On justice

We all have our pet peeves – the things that stir us up, that light that ‘fire in the belly’ and get us going. For some it’s about family, for others it’s about a particular belief, mindset or ideology. For me it’s about ‘justice’.

For some justice is synonymous with vengeance. They follow, to some degree or another, the old ‘eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth’ standard of the bronze age shepherd. For them justice is both simplistic and obvious. Theirs is the ‘two wrongs make a right’ approach that most of us grow out of before we leave the schoolyard. That’s not my type of justice.

Others acknowledge the complexity of determining right from wrong in a world that contains so much more grey than simple ‘black and white’. They accept that justice is complex and often difficult to define. I have to admit, that seems like a very good starting place. But then they go and spoil things by demanding that the victims of crime, the very people least likely to be objective, get to determine the most appropriate punishments. They’re the same people whose only real (and particularly unimaginative) contribution to debates about crime is to state….

“You wouldn’t say that if it was your…. (mother, father, son, daughter, home, money etc.)”

And of course, they’re right. I’d most probably want someone’s head on a plate, not because that’d be the right thing to do but because I’m human, I’m emotionally driven (as are we all) and sometimes I can be irrational (as can we all). But I still shouldn’t be able to mete out judgement or take the law into my own hands.

The hallmark of a civilised society is that punishment is taken out of the hands of the individual and placed into the hands of the state.

Still others seem happy with the idea of a state controlled judiciary until it comes to the sentencing of offenders. Then their true colours tend to show. Then they become so similar to the ‘let the victims decide’ contingent that it’s hard to tell them apart.

These are the people who, with little or no knowledge of the often complex court proceedings and mitigating factors insist, as though through automatic reflex, that the sentence is too lenient. These are the people who complain loudly and incessantly that the convicted murderer ‘could be out in ten years’ without ever pausing to imagine just what ten years incarceration might be like. They’re the people who prefer emotional vengeance to rational justice and their lack of a sense of proportion shows all too well. They’re not interested in positive intervention to effect positive change. They simply want another person to suffer. In that respect, despite the apparent veneer of social awareness, they’re no more advanced than the ‘eye for an eye’ brigade.

These are the unthinking, uncaring individuals, the vengeful defenders of people they’ll never meet against people they’ll never understand. These are the easily led, the tories target voters who faithfully fail to notice the damage that ‘Boris’ bastards’ are doing to our country so long as they can be distracted by a juicy crime story or a made up threat from foreigners fleeing persecution or warfare in distant lands. These are the people who think populist emotionality can substitute for paying political attention and the likes of Patel, Gove and Sunak are more than happy to play along. Let’s face it, Johnson and his cronies will play any game at all if it’ll let them hang on to a little bit more power for a little bit more time.

By pandering to the lowest common denominator of our basest instincts, of tribalism and of vengeful hatred they can persuade the people to give away all their rights under the pretence of stealing them from someone else. It’s not me they’re after, it’s them others! 

But the changes to our justice system that made it into law last week in Parliament affect us all – not just the few foreigners and criminals targeted by the populists.

Ironically enough, populist fervour leads to a government so buoyed up by nastiness that it can literally do anything it likes. So last week we lost the right to protest, the right to free expression and even the right to save drowning people without facing prison if they happen not to be British.

We lost the right to fair trial with several crimes being defined and people found guilty and sentenced not by judicial process, not by a court or a jury but by the Home Secretary, personally.

We lost the right to scrutinise and censure politicians when they break the law. Judicial review can now only go ahead with the consent of the very government the system aims to scrutinise. In short, they can now do pretty much whatever they like and, short of revolution or some other form of insurrection, there’s very little we can do to prevent it.

This crop of tories – the truly nasty party representatives – have taken principles of fairness, of justice, of democracy and of hope and turned them into rules intended to benefit themselves and their cronies at the top of the financial tree at our expense. They allow energy companies to make vast profits while many Brits are unable to heat their homes. They allow sewage companies to dump raw effluent into our waterways – waterways only recently clean again thanks to EU regulations – you know – the ‘red tape’ we were all told to dislike so much. That’s the same red tape that’s been removed as we lose employment protections with no effective recourse to law and extremely limited access to legal aid. And all because decent people were conned into voting for a pack of vicious hyenas.

Personally I tend to lean toward utilitarianism – the philosophical approach that seeks to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. That doesn’t make me ‘soft’ or ‘naive’, by the way. I absolutely believe that society has both the right and the duty to protect itself. Sometimes that means long sentences – even life and that’s OK by me. But often it means something quite different. Often it means understanding, compassion and education. Often it means rehabilitation. What it most certainly does not mean and cannot, must not mean is the gratuitous inflicting of suffering. Justice must be purposeful and devoid of emotional bias. And it can never be right that the person under scrutiny is the very person deciding whether or not the trial can go ahead. Guilt and sentencing should never be decided by a politician with an axe to grind and nobody should ever be sent to prison for saving a human being from drowning. What inhuman monster came up with that idea?

However the real purpose of this post is to make one, simple point. Justice, as determined by the state, must be in response to actions and behaviours. It has nothing to do with prejudicial assumptions about nationality, heritage, skin colour, sexual orientation, poverty, dependency, political affiliation, wealth or place of birth.

Perhaps some of those unthinking supporters of our far right, nationalist government would do well to remember that.

England and Wales’ new religion thanks to Rees-Mogg and the Pope

This morning’s announcement from Her Majesty’s government, if indeed we can still call it ‘Her Majesty’s’ will shock the country and shake our system of representative democracy and constitutional monarchy to its very core. For centuries now the reigning monarch has been the head of the Church of England, a Protestant organisation respected the world over and fully in-keeping with the character of Anglicanism worldwide as well as the prevailing culture across these fair Isles.

The Queen is the head of the Church of England

It was the tolerance and fair-mindedness of Anglicanism that brought an end to the religious wars that once so blighted our country. Even in N. Ireland, where the struggle is as much about national identity and exploitation as it is about religion per se, the Anglican church has called for peace, along with its Roman Catholic brethren.

We don’t have separation of church and state in this country as they do in the US. We still have Bishops and Archbishops in the House of Lords making laws for example, but those clergymen tend to act as much in a secular capacity as in a religious one. Such has it been for longer than any of us have been alive. And such, we imagined, it would remain. Until today.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
in the House of Lords

As we know, early in this parliamentary term of office Boris used his overwhelming majority to push through an enabling act allowing him and his ministers the right to make law related both to Brexit and to Covid without reference to parliament and without notice to the populous. We saw this with the many announcements and U-turns regarding lockdowns and negotiations with Europe. One piece of legislation was announced late one evening after most people had gone to bed and resulted in arrests and prosecutions the very next morning as people went about their business completely oblivious to the fact that the law had changed while they slept.

And now they’ve done it again – under cover of the recent explosion in Covid19 infections Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the house and a vociferous Roman Catholic has single-handedly swept away the very basis both of our constitutional monarchy and our traditional political and religious structure. He has done so by claiming that only divine intervention can truly defeat covid and so we need, as a nation, to get right with God.

King John (Lackland)

As of one minute past midnight this morning the official religion of England and Wales is no longer Anglicanism. It is, in fact, Roman Catholicism. The justification for this is ancient. It harks back to a deal made in the 13th century by King John (disparagingly known at the time as John Lackland) who gave this country to the Pope as a Papal serfdom in return for help in raising funds to wage war with France. The deal was struck in 1213 and annual payments of 1,000 marks were made in tribute to the Pope every year until 1290. After that they were irregularly offered until the final tribute was given by Edward III in 1333 in the hope that this would secure Papal favours on the international stage.

It did not and so the tribute was never paid again and although the English parliament eventually ruled the ‘sale’ of UK invalid, the Vatican has never formally relinquished its hold over the nation. Consequently, Brexit or no Brexit, England belongs to the Roman Catholic church and has done for over 800 years. Scotland was never part of the agreement in 1213 and so it remains to be seen how our brothers North of the border will fare.

Byland Abbey, N. Yorkshire

It may be that the next big building project will involve a restoration not only of monasteries but of Hadrian’s wall as well. We’ll have to wait and see about that. What we do know is that there are few tory voters in Scotland so this particular incarnation of the ‘Conservative and Unionist party’ will have few qualms in letting our Northern neighbours adrift if it suits their short-term goals.

This is the backdrop behind Rees-Mogg’s modern religious coup. Relying upon ancient documents detailing the transfer of ownership from the crown to the Pope he has declared UK a fiefdom once again. This is possible because of recent legislation disempowering our domestic judges who are no longer in a position to overrule or even question the work of government. Further, the Roman Catholic backbench committee, ‘Opus Hominem’ has declared the acquisition of Catholic property during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries unlawful and empowered Rees-Mogg to order a return of all Anglican properties to the English branch of the Roman Catholic church with immediate effect. Any clergyman or lay-congregant maintaining possession of such properties after midnight this morning will be guilty not only of theft but of heresy.

Albigensian ‘crusade’

The new law goes further. Since there was no Anglican church in the 14th century, King John’s pact was made from the perspective of Roman Catholicism and as such, only Roman Catholic law can repeal it. At that time, and subsequently, failure to observe the tenets of the Roman church constituted heresy. Even if not originally baptised into Roman Catholicism, anyone professing to be Christian was covered by the Papal inquisition and punishable under its auspices.

This was the basis of the Albigensian crusades against the Cathars of Southern France. They were Christians whose ‘crime’, among other things, was to argue that they didn’t need a Priest to speak with God – they could do so directly. Very much like the Anglican position, as it happens.

Anglicans are Protestants and as such are equally liable to accusations of Heresy from ‘mother church’.

Of course, nobody will be getting burned at the stake or hanged as they did in centuries past but Rees-Mogg has identified his own, modern approach to undermining ecumenical relations in UK. Beginning this Sunday all citizens of England and Wales will be expected to attend Mass and give confession. Those not properly baptised have been given one month to do so after which they too will be expected to take communion in this newly Catholicised state. Those who fail to do so will face imprisonment and sequestration of funds to pay for the repair of church buildings destroyed since the dissolution.

This account of Draconian legislation is, of course, an April Fool’s day joke. But take a look at what’s really going on. Click the link here. These genuine new laws, taken together really will undermine our rights, our citizenship and our democracy. And there’s nothing funny about that.

April or not, the government really is taking us all for fools!

The peasant’s revolt: 1381-2022

“The matters go not well to pass in England, nor shall do ’til everything be in common…”

Comparing the modern government’s callous disregard for the people of UK with the cruelty of 14th century leaders like John of Gaunt, Simon Sudbury and the boy king, Richard II.

In those days the peasants sought remedy and retribution through bloodshed. Today we just need to notice, to remember and to vote as soon as we can to get these callous, lying, sleazy scumbags out of office and out of our hair!

legalised oppression & the power of boycott

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

Theresa May, House of commons, July 2021

Today’s the anniversary of a crime. A terrible, heinous, unspeakable act that tore at the very fabric, of the society in which it was committed. An apparently lone criminal, in the most brazen way imaginable broke a law and a tradition that had existed for 55 years among the fine, upstanding citizens of Montgomery, Alabama in the good old US of A.

So what was this unspeakable act, this depraved antisocial behaviour that resonates across the miles and the years? Who was the criminal who on this day, December 1st 1955 set in train a series of events that would shake America – well, part of America to it’s bigoted, racist, ignorant core?

The criminal’s name was Rosa Parks and the act that would forever guarantee her fame was simple. Rosa Parks sat on a bus, on a seat reserved for white people – and that was against the law.

Sometimes it’s necessary to break truly unjust laws. Sometimes our very liberty depends upon it.

This session the UK government is taking the new police, crime, sentencing and courts bill through Parliament. It’s currently nearing the end of its passage through the Lords and is likely to become law very soon as there’s little chance of Boris’ sycophantic back-benchers opposing it. Among other erosions of civil liberties it aims to make anti-government demonstration illegal. Really. They’re going after our right to protest now.

This, yet again, is the stuff of dictatorship. The Nazis did the same thing shortly after gaining control of the Reichstag. It’s a blow both to our individual liberties and to our collective democracy.

When debating the bill at it’s second reading last July former Home Secretary and Prime Minister, Theresa May remarked…

“There will be people who will have seen scenes of protests and asked, ‘Why aren’t the government doing something?’ The answer, in many cases, may simply be that we live in a democratic, free society.”

So my question to you is this…

Do you have as much courage as a little woman from Montgomery Alabama whose lone protest on an Alabama bus ride helped bring down a system that had been tolerated for far too long?

Rosa Parks sitting in front of a white passenger on a Montgomery bus

A Brexiteer’s Godsend

All those pesky EU laws you can’t name

This is Jim Grace. Well actually it’s his Twitter account, @Mac_Puck and if you’re a Brexiteer his stuff will be right up your street. A proper Godsend.

Have a look at this ‘mega thread’ and you’ll be able to name those laws that we pesky Remoaners (now rejoiners) keep asking you about. The link is in the description but here are a few highlights…

Jim found that we objected to (and were outvoted on) only 72 pieces of EU legislation out of around 35,000 laws passed.

You can follow the ‘Mega thread’ link below to see what those laws were about but here are those highlights.

We voted against consumer protection and food safety… 17 times!

We voted against laws to combat cybercrime

We voted against laws ensuring workers’ rights and protection in the workplace

We voted against Laws opposing tax avoidance, including stopping people like Farage and Rees-Mogg using tax-Havens (to name but 2)

We even voted against legislation to maintain fish stocks and so protect our fishing industry – and we all know how well we’ve done handling that on our own, don’t we?

Fortunately for you, Jim Grace has linked to every piece of legislation so you can look up all those details you don’t usually have available for the next time you’re asked about it – unless, of course, having followed the links you’d prefer to keep your head buried firmly in the sand and pretend you still can’t think of any.

Then there are the European judgements against us. Jim found 72 of those for things like failing to prevent cybercrime, failure to protect womens’ rights in the workplace and elsewhere and failing to protect us from pollution.

But don’t take my word for it – follow the link below and see the details for yourself.

It’s no wonder that so many people who voted Brexit now openly regret it or just keep their mouths shut as the reality hits, is it?

Nazi Britain: a warning from history part 4

If you’re still unconvinced of Boris Johnson’s gradual Nazification of Britain then this final part of the film provides evidence not only of the parallels with Hitler but the way that the Johnson government continues to attack our rights and freedoms. Johnson is a dictator in the making and the nature of that dictatorship is far from benign.

But there is hope. Watch to the end to hear what we can do to change this terrifying trajectory. The Tory party knows nothing of loyalty to leaders once they are seen by the public for what they really are. We can use the Tory party’s own inherent callousness to overthrow this regime before it’s too late.

The government that follows will still be tory but at least it won’t be Nazi. That might not be a perfect solution but it beats what the current government has in store for us.

Never be ashamed by ‘Anonymous’

This article was sent by a friend who remains anonymous. I’m happy to publish it here. For comment purposes, please feel free to attribute it to me if it’s important to you to have someone to hold responsible for the opinions therein.

NEVER BE ASHAMED.

Isn’t it funny that the words spoken by the Tory press or far right groups to be derogatory towards the Labour Party, or for the people who care, are things like Liberal left , Socialist, hard unions, champagne socialists, snowflakes or Woke, activists or liberal elites? I see them as virtues.

Elite’ used to indicate being accomplished. I see them all as virtues, but for so many they’re now seen as insults.

However if the far right March through a town, it’s the liberal leftists and woke’s of this country that turn up to drive them out.

When a minority group are having their rights taken away, it’s the liberal leftists of this world who stand up for them.

When workers are being mistreated by companies, it’s individual liberal elites and unions who stand and defend them.

When institutions are being attacked and stripped of manpower ( Prisons, Police, NHS, Schools Industries ) its liberal left and unions within that stand up for the fabric of our society.

When the right wing attack the poor or less fortunate with lies, and misinformation it’s the left wing liberal minded people who stand up and call it out.

When greed and hate , and racism is someone’s politics it’s labour who stand up against them.

I am happy to be called a woke, socialist and centre of politics, but that’s me. We may not be perfect for sure, but I believe it’s is far better than those who hate with their gammon red faces, We fight injustice rather than peddle hate and anger at everyone and everything!

They don’t believe in contributing anything towards the greater good in society. But yet, they are happy take paid holidays, workers rights , maternity leave, justice and human rights, NHS and pay rises etc. The very thing that the snowflake Unions and Lefty Labour Party fought for and gave them.

Never be ashamed to fight or care about people or community, you are better than those who are filled with hate.

We are Labour!

That was a long haul!

10 years ago ConDem austerity destroyed my Ltd company. It wasn’t necessary – it was ideological. The Condemn government used the global financial crash to give tax cuts to the wealthy and make the rest of us foot the bill. Small businesses like mine went to the wall, public sector workers faced a seemingly unending pay freeze and the unemployed and disabled faced such cuts to their benefits that the united nations declared UK to be an abusive state.

It took me 10 years sleeping in vehicles & cheap rooms traveling around UK for work, paying out most of my wages to keep afloat & keep the family housed & fed. In the early days I found myself only able to eat every other day. The kids were well fed though.

Every missed payment to creditors increases the pressure by design. Interest piles up and with it minimum payments rise to accommodate the ever-increasing balance owed. I paid back the original sums several times to no avail because of increased interest and penalties on late payments.

The system is designed to keep us indebted to those investment bankers who caused the problem to begin with. Their sub-prime opportunism inevitably came back to roost but it wasn’t the bankers who suffered for it. They were still getting paid big bonuses and pretending they were needed to keep the economy afloat. Yeah, right!

At times I thought I’d never get out of the hole those greedy lenders had dug for me. But I did it! This week I registered as sole trader again. Back on my feet, no thanks to the tories.

But anyway, now I’m back. I’m offering #mentalhealth & #socialcare training again either face to face (distanced) or online via www.MindTheCareTraining.com and also 1:1 work via http://www.TAMtalking.co.uk 
Give me a call. I’m good at what I do. You’ll get a damn fine service at a reasonable price.

Go on, you know you want to!

Far right bingo card: Representing the working class

It seems ridiculous to me for anyone on then right wing of politics to claim to represent the working class. The right has always been about exploitation, about keeping us, the riff raff in our place and about squeezing every last drop of profit from us that they can get away with. That’s why the working class has always opposed the right – because it’s the right that uses our hard work to enrich others. This was obvious once but over the years the inequalities of life have become so normalised, so expected that many people think they’re inevitable. But they’re not.

Why should it be inevitable, for example that business owners can earn hundreds of thousands a year whilst their employees survive on subsistence wages?

Why should it be inevitable that these same business owners pay so little tax whilst their employees cannot access the public services they need because the country hasn’t the funds to provide for them?

Why is it that the people who do the hard work, put in the long hours for minimum wage, aren’t the ones who see the rewards from their labours?

These are the questions that the left want addressed and that’s why socialist parties insist upon better wages for working people. Thast’s why we demand proper taxation strategies to ensure that those at the top of the income ladder pay something toward helping those at the bottom. After all – they’re not the only people who invest in businesses.

As the late, great, Tony Benn once remarked…

“Your people invest their money… My people invest their lives.”

When the right wingers oppose the left they’re not doing so on behalf of the working class – they’re undermining us.

When the right wing oppose brown people or Muslims, Poles or LBQT citizens they’re not supporting the working class – they’re dividing it. This is the strategy of the cynical ‘man’ at the top of the tree. He knows that a united working class could easily force him to accept a fairer system so he works hard to keep us at each-others’ throats. And the stupid little neoNazi with his EDL tattoo or his Britain First mug spreading hatred between working people of different races or creeds is part of that machinery of oppression.

The real enemy of the working class is the wealthy tax avoider with his offshore account who leeches funds earned by our labour out of the only economy that could help improve our situations.

When you give tax relief to working people they spend it – that money goes back into the economy and other businesses prosper, local traders and local employees start to feel more confident and their money circulates. Everyone gets wealthier. When you give it to the rich banker he just puts it with the rest of his unnecessary pile in the Cayman Islands and forgets about it.

The far right claim to represent the working class whilst supporting right-wing policies and policy-makers such as our present government whose ministers gorge themselves whilst ordinary people are forced into destitution. Our conservative ‘masters’ vote to reduce benefits payments for the most needy and yet give themselves a ten grand bonus just for staying at home. When you support these nest-featherers you do not represent the working class.

The right wing has normalised its abuses so much that many of our own people think it’s inevitable that working peoples’ children should go hungry over Christmas and that a 10% tax cut for millionaires is just how it ought to be. Even the most obviously weak excuses don’t demonstrate just how badly they’re being played by a cynical financial elite.

And they call us ‘cucks’!

These people don’t represent the working class – they undermine it by falling for the divide and conquer politics of those who purport to be our ‘betters’. And in doing so they maintain the very system that treated them so unfairly and made them so very angry in the first place.

They’re on the wrong side and they don’t even know it!

The Francophile republic of Kent

Welcome to the peoples’ democratic, Francophile republic of Kent. Separated from the rest of UK by a 380 mile border, Kent and its coastline will soon be annexed by France, rejoin THE EU and the customs union and make its GDP primarily from lorry parking fees.

My people: A house divided

A house divided against itself will not stand!

The working class needs to come together. You may have voted for this shameful Tory government and enabled a brutal Tory Brexit that benefits only the super rich but you’re still one of us. We need to stop fighting each other and unite against our common enemy.

The conservative party has never cared for you, your rights or your quality of life. We have what we have only because generations of working people were prepared to stand up as one. Now is the time for us to do the same before we lose everything they sacrificed so much to give us.