England’s ridiculous so-called High-Speed Rail (HS2) – time to finally put it out of its misery?

A post here over five years ago outlined exactly why the rubbish coalition government of David Cameron needed to scrap immediately the stupid idea of building the vanity project of a high speed West side rail line with 330 miles of track [High Speed Rail (HS2) – Another Sick Joke by a Sick ‘Out Of Touch’ Government August 24, 2013 by dadman007]

[High Speed 1, legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, is of course the mere 70-mile high-speed railway between central London and the UK end of the Channel Tunnel, commissioned between 2002 and 2007]

Well, the good news on the wires is that beleaguered Theresa May’s incompetent government is belatedly “thinking of” euthanizing this mad money-guzzling, planned but irrelevant, inappropriate, new railway.

Oh yes, over the years there have been a torrent of media criticisms and exposés from many sources of this ‘out-of-control’ project and the latest of these has apparently just been transmitted on UK television [“HS2: The Great Train Robbery” Dispatches, Chanel 4, Monday Feb 11, 8pm]. No doubt this is well worth watching in catchup by those of us who unfortunately missed it, if just to get a glimpse of just how bad things have turned out so far, eh?

HS2 is the bastard offspring of big business and the lobbying power of engineering conglomerates linked with property developers.

However, the chickens are coming home to roost now, on what was warned-of and posted here that a full half decade ago, aren’t they? Yep, while the very original conception was of a rail system with electric trains travelling at 250mph, but the truth is that there are actually no plans to operate at this speed and the track, control systems and trains being purchased will not be physically capable of it.

So in fact top speed will be 225mph max (even that probably is very optimistic, as say in comparison China’s high speed network is 5mph less), but that will actually be reduced to not exceed 200mph in normal operation (the accepted top-speed world ‘norm’, and that achieved in France – although the top speed in Germany, Italy and Spain is just 185mph per hour),and that in parts HS2 speeds will often shrink to 170 mph, and on some existing track-sections used now will only manage 125 mph [as this is achievable by our ‘normal’ trains]. That was not what we were led to believe and certainly not the fastest bullet train [that is China’s 2004 Shanghai Maglev 267 mph magnetic levitation train on its 19-mile track], eh?

Japan has already test-run a new magnetic levitation bullet train, which reached an incredible 375mph – a new world record.

The original case for HS2 was basically about speed and reduced travel time, but not only has that fallen short, but it has become much less relevant to commuters from the Midlands and the North using in-train WIFI to take the strain

The biggest bugbear of HS2 has always been the massive cost of what has now amorphized into Europe’s biggest infrastructure project – although the conceptual budget cost was actually just around £16 billion in 2009 [an enormous amount of money], but for some reason many sources these days just record the 2011 estimated cost which was double that at £33billion. Nevertheless, the duplicitous ‘official’ estimate is now at an eye-watering £56billion, so an astounding 70% increase. Even running this proposed ‘energy inefficient’ new rail service has now officially escalated 40% to an annual £6bn

In that previous post here, it noted that ‘those in the know’ reported that it would really cost some £80billion and not the £33billion estimated– however, even all that has escalated and close sources and independent industry experts are now realistically estimating £100+billion to deliver the project [HS2 is destined to be the most expensive railway ever built ANYWHERE – Britain will have achieved an unwelcome world record, making us a laughing stock in the world, wouldn’t you say?]

With at least 7000 are working on it (including massively paid executives as well are mere agency staff, as well as unaffordable consultants,  £5.5. billion [10% of the total budget, no less] spent as of a year ago so probably nearer £10billion by now, demolition work is underway in London and Birmingham, but construction has hardly started, but spending will now crank up to £4.2 billion (or much more?) every year for a decade, but not a piece of track laid, nor a bloody  train in sight or built nor designed or specified in any detail or a contract for it awarded yet, eh?

[We all well know though that historically British juggernaut government projects invariable get out of control and run monumentally over budget, so it isn’t outside the bounds of possibility that in the end HS2 will cost £160 billion as predicted here all those years ago, is it? No, and for example the original Trident cost went up by 50%, Wembley Stadium 80%, Millennium Dome 80%, Jubilee Line extension 85%, Edinburgh Trams 165%, Channel Tunnel 145%, London Olympics 250%, and the Scottish Parliament building 1000%].

To put those staggering HS2 costs in perspective, the money committed to running and improving the rest of the whole of the creaking UK blinking railway network is just only 6billion a year.

Moreover, this disastrous HS2 project of building a single new railway route will suck the very life out of all other much need rail investment and comes at the very time that the performance of the exiting network is nothing short of calamitous – meaning that customer satisfaction is at its lowest level for a decade, while passenger costs are astronomical [over the past decade rail fares have risen twice as fast as salaries], with the latest fares hike being the greatest in five years, and with fares 5 times higher than in Europe, yet travelers are crammed in carriages to such an extent that it would be illegal to transport livestock in such conditions. [UK’s most consistently overcrowded trains were those into Manchester, and the worst performing train companies served the North and for one operator only half its trains arrived on time – ‘up north’ so of little concern to the London’s powers, you see?].

It is said by experts that bad planning with completely inept decisions have wasted money to the extent that our HS2 project is around six times more expensive per mile than France’s LGV high-speed line of 2001. To boot, the National Audit Office said there was only a 60 per cent chance that the first phase of the HS2 would be completed on time.

Should we really be running high speed trains direct into major city centers with all the high cost and disruption that causes [as in London and Birmingham] or should they have a more out-of-town terminus, like airports do?

HS2 socks the UK with a double whammy as it comes together with the equally disastrous ‘Trident Replacement’ programme, that is setting out to build new submarines to carry life-extended Trident nuclear missiles.

They said at the outset this was just going to cost about £20bn and that included £15bn for submarines. That’s the tip of the iceberg though, because the reality check has to be the ‘total cost’ of the project over a potential forty-years lifespan, so that adds running and servicing costs, upgrading missiles and renewing warheads, adding infrastructure, all in addition to submarine construction – so ‘others’ had estimated the total actually to be some £100bn. Well, the current build cost for the subs rose by £1bn in one year alone and seems to have more than doubled at over £40bn – so you can expect the reality check to double also, making it over £200bn, can’t you?

The current impact of this madcap project to continue to provide a nuclear weapon worldwide deliverable capability, means basically that the Country can no longer afford the conventional military forces it requires. The ultimate consequence of that, is that we will have the ability to strike back in the event of a nuclear attack, and so help bring about the destruction of planet Earth, but if we or our allies are attacked with conventual military power, we cannot respond effectively, nor actually defend ourselves or anybody else – well done Parliament and military planners, eh?

The National Audit Office considers that the MOD department’s equipment plans for the period until 2027 is basically not affordable, while the Public Accounts Committee considers that there isn’t enough money to buy all the equipment the military says it needs, and that Defence is facing a possible affordability gap of nearly £21bn. [Britain no longer has the necessary forces to reclaim the Falklands if Argentina invades, as it was actually able to do nearly 37 years ago – is that what any of us would bloody well expect?]

To really appreciate the magnitude and impact of those overwhelming costs of the new Trident programme [perhaps £200bn], we need to compare that with the latest annual Defence budget of £48.3bn in total (the highest this century)

That cost has to cover everything from staffing & running the Army, Navy and Airforce to buying and maintaining their Tanks & Guns/Weapons & Equipment, Ships & Submarines & Armaments, Fighters, Bombers, Helicopters, Aircraft, Missiles, and all other things including Intelligence, and Surveillance & Reconnaissance, etc. It desperately needs the billions being poured into Trident so we can defend ourselves against modern threats like cyber attacks, wouldn’t you say?

Returning to the matter of HS2, it has to be pointed out that this project is anything but to do with the claimed intent of improving rail facilities in the North of England, as that is all poppycock, isn’t it? The northern cities of Manchester and Leeds are already connected to London, so where does a marginally quicker service come into it all, do you think?

Anybody can see that simply from the fact that the line is to be built in a “Y” configuration, with London underpinning it at the bottom of the “Y”, serving Birmingham at the centre, then Leeds at the top right and Manchester at the top left .It starts with a link from London to Birmingham – a route already with more than adequate train facilities, as it is currently running on average at under half of its existing passenger capacity – why should we spend a king’s ransom increasing it, blighting lives and destroying the environment, incurring massive disruption, and with precious little to show in return?

Rail transport political responsible Chris Grayling has admitted that the Government may well in fact ditch the Northern half of HS2, [the phase 2 route has yet to get parliamentary assent], and that is no great surprise really in light of the mounting costs – it demonstrates though that servicing the North was never ever the focus, doesn’t it?

This rail link is both a naively vain attempt to emulate other countries with state-of-the-art high-speed rail links, married with an unsatisfiable desire to reinforce London as the central focus of the of the UK’s economic future. To put that in context, we need to remember also, that no major rail route has been built north of London for over a century, eh? What does that tell you – the chronic north-south divide going back to Viking times still persists, so stuff anything north of Watford Gap, or what?

“Scrap HS2”

What is really needed is urgent improvements to local rail routes into major cities, which are used by millions of suffering commuters each day – that is a worthwhile use of taxpayers’ money, surely? Even more importantly perhaps, in conjunction with that, is the creation of a new growth center in the North with a new conventional rail network with east-west lines linking northern cities directly, and so allow expansion capability outside and beyond the confines of London and the south east – these cities could then compete together as one large single economy, rather than competing against one another.

Oh yes, that was previously formulated as ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ {nicknamed HS3], but it has simply been wilting away as it has never been adequately funded – hubs were to include Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Leeds, Bradford, Doncaster, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Newcastle, and Hull

 

[Both trophy projects of HS2 and new Trident, need to be squashed NOW before any more billions are flushed down the toilet: regarding the fools who have supported these cash guzzlers “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” as Shakespeare eloquently put it]

The scientific community’s naive attempts to contact alien life in the Universe continues unabated – a gaggle of idiots intent on destroying mankind?

The giant Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is the second-largest radio telescope of its kind on Earth

Darth Vader  Daleks Flying saucer

You probably have heard that various scientists have been trying to communicate with aliens for over half a century now – it is likely that it first started with a space experiment by the USSR using the Crimea massive radio telescope to send Morse code messages to any intelligent extraterrestrial life that might be there on Venus. Other radio transmitted messages from Earth, in various locations by both official and maverick sources, have followed-on – known to have happened certainly two decades ago, a decade ago, and a few times even in this decade, and which have included encoded examples of human scientific discover here, described our solar system, the compounds important for life, and the structure of DNA (to prove we are a clever lot, eh?).

You probably have not heard though that the spendthrift element of our scientific community is intent of having another go this year at interacting with mythical, intelligent civilisations outside of our own solar system – this time they are going to publish via those deep space radio transmissions the periodic table of elements (as we know it), which no doubt is expected to show the aliens that we are an intellectual, sharing, diligent, friendly, and peaceful species to be trusted. Will that sufficiently pull the wool over their eyes to the extend that they won’t suspect that in reality we are something much less attractive?

Will they establish from remote that we are in fact a species in a state of perpetual war between countries and groups, that our communities are ‘dog eat dog’ orientated, that we have gained supremacy on our Earth over all other species by a maxim of ‘survival of the fittest’ enhanced by significantly lucky breaks, that we have embarked on a course of eliminating all other species on our planet that we can’t usefully subjugate or consume, that we are unbelievably cruel even to our own kind as well as other species which we also kill as a pleasure pastime, that we kill or enslave others for personal gain or desire, that we eliminate those that get in our way, that we have used our great knowledge and scientific discovery to manufacture massive quantities of firearms and produce explosives of dreadful destruction like gunpowder, TNT, dynamite, Nitroglycerin, ammonium nitrate, and the ultimate global destructor of nuclear explosive. The well off irresponsibly have both squandered the Earth’s natural resources and have practically destroyed our habitat and climate, not least by polluting the land and oceans with poisonous rubbish and plastic. Moreover, as a species we are utterly untrustworthy, wouldn’t you say?

However, as yet as far as the stupid, still alien searching astronomists are concerned, we have heard nothing back from space – what a stroke of luck, don’t you think?

You see, a decade ago renowned visionary theoretical physicist and space cosmologist Stephen Hawking (sadly deceased last year) had cautioned against trying to actively hail any alien civilisations that might be out there. The clear warned is that inviting alien civilisations that may be more advanced than ours, to be in contact with Earth is clearly a risk – and an unquantifiable one at that, isn’t it?

It seems that some village idiots amongst us seem to think that any other intelligent life would be so wise and so knowledgeable and so sophisticated that also they would be ‘peaceful’. Well, you certainly cannot and should not assume that, should you?

No, and we have plenty of examples from our past history to know that the arrival even of a more developed group of the same species can spell disaster for the existing population, eh?

Take the arrival of us armed Europeans on the continent of America – how did that turn out for the Indian native population, would you say? Or say the colonisation of Australia back in the 1700s – the indigenous Australians, Aboriginal or those of Torres Strait Islander origin, have had their culture destroyed, and the Aboriginal has been ‘written out’ of Australian history – they now number a mere three percent of the population. Even before that of course there was the arrival of the Europeans in Africa resulting the disgusting slave trade that commenced in the 15th century and peaked in the late 18th century, when the largest number of slaves were captured on raiding expeditions into the interior of West Africa – subsequent colonization befell Africa in the1800s with European imperialist aggression, military invasions, and ultimately conquest.

If ‘super-advanced’ aliens ever did visit our little ‘comparatively backward’ planet, what would you expect the outcome to be? Would they really come here to help us, to freely share their superior knowledge with us, or might they instead simply raid Earth for any useful resources (if we actually have any left) and then move on, or perhaps just eliminate us [in the way that we would crush with our shoe an insignificant beetle scurrying across the floor, even though it is of no danger to us]?

Oh yes, science fiction has for a long time held a compelling fascination for the public and has been so since the start of technology – possibly because of its implausibility? It allows us to compare humanity against other potential species and intelligences, knowing that we seem to have gained supremacy on Earth over other impressive species by seemingly significantly luck breaks – or by divine design? That is why we simply love the American epic space saga Star Wars, that started some 40 years ago no less, and the battles of us humans against its iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Greedo, Boba Fett, Supreme Leader Snoke, Jabba the Hutt, etc. [but in fiction we always win, don’t we?].

In the UK for over 50 years we have had our own bespoke science fiction television series (and film) namely Doctor Who, which portrays an eccentric, compassionate, extraterrestrial Time Lord who can crisscross the universe through time and space to do battle against injustice and evil forces, and he/she regenerates (twelve times so far), and travels using a TARDIS spaceship in the form of a magical blue police phone box of 1920s ilk. The fiction has its extraterrestrial villains of Daleks, Yartek and Voord Warriors, Cybermen, Davros, Zygons, Weeping Angels, The Beast, and The Silence.

Undoubtably because of science fiction, many in the World still understandably believe in UFOs (like flying saucers) carrying aliens visiting our planet to suss out our species. That is not just down to farfetched human imagination and hallucination, or interpretations of events that can be the trick of light or mirages, or puzzling natural phenomenon with flashes high in the atmosphere triggered by thunderstorms, but sightings are more likely to have been mind-boggling technologies involved in top secret activities, since much of the alleged alien activity of the past 80 years has ultimately been revealed as top-secret government projects like testing spy planes and the like (indeed back in the 1950s the U.S. Air Force really was working on building a supersonic saucer, but the prototypes flopped).

Anyway, even if it was actually true, do you think that aliens would have found the human race to be a good bedfellow? Do you think aliens would think of the human race as being benevolent or malevolent? If we humans ever encounter real aliens, things might turn out very different to our winning science fiction accounts, surely?

Well, there’s also the matter that if we don’t blow-up this planet with our nuclear arsenal (which seems the increasingly most likely outcome for our species), there is a near certainty chance of a life wipe out disaster occurring to planet Earth from outer space within the next ten thousand years [like a large Asteroid impact against which we are quite helpless and could wipe out humanity by causing enormous tsunamis, fires and other natural disasters, or a high energy solar flare from the Sun that would leave us with no electricity, heating, air conditioning, GPS or internet and with food and medicines going bad, or three or four other things also feared]

The very fact that humanity has never been better equipped to find life beyond Earth and despite the sterling efforts of gaggles of professional and amateur scientists and renowned research institutes have grinding away over countless years all looking for life beyond Earth in a massive Universe, but without success, the probability has to be that we are alone in the universe in terms of intelligent life (though there may well be microbial life around but yet to be discovered)

Many astronomers think that we need to be more careful about radio use in our attempts to encounter aliens. Others say that any super-advanced aliens out there will know about us already, so it’s too late to try to conceal ourselves in the universe. Well, if the latter is true, we might well really have something to worry about that should keep us awake at night, eh? We cannot of course know what kind of culture aliens might have, nor comprehend the technology they may use, but if these far-off (say 50 light-years) scientifically enhanced creatures have assessed us as a bad egg, they may well have already decided to evaporate our planet.

It could well be that they have developed a super-devastating directed-energy weapon ray that like electromagnetic radio waves can travel freely through space towards Earth at the speed of light – if its on its way already we simply won’t wake up one morning as our planet will have been completely pulverised

[Our experience of all types of life on Earth is that the survival instinct is paramount and stress response falls into three main categories – Hide, Flight, and Fight. That is what we might reasonably expect to show towards aliens and indeed them towards us, so caution needs to be our byword]

 

Venezuela is in the news but what the hack is that all about – the bloody end to a disastrous social-justice escapade? BRITAIN BE WARNED

  

Venezuela is a country on the northern coast of South America

The World news reports of a growing crisis in Venezuela, but not many of us actually know or understand what is going-on there, do we? No, well not within the UK certainly, but those people elsewhere, like say America, may be closer to the historic situation, perhaps?

What the news tells us is that Venezuela’s dictatorial President Nicolás Maduro is facing both country widespread public demonstrations by street marchers demanding the end of his vice-like vicious grip on power, and international pressure to go, and that included demands from Britain, France, Spain and Germany, that Maduro held a fresh presidential election [The parliament is already controlled by the opposition – led since the start of the year by one Juan Guaidó].

[First elected in 2013, the second term of incumbent Nicolás Maduro’s presidency of took place just in January, but his re-election last July has been declared ‘invalid’ by various figures, organizations, and countries. That was because the process lacked legitimacy, there was a ban on the most popular rivals, there was a liberal use of state resources in Maduro’s campaign, the main opposition boycotted it, more than half of the electorate refused to vote, plus evidence of intimidation & vote buying, and other irregularities), whence Juan Guaidó has been elevated to Interim President in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution.

United States, Canada, UK, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Israel, Latvia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Portugal, Finland, Poland, Germany have all now recognised Guaidó as Interim President].

Now, this is not a crisis that has come out-of-the-blue, is it? Not at all, as it has been brewing for countless years, but things have finally reached critical-mass because the Venezuela government is completely isolated, the moribund economy has ruinously crashed, the community largely is poverty-stricken, there is no food, the health system has buckled and there are no medicines, and the people are aggressively demanding a return to democracy and freedom – well the ones still there are that is, as it seems that some three million of them have already fled the country mainly to U.S. & Spain (if they have means) or Chile & Brazil (if they have less means) with half of them in the past 4 years, eh?

Hyperinflation: Venezuela’s exchange rate regime provides no discipline it only produces instability, poverty, and the world’s highest inflation rate – its annual inflation rate at the end of 2018 was 80,000% and growing

While it would seem that massive population protests so far have reportedly been relatively peaceful, nevertheless the risk is that these evolve into a bloodbath, as there are thuggish, armed, revolutionary pro- Maduro government groups (who somehow are the ones to have food in their bellies) who are prepared to fight to the end for the President, no less?

Historically, these ‘colectivos’ have had power, have obtained funnelled money and arms from the state, became political enforcers (often lethally), so even challenge the police for control, and help deal with streets protesters – the population rightly have learned to fear these men.

What happens now though in Venezuela lies primarily in the hands of the president’s specially selected, patronage benefiting, corrupt, military, which has in the past played a key role in supporting the regime and has been the means of Maduro enforcing absolute control – which shockingly has included his rejection of an international humanitarian aid corridor through Brazil and Colombia to deliver desperately needed medicine and food.

There are strong indications though that the military dam may burst soon and its senior officers turn on the beleaguered dictator (rank-and-file solders have been leaving at an alarming rate – over four thousand in five years and others are barred from leaving the country). If the Generals crack in the face of fresh massive street demonstrations then Maduro’s days in the Miraflores presidential palace after some six years of chaotic rule, will finally be well and truly over, won’t they? [He may be heading into exile but will the armed colectivos group revolutionaries back-off, or risk being eliminated by the antagonistic army, perhaps?]

Oh yes, there are the fellow-travellers who support this disastrous Venezuela dictator and we can all guess who they are, eh? Their communist Marxist allies of Russia, China, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba

However, to understand any of this you have to turn the clock back twenty years to when Venezuela, due to its oil production and its massive reserves of oil, was an affluent country and the richest economy in South America, with all of its mostly urban and educated population having access to clean drinking water, sanitation facilities and electricity, don’t you?

[For the record in 2019, water, sanitation, electricity, medicine, money, and even food, are all either rationed or unavailable]

Back in 1999, that was when Hugo Chávez became President of Venezuela, and in a disastrous social-justice escapade to redistribute wealth from business to the State, well-off to poor, he set about implementing his revolutionary ultra-left-wing ideology (Chavismo), which was enacted with brutal suppression and he simply destroyed the former Venezuelan democracy, eliminated independent media, and controlled justice and the courts. His social policies resulted in government uncontrolled overspending, caused shortages, and allowed the inflation rate to grow like Topsy

He made war with the oil sector and sucked-out its wealth, deskilled PDVSA the state-run oil firm, and purloined its capital resources to fund social programmes, whilst establishing a corrupt elite. Consequently, essential oil production dropped dramatically and even despite a global boom in oil prices, production facilities weren’t maintained, major accidents happened, necessary reinvestment stalled

Significantly, the curtailed PDVSA has failed to bring new oil fields onstream since Chávez nationalized heavy oil projects in the field formerly operated by international oil companies ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron and Total – what does that tell us, eh? His policies damaged the country’s oil industry due to lack of investment, massive corruption, and cash shortages and when oil prices dropped 5 years ago, all was lost – the Venezuela economy was trashed

His revolution with its expropriations, foreign exchange, price, labour and profit controls, simply destroyed the normal market mechanism that keep a country’s economy in check. Moreover, the country has borrowed massively at high cost so has unacceptably large foreign public debt. Consequently, Venezuela has lost access to international capital markets, creditors are threatening to lay claim to its assets abroad, and others demand some £7 billion in overdue bond payments.

When Maduro took power after Chavez died in 2013, he inherited an economy that was in a shamble, but he continued with his mentor’s policy and his answer was to parcel-out patronage, while the criminality in the military, took control of lucrative drug and food trades, as well as illegal gold mining.

Unbelievably perhaps, instead of trying to reverse his country’s unprecedented economic collapse, Maduro with a former bus driver’s financial skills  no less, embarked on a financial strategy of a frenzy printing of base money to cover large budget deficits, so Inflation was driven upwards at an astounding rate, basic goods became unaffordable, businesses collapsed so more than half of them are gone now, imports dropped, and food became unavailable.

Money devalues and becomes worthless if too much is printed. If the money supply increases faster than real output then, all other things remaining equal, inflation will occur. If you print money excessively there will be more cash to spend on goods, but if the amount of goods doesn’t change, there is more money chasing the same amount of goods, hence prices simply go up – inflation gets out-of-hand and investors lose trust in the government who will find it hard to borrow [Venezuela as an example]

This situation resulted in what constitutes a mafia state, and created a violent black-market environment, with the vicious colectivos increasing in control, who together with armed police and military units turned the streets into blood-baths.

Venezuela has been brought from a state of wealth and democracy, with one of the largest proven fossil-fuel reserves in the world, to the one of dreadful collapse in just two decades, simply because of a totalitarian regime’s successful battle against wealth creation, in pursuit of an extreme socialist dogma, that inevitably destroyed the country’s prospects. Even a decade ago crude oil production in Venezuela was the tenth-highest in the world and the country was also the eighth-largest net oil exporter in the world. In the 20 years since Chávez came to power, crude oil production there has sunk by 40%. The two presidents of Chavismo ideology have allowed the oils sector to decline to unbelievable depths that has impoverished their people. The poor are even poorer while the middle class have been virtually expunged

Oh yes, in support of the population, the US imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela two years ago and prohibited US citizens from doing business there when Maduro suspended constitutional rights and instituted changes to the constitution to enhance his dictatorship powers – that certainly hasn’t helped the Venezuelan economy, has it? Nevertheless, the country is facing even more sanctions if Maduro doesn’t stack and give way to Guaidó, doesn’t it?

The inherent risks of further escalation of the Venezuela crisis cannot be overlooked and it has to be stopped quickly, as the country is spiraling into a failed state (some say it’s there already), and that would trigger region-wide consequences with serious economic, financial, and security

If Maduro goes quickly and with Chavismo ditched, Venezuela can begin a trek along the difficult road to recovery and to the ending of existing sactions, under a new regime. The immediate need is to dramatically increase oil production, as oil is at the centre of the Venezuelan economy and accounts for 95 percent of that country’s export revenues – this will not happen unless the new President brings back the international oil giants to repair and expand its fields, as PDVSA itself is simply not up to the job, is it?

It is likely that Guaidó will introduce an amnesty for police, military and authorities to help remove Maduro and to restore constitutional order. Most certainly he will accept humanitarian aid from the US and other countries and allow in international shipments and convoys to partly mitigate the current humanitarian emergency. He will need to seek international backing and support in unlocking foreign assets and gaining control of US and other overseas financial accounts. He will also have to negotiate the lifting of sanctions as soon as possible

Even more importantly he will have to face-up to the problem of more than £70billion in outstanding debt, the bulk in default. He needs to find a solution to halt the immediately impending fight over this crippling Venezuela debt and work with the World Bank and IMF to get the domestic economy back on its feet. That could be partly achieved by America declaring Venezuelan assets temporarily immune from attachment by U.S. courts, just as Obama did previously with Iraq for 3 years by using a national security executive order – Trump has said that he will support Guaidó in Venezuela, but will he do it, with this one huge effective step, eh?

 

[Despite the dire results emanating from Chavez’s & Maduro’s tenures in office as Venezuela presidents, our close at home Marxist/ Trotskyist/ Leninist/ Stalinist/ Maoist orientated ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ had praised him after death for his actions, and had then immediately supported his successor– while his maverick sidekick, wealth redistribution intent ‘John McDonnell’s’ view has been that what was going-on in Venezuela was socialism in action. Beware then, that is what kind of regime of state socialism that these two communist apologists, who currently lead the (Marxist infiltrated via Momentum) iconic British Labour Party, want to inflict and impose on the UK, as they have made crystal clear in the past – and that is not the kind of socialism the British people want, nor will accept]

The Chinese have a lot to learn from us and we from them – including ‘Yin Yang’?

   symbol Yin (dark) Yang (light)    

 

Many of us will know that next Tuesday, 5th February is the start of Chinese New Year [the year of the Brown Pig indeed]. Now while we in the West have our New Year on a specific (Gregorian) calendar date of 1st January, the date of the Chinese one varies as it begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February.

Another thing is that the Chinese (like in some other less pleasant things) don’t muck about, so they don’t make do with just a day of celebration but start the evening before and carry on revelling for 15 days [how the Scots would give their eye teeth for a Hogmanay going-on that long, eh?]

The other thing of course is that although it is called “Chinese New Year” it is not just the country of China that is involved here but it is a festival that applies to China’s neighbours and those of the Chinese culture worldwide – so major festivities in Korean, Vietnam, Tibet, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

Of course, many of us in UK, the rest of Europe, and America also take the opportunity to join in the fun and partying (and not only in major cities, it has to be said) with colourful Chinese New Year parades passing through the streets, Dragon dancers with drummers performing to scare away evil spirits, stilt walkers in traditional garb, energetic Giant Doll heads performing captivating ribbon dances, while others are  grabbing the occasion to enjoy Chinese cuisine.

That all said, what can we in the West learn from the Chinese civilisation of old, then? Chinese culture with its customs and traditions, is the dominant culture in East Asia and is one of the world’s oldest, going back many thousands of years.

Well, for a start their New Year holiday (now known as the Spring Festival in China) is the cause of the largest annual mass human migration in the world – because [unlike the Islamic Hajj religious annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia’s Mecca], it is a traditional occasion for Chinese families to return and gather for an annual reunion – that has survived even after Communism and Mao’s cultural revolution’s failed attempts to remove the family from the centre of Chinese life.

There is a big lesson to be learnt there as that level of commitment to family is badly missing in our society and certainly in the UK – it has rapidly evaporated in the last century, together with our love and respect for the elderly, eh? Conversely, in China showing dignity to and respecting of the elderly is part of the actual law, and companies are even required to give workers time off to see their parents – so honour and kindness toward seniors is part of normal life in China. Fat chance of any of that happening in Britain, don’t you think?

You see, in Britain our intrinsic culture has been taken-over (from the aristocracy of course) by BIG business – that is why we seemingly can’t break-away from the deadly embrace of the EU, as its duplicitous fellow-travellers here try to thwart the peoples’ vote for BREXIT.

In this Country the one aspect of true family life that we had managed to retain for centuries was the day of Sunday, which though supposedly a Christian ‘day of rest’, it indeed was for all, also a time for family. That was however then wiped-out forever by BIG business, aided and abetted it has to be said, by our scurrilous politicians and self-serving, expenses scandalous, MPs back some 25 years ago, when major retail shops were suddenly allowed to open and to trade on a Sunday – previously that had been illegal. Oh yes, workers rights were to be protected and they would earn loads of dosh if they volunteered to work, eh? Ah, that didn’t last long though, did it? No, the workers (even the existing ones) were forced into contracts of employment that ‘required’ them to work on a Sunday and do so for normal pay or very little more – consequently our previously fundamental family life has since been destroyed, just so that bloody shops can extend their control over our population’s lives.

If you want to see what life here in the UK ‘should’ be like, just pop over on Eurostar for a weekend in Brussels Belgium, You will see there, the streets full of families or people out and about visiting, and certainly not heading for the major chain store retail outlets in the city centre – you see, there are restrictions in Belgium on employment of personnel on a Sunday, as well as a requirement for a complete ‘day of rest’. Oh, what a total repeal of the UK’s Sunday Trading Act would do to help repair our community’s broken family system, eh?

Perhaps there are many useful lessons to be learnt by us modern well-educated Westerners from far off lands and ancient cultures, but surely one of them would have to be the one of ‘Yin Yang’ from a Chinese philosophy that it is believed to go back even centuries before the Roman empire or Christianity for that matter. It is so easy for us to disparage the efforts of those of those times who tried to make some sense of life on Earth when in those days so little was known about the Universe or science and much more. However, the truth is that they had more time and incentive for clear thinking than we have in our day and age when we are bamboozled with too many facts and constrained by political dogma and society norms on original thought.

That is why many of us believe that an integral part of a philosophy surviving from those ancient Chinese times called yin yang, is something to think about and take account of – yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. It represents an interesting alternative to our Western past, and in some parts still existing, male-controlled attitudes to human existence

An interconnected dark and light swirl symbol, often of equal black and white halves, in full contrast with each other, is used to depict the concept of yin yang, as it is a representation of the dual nature of all things, including life on this Earth. Importantly, the symbol balances between the two opposites of dark and light, but that also includes a little of each being present in the other.

This symbolic representation of yin yang is often interpreted solely as being ‘good and bad’, or ‘good and evil’, but this can be too simplistic as yin yang is more than that, because it encompasses all things that are different but are needed to make-up the whole – like say ‘man and woman’ or ‘male and female’ which together as a whole are essential independent elements of the natural world, aren’t they? You could consider as well, say ‘positive and negative’ which sometimes ‘could’ fit into a good and bad interpretation, but if we take account of electricity, these are the two essential parts that make-up the whole and neither is individually bad (but can be). Or ‘bright and dark’ which the World gives most of us every single day, where first one is dominant and then the other, and neither can be classified as solely good and bad, can it?

Oh yes, there are many different pairings that come to mind that demonstrate the duality of Yin Yang, such as fire and water, expansion and contraction, illness and health, life and death, up and down, hot and cold, front and back, awake and asleep, etc.

So, it is postulated that neither Yin nor Yang is static, as they change over time, and are in constant flux. Although Yin Yang humans can only fulfil their destiny by achieving successful integration with nature, do we actually do that, eh?

Or instead, do we for our own solely selfish human reasons, disgracefully abuse our beautiful planet, destroy the ozone layer to allow in harmful radiation from the Sun, create climate change that melts the ice caps which will flood our coastal land, pollute the oceans with indestructible plastic that decimates marine life, destroy the habitats of wildlife and kill-off numerous species or hunt them to extinction, fill the land with toxic or non-biodegradable waste that poisons the soil, rampantly overfish the sea to the point that important stocks are on the verge of collapse, overpopulate the earth to the extent that resources and the capacity of the land is exceeded, resulting in abject poverty and dire shortages of water and food, whence the number of chronically undernourished people has increased steadily for the last thirty bloody years, together with our excessive settlements and over-cultivation to the degree of soil exhaustion or land degradation that leaves large chunks of it simply unusable which now amounts to a THIRD of the total global land area. Moreover, those of us in the developed countries take a disgracefully unfair share of natural resources, together with a fifth consuming four-fifths of the world’s goods and twelve percent of the world’s population using EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT of its water – is that really what we in mankind should be all about, eh?

Perhaps we need to accept idea that the apparent opposites in all aspects of life are needed in order for harmony to exist – that means taking life as it comes and at an individual level agreeing to take the rough with the smooth, understanding that success doesn’t always come without failure, that happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin, that there are differences in peoples sexuality, that conflicts in religious belief have to be tolerated, and countless other things to boot

 

[Yin and Yang being a whole means that neither one can exist or can be complete without the other, and when one increases or decreases, the other one is affected in the opposite manner. That means that in life we humans have to be constantly tolerant of change and the good and bad as we see it in our lives – only then we can be content with our lot]

Arsenal ditched Arsène Wenger, and got a new manager – anywhere near ‘winning the Premier League’ now?

  

When over a number of years of a long-standing destructive campaign by a group of moronic so-called Gunners supporters’ campaign undermined the position of Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s iconic manager of 22 years, the gang finally got their wish and he was driven out last season by disgusting abusive chanting from the stands and the holding-up their anti-Wenger banners – all of which undermined and completely demoralised their team ON the field and destabilised everyone including the boardroom OFF it, didn’t it?

Now, those of us who are longstanding football fans, but not necessarily a committed supporter to a particular team, were dismayed that a manager who undoubtably had brought such respect, fame, awesome achievements, and financial stability to a major club in spite of it building a massive 60thousand capacity new stadium, could be abused in such a manner by a mob of cretins, who even managed to undermine the loyalty of the Gunners’ real supporters.

You see, the basis of the crusade to oust Wenger was that that despite other major successes, Arsenal hadn’t won the Premier League since 2004 and that a new manager would. Those of us thinking outsiders though believed otherwise, because clearly the Club was simply incapable of competing in the current Premiership marketplace for enough top players where the current massive moneybag outfits of Manchester Utd, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool have secured pride of place, eh?

Some of us were of the view that under a different manager, Arsenal would struggle to achieve what Wenger had done for many years and that included the ‘demoralised’ team’s outcomes of last season’s – league 6th place and qualification for Europe again, Europa League group stage again, winning 8 games to reached the semi-final of that Europa cup competition, the final of the UK EFL cup.

Arsenal’s new manager is Spaniard Unai Emery, ex-PSG [outed for failing to reach the semi-final of the Champions league (eliminated at the first knockout round)] despite massive spend (£500million?) and ex-Seville, who brought in five players to Arsenal last summer [costing over £70million] when he took over the squad and afterwards which he claimed was ‘complete’. Well, he is not a name that rebounds around the place even amongst Arsenal supporters and he is not now, nor likely to be in future, someone who is a beacon shinning bright for Arsenal football club, nor is he likely to be the man to help Arsenal return to competing among the Premier League’s elite, is he? [defeats already by big outfits Manchester City (h) Chelsea (a), Liverpool (a) and only draws at Liverpool (h), Manchester Utd (a)]

They say he is a bit of a football obsessive killjoy whom is not good at managing really top players, but that shouldn’t really matter at Arsenal, should it? No, HE WON’T HAVE MANY TOP PLAYERS THERE considering itsvery limited shoestring transfer budget, eh?

No, so Emery needs to rely on his coaching skills to gain success rather than the big-buys allowed at PSG, but how’s it been going for him so far this season, do you think?

Certainly, Arsenal’s better success under Emery doesn’t seem to be on the horizon, does it? Not when you look at things like the setback of their home game’s defensive system failure 2 weeks ago, when arch-rivals Tottenham, to reach the semi-finals, knocked them out of the EFL Cup– Spurs’ first away victory over Arsenal in eight years, indeed? It may well be that this Cup isn’t the highest priority of either side but nevertheless Emery shouted-off his mouth beforehand on the value of reaching a cup semi-final.

The proof in the pudding though has ultimately to be Arsenal’s competitive position in the title race since that after all was the bone of contention that the bully boys of the terraces used to oust Wenger with, wasn’t it? Well then, are Arsenal with new manager Emery on board now at last real challengers for the Premier League Title this year, eh? NOT according to the betting odds, which puts them streets behind Liverpool the current favourites, and nowhere near Manchester City who are second, nor even north London rivals Spurs, or for that matter Chelsea. Oh yes, they are level pegging with Man U who equally are a long way short as well – but that is a team that has had a torrid mis-firing season under out-of-touch sourpuss manager Jose Mourinho, who got fired a week before Christmas as a consequence [moreover, things are already looking up for them with 4 good convincing wins since then].

Last January when the anti-Wenger brigade were in full flow with their vitriol, Arsenal after 21 games under Wenger (so half-way through the season), were 5th in the Premiership and not in sight of the then leading team Manchester City. This January Arsenal after 21 games under new manager Emery, are 5th in the Premiership and not in sight of the current leading team Liverpool. IN ANY WAY OR FORM THAT DOESN’T REPRESENT A PROGRESSION TOWARDS A CHALLENGING ROLE FOR THE TITLE, does it?

Certainly not, so what have the loud-mouth louts got to say now about their great strategy of last year for outing Wenger to bring the title home to the Emirates when it just isn’t happening, eh? NOTHING? [weeks ago some fans were chanting ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back” is some kind of perverse joke, surely?]

It’s all a false dawn because the team needs to be in the top 3 to really be a genuine contender, doesn’t it? Without doubt, a top four finish would be an essential minimum start, as the Arsenal chiefs will certainly have warned Emery, as they are missing out on the tens of millions in rewards that it brings [Arsenal reached the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons out of 22 under Wenger]. That is increasingly likely to be impossible without investing in major new signings in the January transfer window, as while the team can certainly score goals, it leaks goals itself and only 8 teams have conceded more goals than them and while their goal difference is just 15 that compares to Liverpool’s massive 40 [the problem is that Arsenal’s defenders don’t do the job they are paid for and often abandon their posts to seek glory in the attacks].

 

[Arsenal would have been more likely to have been in the title mix this season as one of the contenders for the title if Frenchman Wenger had stayed in post, don’t you think?]

The Gorillas, Orangutans, Chimpanzees, Monkeys – lives of Primates that continue to be abused by mankind?

 Gorillas [Congo , Uganda, Rwanda] 

 Orangutans [Borneo, Sumatra Indonesia]  

Chimpanzees [central or equatorial Africa to the west, from southern Senegal across the forested belt north of the Congo River to western Uganda and western Tanzania 

Monkeys [the tropical rainforests of Africa, Central America, South America and Asia] 

Many of us will know well that Primates are the mammals in the World that are the closest biological relatives of us humans, and that is because we share almost the same DNA with them (98.4%) – they include the Great Apes of Gorillas, Orangutans, Chimpanzees, plus Monkeys, and the like [of course there are many species of primates]. We humans indeed are classified also in the sub-group of primates known as the Great Apes, though we have 23 pairs of chromosomes, while chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans have 24.

If we feel an affinity with such ‘wild’ animals it is because in many respects, as a species they are quite like us lot, both in characteristics and behaviours [particularly chimps]. They are highly intelligent, complex and sociable animals, which like us humans have hands with five fingers and flat fingernails (while most other animals have claws), possess full colour vision, and they also live in thriving established communities where essential bonds are formed through grooming, playing, fighting and foraging – so these primates are like us in their dislike of living solitary lives or being alone.

However, about 90% of primates live in tropical forests, where they play an integral role in the ecology of their habitat, as they help the forest by being pollinators, seed predators, and seed dispersers. So, basically those primates aren’t around us here in the affluent West, but their very existence elsewhere is nowadays threatened by us humans’ destruction of their forest home combined with exploitation by commercial hunting for food and medicine, plus commercial trade as pets.

The alarming rate of worldwide tropical forest destruction is estimated to be 200 acres PER MINUTE. Incredibly, over 40% of the 234-primate species are threatened with extinction, with 13 of these species now critically endangered – which means they will simply disappear within the next five years if greater efforts aren’t made to protect them.

Nevertheless, here in the UK we ourselves are not squeaky clean, nor guilty free of culpability in this impending catastrophe facing these creatures of a fellow species, are we? No, and that is self-evident on a number of fronts, isn’t it?

First, apart from the glaring fact that we ourselves are doing virtually NOTHING about it, there is the unacceptable incentive we are giving those producers of the termed “dirty palm oil” who are intent on destroying the lush, green rainforests (incorporating crucial precious habitats), some seven thousand miles away, in say Borneo and Indonesia, which consequently are progressively simply wiping out orangutans (the ‘red ape’) and which over the last fifty years are being killed as well as being forced from their home – 100,000 Bornean orangutans have been lost in the past 16 years alone, while three species [Bornean, Sumatran and the Tapanuli] are now on the critically endangered list. The reason basically started back in the 1960s when the Indonesian forests were logged for timber, but now it’s for palm oil.

[The Indonesian government is even boasting about a projected increase in palm oil production from 36.5m tonnes in 2017 to over 42m tonnes by 2020]

Not only does the World face losing forever a beautiful species, but the indigenous poor  peoples there, will lose their homes and livelihoods as well, and all down to the forces of greed and for the benefit of the undeserving.

Oh yes, and it’s not just orangutans [meaning “man of the forest”] that are threatened. More than seventy percent of Sumatran elephant habitat has been destroyed within one generation, and there are fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the wild. People are part of this conflict too with land grabbing and exploitation of workers, including the endemic use of child labour. Decades of deforestation for palm oil have created conditions ideal for furious forest and peatland fires, when these, habitually deliberately started fires by companies clearing the land, threaten the health of people across southeast Asia and drive climate change

Is this really the kind of selfish society we British support or have become ourselves and does that represent the real personal values we now hold deep in our society?

You see palm oil, in addition to its common use as a frying oil, has over the last half decade become the world’s most versatile raw material, and you will see it listed as an ingredient in at least half of the products on supermarket shelves, including food and non-food items, and it is widely used a vast range of other products, but there is no law requiring it to be shown for products such as soap, shampoo and other cosmetics [the global demand for palm oil has increased six-fold in under thirty years].

Many here in the UK have been surprised and shocked that a 90 second animated TV Christmas commercial by the Iceland supermarket which highlighted the current dire plight of orangutans, resulting from palm oil production having devastating impacts on wildlife and tropical forests, had that banned here by the authorities as being ‘too political’ – well nevertheless the bleeding message DID get across with a vengeance, as the ad went viral and over a million people signed a petition to overturn the ban [In response to the palm oil industry’s catastrophic failure to halt deforestation and deal with the problem the commercial ends with: “Dedicated to the 25 orangutans we lose every day”]

While possible millions of people worldwide have told the big brands to drop their ‘dirty palm oil’, these money-grabbing multinationals’ promises [brands like Unilever, Mondelez, Nestlé Pepsico, Mars] to do so have proved deceitfully false. The answer is for all us caring and ‘responsible’ consumers to reject their products and even though it may seem extreme, to TRY to avoid buying ANYTHING that lists palm-oil as an ingredient, eh?

In Britain, surely we should NOT fail to feel some sense of responsibility for the desperate situation faced by Indonesia’s orangutans, who are extraordinary creatures and one of our closest relatives, and who’s obliteration is being orchestrated purely by the obsessive desire of profits to be extracted by the elite from cheaper palm oil?

The similarity of orangutans to us is astonishing, as they are among the most intelligent ‘non-human’ primates who certainly have the human ability to figure out things, and they are inquisitive, smile, show empathy, and like us even laugh when tickled.

Interestingly, a study a decade ago found that humans share at least 28 unique ‘physical’ characteristics with orangutans, that included thickly enamelled molar teeth with flat surfaces, greater asymmetries between the left and right side of the brain, an increased cartilage-to-bone ratio in the forearm, and similarly shaped shoulder blades, a hole in the roof of the mouth that was supposedly unique to humans is also present in orangutans. Humans and orangutans have the widest-separated mammary glands, and they grow the longest hair and they actually have a hairline, in contrast to virtually all primates where the hair comes down to the top of the eyes. The claim is that they are the closest living relatives to humans! Will such findings aid efforts to protect the species from extinction at a time when only an estimated 100,000 Bornean and 7,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild [that reduction crisis simply because their numbers have been decimated as a result of deforestation]?

Another area of our Country’s culpability in its disgraceful abject failure to prevent abuse of primates in captivity, and that comes with a specific focus on ending the primate pet trade in the UK. We urgently need to implement changes in the law to put a stop to current practices that allow intelligent, socially complex wild animals to be kept captive or as pets, when they are inherently unsuitable for keeping in a domestic setting. They are currently afforded very little protection under UK law and what protection does exist is often flouted or ignored, which seriously compromises the welfare of individual primates.

The existence of a legal trade in primates in places like the UK has a directly and extremely negative impact on wild populations of primates, through their capture for sale to people from here as pets, while even critically endangered species [such as for example cotton-top tamarins] continue to be traded as pets without regulation in the UK]

Because there is either no or very little controls of the primate pet trade, nobody actually knows how many primates are held captive today in the UK, but shockingly there are probably at least 5,000 of them now kept by private individuals. Undoubtably, this is a situation where there is a tragic lack of adequate species knowledge, veterinary care, social opportunity, space, which coupled with debilitating poor diet leads to mental, physical and emotional suffering for such pet primates, as is witnessed by those organisations who rescue some of them [more than eighty percent of all rescued primates residing at one UK Sanctuary were either improperly licensed or not licensed at all as pets – that simply highlights the utter lack of government control over this disgusting trade, doesn’t it?].

Oh yes, when it comes to primates, we only pay lip-service to our Country’s stated obligations to the 5 Freedoms that all animals in captivity should have – that is Freedom from hunger and thirst coupled with a good diet of nutritious and beneficial foods, Freedom from discomfort meaning being kept in a comfortable environment, Freedom from pain, injury or disease and having access to high quality veterinary care at short notice, Freedom to express normal behaviour so animals are given the space and freedom to interact as they would in the wild, with other animals of their own kind to live with, and enrichments to maintain wild behaviour, Freedom from fear and distress and ensuring positive conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

WELL YOU BLOODY WELL DON’T GET ANY OF THAT WHEN A PRIMATE IS CAGED-UP IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AS A ‘TROPHY’ PET BY AN INEXPERIENCED AND UNKNOWLEDGEABLE INDIVIDUAL, do you eh?

[The ‘Five Freedoms’ were developed in response to a 1965 UK Government report on livestock husbandry, and were formalised in 1979 press statement by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council and have been adopted by professional groups including veterinarians, and organizations including the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals]

In the rain forests it is the monkeys that are often a hunter’s main target, because they are the largest daytime mammal that is easy to detect and shoot. Females with infants are the preferred quarry, and their loss hastens population decline. Mothers are killed and babies are abducted for sale to the pet trade or use in tourism photoshoots, when these animals are regularly abused, teeth extracted, beaten and cowed, or drugged.

Marmosets   Capuchin  Squirrel Monkey 

The most popular primates that are kept and traded as pets are Marmosets, followed by Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys, yet all of them being highly intelligent, complex and sociable wild animals, they just cannot adapt to being kept as pets. It is impossible to meet their needs in a household environment, particularly as a primate cannot engage with its natural instincts as a pet and whatever an owner may intend, their welfare needs cannot be met.

[A Dangerous Wild Animal licence is required for selected primates like Capuchins but the licence is non-species specific and is issued by officials who have little or no understanding of primates, while neither Marmosets nor Squirrel monkeys require any kind of licencing).

Despite the fact that no primate should be kept alone, the RSPCA has found that in 60% of the cases they have investigated, the primate is being kept alone and in isolation. The lack of vitamin D from natural sunlight and the right diet can result in skeletal diseases and there is a risk of certain diseases spreading between owner, other house pets and primates

 

[Britain needs to end the trade & keeping of primates as pets and the UK government must ban it NOW, and follow the example of some 15 countries in the EU that have already introduced a ban on all or at least most primates being kept as pets].

 

When ‘Groundhog Day’ arrived in Britain – for BREXIT?

   equals in falsehood

The British public are sick and tired of it, but we need here to turn to the dreaded topic of BREXIT, once again.

Now many of us in the UK will know of Groundhog Day as being a comedy and a fantasy where people are trapped in a time loop where the same day is repeated endlessly, but we never expected it to become a reality in our lives, did we?

No, but it certainly has become both a comedy (though it isn’t funny), and a fantasy (you couldn’t have made-up if you’d tried), and all because of the nightmare chaos created by the Conservative’s crass handling of BREXIT, which has been forced into our brains every single day since early February 2016, eh?

That was when David Cameron returned from Brussels to claim victory, to proclaim to the nation that he had persuaded the EU that it had to change, so had secured ‘a deal’ with the EU, which obtained for the country a “special status” in the 28-nation bloc – whence he started a dastardly campaign to keep Britain in that vile institution.

It didn’t take long though for the British public to suss-out the lies that were being uttered from that guy’s lips because we all knew full well that it wasn’t anything like the ‘deal’ that he had committed in the Tory manifesto and he had promised to the voters – which he certainly didn’t get, did he? No, not in the slightest

WHAT HE REALLY GOT?

On the issue of Sovereignty – while Britain was said to be now going to be exempt, with an unequivocal opt-out, from that EU treaty reference to ‘ever-closer union’, plus him obtaining the prospect of the EU’s ‘possible’ inclusion of a “red-card” mechanism for members to be able to block or veto a commission proposal [but in reality ‘unworkable’], but the so-called deal did not come even close to winning the UK back control of its own affairs [and even afterwards Cameron failed to come up with the further measures which he claimed would put the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament beyond doubt, didn’t he?]. Furthermore, other key issues had been dropped [like the promised repatriation of EU social and employment law, or changes to the working-hours directive]

Then, on the matter of Migrants and welfare benefits – Cameron basically caved into the EU opposition and the deal was ‘slap in the face for Britain’ as the PM admitted it would NOT cut migration, when even his ‘deemed essential’ four-year emergency brake on ‘In-work benefits’ was watered down, with new arrivals actually GETTING tax credits phased in over four years, while the so-called brake was to be in place for a maximum of 7 years, instead of 13 years he had required. Britain’s original demand to ban migrant workers from sending child benefit money back home was simply rebutted, although the payments would be linked to the cost of living in the countries where the children live but delayed for existing claimants until 4 years after the referendum.

On the issue of Economic governance or safeguarding interests of countries outside the eurozone – while Cameron got his explicit recognition that the EU has ‘more than one currency’ that did NOT go as far mandating multiple currencies, and while any single non-eurozone country would be able to force a debate among EU leaders about any ‘problem’ eurozone laws they would NOT have a veto, so that concession was meaningless. Also, French resistance on financial regulation resulted in the EU deeming that Britain would NOT win any exceptions to the rules of the EU particularly in relation to regulation in the City

Regarding Competitiveness – Britain’s desires weren’t in the least controversial, so the EU made promises about targeting to cut red tape [as they have done before and haven’t, so pie in the sky, eh?]

 

Nevertheless, Cameron got his Cabinet lackies (mostly Remainers of course) to endorse the deal [though half a dozen subsequently actually joined BREXIT] and so henceforth it would campaign for the UK to stay in the EU – loyally sticking to that naturally included ‘ambitious intent survivor’ and Remainer Theresa May, who subsequently achieve her well signalled greatest ambition in life of being Prime Minister of the UK, but by blatantly lying and as a vicar’s daughter claiming to having had a Saul-like Damascus road version conversion into a BEXITEER, no less?

More recently then, we come to the Conservative’s end-game chaotic crass handling of the BREXIT final (?) negotiations being rammed-down out throats every single day since mid-November 2018, eh?

That was when Theresa May returned from Brussels to claim victory, proclaim to the nation that after nearly two years of tortuous negotiation she had secured ‘a deal’ with the EU, and obtained a draft BREXIT withdrawal agreement to takes us significantly closer to delivering what the British people voted for in the referendum – whence she started a dastardly campaign to keep Britain in that vile institution as good as damn it.

It didn’t take long though for the British public to suss-out the lies that were being uttered from that woman lips because we all knew full well that it wasn’t anything like the ‘BREXIT’ that she had committed in the Tory manifesto and had promised to the voters – which she certainly didn’t get, did she? No, not in the slightest and some ninety percent of us think that

OH YES, GROUNDHOG DAY HAD ARRIVED IN GREAT BRITAIN, hadn’t it?

WHAT SHE NEVER GOT?

Any deal AT ALL – despite what she claims, because in reality the 2 years of negotiation was about getting a TRADE DEAL, wasn’t it? Yes, and the UK are NO NEARER getting one than we were at the outset and to all intents and purposes we are actually further away because May’s negotiating skills have been so crass that the EU see Britain as a pushover with no power or control over events [not least since the damned Remainers here (including our Chancellor Hammond) have spent 2 years undermining our negotiating position to try and stay in the bloody EU, eh?

Her so called ‘DEAL’ is in fact just a ‘legally-binding’ irreversible TREATY that, at enormous expense, KEEPS the UK in the EU for ANOTHER 2 years [so double the time we voted for in the Referendum!], BUT without ANY representation nor a say about the rules, laws or anything else governing us, when Britain has lost its VETO into the bargain. All that coupled-with the potential of a forced break-up of the Union, to gain a totally UNRELIABLE EU promise to agree a trade deal in the next 2 years [fat chance, don’t you think?]

You might well ask “how did the world’s 5th largest economy end-up negotiating such a crock of shit, eh? Well, look no further than May handing-over Britain’s exit planning and negotiations to an unelected CIVIL SERVANT [whose organisation desperately wants to control our politicians and believes that the people can be trusted so is determined to scupper BREXIT], who personally is in favour of a FEDERAL European union [i.e. a single federal state with a central government], no less?

WHAT SHE REALLY GOT?

Payments to EUMay promised to end “vast annual payments”, but in fact will pay the EU more than £50bn by the time the transition period expires on December 31 2020. [even more will be paid if we stay longer – and we LOSE our rebate to boot (£15billion/year)]

Customs and trade – May promised no customs union but instead wanted a customs “partnership” allowing UK-EU frictionless as possible trade, but she delivered instead a Single Customs Territory, which shares an external tariff, so does NOT allow the UK to set its own tariffs on goods [setting tariff rates is a key leverage in trade negotiations]. Applying a common external tariff is a key difference between a customs union and a free trade area. Sharing this tariff leaves the UK closely integrated in terms of trade policy with the EU and significantly limits its ability to have an independent trade policy. Furthermore, the UK has committed to EU cooperation on the World Trade Organisation, which is likely to have significant consequences for UK- US trade. The UK will not be able to benefit from EU trade deals with a third country and will be able to independently negotiate only AFTER the EU has already signed deals with them. IN SHORT THEN – A BLOODY DISASTER ON TRADE, eh?

Irish border – May promised an open border, with no new customs infrastructure on the 310-mile land border and no trade barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, but she got a “backstop” clause which would see Northern Ireland remain in a Customs Union, but additionally applying the full EU customs code and the EU SINGLE MARKET rules for goods, while Great Britain will remain in the same all-UK Customs Union, but it will not follow single market rules, which will create frictions between ‘Dover and Calais’. [This ‘backstop’ will effectively REMOVE NI from the the UK union and will legally remain in place ‘in perpetuity’ unless there is a trade deal – would YOU trust the EU’s “best endeavours” to reach such a deal, eh?]

EU law and the role of the ECJ – May promised to END the European Court of Justice’s rule in the UK, with laws  in future drawn up in courts across this country and NOT in Luxembourg [as “we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws]”, but she didn’t deliver that, did she? No, the UK and EU built an unprecedented legal model, whereby neither the UK’s Supreme Court nor the European Court of Justice has the final say in legal disputes over the interpretation of the withdrawal agreement, but this is achieved via an independent arbitration panel, while disputes involving matters of EU law MUST be referred to the ECJ, and in certain cases the UK MUST take “due regard” of ECJ case law. SO MUCH FOR DITCHING THE ECJ THEN, eh?

Transition – May promised a transition period of approximately two years to allow a smooth exit from the EU, but she got a transition period due to end in December 2020 during which it REMAINS part of the EU’s SINGLE MARKET and CUSTOMS UNION, so the UK MUST follow EU rules such as free movement, send payments to Brussels, must also accept new EU rules without having a say in them [Britain will no longer attend meetings at the European Council and will lose its 73 MEPs in the European parliament]. This will render the country a “vassal state” that is effectively under EU rule for as long as the transition period lasts.

Citizens’ rights – May promised an end to free movement and give  legal guarantees on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK as well as British citizens on the continent, but she agreed that the 3m or so EU nationals living in Britain WILL be allowed to claim “settled status” residence in the UK, retaining almost ALL the rights they had before Brexit [they just have to register with the Home Office]. Furthermore, EU nationals arriving in the UK right up until the END of the transition period will be able to claim ‘settled status’ if they reside for a further five years, locking in Free Movement rights until the end of 2020, and longer if transition is extended. EU nationals will RETAIN almost all family reunion rights, though their right to bring foreign spouses to the UK will match those of the UK nationals, and in certain circumstances they will be able to claim benefits for children living abroad. EU nationals will keep their ‘settled status’ for up to five years, even if they move away from the UK. [The UK has agreed a special governance mechanism for this deal which will require UK cases to be referred to the ECJ for eight years after the end of the UK’s transition].

Competition – May promised that regulatory standards would remain as high as those set by the EU, but instead she delivered a legal commitment to actually APPLY EU regulatory standards in the UK. [these are wide ranging and includes tax, state aid rules on industries government backing, and environmental standards].

Fishing – May promised that Britain will become an independent coastal state after Brexit and will regain control over our domestic fisheries management rules and access to our waters, but nevertheless Britain will actually REMAIN in the Common Fisheries Policy during the transition period, with the EU setting and enforcing quota limits on fish ON WHICH THE UK WILL HAVE NO SAY [the EU can exploit the transition period to impose yet more punitive rules and quota limits on the UK fishing industry]. The Withdrawal Agreement determines that fishing rights will be NEGOTIATED as part of a separate agreement to be concluded by July 2020. Moreover, France has announced that it will veto any proposed future trade agreement unless they are allowed to continue forever to steal British fish.

In addition, in another day of national shame and betrayal, May had caved-in once again to get her disastrous ‘deal’ sanctioned in Brussels, so has disgracefully abandoned this Country’s obligations to Gibraltar and has cast its people aside. After the UK leaves the EU, Gibraltar will NOT be included in the territorial scope of the agreements to be concluded – this has left the status of Gibraltar in dire jeopardy with Spain’s leader now again demanding talks on joint sovereignty

Every so-called ‘break-through’ in the EU BREXIT negotiations were in fact not even a compromise, but just another capitulation by the British Prime Minister, and ones that got the UK nowhere fast.

A senior Brussels negotiator has said the proposed agreement (deal) will mean the UK aligns its rules with Europe, while the EU will retain all the controls, eh?

In speeches delivered over the past two years Theresa May has repeatedly vowed to take back control of our borders, our laws and our money, leave the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy, whilst protecting jobs, security and the integrity of our United Kingdom, yet she has failed to deliver ANYTHING resembling that. Instead she is running down the clock before the leave deadline of 29 March 2019, just 96 days away, in a hopefully vain attempt to get MPs [it has to be said, mostly Remainers intent on defying the will of the electorate, subvert BREXIT, and stay in the EU] to accept in exasperation her unacceptable naïve and crap Brexit plan with her withdrawal agreement, which is NOT in the British national interest (as she claims), but would indeed set the UK up for failure by surrendering “our voice, our vote and our veto” (Sam Gyimah MP).

 

[The only way that BREXIT can work is just to just bloody well to walk away from the disastrous  European Union – it may be termed ‘no-deal’ by those extreme Remainers, but in reality, it has ALWAYS been the ‘real-deal’, because any deal we strike with Brussels will be ‘EU first’]

 

Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’ rewritten – now is it BREXIT’S ‘The Complicit Five’?

Well, well, well, Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) with their dog Timmy have transformed into Michael, Chris, Andrea, and Penny with their lapdog Liam.

You see, the original stories took place in the children’s holidays from their respective boarding schools when they get caught up in an exciting adventure, often involving criminals or lost treasure.

While now the derivative stories take place in the adult’s continuance from their respective universities when they get trapped-up in a debilitating nightmare, often involving villains or lost opportunity.

The Complicit Five- that is of course Gove, Grayling, Leadsom and Mordaunt with Fox – have proved themselves unworthy of the high office that they all hold. After all, these men and women are all members of the UK Cabinet serving under PM Theresa May who indeed appointed them to their esteemed posts. However, they are at fundamental odds with the Prime Minister’s BREXIT planned deal for the UK to leave the EU, so they make an utter dog’s dinner of the Country’s Cabinet government by remaining in their predominately undeserved high profile highly paid jobs while publicly slagging off its EU draft Withdrawal agreement.

The reason that they don’t accept what is now on the table is pretty simply though – it is a crock of shit and everyone knows that who isn’t either a civil servant or Theresa May. The moot point is why are these five, who were big players campaigning in the Leave side of the Referendum that convinced the electorate to choose BREXIT are still being driven about in their posh ministerial cars instead of resigning and forcing May to abandon her illusional attempt to leave the EU, do you think? It is certainly not to do their duty to their Country is it, so one must assume that it is simply one of self-preservation, eh?

In July, these five were ambushed just like the rest of the Cabinet by May and her captor civil servants at Chequers, when her new secret, divisive, crazy, plan was sprung on them like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. Apparently, the Cabinet in their state of shock were coercing into agreeing it by threats of immediate sacking and walking home if showing descent.

The upstaged BREXIT secretary David Davis who had been leading the negotiations with the EU [but constantly having the rug pulled from under his feet by May] and indeed only the day before had been in the process of writing the official plan, promptly resigned not long afterwards as ‘the “common rule book” policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.’

That was following by the resignation of Foreign secretary Boris Johnson who had spearheaded the Leave campaign plus another minister, party officials, and ministerial aids, and who could not accept a watered-down Brexit [Guto Bebb (Defence), Ben Bradley (Party vice-chairman), Maria Caulfield (Party vice-chairwoman), Scott Mann (Treasury PPS), Robert Courts (Foreign Office PPS), Andrea Jenkyns (Housing PPS) Chris Green (Transport PPS)]

So why did the Five hang-on in there then, instead of resigning, handing back their chauffeured cars, lackies & privileges, and so kill-off the plan and force May to back-down at that initial stage? Doubtless their excuse is that they stayed to fight within the Cabinet to get the plan changed? Well if that was so, they have fully displayed their unimpressive abilities and failed miserably, haven’t they? Yep, because not only did May’s outrageous plan remain totally unchanged but she and the plan’s architect Olly Robbins continued to give-in to the EU bullies in Brussels making even further concessions that has resulted in an appalling deal with a truly scary withdrawal agreement, which is just the PROCESS of leaving, with a NI backstop that threatens the future integrity of the United Kingdom and is one that makes a mockery of the very concept of democracy in this Country, doesn’t it?

[Britain’s fate has been delegated to Robbins, a mere senior civil servant, May’s direct report and her personally appointed ‘European Advisor’ (he is a committed European, determined not to upset the EU, who was indeed chair of the Oxford university ‘Reform Club’ to promote a federal EU, no less)]

Just as it was done at Chequers, there was underhand trickery and slight-of-hand to blindside the Cabinet, together with the BREXIT department, and of course parliament itself, who were all kept completely in the dark about what in reality was being given away in the Brussels negotiations that resulted in the final draft of the withdrawal agreement being released last Wednesday – the only ones in the know were the small group of puppeteers operating May and she herself.

The list of resignations from government about May’s BREXIT deal inevitably lengthened significantly in the past week with those who cannot support her latest agreement that does not deliver a good and fair Brexit, with Cabinet members Dominic Raab (BREXIT secretary) and Esther McVey (Work & Pensions), and ministers Suella Braverman (Brexit), Shailesh Vara, (Northern Ireland), Jo Johnson (Transport), Steve Baker (Under-Secretary BREXIT), and others Ranil Jayawardena (PPS Justice), Nikki da Costa (Downing Street director of legislative affairs), Anne-Marie Trevelyan (PPS Defence), Rehman Chisti (Party vice-chairman and prime ministerial trade envoy to Pakistan)

[In 2 years May has lost more ministers than any PM since the 1980s

Yet nevertheless, the Five hung-on in there, but announced that they as a team would jointly face-down May and demand last minute changes to the draft agreement because ‘the UK must not be trapped in a customs union’ – this required from May as the price for them not resigning, eh? Well, the Five’s rebellion has simply fizzled-out despite the fact that there is no majority in Parliament for the proposed deal.

The EU responded saying that what was on the table could NOT be changed – apparently set in stone, you see? Who has EVER heard of a DRAFT agreement that couldn’t be changed, eh? Well, May has also claimed it cannot be now amended and moreover she has said that it is ‘her deal or nothing’ – meaning that she countenances dropping BREXIT altogether and that is in blatant breach of the instructions of the electorate AND of her election manifesto mandate itself to leave the EU. Her other weapon of fear she is threatening her Tory MPs with is that if they reject her proposal that will let-in a Labour government.

Does May really think that making such threats instead of trying to prove her half-baked dishonest deal has any merit, is fooling anyone into thinking that she has concluded a decent or acceptable outcome for BREXIT, eh?

By their capitulation, that has included staying and clinging-on like grime death to their day jobs (obtained by false pretences), the Five supposed BREXITEERS have shown-up themselves as having zero integrity or principles when they are seen to continue to support a legal agreement in direct conflict with their publicly announced views on Britain leaving the EU. They are a spineless set of charlatans who have cowardly shirked confrontation and have ended-up without credibility and reputations in the gutter.

Oh yes, May may have satisfied the governing elite and the big business interests but that looks increasingly likely to be at the cost of Tory power, as the abject failure of the May Government to take-on the EU in the BREXIT negotiations in any meaningful manner and abandoning our sovereignty in the process, will NEVER be forgot by the electorate, will it? Moreover, she has not only ditched her commitment to the Country [remember “BREXIT means BREXIT” and “No Deal is better than a bad Deal”, do you?], but she definitely has ‘lost the plot’ by reneging on her commitment to the DUP to keep NI solely within UK rules and without any divergence between mainland and them and not to sacrificed NI to the EU.

You see the DUP are power players who the Government are critically ‘dependent-on’ to hold a majority in the Commons via a formal Confidence & Supply arrangement (covering the Queens speech, the Budget & finance bills, and on all motions of confidence). The DUP have already shown their teeth by failing to vote WITH the Government on finance bill amendments last week (they abstained) – the DUP voting AGAINST the Government won’t bring it down now there is a fixed-term parliament but it would mean that the Conservatives will not be able to run a working majority so cannot be sure of getting legislation through and that’s unsustainable. May’s continuing pursuit of a Brexit strategy that doesn’t satisfies the DUP’s red line on the union [a red line NOT to be obliterated], is an indication that she’s got a screw loose, surely?

In 2 years, NO progress whatsoever has been made in securing a trade deal OF ANY KIND with the EU despite May agreeing to give them £40billion of our taxpayers’ money, not demanding a share of joint EU assets, and giving-in at every stage. What hope then do we have of securing a ‘FREE’ TRADE DEAL in the next 2 years within a transition stage when we are controlled by the EU but have no representation at all, do you thing?

Brandon Lewis, Tory chairman has assured the Chairs of its constituencies Associations that there is a legal commitment for the EU to do so – he is a lying git of a lawyer, as the withdrawal agreement only commits to do that with the EUs “best endeavours” [worthless in a court of law when it doesn’t happen].

There is a suspicion in many quarters that the deal on he table has been made so abysmal and unacceptable by the EU that the establishment invested interests here will be able to secure a 2nd Referendum when all us Leavers will agree that Britain might as well stay IN the bloody EU – there is more than a grain of truth in that, isn’t there? Then of course is the other plan to extend Article 50 to delay the UKs departure from the EU and have no doubt will you that the intention will be not to reset the timer but to stop the clock completely, eh?

The only way out of this quagmire that May has diligently created is to ditch her forthwith and the Tory MPs need to do that and quickly too. If they wait until her BREXIT plans are trashed by parliament, they will face a dissolution of parliament with a consequential General Election – and the people will vent their anger about the May government incompetence as a consequence, don’t you think?

The elite think that they are secure and can ride roughshod over those below them because Brits unlike the French and others in Europe, are not prone to rebellion. History shows though that they are once again mistaken because when pushed too far, the disadvantaged and the commoners act  and that is exactly why this Country has secured a democracy that May has put under threat.

Moreover, the rule has always been that a government cannot do something that binds the hands of the subsequent or a future government and that is ‘precisely’ what the current BREXIT proposals enact – a situation whereby Britain cannot in perpetuity leave the control and constraints of the EU and that is why our MPs have to do their duty to protect this Country – or suffer the consequences.

 

[‘Theresa May’ is a bad pathetic PM who has betrayed the British voters and intends that without a fight our proud nation is with tail between the legs to shamefully slink out of the EU in name only, by generating a monstrosity of an agreement that is only the start of our humiliation as the future relationship issue which was supposed to have been completed by now hasn’t even been addressed yet]

The Prime Minister used to be the most powerful person in the UK Parliament–is it now the Speaker?

pmqs2

A chaotic, mayhem, bedlam and more, of pandemonium has been going–on in Parliament about the suitability of the current Speaker of its House of Commons no less, one John Bercow.

Now you see, there has been the credible exposure of Bercow himself as an ‘accused’ long-term serial bully in an oppressive environment where a sizeable but minor proportion of MPs consistently behave badly, expect utter deferential, and appear to be minded that they are gods ‘above the law’ [as we already know from the 2009 scandal over their expenses], and that includes deeds in their dealings with parliamentary staff, when they think they can behave with impunity as overlords by ill-treating its employed individuals – particularly those are “the clerks” [expected to be “thick-skinned” officials having a “stiff upper lip” where there is an inequality in their roles, so easy prey for MPs], who play a vital behind the scenes role, but can get shouting at by out-of-control disgruntled MPs without being protected at all [would that be acceptable in any normal place of work, do you think?].

MPs unbelievably simply turn a blind eye to the dishonourable behaviour by others, so the existing system where MPs can be judge and jury about their own conduct means no punishment is dished-out, and that injustice just gets perpetuated.

Reportedly, there has been a culture of bullying and harassment in Parliament for decades and is one that persists until this day, so it seems therefore highly ‘unlikely’ that Speaker Bercow, as himself a suspect and the person basically running the place as well as setting standards, will take effective steps to finally put a stop to it, doesn’t it? Well, that is certainly what many MPs, staff working in the Westminster bubble, and those in the know outside think anyway, isn’t it?

One clerk, highly regarded by senior officials, was promotion to run a committee but was bullied by the chairman to such an extent that colleagues chaperoned her to events so she was never left alone with him and in the end she had to step-away for her own health.

Now, it has to be said that the previous Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, was also a short-tempered git who let-off steam and used his position to bully and intimidate others, so the issue with the current one isn’t ‘just’ a new problem is it? No, and it appears that the bullying issue at our parliament includes not only senior ministers but goes up the chain to those people at the very top of management. That issue itself has been also accompanied by a level of (mainly unreported) sexual harassment, with the younger women in particular at risk, to boot?

Examples unrecovered included a 20 year-old who reported being sexually assaulted and forcibly kissed by an MP in his office but nothing was done. Others reported being pushed against walls, forcibly kissed, groped and slapped by MPs – only to be advised to ‘dress differently’!

Another woman reported “My career at the House of Commons didn’t end when I was sexually harassed. My career ended when I complained”. She left when all she had wanted was to do her job without being humiliated.

A writer accused a first secretary of state of inappropriate behaviour in hinting he could advance her career in exchange for an affair – he denied it but resigned not necessarily for that and more likely because he was caught-out lying about pornography being found on his parliamentary computer, eh?

Other Commons workers aren’t safe either – a journalist claimed a former defence secretary lunged at her and attempted to kiss her on the lips.

Now, just why the staff put-up with bullying, mistreatment, and sexual assault is easy to guess, isn’t it? Yep, parliamentary staff members are ‘not only’ easily replaced but they have the cards stacked against them if they deign to pursue complaints against any MP, don’t they?

Oh yes, we all may think that bad practices by bosses in the workplace have long since been banished because offenders get severe warnings or instant dismissal, but apparently we would be wrong when it comes to the House of Commons, where the overwhelming evidence is that they are still tolerated.

A victim clerk there who protests just gets further bullying and if formally reporting any abuse, is sent on a course on dealing with “difficult” people, or simply gets punished [moved], or forced to leave (tarred with the bush as being sensitive or a troublemaker), while the abuser remains at large with impunity [or at worst told to write a private (not public) letter of apology to the victim] – how the hell can that be an acceptable outcome, eh? The serial abusers are men of course and predictably almost all but a few of the victims are women.

A recent matter implicates the House of Lords as well in the manner sexual harassment is dealt with in parliament. Peer Lord Lester was accused of groping a woman and offering her a peerage in return for sleeping with him [he said the claims were untrue – he would say that, wouldn’t he?] but he was indeed found to have failed to act on his personal honour by sexually harassing the complainant and offering her corrupt inducements to sleep with him – he should have faced immediate suspension from the House of Lords, but instead his fellow peers voted for the case simply to be looked at again [didn’t want to damage his reputation and sod the poor woman’s reputation, eh?.

Following an expose by BBC’s Newsnight programme last March, former High Court Judge and QC, Dame Laura Cox, has on behalf of the House of Commons commission has conducted an independent inquiry into this whole situation of alleged bullying, harassment and sexual harassment in parliament and has delivered explosive conclusions that fully exposed the truth of the allegations that have been rife of that place’s macho and toxic culture with unchecked bullying enacted on gendered grounds

[she concluded in part “….there is an expectation of loyalty to the institution they serve. But that sense of loyalty has been tested to breaking point by a culture, cascading from the top down, of deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence, in which bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive and have long been tolerated and concealed.”]

She has determined that basically the existing procedures for protecting staff are a crock of shxx and should be flushed down the toilet forthwith and that from the top down dramatic change to the practice and culture within the Commons should be forced on the House.

Very significantly she has recommended that so-called ‘historic’ complaints of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment which previously had been blocked should also be open to investigation – now allowing the likes of Bercow, who has previously escaped censure, to be properly questioned. Also she required the appointment of independent authorities with due powers to impose sanctions on MPs in cases of misconduct, as currently MPs alone are the sole arbiters and unaccountable powerful judge and jury over their own conduct, indeed?

Some dozens of current and ex-parliamentary staff who have reported bullying and harassment at Westminster have waived their right to anonymity and together with a number of MPs and journalists have sign an unprecedented open letter calling for urgent change through the immediate implementation of Dame Cox’s proposals.

Turning to Bercow then, for example his former private secretary [very senior role] was forced to leave it after less than a year having suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, reportedly because of his bullying behaviour which included shouting at her a lot [he repeatedly denies all obviously]. Oh yes, she was punished of course and not him, which that meant her being moved by the House authorities to a specially modified role that avoided Bercow completely. Another Bercow’s former private secretary reported that he was sworn at and mimicked by this Speaker. Furthermore, Bercow is reputed to have shown temper tantrums to clerks and they definitely don’t want to work for him nor aspire to be his private secretary.

Bercow is all powerful in the Commons chair because he and he alone decides which party and who is allowed a voice, so MPs of all persuasions and at all levels are wary of crossing him, aren’t they?

A formal complaint against Bercow, accusing him of intimidation and bullying of [the Leader of the House (so a senior minister)] when he branded her actions “f****** outrageous”, and calling her a stupid woman and a liar [allegations not denied and he admitted using the word “stupid”].

The senior official, who served as Black Rod in Parliament until last year, says Bercow created a climate of intimidation and fear among MPs and officials and could be intimidating, unreasonable, and disproportionate. On one occasion the “red mist” descended on the Speaker and he banged the table and yelled and was highly personally insulting calling Black Rod an anti-Semite.

Instead of standing aside, Bercow even has had the gall to retain the chair when the Chamber has had debates about bullying problems – well until last month at least when he recused himself the Independent Complaints and Grievance Process was debated [not many MPs turned up – not the place to be seen when Mr Speaker is spying-in, eh?].

 

[Commons Speaker, John Bercow, should not ‘consider’ standing down as some have suggested, he bloody-well SHOULD stand down as many have demanded, or better still be ‘SACKED’ – that would certainly send a message, wouldn’t it?].

BREXIT army defeat and Britain’s failed evacuation from Europe

        

“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” ― Winston S. Churchill 4 June 1940

 

“Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Commissioners and all the odious apparatus of European rule, we shall not rally or deliver. We shall go on to the bottom. We shall harmonise in Strasbourg, we shall surrender on the fisheries and seaway trade, we shall submit with growing cowardice and growing weakness in the air lanes, we shall endanger our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall surrender on the ports, we shall surrender on the airport grounds, we shall surrender in the agriculture fields and in the city streets, we shall surrender in the hills; we shall never fight.” ― Theresa M. May 14 November 2018?

 

[The ‘Out of the Jaws of Death’ evacuation of Dunkirk 78 years ago is the best-known example of British heroic success. The ‘Into the Jaws of Servitude’ capitulation to the EU this year will go down as the most shameful act of British cowardice in history]