clinton Compared Arming Syrian Rebels To Supporting Al-Qaida in 2012
- ‘Shameless’ HSBC shuts Syrian refugees’ bank accounts in Britain
‘The brutal beheading of US journalist James Foley by a Briton fighting in the ranks of Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, is the latest – and most shocking – example of British jihadists committing atrocities in Syria and Iraq. Britain accounts for around one in four of all European fighters who have pledged their allegiance to Isis, with an estimated 500 Britons among 2,000 foreign fighters from across Europe.
One reason is the sheer ease with which people can get to Istanbul in Turkey, and then catch a bus to get into neighbouring Syria, according to Charlie Cooper, a researcher at the Quilliam Foundation. Isis wants to “show off” its foreign fighters as part of its propaganda, he added. And the unnamed man who beheaded Mr Foley “will have committed himself entirely to furthering the aims of the Islamic state” and “completely rejected his British nationality”.’
- More British Muslims fight for Islamic State than Britain
- British Muslims blame jihadi subculture after beheading video
- James Foley beheading: Hunt on for ‘British’ jihadist
- Militants use British killer as propaganda
- Report: ISIS Recruited 6,300 New Fighters in July
- Ex-SAS officer warns ‘army could be seen on UK streets’ if British jihadis return from war
- Defence Minister warns a lengthy operation may be necessary to combat a “very extreme form of terrorism”
- IS could come to streets of Britain, warns Cameron
- ‘700 Britons’ Have Joined Islamic State Forces, According To Iraq-Born Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi
‘WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced Monday that after spending two years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London he will “soon” leave the diplomatic safe harbor. He made the comments during a joint press conference with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. Assange did not elaborate on the timing.
It has been suggested that Assange may need hospital treatment and that any move could be to address suspected health problems, although he refused to be drawn on that specific point, saying only that when he does leave it will “probably not” be for the reasons reported on.
He said that his health has suffered as a result of his confinement. “It’s an environment in which any healthy person would find themselves soon enough with certain difficulties they would have to manage,” Assange said. He said the embassy “has no outside areas, no sunlight.”‘
‘[...] The scrutiny of business people’s wrongdoing is, I fear, to be severely lessened under new powers for the SFO allowing companies to effectively plea bargain their crimes away in return for a hefty fine and no trial. These so-called deferred prosecution agreements are based on the US model which has garnered billions of dollars in fines, but potentially seen serious crimes committed by very well-paid executives swept into filing cabinets that will remain locked for ever more in prosecutors’ offices.
For, while deferred prosecution deals make it easier to raise fines from companies, they foster a perception that corporate corruption is not as serious as, say, ATM fraud by gangs. Imagine the uproar in the popular press if a gang of east European credit-card cloners paid off the courts with a £50,000 fine and a vow not to do it again. It’s easy to see why the SFO might want to go down the plea bargain route. This underfunded organisation has blundered repeatedly in attempts to take on the richest people, and organisations, in the land. But to let off the criminal companies with fines — which will inevitably be a fraction of their weekly profits — adds to the temptation of employees and directors to see potential settlements with the SFO as part of the everyday cost of doing dirty business.’
‘A report from The International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations presents alarming case studies of protest suppression and criminalization of political and social dissent around the world. Ironically, the name of the report, “Take Back the Streets,” came from an order from Toronto’s police commander to his force in June 2010, when more than 100,000 Canadians took to the street to protest the G20 summit. Despite the fact that the anti-G20 summit were peaceful, within 36 hours, more than a 1,000 people — protesters and journalists alike — were arrested and detained.
The report, which is the result of a collaboration between nine civil rights organizations, exposes disturbing worldwide governmental policies and law enforcement practices where the fundamental democratic right to protest publicly is viewed as a threat that requires a brutal police response. Countless cases of unnecessary legal restrictions, discriminatory responses, criminalization of leaders and unjustifiable use of force are documented. There are nine case studies from nine countries: Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Israel and the Occupy Territories, Kenya, Hungary, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. All of the cases reflect instances of repression of democratic rights through the legal system, criminalization of leaders, and excessive use of force by police resulting in injuries or deaths. “These cases collectively illustrate the use of lethal and deadly force in response to largely peaceful gatherings seeking to express social and political viewpoints,” says the report. In most of the cases mentioned in the report, the deaths and injuries are caused by firearms with live ammunition: for example, against protesters in Egypt; but some are also caused by so-called non-lethal weapons such as tear gas or rubber bullets fired directly into crowds.’
‘I’ve already written a fairly comprehensive article explaining Universal Basic Income, so for the sake of brevity I’m not going to go into masses of detail about it again here, other than to say that it is a form of unconditional welfare payment to which all citizens are entitled.
Ideally the UBI payment should be set at a rate which covers the basic costs of living (housing, water, energy, food) meaning that nobody would be forced to live in abject poverty in 21st Century Britain. Those wanting anything more than a frugal and very basic standard of living (stuff like foreign holidays, expensive furniture, new cars, fashionable clothes …) would have a strong incentive to work in order to pay for their luxuries.
One of the main benefits of a universal, unconditional welfare payment would be the removal of virtually all of the costly means testing bureaucracy from the welfare system. Another benefit would be the near complete elimination of welfare fraud, which would free up teams of fraud investigators to go after much bigger fish such as tax-dodgers and organised crime networks.
There are so many flaws in the current welfare system that it would be literally impossible to list them all in a blog post. It was in bad enough shape when New Labour left office in 2010 but after four long years of Iain Duncan Smith‘s hopeless mismanagement, it is now a humanitarian disaster of bad planning, poor implementation and dehumanising bureaucracy. For the sake of brevity I’ll limit myself to detailing just four of the worst aspects of the current welfare system, and how the introduction of UBI would represent a significant improvement.’
‘[...] The findings are likely to embarrass ministers. The Guardian understands they are similar to conclusions in the interim report submitted last year highlighting the impact of deep spending cuts on frontline enforcement and inspection in the food industry. It said confusion reigned when the horsemeat scandal broke because the coalition had stripped the FSA of overall responsibility for the integrity of food.
The report concluded that the industry’s own audits were inadequate to protect the public and that unless audits were unannounced, they were of little value. He also told a conference of food experts in May he had been warned by a senior civil servant that his report into the horsemeat scandal was so hard-hitting the government might want to bury it. This week, he declined to comment other than to say he was still awaiting notification of the publication date.’
‘Tony Blair’s close ties to the Egyptian government have been called into question after some of the country’s key officials were accused of collaborating in the “widespread and systematic” killings of more than 1,000 protesters. A year-long investigation by Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that Egyptian security forces “systematically and deliberately” killed large numbers of mainly unarmed demonstrators who had gathered in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo last August to protest about the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The group said the massacre was as bad as Tiananmen Square and that it “likely amounted to crimes against humanity”. It called for several senior Egyptian officials to be investigated for their role in the incident – including the country’s current President, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was defence minister at the time. Tony Blair, who is a Middle East peace envoy, supported the coup against president Morsi and has voiced his support for the new Egyptian government. He is also acting as an informal adviser to Mr al-Sisi on economic reform.’
‘A Tory donor ennobled by David Cameron last week had handed over £300,000 to the party just two months before, it has emerged. Figures released by the Electoral Commission reveal that the city financier Michael Farmer was the Tories’ third biggest donor between April and June. In total Sir Michael has given the Conservatives more than £6m. Details of donations made the main parties show that in the second quarter of 2014 the Tories moved further ahead of Labour in the fundraising stakes, raking in £7.18m. More than a third of that came from just 10 donors.’
‘The elderly and vulnerable were failed by a watchdog set up to protect them because it feared legal threats from owners of care homes, it has admitted. The head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it has too often “backed off” from making attempts to close unsafe homes and “tended not to fight back” when was legally challenged.
David Prior, chairman of CQC, made the disclosures as the regulator vowed to change its approach, to be “much more robust” in taking on poor providers of care. He said its own data suggests that at least 750 care homes providing care to elderly and disabled people have been failing to hit at least one basic standard for more than a year. From October, 25,000 homes and homecare providers will be subject to a new inspection regime which will rate them. The worst homes can be put on special measures, giving them a limited time to improve or close.’
‘Iain Duncan Smith is reportedly being urged by senior Tories to shut down all Jobcentres and let private companies and charities to step in to help Britain’s unemployed back to work. The proposal, backed by allies of chancellor George Osborne, is being considered for potential inclusion in the party’s election manifesto for 2015, in what would be a radical step for Britain’s system to help people into work.
One senior Tory told The Sun: “Introducing competition into the job search market is a natural Conservative thing to do. Tailoring help from experts for what people really need will work far better than the clumsy one-size-fits-all state solution.” However, Duncan Smith is believed to be sceptical about the idea, with a source describing the proposal as “expensive and complicated”.’
- Benefits cuts vital to recovery, says Duncan Smith
- George Osborne: spend welfare budget on roads and rail
- Former DWP staff go rogue to help benefit claimants
- Council tax rises hit Britain’s poor hardest
- Unemployed dad desperate for work hanged himself
- Bedroom Tax Pushes Thousands Of Brits Into Poverty
- Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are disastrous – yet he’s still standing
- Almost one in four Britons are now living below the poverty line
- British public sector workers strike over ‘poverty pay’
- Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins
- Couple with two children ‘must earn £40,600 to meet basic needs’
- The homelessness crisis in England: a perfect storm
‘Soaring numbers of sick or disabled people are being punished by having their benefits taken away in a Government crackdown that experts say is pushing the most vulnerable in society to destitution.
The use of sanctions against those on sickness benefits has gone up by 350 per cent in a year as part of an aggressive drive to push more people into work. Those with serious health conditions can have their benefits removed for up to three years because of minor mistakes, such as missing an appointment at the Job Centre or forgetting to attend skills training.’
- Tens of thousands of sick and disabled patients face year-long wait for cash help
- Benefits sanctions double against women, disabled and lone parents
- Bedroom Tax Pushes Thousands Of Brits Into Poverty
- The PIP chaos reveals the government’s contempt for disabled people
- Tories discuss stripping benefits claimants who refuse treatment for depression
- Disabled man left with malnutrition after waiting eight months for benefits he was owed
- Housing Bubble May Pop Entire U.K. Economy
- London rents squeeze young people
- Londoners Cashing in Flee to Suburbs as Home Rally Wanes
- Two million can’t afford to move out of their parent’s home
- Families face eviction after Britain’s richest MP buys housing estate and hikes up rent
- Housing shortage leaves homeless families ‘stuck’ in hostels for two years
- 11 Reasons The Bank Of England’s ‘No Housing Bubble’ Call May Be Wrong
- Bank of England’s Mark Carney warns on housing market
- Loophole that let borrowers dodge Help to Buy loan limit
- My old council flat sold for half a million – this madness can’t end well
‘Privatisation isn’t working. We were promised a shareholding democracy, competition, falling costs and better services. A generation on, most people’s experience has been the opposite. From energy to water, rail to public services, the reality has been private monopolies, perverse subsidies, exorbitant prices, woeful under-investment, profiteering and corporate capture. Private cartels run rings round the regulators. Consumers and politicians are bamboozled by commercial secrecy and contractual complexity. Workforces have their pay and conditions slashed. Control of essential services has not only passed to corporate giants based overseas, but those companies are themselves often state-owned – they’re just owned by another state.
Report after report has shown privatised services to be more expensive and inefficient than their publicly owned counterparts. It’s scarcely surprising that a large majority of the public, who have never supported a single privatisation, neither trust the privateers nor want them running their services. But regardless of the evidence, the caravan goes on. David Cameron’s government is now driving privatisation into the heart of education and health, outsourcing the probation service and selling off a chunk of Royal Mail at more than £1bn below its market price, with the government’s own City advisers cashing in their chips in short order.’
- Renewing Public Ownership: Constructing a Democratic Economy in the Twenty-First Century
- Better in public hands: Why we need a Public Service Users Bill
- Winners and Losers: the great privatisation game
- Hoarding cash while refusing to invest
- Nationalise energy and rail companies, say public
- What’s the problem with outsourcing companies?
- There’s no evidence that privatisation works, but it marches on
- The grip of privatisation on our vital services has to be broken
- Rail is a gigantic scam for siphoning off public money
- Labour’s half-hearted plan for rail renationalisation is a cop-out
- Thames Water: the drip, drip, drip of discontent
- BT’s great broadband scam
‘Teenagers from wealthy backgrounds are still around 10 times more likely to get into top universities than those from poorer homes. Efforts to revive social mobility in Britain by widening access to the best universities have stalled, research indicates.
The report from an independent commission set up to examine the impact of higher university fees also reveals that the gender gap in university admissions is growing with you men from disadvantaged backgrounds the least likely to obtain a university place.
Will Hutton, who chairs the Independent Commission on Fees, said the findings showed “serious gaps in access to university remain. Young men from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly badly affected and remain under-represented in applications to all universities.”’
- A-level grades edge down, as university places rise
- Is the British education system designed to polarise people?
- British university system faces collapse
- Student loans overhaul discussed by ministers
- Student loan sale U-turn ‘likely to cost £12bn’
- Student loans system ‘at tipping point’, say MPs
- The nightmare of Masters funding
- Secret Teacher: I was told to ignore a child’s autism to keep fees coming in
- ‘Students need a reality check – university is not school’
- Education’s culture of overwork is turning children and teachers into ghosts
- Schools could open from 9am to 6pm for 45 weeks a year
- Two-year-olds should start school, says Ofsted chief
- 2000 Study: Children taught at home learn more
‘The journalist Chapman Pincher, veteran of countless lunches, scooper-in-chief, and scourge of ministers of all political parties, has died a few months after celebrating his 100th birthday. Pincher, of whom the phrase “a legend in his own lifetime” is singularly appropriate, fed on an envious network of contacts, many of them cultivated on the grouse moors, river banks, and latterly, on the golf course.
The renowned security and defence correspondent for the Daily Express was the first to reveal, back in 1967, the routine interception by security and intelligence agencies of private cables leaving Britain. Whether the official D Notice committee, responsible for managing a system of voluntary self-censorship in co-operation with the media, cleared the article or not depends on a conversation with Pincher and Colonel Sam Lohan, secretary of the committee at L’Ecu de France, the journalist’s favourite restaurant in Jermyn Street, London. However that conversation went, the disclosure enraged the then Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, who claimed that it breached the terms of the D notice system designed to protect national security. An independent inquiry by a senior judge, Lord Radcliffe, rejected Wilson’s claim.
Pincher called a chapter in his autobiography, Dangerous to Know, published to coincide with his centenary, “Momentous Lunches”, though he gave up alcohol decades ago. Giving evidence in 1971 to the Franks committee on secrecy – one of many failed attempts to reform the Official Secrets Act – Pincher said: “politically embarrassing is a higher security classification than top secret”.’
‘Prof. John Weeks and Prof. Trevor Martin discuss British PM David Cameron’s call for a referendum vote to decide whether the UK remains a part of EU, as stagnation continues in the Eurozone and bleeds into economic powerhouses like Germany.’ (The Real News)
- Boris Johnson’s EU reform list for Cameron to stop him voting for exit
- UK foreign minister favours leaving EU if no reforms
- The Five Routes a British Exit from the EU Could Take
- EU exit will harm UK, says leading British industry group
- One step closer to quitting Europe – Yes, sure we are
- BfB Report: UK Will be Forced to Join the Euro or Leave the EU if Brussels Power Not Reformed
- British people favour leaving the European Union, according to poll
- EC VP: Britons ‘too ignorant’ for EU referendum
‘I have often complained about the shocking level of political illiteracy in the UK, without which it would have been impossible for one bunch of neoliberalism obsessed economic extremists after another to rule the country ever since 1979. The classic riposte from supporters of the neoliberal orthodoxy is to sneer something along the lines of “ah … just because people don’t agree with your leftie views, that makes them politically illiterate does it?” In this article I’m going to present some hard evidence that a great number of people just don’t have a clue what they’re talking about when it comes to understanding the political basics.
The first piece of evidence I’d like to present is a July 2014 YouGov study asking people to place political parties on a scale between “very left-wing” and “very right-wing”. The results revealed that 80% of people who actually responded (excluding the 25% who said “I don’t know“) were under the impression that the current Labour party is a left-wing party. In fact, the lack of awareness of Labour’s embrace of the right-wing neoliberal consensus is such that more people believed the barmy proposition that UKIP (the “Thatcherism on steroids” party) is a left-wing party (9%), than accepted that Labour long since has become an economically right-wing political party (just 7%)!’
‘Three former Scotland Yard detectives were part of “highly corrupt cells within the Metropolitan Police Service” but have never been brought to justice, according to a secret internal report seen by The Independent. The police officers, who left the Met to open a private investigation agency, were suspected of seizing tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets from criminals and selling the drugs themselves, according to a file produced by the force’s anti-corruption command.
The 2000 report said the officers also had links to London’s criminal underworld and were capable of tracking down and threatening witnesses involved in sensitive trials. Despite the damning statements of fact in its internal file, Scotland Yard yesterday confirmed that none of the three ex-detectives have ever been successfully prosecuted. The news will add to fears that the Metropolitan Police is unable – or unwilling – to tackle criminality in its ranks and follows a series of troubling scandals involving the tainted murder investigations of Stephen Lawrence and Daniel Morgan, revelations around the exploits of its rogue undercover police officers, and the fitting-up at the Downing Street gates of former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.’