Sunday, 27 February 2011

David Cameron is not the Prime Minister

Using language designed to portray him as Robin Hood, David Cameron is just a cleverly disguised Sheriff of Nottingham. Only the Sheriff of Nottingham never had what he has; a massive media machine to cover up his thieving.

When Jean Baudrillard wrote his provocative but insightful essay “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place.” after the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam’s forces, he did not mean that there had been no war, just that the events taking place there were not what they were presented as. One war later and we are just starting to find out what he meant.

Yet the ever-widening chasm between reality and our media-managed perceptions is no more graphically illustrated than in the persona of David Cameron, the PR man who likes to call himself Prime Minister. I have often wondered why, whenever I see him on the news, or at the despatch box, I simply do not get the feeling that he is actually the leader of this country. I don’t mean that he does not hold the official office of Prime Minister and occupy 10 Downing Street, but that he has never been, and never will be Prime Minister.

In contrast I didn’t feel the same even when Margaret Thatcher was in power. Destructive, disingenuous, dishonest and dangerous though her regime was (sort of Cameron-lite) one still always got the impression that she was trying, although quite obviously failing, to govern for the country. I have never felt this of David Cameron. David Cameron has never appeared to me as anything other than a gauleiter.

A gauleiter, the ruling figurehead of an occupying force. In this case the occupying force is

• the very wealthy upper classes,

• the large multinational conglomerations, casino banks and

• the manipulative, dishonest popular media, owned by right-wing billionaires.

Ruling in the interests of this narrow and increasingly powerful, self-appointed self-select few, David Cameron is the Quisling in their pay.

Using the language of all that this occupying force despises; freedom, equality and self-determination, he justifies policies which enforce servitude, privilege and domination. The Sheriff of Nottingham dressed in Lincoln green tights and carrying a bow and arrow. There can be no clearer illustration of this than the news that teachers’ and nurses’ pensions are to be cut to pay for huge and totally undeserved bonuses for bankers who are paid extra simply for failing slightly less badly than before. Given that, at least until last year, the education system and the NHS had both improved their performance substantially year-on-year, why are nurses and teachers not due a bonus? Because they are not part of the occupying force, of course.

Yet the only thing one cannot say about David Cameron is that he has “betrayed” the British people. Betrayal implies that he is, or was once, one of us. One of us he has never been, he has always been nothing more than the manifestation of an increasingly thin veneer of attempted legitimacy for his hyper-rich paymasters to hide behind whilst plundering all that is good in the UK.

The PR Prime Minister, providing PR for the hatchet-men and asset-strippers while they make their get-away with our money.
The Tories have always argued that “greed is good.” But the obscene levels of greed exhibited by the new Sheriffs of Nottingham as they appropriate the assets of the UK and are concentrating even greater wealth into an even smaller number of hands and hiding their plunder along with that of the drug cartels in offshore tax havens. As such the ordinary British people will be exploited, ripped-off and taken for a ride in the name of a manufactured economic crisis, a manufactured deficit, and told that everything they consider important, from the NHS to their children’s education must be sold off to pay the rich for the money they lost gambling to increase their indecent levels of opulence. The bankers will retire to yachts and Caribbean islands, teachers and nurses to poverty and unheated homes. Even now, as doctors, nurses, classroom assistants, teachers, lecturers and police officers lose their jobs, those who caused the problem are using our money to cause another silent genocide in the third world. Their engineered food price spike will take the food out of the bellies of already starving children in the teeming cities of Africa and South Asia and turn it into a fat profit for the merchant bankers.

This is the occupying force that David Cameron represents; they are his paymasters, his friends and his partners in crime. Just like the Gulf wars, David Cameron is not all he seems. He is the simulated Prime Minister, the political cover for the bandits in Armani suits. He may occupy Downing Street, but he will never be the leader of this country.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Lea T: You are NOT Mentally Ill!

It was with mixed emotions that I watched the video of trans supermodel Lea T on Oprah last week. What was most positive is that she is able to be an openly trans model and make her way in her chosen career without the discrimination from which most other trans people suffer at work. She will hopefully be an example to young trans people all over the world that there are other people like them, they are not the only one and they can change their lives. They will not always have to live in fear.

But what made me, and indeed many other trans people around the world feel uncomfortable, was how she appeared, prompted by Oprah Winfrey, to define being transgender as a ‘pathology’. This is something many trans people are currently fighting against and passionately disagree with. Indeed it is something trans people of all types around the world increasingly agree about, there is now an increasingly vocal worldwide campaign to stop trans pathologization.

The problem is that, when someone like Lea T becomes famous, she is suddenly everywhere in the media and her view of herself, that she is suffering from some kind of illness, is likely to become widespread amongst the millions of people who have never knowingly met a trans person.

Yet is it important to recognise where her view of herself comes from. Like most trans people she has probably grown up in a world in which she has been told, or has felt, from a very young age, that her perceptions of herself as female rather than male, are abnormal, and constitute a problem. From the video it would appear that she influenced by the, now outdated psychiatric definition Gender Identity Disorder, a diagnosis which is often required to obtain the kind of surgery she needs to align her body with her own gender identity.

Yet the idea that trans people are mentally ill is increasingly being challenged. It is important to remember that homosexuality was considered a mental illness by the psychiatric profession until the 1980s. Now, only the fruitcake far right think it is.
Joan Roughgarden, professor of Biology at Stanford University has shown that transgender behaviour and physical manifestation in common in nature, identifying huge numbers of species which change sex and species in which cross-gender behaviour is common. In fact, it may well turn out that, once most animal species have been investigated for their social interactions that the heterosexual, cisgender, nuclear family made up of an alpha male and a coy but choosy female which is culturally dominant in human society is very much in a minority in nature.

The main sources of the problem of transgender pathologization are social and cultural. As Prof. Milton Diamond so concisely put it; “Nature loves diversity, society hates it.” There is a tendency for society to blame the individual when they don’t fit in when it is actually society, which needs to change to accommodate the range of individual diversity. The problem in Western society has been the over dominance of materialism. You are considered to be a woman if you have a vagina and a man if you have a penis. Other, less materially-obsessed societies have been able to recognise that a person’s gender is more to do with their spirit than with the material manifestation of their body.

Given the diversity of gender expression, even just among cisgender people from different societies around the world, it becomes clear that in essence gender is simply a culture (usually with an accompanying caste system) taught from a very young age to the extent that it appears to be natural. Yet it is no more natural for girls to like pink and boys to like blue than it is for the English to like cricket and Americans to like baseball. We have to come to understand that there is a greater diversity amongst the human race than our narrow view of gender would have us believe, and that the culturally-imposed gender norms of male and female based solely on material criteria have never been adequate.

As such the fact that Lea T feels that there is something mentally wrong with her is understandable. She has been brought up to believe that there are only two immutable genders. She appears to have taken to heart the view of society that it is she who is the problem not the cultural system which has brought her up to believe she is wrong. This needs to change.

Monday, 21 February 2011

David Cameron: A liar, a cheat and a threat to democracy

Just over a year ago I blogged about how David Cameron was “the most dishonest politician”. I did not realise my words would be so graphically illustrated in the form of Cameron’s policy directive in the Daily Torygraph today. His latest decree is that all services should be privatised unless they are the armed forces or the security services. Like his policy on the NHS, this was not in the Tory Manifesto.

Why is this? The only answer can possibly be that David Cameron is a liar. He really is the most dishonest politician. The complete privatisation of all state functions is a huge and fundamental policy for any government to impose. The fact that it was not in the Tory Manifesto means that Cameron is effectively unconcerned with democracy as we know it. He is prepared to implement a change to which the majority of the public are opposed. If he is so confident that this policy is the right one, why did he not tell us that this was his policy before the election?

The answer is, of course, that he would never have been “elected” if he had done so. David Cameron is a dictator; cheat, a liar and a threat to democracy and the fabric of British society. It is the responsibility of the British people to remove him. Like we did in 1944.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Man United v Crawley Town every week: or the big corporations v the taxpayer


Those who oppose the UKuncut actions against Barclays and other corporate targets really have misunderstood the situation quite badly. Some have even proposed that the protest should be targeted at the Tax offices which appear to be unable to enforce payment of tax by these corporations.

Yet there is a REASON why the tax offices are under-resourced and unable to make these companies pay their faor share of tax. These companies use their considerable wealth to obtain political influence, especially with the Conservative Party. The donations they make (probably out of the billions they save from not paying tax) ensure that these offices are always unable to make large multinationals pay their fair share of tax. They ensure that the wages paid to staff there are considerably less than the wages available to corporate tax accountants who ensure that these corporations avoid the tax, thus ensuring that the best accountants are on the side of the companies. It is a bit like Manchester United playing Crawley Town every week.

These corporate donations also buy politicians’ inaction on closing the loopholes that enable their accountants to hide their profits in places like the Cayman Islands. Or indeed they buy politicians’ action on creating such loopholes.
So it is rather like Man Utd Playing Crawley Town every week but also supplying the ref, the linesmen and on a pitch which is sloping towards the Crawley Town goal and having their goal on wheels and a zip-wire so that it can be moved backwards and forwards very quickly along the goal-line.

This is what those who argue against the targetting of the banks by UKuncut have forgotten. The people involved in chasing these corporations are mostly players from the Vauxhall Conference and the people working for the companies are the Wayne Rooneys. These companies have huge political influence, most of it behind the scenes, which allows them to distort the tax regime and means of collection in their favour.

As such the people mostv responsible for creating corporate tax regimes which favour large corporations like Barclays, are the very multibillion pound congliomerates which benefit from the lax tax regime and the loopholes they provide.
Understanding this is crucial to understanding the way the new politico-business establishment functions in modern society.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Toby Young, idiocy and selling one's soul to the devil.

Just when I thought my opinion of that inane right-wing “journalist” Toby Young couldn’t sink any lower, he confounds me with possibly the most ridiculous “article” ever written in a UK Newspaper; ‘Why the Super-rich deserve their tax holiday’ which is garbage even in relation to the low standards of the Daily Mail. This really is nothing more than blatant propaganda for the bloated mega-rich. Dr Goebbels move over.
His main argument, that companies will move their operations elsewhere if they are charged high tax rates in the UK, is like a sieve with a large hole in the bottom. Vodafone is welcome to move its entire operation to Liechtenstein and dominate the mobile phone market there, but it would be the equivalent to dominating the mobile phone market of the small market town of East Dereham in Norfolk. I doubt they would make any profit at all, let alone the billions they make from mobile users in the UK, even if they did pay no tax.
The same is true of Arcadia, the compamy which owns Topshop and other fashion retail outlets. Philip Green is welcome to move every branch of Topshop, MIss Selfridge, Dotty Perks and Burton to Monaco where his company would pay no tax. But I doubt that he would make anything other than a bankruptcy-inducing loss.
Ditto Boots and many other companies.
The truth is that Vodafone, Topshop, Boots and others can only make their profits by trading in the UK, they are in every high street, they sell to the British people, that is how they make their money. To allow them to move their money to ‘offshore’ tax havens so that they avoid paying tax in the UK is simply allowing them to steal money owed to the British people in their tax. Toby Young cannot argue that, if tax rates are too high in the UK, they will go elsewhere. This will never happen. they can only make their money by trading in the UK.
For Toby Young to argue thay they “deserve” not to pay the same level of tax as the rest of us is stupid. These companies can only make money by trading the the UK market with its 60 million (and counting) consumers. They should be forced to pay tax here like everyone else.
If these companies paid their fair share of tax we wouldn’t need to cut
school buildings,
Sure Start,
classroom assistants,
benefits for the sick and disabled,
the NHS, the police,
etc, etc, etc.
I suspect that this is why the Tory-led government is permitting them to avoid paying tax in the UK, because they want to cut these things anyway…