Welcome to our friends from the East

Thirty years ago I lived in a Nuclear First Strike Hotspot. Our home sat in the overlapping Soviet targets of RAF Greenham Common airbase with it’s US Cruise Missiles, Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, The Royal Ordinance Factory in Burghfield Common where the war heads for the Trident missiles are made and serviced and RAF …

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Grim Fairy Tales and Hard Times

That opportunity for change it seems has passed. In the years before the crash the City insisted on light touch regulation and governments obliged. The whip was in the claw of the Golden Goose and the City’s importance to the UK economy was its shiny golden egg nesting at the centre of the European money markets. When the egg went rotten our governments should/could have acted. At that moment there was a perfect moment for democratically elected leaders to act, to take back the power and to regulate the banks. Instead they dithered and in a perverse turn around our governments now have had to come to heal.

Off with his …

  Boris Johnson jokingly said that he was in favour of Sharia law to deal with bicycle thieves after getting his nicked. Extreme as it seemed even in jest, cutting off the hands of bike snatchers didn’t even stir the ex-Synod members, retired Generals and Brigadiers, the likes of whom who called for the sacking …

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Broke not Broken

Of late there’s been much talk about our ‘broken society’ from the likes of David Cameron and the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. According to them the glue that binds society is breaking down and our sense of community is in decline.

I would agree that we are becoming disconected from one another and our true nature but if anything is broken it is our political system. It’s a system broke of ideas. It’s one that trots out the same agenda election after election regardless of party. So homogenised that it hardly seems worth voting.

If society is disconnected its no suprise when parliment is inhabited by a bunch of scizophrenics. Climate change is now regarded as our biggest threat and yet while piloting a bill through parliment to control emissions this government plans for more runways, roads and coal fired powerstations.

This week members of parliament were indignent that one of their own should be bugged while talking to a constituent in prison. However the following day Gordon Brown found it appropriate to make it easier for the security services to bug the rest of us.

And while just about every week a politician is embroiled in one kind of a fiddle or another the government launches a benefit fraud campaign. It invites the general public to shop their neighbours with a confidential hot-line. If there’s one thing that divides people its fear and suspicion. So while the politicians talk of the need to mend society; to build bridges it turns neighbours into snoopers. Catching fraudsters is police business.

Crime and Justice will no doubt be high on the agenda in the forthcoming election campaign. Governments love prisons and they’re busy building more without seeming to question why they don’t work as a deterent or reform. They love long sentences too, as long as it doesn’t apply to them.

Having been grassed up for paying his son money for work he was less than entilted to, Conservative MP Derek Conway is hardly repentent. His penalty is hardly draconian either, he will have to pay back just £13,000 of the £40,000 he scammed from his bit of HP Benefit Fraud. It doesn’t look like he’s going to do time other than a ten day ban from the Houses of Parliament, hardly porridge. Meanwhile a single mother-of-four has been jailed for eight months for illegally claiming half that. The council snoopers caught her living a ‘high life’ on Burger King money while claiming benefit.

While politicians live in their disconected world the policies they put forward will continue miss the point. Pointless and without benefit… Benefit Fraud