The march of the neoliberals By Stuart Hall

12 September 2011 — The Guardian

We are living through an extraordinary political situation: the end of the debt-fuelled boom, the banking crisis of 2007-10, the defeat of New Labour and the rise to power of a Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition. What sort of crisis is this? Is it a serious wobble in the trickle-down, win-win, end-of-boom-and-bust economic model that has dominated global capitalism? Does it presage business as usual, the deepening of present trends, or the mobilisation of social forces for a radical change of direction? Is this the start of a new conjuncture?

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Independence for England? By Craig Murray

15 September 2011 — Craig Murray

Unemployment fell in Scotland on yesterday’s new figures, while it rose everywhere else in the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that the difference was caused by the fact that the Scottish government has a (limited) ability to effectively spend forward and thus postpone the results of the Osborne public spending cuts. But the interesting result of that, is that the employment increase in Scotland was in the private sector, not the public sector, while private sector employment fell in England.

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Disposable and Expendable By William Bowles

13 May 2011 21:00:25 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Disposable: Osama

As more ‘facts’ emerge about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, one thing is clear: that there has been active collaboration between the Empire and the media in suppressing the true nature of the events surrounding bin Laden’s death[1]. For starters, are we to believe that the army of corporate media mavens swarming around Islamabad didn’t know about the following?

The CIA maintained a safe house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad for a small team of spies who conducted extensive surveillance over a period of months on the compound where Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. special operations forces this week, U.S. officials said. — ‘CIA had secret outpost in Abbottabad‘, Washington Post, 6 May 2011

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Alice in Videoland By William Bowles

15 May, 2010 — Strategic Culture Foundation

“The fantasy of the faraway place, the fantasy of the skin, the fantasy of being somebody else” — John Berger, ‘Ways of Seeing’

Sometimes, and not often enough, insights, understandings and new ideas just pop into your mind, unbidden. How? I have no idea but as the brain apparently operates somewhere on the quantum level, figuring out how it happens I suspect is and always will be impossible. And somehow, watching television interferes with this process, specifically the bit (or is it bits?) of the brain that can distinguish between fantasy and reality.

So anyway I’m watching TV, flicking through the channels and come across yet another ‘reality’ show (if ever there’s case for misleading labeling this is it). This time it’s yet another refreeze of the courageous ‘entrepreneur’ genre called ‘High Street Dreams’ (BBC1, 10 May, 2010). Two families fight it out to launch their ‘brand’ on the High Street, that is to say in two giant shopping centres. One family is trying to launch a prepackaged burger called I think Muddy Feet or maybe that was the ‘brand’. The other, the name escapes me, chili sauces. So much for the power of branding.

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Love Police ruins Conservative Party Press Statement

12 May, 2010 — Charlie Veitch

Brilliant voiceover the video as George Osborne (personal wealth £4.3 million) and William Hague enter No.10. What Charlie Veitch calls ‘ambush journalism’. Good on yer Charlie!

Postscript: Ken Clarke becomes lord chancellor, George Osborne becomes chancellor of the exchequer, the Liberal Democrat David Laws becomes treasury chief secretary and Theresa May becomes home secretary.

The carve-up in ‘the national interest’ begins By William Bowles

10 May, 2010

“The public and markets want…to see a “government in place”” — Alistair Darling

You didn’t need a visit to the Delphic Oracle in order to figure out what would happen, in any case I doubt that many want to visit Greece these days. So, on 8 May the carve-up began with Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats meeting a team of Tory advisors in order to strike a deal to try and form a ‘coalition’ government. So much for ‘first past the post’ electoral system, designed in pre-historic times to maintain the hegemony of the ruling class. And if a deal can’t be struck with the Tories the next stop will be the Labour Party, though a deal with Labour is unlikely as it would require every party, aside from the Tories that is, to vote with the Lib-Dem/Labour coalition on the substantive policy issues.

Perhaps an analysis of the vote is in order or the ‘first past the post’ system as it is called. As you can see from the stats on the vote tally, there is actually very little between them, so how come seats in Parliament doesn’t reflect the three-way split?

Conservative 306 seats 36.1%
Labour 258 seats 29.0%
Liberal Democrat 57 seats 23.0%

The turnout averaged around 65%, the highest it’s been for decades, a reflection of two things: 1, an unprecedented media onslaught exhorting the punters to vote and 2, an electorate who do want change. But in real terms the numbers above represents much less than two-thirds of the electorate so the Tories actually got about 25% of the potential vote, Labour 20% and the Lib-Dems around 16%, a clear case of a ‘plague on all your houses’ even though it was the highest turnout since the 1970s when turnout was in the 70+ percentile range.

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Parliamentary ‘democracy’ – a triumph of Victorian engineering? By William Bowles

1 May, 2010 — Strategic Culture Foundation

To understand what’s going on with Britain today we have to look back to the 19th century and the rise of industrial/mercantile capitalism, for it was during that period that the Victorians got into the business of myth-making in a big way, rewriting our history almost completely. Truly a triumph of Victorian engineering.

The vast movement of people not only from country to city but from artisan to wage labourer fractured our collective memory so completely that inventing a new, more capitalist-compliant version of ‘our’ history was relatively easy to do. Add to this the fact that even the oppressed working masses still benefited from the wealth of England’s slave/colonial Empire, persuading people that ‘Britannia Ruled the Waves’ wasn’t such a difficult task to accomplish. And we need only look at the USA for a current example of how Empire corrupts totally.

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28 April, 2010 — MEDIA LENS: Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media

On April 15, news media broadcast the first of three live, 90-minute “prime ministerial debates” between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the leaders, respectively, of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. By the end of the second debate on April 22, the word ‘Iraq’ had been mentioned a total of five times over the course of the three hours of discussion.

One day later, April 23, a wave of bombings in Baghdad were reported to have killed 58 people and wounded more than 100. Seven people also died that day in a series of bombings in the western town of Khalidya. (

As usual, the carnage was mentioned in passing – presented as routine in the way of a traffic snarl on the M25 – and then forgotten. By the end of the following day, the death toll had risen to 85 with hundreds seriously wounded from a total of 16 bomb attacks.

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UK: Proportional representation and Brown’s opportunist ploy By Moshe Machover

1 April, 2010 — Communist Party of Great Britain

What sort of electoral system should communists advocate? Moshé Machover – mathematician, lecturer in philosophy and leftwing activist – examines the alternatives to ‘first past the post’

polling-station.jpgIn what looked suspiciously like a deathbed conversion, Gordon Brown has pushed through the House of Commons a Constitutional and Governance Bill, one clause of which provides for a referendum on electoral reform, to be held within a year following the forthcoming general election. In the referendum, voters will be asked to decide whether the present plurality[1] procedure (popularly known as ‘first past the post’, or FPTP) for electing the House of Commons would be replaced by the alternative vote (AV) procedure.

AV is a special case, or an adaptation, of the single transferable vote (STV); but, whereas under full-fledged STV each constituency elects several MPs, under AV there is just one MP per constituency, as under the present FPTP.

AV, like STV, is a preferential system: instead of putting an ‘X’ against your preferred candidate, you rank the candidates in order of preference, marking them with ‘1’ for your favourite, ‘2’ for your second choice, and so on.

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