10 June 2010


Only joking, no more number puzzles today... Though it is mildly amusing...

Anyway, I thought we'd start today with a quote from an unlikely source. I like this, it has an amusing cynicism...

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live
under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good
will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience."


  1. I thought The Magician's Nephew was better...

  2. Good Quote Jay - although I must admit, I thought I was going to have to run away screaming from that one!

    just briefly going back to last night re: IFS .... I have a PDF of and IFS report on Govt. Debt lurking in one of my folders - for PrincessChipChops (and anyone else who may find it of interest)

    Must have downloaded it when I was on a thread about Govt. debt. but it's a PDF though and so can't post it here - can email to anyone who feels up for reading it!

  3. Incidentally, there's a great quotation from Humbert Wolfe (who he?) in the latest Strobes, as follows:

    "You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God, the British journalist, but seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to..."

  4. Run away screaming from the puzzle I emant, not the quote.. ;)

  5. Re: my posts yesterday
    No party can offer anything to the working class, we have to take what we need ourselves. The point about joining the LP is that then all the socialists are in one place and can organise more easily.

    In my view more important than the Labour Party is the Labour Representation Committee which seeks to change the Labour Party into the party that it is meant to be. To do this it needs soialists to join or re-join the party, join the LRC and fight ! Similar moves need to made in the unions, especially those affiliated to the party as a credible left wing leadership of the unions would put pressure on the party. Currently I think the wealthy people who have bankrolled New Labour are less likely to do so in future. Remember the LP is actually the political wing of the unions.

    A number of alternative scenarios could result from this:
    1) We succeed and the New Labour lot leave a la SDP (we know what happened to them!)
    2)We are expelled
    3)We leave on masse leaving the New Labour rump to jump into the dustbin of history

    In the case of 2) and 3) the point is we would be one group that could act as beacon and become the new party of the working class.

    I don't think just going off to 'form a new party' is credible because there are already lots of those and they don't hack it. These sectarian groups waste a lot of energy falling out with each other.

    This is easier to say than to do but nothing worthwhile was ever easy, Doing nothing is not an option.

    The aim is simple 'Agitate, Educate Organise' Then we can be ready to strike when the time is right. At present many will keep their heads down fearful of loosing jobs the revolution will not come tomorrow.

    I love this it has its flaws he forgets that the working class has white as well as black people but considering how separate the races still are in the states that's excusable I think (although it has to change or there won't be a revolution to not televise).

    The main point is I think 'get off your butt and DO something about it - instead of watching it on TV, U tube or this blog for that matter!

  6. Top quote, Swifty.

    Check your mail.

  7. Anne:

    When you say

    The aim is simple 'Agitate, Educate Organise' Then we can be ready to strike when the time is right.

    what exactly do you have in mind when it comes to the sharp end? It's stirring stuff, but in practical terms, what would you be doing? (I'm assuming you mean "strike" as in "go into action" and not "withdraw your labour")

    It's a genuine question.

  8. Good quote above. Another quote that has always struck home is Gurdjieff's:

    One may say that evil does not exist for subjective man at all, that there exist only different conceptions of good. Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil, for the sake of evil. Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it. But everybody understands it in a different way. Consequently men drown, slay, and kill one another in the interests of good.

    Would have been good for Peter Bracken's 24 article.

  9. Yes I mean go into action although in TU terms it can mean the latter. When workers go on strike we should support them as John McDonnell has promised to do.

    But it also means the boring stuff, going to LP meetings and argue for socialist policies doing the leafleting and other routine stuff, this gets you respected and increases your chances of being listened to.Talking to people convincing people one at a time that they DO have the power to change things.

    What Gil Scott Heron doesn't say (apart from not including white people) is the revolution will not be televised because the cameramen will be on the streets with the rest of us - If we have done the job properly. (Although some people may catch the action on their mobiles!)

    The slogan Agitate Educate Organise summarises precisely the difference between a riot and a revolution.

    As with society so with the Labour Party

  10. Any news on election, coalition talks etc, Duke?

  11. Jay,

    oh boy, where to start.....I'll try and make it as straightforward as possible. There are 150 seats in the Second Chamber which is the Parliament in essence.

    The centre right (but actually very right wing) VVD came out with the most seats- 31 seats.

    The PvDA (Labour Party) are second with 30 seats.

    The PVV (Wilders) are third with 24 seats.

    The CDA (Centre right and previous biggest party)lost 20 seats and are on 21 seats.

    The SP (Socialists) lost 10 seats and are on 15.

    The rest of the seats are split between the other parties- Green left, D66, Christian Unionists all share the rest of the seats.

    Now. The biggest party by right has the first crack at a coalition, this is the VVD- they have to get 76 seats for a majority.

    VVD have now said they will work with Wildersin a coalition. Wilders has said he is willing. Therefore VVD + Wilders PVV + CDA= 76 seats.

    It is still up in the air whether or not the CDA will be coalition partners with Wilders.

    There are various other coalition outcomes which I am writing up for UT2 at the moment, but two areas remain important.

    What Ministry would Wilders be given and how would this look on the International stage? The Dutch economy is 70% dependent on exports. To have a racist and rabid europhobe in Government would be detrimental to the economy and International standing.

    Secondly, the VVD's manifesto was a decaffeinated version of Wilders with heavy emphasis on tax cuts, cutting welfare etc.

    Already, the renowned Dutch social partner model- the SER which traditionally mediates between Government, Workers and Employers has said that this may be an unprecedented step for the Netherlands as the VVD has a deep antipathy to the 'Social Partner' model. Mark Rutte, the VVD leader is an ex Unilever executive and a free marketeer par excellence.

    Additionally,my work colleagues are shocked between the exit poll result and the actual result. They said there has been an enormous amount of 'curtain voting' ie people not admitting to voting PVV and then doing so. It goes against all Dutch traditions of openness and debate.

    Whatever the outcome, and the polder model may eventually win out against the hard right attack, the Dutch have a lot of soul searching to do in terms of openness, immigration and the future of their renowned industrial/political/workers settlement.

  12. I had a questionaire pop up last time i looked in at cif. Anyone else had one? Was a bit dull, about 'involvement' & did i know that g.co.uk was owned by a trust, blah blah

    How long til the pay wall?

  13. slight amendment, it is not the SER that has expressed concern, it is the FNV which protects the interests of employees and the unemployed as well as being partners in the 'Social model'.

    It'll all be clarified in my UT2 article,honest.....

  14. Wee bit of feelgood


    That's where I live!

  15. Hello Everyone --

    I don't want to interrupt the flow of today's thread too much here, but I thought I'd dip my toe back in a bit. I haven't read everything that's happened during my absence, but I would like to thank everyone who's been filling in with getting threads started and also that you all for kind words and condolences. Several people also sent very kind e-mails which, although as yet unanswered, were very much appreciated.

    My father died from a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma just after midnight on 1 June. As many of you know, I'd been estranged from my parents since early last year, so my reaction to my father's death has been different from what someone who had a loving and close relationship would have had, but I don't think it's been any less difficult.

    With some work-related other stress added into the mix, it was all just a bit more than I knew how to cope with for awhile.

  16. Ah dear, MW, that's a real shame, estrangement or not. Sincere condolences to you.

  17. As I haven't sent you any condolences yet, Montana, I will do so now. Also, it's good to see you back here.

  18. Very sorry to hear that, Montana, must be very difficult regardless of recent circumstance. Dont worry about this place till you're back on your feet, its been coasting along ok.

  19. Montana,

    please accept my condolences and best wishes.

  20. Annetan and others made some good points yesterday. I have some of my own observations:-

    1) Talk of the neoliberal elites and plutocrats ignores the fact that the people carrying out their ideology are middle and even lower managers, plenty of which I have seen recently.

    2) Secondly it is always the working class who think of themselves as 'successful' who are the most right wing, rigid and uncompromising to individual circumstances.

    Posters like Breaking3 on Cif epitomise this thinking. I have encountered many of those Breaking3 types in the last few weeks (in Fucking Socialist influenced Glasgow), self assured in their own perceived infalliablilty, that their sucess is down to some innate ability.

    3) It is in fact the bourgeoisie/middle class who tend to be more accomadating to people's circumstances, and make exceptions to the rulebook. There is less anti intellectualism. Middle class employers see intellect and critical thinking as a positive, rather than a threat to their authority.

    This is why I don't buy into the class war, becuase it is the petty tyrants one step above 'us', and usually from the same social origins who are holding us down and demeaning us, and often started on the same level of us anyway.

    In all this, I think sod it. I am going to look at something solid like an apprentice in a skilled trade.

    Finally I do not want to get into an intergenerational war, but we have less than you. Take merely one example- council housing, it is nearly impossible for us to get counicl houses, and never for working people.

    I'm tired and nauesous. I am going to have a day off the job hunting today and do some studying, go to a museum and/or an art gallery.

  21. Condolences, MW, I know we had our differences, but I wish you all the best.

  22. Sorry to hear it, Montana. I was in a similar position when my father died. I sometimes wonder if it would have been easier for me if I'd cared about him more.

    Good to see you back.

  23. Lovely to hear from you Montana, so sorry loosing a parent is never easy. Take your time to ease yourself back into life.

    Pop in from time to time and let us know how you are.

  24. Condolences, Montana, and best wishes in waht must be a turbulent period.

    @ annetan The point about joining the LP is that then all the socialists are in one place and can organise more easily.
    Aye, but the pessimist in me says that having all the socialists in one place,overseen,ruled by an apparently impregnable managerialist,neo-liberal clique is a hugely effective way to sideline them,while at the same time using them as ballast for the New labour ship. The name New Labour may not last much longer, but the vessel remains and its plotted course seems pretty much unchanged to go by your Milibands et al.

  25. Nap there is something in what you say about the lower levels of management the old joke version of the red flag indicates that this has been around for a long time -

    "The working class can kiss my *rse, I've got the foreman's job at last."

    Such people are selected by senior management (the people on the 'top floor' you never see) to do their dirty work for them.

    The real problem is the people at the top - the sort of people who insure their workers for millions with themselves as beneficiaries they call them 'dead peasant schemes' I think that says it all.

    Have you seen Michael Moore's 'Capitalism a Love Story'? I recommend it.

    Class does exist. The sort of people you refer to have been bought by the other side that's all.

  26. Alisdair - do you think socialists are that easy to control? The problem is that the left in the party has not been properly organised - a group like the LRC could do this and gives us the cohesion we need.

    Lots of little sectlets running around all over the place will never work- Unity is strength.

    Yes there will be opposition but lets not exagerate their power shall we? Who do you think is more likely to gain the trust of the working class? A Tony Blair or a John McDonnell?

    The thing that depresses me is that so many people really believe that Socialism cannot succeed. The apologists of capital seem to have done a good job!

    The Left needs to start to believe in itself.

  27. @Anne:

    Who do you think is more likely to gain the trust of the working class? A Tony Blair or a John McDonnell?

    Tony Blair, by a country mile.

  28. I am constantly heartened by your persevereance A42. But I share Alisdair's cynicism. If your 'best case' scenario comes off. Will the middle echelons and the elite of the org only have swapped places? Is this not the 'Main Sequence' of all revolutions, coups, putches? The 'hard pressed working class'/proletariat/we scum. still do the work.

  29. Hey Montana, nice to see your toe. All the best.

  30. So sorry to hear that, Montana. As you say, different, but I am sure no less difficult. Good vibes in your direction - hope you are OK.

  31. Looks like the Waddya thread is imploding, very funny stuff, even Jessica is getting all 'fuck this shit'.

  32. @annetan, I have a lot of time for the LRC, but the way the party has been restructured means that the upper echelons which are overwhelmingly careerist New Lab types can simply do what they like.The party's systems have been contorted and twisted so much that it is one hell of a task for the LRC to genuinely get much traction,let alone call the shots.

  33. Montana good to read/hear that you are alive and still confused/engaged with life.

    I can do no more than send you half a dozen kisses

    they are warm and affectionate, I can assure you of that.

  34. FUCK OF SCHERF -I wasn't womanising I was empathising

  35. A42 - if any soul can persuade me to rejoin it will be you.


  36. Montana

    sorry to here your news...all my best wishes to you......

  37. jenn

    yep it's quite hilarious on WDYWTTA...imploding definately......

  38. turm - I have an anger at the failing memory.

    It pisses me off that I can recall numerous part numbers (7 digit things) of bits of oil well equipment from a brief episode in my working life in engineering in the late 60's, yet things I want to recall..................I can't.

    I can remember all the girls, and their smiles, that were kind enough to spend some time slip sliding around with me..........but I'm fucked if I can remember the colour of their underwear.

  39. Ah deanno, I remember when this was all fields.. Magnetic fields, gravitic fields, elyssian fields...

    & All the very best wishes to you and yours Montana. x

  40. Montana - v sorry to hear your news. I've had the same thing, and it is, as you say, weird. Take care of yourself, and all best wishes from here.

  41. @Jay

    Briliiant diagram at the top of the thread - have you seen the ones here? They include the classic 'find x'...

  42. Uh oh, watch out girls, deano's been at the blue pills again... don't come knockin' when the caravan's rockin', and all that.

  43. Swifty - free on the NHS for gents with my disorder.

    .....happily not yet needed.


  44. Peter - I thought it was class too.

  45. @deano:

    You sly old fox, you. Shagging all those lovely misses and their knickers, and there's still a fire in the old engine room...

  46. Good link, peter, very amusing. A friend showed me a letter from a student recently asking for "personal factors" to be considered as mitigation for her dissertation.

    I cant repeat it sadly but i just could not believe a 3rd year uni student could write suh an absurd, infantile load of twaddle. It was laugh out loud funny, and so so pathetic, involving various deceased pets, a few tiffs with the boyfriend, and of course the unimaginable "trauma" of when said boyfriend ignored her texts for 3 days!! This was a third year student at a good uni.

  47. @Jay

    When my daughter went to University and did her first essay, she asked me to check it over against the department house style guide. So I looked it up, and found a tutorial piece on basic English, including the difference between 'there' and 'their' and how not not to extend a sentence by adding a comma and carrying on.

    This was the English Literature department at Bristol.

    God knows what the students had been turning in to prompt that kind of response; must see if I can find the link again to prove it exists.

  48. I can well believe it, Peter, really, not only from knowing people working at unis but from knowing friends and acquaintances that went to uni who were barely literate.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Peter, enjoyed that

    I have a mate who was doing History GCSE exam marking. One of the questions was on the Suez crisis and students had to identify that one of the factors in Eden's poor judgement was his exhaustion and use of amphetamines to keep him awake.

    One of the answer he got was:

    "Eden was rubbish at making decisions cos he was ripped to the tits on speed."

    After consulting a senior examiner, said student was given the points as he was correct if rather unfortunate in his descriptive vocabulary.

  51. @Duke

    That student was only mirroring the language styles of Dutch politicians, judging by that photo you posted the other day!

  52. I lost all faith in my Alma Mater when the girl I was seeing went up to a middle aged lecturer, 2 weeks after the deadline. 'Oh, Pete, with all the work load, and exam pressure, I'm really, really ~bats lashes~ sorry, but i forgot to do my assessed assignment...'

    'Oh that's ok,' Quoth the Lec. 'You usualy get high sixties or seventies eh Rachel? We'll just call it 65%' Omfg!!! I thought, well I've seen it all now!

  53. Jay, Peter.

    Yes, 'study skills'.

    I am doing six 10 point OU courses at the moment to keep me occupied, and each of them has their own section devoted to 'study skills'. It is rather moronic, I want to learn facts and figures, how the world works, not do six sets of activites requiring me to analyse my underlining skills using different coloured pens, making notes, or 'tiurn my notes into sentences'. FFS.

  54. Swifty - shagging ladies is too much like work for an idle sod like myself. All well and good and perfectly acceptable if nothing else is on offer.

    I prefer a leisurly slip sliding around with grown up girls. Looking in their eyes and enjoying a wild narrative with them is a fine thing. A caress without conversation is sometimes meaningless.

    I remember the dialogues but not all of the colours - I thus have a developing sadness which the lead in the pencil can't fully compensate for.

    Still, I should have been so fortunate.

  55. Nap

    You can ignore the study guide and activities etc completely, or at least until level 3 modules. Just look at the assignment questions and rummage around the material for answers, no point wasting time with the rest of it. The early stuff is very patronising and silly, as you say.

    Be glad you're not doing the Social Science 60 point course, Nap, it was one of the biggest loads of Guardianista type wankery i've ever seen leading to regular rows with my tutor. You'd hate it.

  56. "... I want to learn facts and figures, how the world works, ....."

    Nap you don't learn facts and figures - you simply absorb them

    ..and as for how the world works - you don't get to learn that till just before you die.

  57. Montana - I don't know if "estranged" makes a difference or not.

    I wasn't estranged from mine but still found that Camus nailed the matter best............

    (words to the effect)............Mother died yesterday or was it the day before........

  58. Yes, at least they are all science shourt courses, except for two. One is the Shakespeare plays, this is quite heavy but interesting.
    I mean at the end of the day you are only working up to submitting the TMAs and/or ECA. You can work through the course materials as much or as little as you need.
    I am also doing my own thing anyway, for example, I am doing the 'Darwin and Evolution' course but I am also reading the Voyage of the Beagle and the Origin of Species' which is way beyond the narrow confines of the course

    Anyway, I need to get out of the house. I have a load of job reference slips in front of me that I can't even be bothered to email my CV to, I am sick of the rejection. I need a break. I will wait till tomorrow when my piece for the people's panel on employment comes up, looking forward to the BTL debate.

    It is a nice day outside and being stuck inside drives me up the walls. So, I'm off

  59. Hello and welcome visitor from Israel!

  60. This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. I just deleted that comment, the subject matter of the question to deano was insensitive at a difficult time for MW. Apologies.

  62. @ Nap, try 'This Thing of Darkness' V. Good abt voyage of Beagle.

  63. @Jay, @Duke, @Nap

    The link to the new, improved, Bristol University English Department style guide is here (PDF).

    It looks like students have got even stupider since I read the original in 2004. Now they have to be told how to take notes from books, FFS.

  64. Swifty - why TB? Are you against someone who believes in standing up for working people? Or have you just swallowed the lie that socialism (as opposed to the identity politics rubbish that masqueraded as socialism in the 80's) makes the LP unelectable.

    It didn't make us unelectable in 1945 did it? Remember that next time you visit a doctor.

  65. Montana

    Sorry to hear your sad news. A difficult time for you. Hope you have good friends close by to support you.


    I'm not sure this is in line with the new friendly waddya policy.

    "You vile little shit, fuck off back to whichever hole you crawled out of, rancid little cretin...."

    Expressive none the less.

  66. Jay/Napoleon

    I did an inter-disciplinery Social Science degree and in order to up my grades i,m afraid i told them what they wanted to hear-even though i felt it was a load of bollocks half the time.When i stopped arguing with them my grades did indeed 'improve'.However i also felt i had the last laugh.I ended up with 2.1 playing them at their game-but never believed for a second some of the bullshit i wrote.

    @Montana-condolences for your loss.I think
    there is some truth in the 'time heals' saying.
    Take it easy x

  67. Nap,

    I'd also recommend Steve Jones' "Almost like a whale" and "Y: the descent of men" as updated versions (ish) of some of Darwin's work. (also try "in the blood" and "The single helix", just for fun)

    Also, that Dawkins bloke ain't terrible when he sticks to evolutionary theory and steers clear of bible basher bashing.....

    Try "The selfish gene" (obviously) but t'was "Climbing mount improbable" that got me hooked on evolution.

    And my condolences to Montana

  68. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  69. turm: You make the story of the girl who got 65% for, uhm, nothing a bit sexualized. I once missed an exam in English in German-sort-of-highschool, for good and intellectual reasons. I didn't bat an eyelash, I didn't use my bedroom voice, but still my teacher gave me the best grade, although she definitely wasn't sexually interested in ...

    Oh, crap!

  70. Thanks for that Peter - seem to recall that years ago English at Bristol was arguably the finest in the land. A lot of the BBC did their degrees there.

    Me sometime was offered a place there before she got pregnant and then came to Lancaster with me.

    I've bookmarked the advice and look forward to reading it on a rainy day

  71. @Anne:

    I haven't swallowed any lie, Anne, I just don't believe that the great British public is any more ready for socialism than it is for fascism.

    And re. 1945, I've always found it interesting that Churchill, that arch Tory, never believed that the Beveridge Report, on which the edifice of the Welfare State was based, represented anything remotely resembling socialism - this despite his famous and badly misjudged "Gestapo" gaffe, for which he paid heavily. He just thought it couldn't be afforded.

    The Conservatives' disastrous display in the run-up to the war was also fresh in the minds of many, as was the part they played in the Great Depression and the shabby treatment of many soldiers returning home from the First World War. "Won the war, lost the peace" was a sentiment common to many when casting their minds back to the Tories of the inter-war period.

    There was also the hugely significant "khaki vote" in that election as well. Blokes who'd been in for the duration, desperately looking for a change and a brighter future. The Beveridge Report (widely praised on all sides of the political spectrum) offered that hope.

    Widely praised, I should say, except by Ernest Bevin - who apparently called it a "Social Ambulance Scheme".

  72. Montana - I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. And difficulties in relationships can make a loss complicated and just as hard - I know that all too well.

    You are in my thoughts - and it is really nice to see your toe - as Thauma says.

  73. Loved this comment from AJFrance on the CBI thread (those absolute greedy bastards - demanding all the cuts come from the public sector and that taxes for the rich should be slashed).

    ''I went to sleep last night and woke up this morning in Victorian Britain. Its a shame there are no mines left to send our children down.''

    Chekov - You are right re buying of land etc. It would be need to be done in a group - as a collective or is just too expensive. I have no money and no equity but I do have a 'protable' mortgage!

  74. Buy ~woodland~ it's cheaper than you might think.

    Understand the law on camping caravanning and then parcel the ownership into blocks, such that you can lawfully circulate from one camp site to another within your collective land...............

  75. Swiftyboy - Think you are right that the Brits are not ready for socialism - yet. Give it time and let this nasty lot do their work.

    About a year ago a fairly right wing American think tank stated that come the end of this century we wouldn't be living under capitalism - they listed all the reasons and it was compelling stuff - problem was it was on my old netbook and cant remember name etc.

    I think socialism will only - can only - come about when capitalisms collapse gets bad enough. Because when that happens the choice WILL be socialism or barbarism (or a return to feudalism). The problem is that process of collapse is going to take time and will be horrendous.

    Something I've said on Cif before and I mean - I don't actively want capitalism to collapse because it will be fooking awful - people will suffer and wars may be fought. But I believe that eventually it will collapse - it contains the seeds of its own destruction and they are becoming glaringly obvious for anyone with their eyes half opened. And at that point those who believe in socialist principles will be desparately needed.

  76. We're not that far from feudalism now, if you change "landowners" to "multi-nationals".

  77. I wouldn't trust Churchill's definition of socialism frankly. He hated the very idea of it! Today's Tories are no better. This crisis is the ideal excuse to take us back to the 19th century. I am supposed to accept this?

    What I want is a society organised to benefit the majority and where everything is under real democratic control, where no-one need fear poverty and where there is social justice. I believe that we shall not achieve this under the present economic system because by its nature it favours the rich over the poor.

    Capitalism cannot provide a decent life for everybody. I believe we all have a right to a decent life, which includes work that is satisfying a decent home adequate fod and reasonable entertainment. I think we should care for each other and ensure that the sick are cared for and the children well educated.

    Of course the powers that be don't want this and we are subjected to a constant stream of dark warnings about the dangers of socialism. We are told people don't want it but do they really know what they are rejecting and do they really think the rich and powerful are invincible.

    In feudal times no-one would have believed that the power of the monarchy and the church could be broken but it was. This was the beginning of political freedom. Sadly we have not yet achieved ecconomic freedom which is what socialism is. Economic systems are not set in concrete they can be changed.

    You are against it or for it - there is no half way.

  78. The genesis of the Beveridge Report (cross-party, remember, compiled by members of the Lab/Con National Government) is fascinating. It was a collaborative work completely of its time, written during a World War against Fascism which was beginning to turn in our favour and when the country could start to glimpse, far off admittedly but still, the sunny uplands of "After The War"; informed by the knowledge of what had gone before; and by the privations that the public had been and were suffering at the time.

    The memory of the grinding, grinding poverty of the 20s and 30s, and the general ineffectiveness of the (mostly) Tory governments of the time to do something about it (hell, even the bloody King thought "something must be done" when visiting the Welsh coalfields in the 30s, and witnessing at first hand the squalor and poverty he'd up to then been completely insulated from) ensured that there was enormous popular, cross-party, root and branch support for the Report when it was published.

    It is an astonishing piece of work by any yardstick.

  79. Well said Princess! and indeed we shall need as many people with an understanding of what socialism really is as possible. Or Barbarism is what we shall get.

  80. Jay

    Great 1.44pm post from you on WADDYA.Tip hat to
    you sir.

  81. @Jay, @Paul

    I could argue with some of the content of it, but yeah, good rant.

  82. The Beveridge report was indeed an astonishing piece of work.

    But the NHS was founded on the principles set up by the Tredegar Medical Aid Society since the 19th century. It provided Health care for 95% of the population.

    Nye Bevan was MP for Tredegar and is quoted as saying he would 'Tredegarise' Britain. Both the BMA and the Tory party were resolutely against this plan and fought it right up to the finishing line. The Goebels comment you refer to was a disgusting slur on a decent man and a principled socialist and is a symptom of the fundamental unwillingness of the ruling class to share the wealth they have acrued from the labour of the working class who have never enjoyed the full fruits of their labour.

  83. They've deleted Jay: don't suppose anyone saved it for posterity and can repost it here?

  84. Anne

    I was referring to Churchill's Gestapo slur - he said that Attlee would need some kind of socialist Gestapo to police and enforce what he (Churchill) thought Attlee was going to do with the country.

    Anyway, capitalism's imminent collapse has been widely predicted for many a year, and yet it always seems, somehow, to persist.

    It speaks directly to self-interest, and self-interest for many is a much more powerful driver than any notion of social or economic fairness. That's not a value judgment on my part, by the way, I'm economically neutral, neither a rabid statist nor a swivel-eyed markets man. I have never seen the sense in this constant need for "growth" in commerce, I'd much rather a company delivered reliable profits year in, year out, and offered goods at affordable prices, than I would see stellar profits one year, followed by an unsustainable race for even more stellar profits the next year, followed by... you get the picture. That's the economics of the madhouse, in my own view.

    But if there are to be no half measures Anne, and capitalism has to go, on behalf of the majority, then what comes next - a return to the command economy? Works well enough for the Saudis, admittedly, although less so for the North Koreans, Iranians and Burmese, seemingly.

  85. Dot what is commonly misunderstood about what Marx said about Socialism/Communism is that in fact the role of the state is to defend the rights of the ruling class. If there are no longer any classes then the state is no longer needed and should wither away.

    A system allowing for the organisation of things like transport, communications, ensuring that production of necessities for life, clothing furniture food housing etc, would be all that was needed. People are actually perfectly capable of organising themselves -works on UT doesn't it?

    This is the reason why we know that the USSR was not socialist - the Soviet state was a huge monolithic nightmare. Instead of the 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat'(not one of Marx's more felicitous phrases but it means that we are all 'dictators' over ourselves!)they got the Dictatorship of the Communist party.

    The irony is that many right wing groups (especially in the USA are always demanding a 'small state'. In a class society reducing the power of the state can eventually lead to failed states like Somalia and no-one wants that!

  86. First the good news:

    Wild oats ,poppies and barley when grown in close proximity are a divine sight. Orchestrated to movement by the wind their shapes and dance are simply sublime.

    A corner of my field is well blessed with collections of these wonderful plants and thus I am well pleased.

    Now the bad news:

    Me fegging waterproof boots ain't watertight any more.

    and now for the horrors of the day............round two of the fucking woodchip calls.

  87. Some good reading above for when I get back ...

  88. Barley, Deano? Pull the other one - we know you ain't got no stinking barley.

  89. Sorry Anne I'm confused, was that a reproduction of Jay's comment? Otherwise I've not said anything about your discussion with Swifty....


    Do you need Nikwax or Aquasure?

  90. They do need a good dubbining Dott much cheaper than the posh stuff.

    My dear young miss thaum you will be eating your words when one day I post a picture of said delights - and then you will no longer be able to hide behind your beard......xxx.


  91. Anne

    People are actually perfectly capable of organising themselves -works on UT doesn't it?

    With respect, and I know this isn't your main point, I'd suggest that handling an economy is on an order of magnitude larger than organising a blog. I take your point about systems - and this blog is in some ways a good example of how a system (in this case, whatever software it is that allows people to set up their own blogs, the servers, the protocols for passing data back and forth etc) can encourage people to organise things.

    But frankly, the analogy falls apart as the systems get progressively more complex. You and I have absolutely no control at all over this blog, other than what we write on it - if some malign government (or freak of nature)pulled the plug on the internet tomorrow, that'd be it.

    But that's a digression. I believe you have an inherent belief in the goodness of people - that, if left to their own devices and given the mechanisms by some beneficent power which then writes itself out of the narrative, they (the people) will produce a system which is inherently fair and allows all to thrive according to their talents, where those with more freely give to those with less.

    I do not share that core belief. And I think that your example, the Soviet Union, bears out what I'm saying. Here was the golden chance to start afresh, to sweep aside all the old ways, to create the mechanisms which would allow the mighty Russian people to rise up and realise their huge potential, and from that base, to spread the word around the world... but it didn't work. And it didn't work because human beings were involved, and they were fallible, and greedy, and subject to all the weaknesses which we humans are subject to.

    What makes you think it will turn out differently if we get a chance to re-run the Revolution over here?

  92. Jay

    I see your step by step rebuttal of that troll on WADDYA has been removed.

    Your post now has the same status as the post you rebutted.

    Nice to see moderation has changed. You should follow it up.

  93. Dot sorry I think I'm the one who is confused. I think it was Swifty I was replying too!

    Must be tired!

  94. No worries anne, incidentally I've been reading your exchange with Swifty with interest (at least today) but not commenting because I don't feel sufficiently well informed. I thought you both might want to know you're "fighting" over at least one undecided mind.....

    Deano, ah, that tells me how waterproof these boots were, which is what I was asking, ta.

    Why do you keep shouting at (an apparently currently MIA) Scherf?

  95. "If there are no longer any classes then the state is no longer needed and should wither away."

    I have to agree with Swift on this point, Anne, though i think your posts in the last couple of days have been excellent, but on this point i have to differ.

    I dont think this is tenable or empirically supported because I too do not believe in the innate goodness of man as an animal - which is what we are. Or rather, i dont believe man to be uniformly good.

    Evidence shows violent deaths in hunter gatherer societies accounted for between 10-60% of male fatalities, there never was a golden age of man as a peaceful creature and i dont think there ever will be.

    Even were we to get the central means of production under state control, we would still need a state because, people being people, things are never perfect and there will always be people prepared to sabotage the collective endeavour for their own ends.

    I cant get past the nagging thought that Hobbes was largely right on this issue, but then i dont find Hobbes view particularly gloomy or depressing as many do.

  96. Believe me, Dott, I'm not trying to convert anyone. My world view is just a product of what I've seen, done, studied and read, and really doesn't represent any particular school of political thought at all, as I'm sure is obvious. I certainly wouldn't expect anyone else to go along with anything I'm saying.

    Anyway, that Anne's lucky, she's got 150 years of socialist thought on her side. I've got about 25 years on mine (if I'm taking 18 as a starting point).

    "And doesn't it show?" I hear you all chorus...

    Yep, it does. Laters, everyone.

  97. Ah but Swifty, by writing on this blog you're becoming part of what I've read, thus affecting my world view......

  98. Swifty the soviet union failed, not because people are inherently selfish but because the transition from a communist state to a socialist society did not happen because Russia was to all intents and purposes a third world country. It was still struggling out of feudalism. The traces of serfdom(labour in lieu of rent) did not disappear until 1868.

    There was a very small proletariat and most of the industry was foreign owned. As a result the major powers attacked the infant Soviet Union in an attempt to defend their investments.

    I really believe humans are inherently selfish. If we were we would never have hacked it as a social animal in the first place. Based on studies of modern people living at the gatherer hunter level of organisation it would seem that the very first humans shared everything and had an egalitarian society based on reciprocal altruism. This was the fundamental strength of the human race for thousands of years.

    Obviously the economy would need monitoring but the people wouldn't. It would be recorded on computers anyway wouldn't it? An egalitarian society does not imply that there would be no leadership just that that leadership would be one that emerges on the basis of competance and trust. Its called natural authority people know it when they see it - and respect it.

    You find this kind of trust in the Labour movement - during the miners' strike I put up miners who were picketing the Fords coal depot. I was a single mum and had two blokes I've never met before sleeping on my living room floor. Didn't worry me one bit :). The NUM gave them the money to buy my daughter an Easter egg! Never forgotten that, such a human touch.

    The posts on this thread tells me that people have no faith in the inherent goodness of humanity. I still do and I don't think I'll ever loose it.

    Most ordinary people are decent hard working folk who will go out of their way to do someone a good turn. The last thirty years has done a lot of damage and we have to put that right too.

    But people can do it

  99. Jay - please give links for that and define 'violent death'. Doesn't mean that all the violence was perpetrated by other humans. Hunting was a dangerous activity and the human predator must often became the prey.

    Consider this - we are a weak animal with no natural weapons yet we have survived to become the dominant species. We did this by co-operating. Reciprocal altruism is the action of a saint, its enlightened self interest really.

  100. Montana

    So very sorry to hear about your father. Much love to you and your family.

    Janie x

  101. I have to agree with Swifty. Human nature etc. But I have sympathy for the socialistand social democratic movement.

    Oh well, it is a nice day at least. Depressed as hell right now. Hopefully the employment panel will cheer me up tomorrow

    BTW, anyone who wants to buy land, do it in Scotland, preferably the Highlands and Islands. The soil is generally poor but if you worked the soil you good get a decent yield growing your own veg. Hell you could even buy a run down ruin and do it up. To support yourselves you could all pool your £60 a week dole money together.
    Many areas have no broadband acess though, no idle backchat on here. And maybe even no phone lines and electricity.
    I would be interested in any considerations as I am not likely to get any job here- and if I did it would be minimum wage in poor conditions.

    There are after all communities like Findhorn up here, although I have suspicions they have sold out to become corporate whores.

    Also, does anyone know the Cif poster DurkheimWasRight. I read his profile and it turns out he is living on the same island I left 2 months ago

  102. Some interesting debate going on.

    The current history of the USSR is the post 1990 history. As well as the enormous human rights abuses '(especially the 1930's) the USSR also lifted millions out of a dire existence.

    The latter half of the above paragraph is never highlighted in contemporary histories of the era.

    How many millions did the USSR save? How many did the USSR guarantee a standard of living never seen before in anyone's wildest dreams in Tsarist Russia? How many millions did the USSR help reach their potential in the world of industry, arts, sciences, culture etc?

    These are questions easily brushed under the carpet since the 'triumph' of liberal democracy in 1990. On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall last year a wide ranging survey was done of Eastern Europeans. Of the generation that lived under communism, people felt that life was better in socio-economic terms.

    In 1990, Russia and the Eastern European states felt the full shock of free market neo-liberalism when hot shot US economists of the Chicago school were given carte blanche to realise theor purist ideological neo-liberal dream.

    The result has been in Russia, the switch from 'really existing socialism' to authoritarian capitalism. The type of capitalism the neo-liberals in the west would love to copy. See China for further details.

    All Human Development Indicators point to very little if any progress for the average Russian in socio-economic and social capital terms.

    Post 1990 for the Russian citizen has been the
    right to vote in rigged elections whilst watching the old Soviet nomenklatura be replaced by a mixture of Oligarchs and gangster capitalists.

    To question the current history of the Communist era and to highlight the positives as well as the negatives opens one up to the simplistic charge 'Stalinist'. And whilst I do not condone the actions of Stalin and the lack of freedoms in the slightest, I also observe the value and the almost heroic lifting of millions out of abject poverty and desperation that the Soviet Union also provided.

    In the cartoon history of post 9/11, a history of 'goodies versus baddies', there is no room for intricacies, subtleties and critical analysis. The complex history of Russia and the Soviet Union is airbrushed into 'commies-bad', 'non commies good'.

    Gove by appointing his neo-liberal chums, Niall Ferguson and Andrew Roberts to oversee the English schools curriculum, will ensure this neo-liberal triumphalist viewpoint will be at the centre of any Schools historical studies.

  103. Duke welll said.
    While I said I have my critiscims of the socialist/comunist worldview, I have been vocal on Cif and elsewhere about the democide that has happened since the 1990s and the complete silence in it. The post collapse of the Soviet Union may well have killed as many as the period 1914-23 and 1941-1945 Nazi invasion.
    No one cares.

    Millions of Russians and other ex Soveit people have died since 1991. Families are split up- the soviet borders were itnernal, after they became indpednant countries people were scattered all over. Russians are reduced to beong stereotyped as drunk fools, thousands and thousands of ex Soviet women are prostitutes, or mail order brides (the same as prostitutes IMO).
    In the 12th century when Gnghis Khan sweeped across Eurasia, his armies carried off the womenfolk. That is what has happened again.

    Rape of a nation.
    My estimate is perhaps
    The population of the USSR in 1989 was just under 300 million. Now, for all the countries toghether it is perhaps 250 million. Where did all these people go (and that does not count the children born during this era who weren't in the 1989 census)

    Part of the scum were hte Russian oligarchs. The media portray them as quirky and curious oddities, but they have the blood of millions on their hands.
    We need to work out a mathematical ratio- of their money: how many deaths they were responsible for. The money for Abramovich's yacht was worth say 1000 Russians, the money for Chelsea football club was gained on the bones of, let us suppose 10,000 Russians.

  104. I have been to Russia and seen the tragedy. The coutnry is trying to get back on it's feet though.
    It really is awful The Putin 'siloviki' power structure is not particularly caring, although he is much better than Yeltsin. There are still major social problems.

    I may go back some time. My Russian friend has invited me, so I wouldn't have to pay for accomadation , just the flights and spendong money

  105. Montana - really sorry to hear about your father. Hugs x

  106. Hello all

    Been out most of the afternoon.

    I know you're probably long gone today Monatana, but I just wanted to offer my sincere sympathies. I can only say that although a great tragedy that you had just recently been reconciled before losing your Dad, at least you had that chance to be with him. Grief is like having your entire reality, physical locale and reference points in the universe put into a food mixer. Do not ever feel you have to 'feel better' or 'put on a brave face' - take your time and don't be frightened.

  107. LaRit

    your Richard's comment is still there....amazing but true........!

  108. Gandolfo:

    What - the FUCK OFF one????

    As Victor Meldrew would say - I don't belieeeeve it!!

    Has someone put fairy dust in the eyes of the mods?

    Can La ritournelle do no wrong???

  109. Christ what a fucking day. PCTs to be disbanded. Enormous changes around the corner my bredren...

  110. Annetan, firstly i dont think my view here forces me down the ideological paths i suspect you think it does, but i'll come back to that.


    Thats for the figure quoted. Though i do find it strange that you would be so skeptical of this. Isnt violence pervasive throughout the entire human history?

    The forging of fiefdoms, kingdoms, empires, and even the low level "turf" of todays gangs has been forged through violence. Violence is also readily observable in our closest ancestors in the animal kingdom.

    We would be a remarkable species indeed to dominate the globe without any intrinsic capacity for violence considering the irrefutable violence of so many animals.

    I do agree that the USSR is a poor example to say either the model works or fails, it had just emerged from autocracy and was a third world country as you say.

    "I really believe humans are inherently selfish. If we were we would never have hacked it as a social animal in the first place."

    I dont believe they are either (presume you meant you DONT believe...), but i do find the logic of *genes* being selfish very hard to refute. Which is two entirely different things.

    "Based on studies of modern people living at the gatherer hunter level of organisation it would seem that the very first humans shared everything and had an egalitarian society based on reciprocal altruism."

    This may have been the case for the very first, but it certainly didnt last long. There are countless remains found with undeniably human inflicted causes of death, some even with the arrow heads still extant. Wasnt the oldest known human remains in Britain found with such marks? The "Cheddar Man", from around 7,000 BC, was found with a hole in his skull. Or this:

    "A grave with the remains of a mother and father huddled together with two sons has been dated to 4,600 years ago and marks the oldest genetic evidence for a nuclear family, researchers say.

    The individuals were carefully arranged in their graves to denote they were part of a biological family, the researchers say. Wounds on the remains suggest the parents and kids were defending themselves against a violent raid, involving stone axes and arrows, at the time of their deaths."


    I really find it a tough sell that violence is a modern and socially constructed human facet, and i dont think its necessary either.

  111. "Obviously the economy would need monitoring but the people wouldn't."

    I think they would. I read Monbiot's sorrowful moment of realisation, when he abandoned his own views on man's innate peacefulness and gentle spirit. He watched tribes in Africa, virtually untouched by the modern world, fight to the death over cattle. That was when he gave it up.

    "The NUM gave them the money to buy my daughter an Easter egg! Never forgotten that, such a human touch."

    That is a human touch, i completely agree, and i am not disputing for one minute that most people have strong capacities for selfless behaviour - they do. But there is also a very visible capacity for violence in just about every known culture in the world, same goes for self interest to varying degrees.

    But there is also, as you say, reciprocal altruism - that we actually all benefit from cooperation. Without that we wouldnt be where we are now.

    "The posts on this thread tells me that people have no faith in the inherent goodness of humanity."

    But i dont want "faith", Anne, thats the problem. Same with my views regarding religion, i just cant bring myself to believe something, however nice it may be, if i dont believe it.

    But i think you are missing a crucial point and that is that a)humans having an inherent capacity for selflessness and b)humans having an inherent capacity for violence and self interest, are not mutually exclusive. Just as an individual can be both violent and kind, caring and spiteful. Character is complex.

    Thats why my lack of faith in humanity as naturally angelic doesnt really influence my political views in many areas, including economics. Economic fairness and the undeniable benefits of cooperation do not require a faith in humans as angelic creatures corrupted by dark cultural forces. And i dont see which political views of yours would need to be shed either.

  112. annetan/Swifty/Duke/NapK/PrincessCC

    Excellent posts and really interesting reading...

    re: Oligarch's and blood money

    Whilst temping in Belgravia for 10 months I was watching the 'development' of a former embassy building - beautiful massive 6 story georgian house on Belgrave Sq.

    As I was the lacky who always bought the sandwiches for meetings etc. I often went past twice a day. I ended up chatting to the builders and it transpired that it had been bought by a Russian as a private residence (I reckon around £20 million) and he was spending.... wait for it.... £100 Million refurbishing and 'personalising' the house. Blood money.

    I remember reading that after the 'collapse' of the Soviet Union and the complete collapse of the Rouble, people like Abramovich (already well placed gangsters) set about setting up shop in towns and cities buying workers' collective shares in all the industries like steel - people were so desperate, those shares became the only viable currency - and there you had it - one stop shop mass privatisation of Russian industry and collective wealth and complete disenfranchisemnet of millions of Russians, concentrated in the hands of about 10 fuckers like Abramovich buying football clubs and yachts worth £100 million quid.

    What I want to know is - who funded the likes of Abramovich & Co.?

  113. Apologies, i waffled so long there i had to split it in two to even get it through the interwebz and uploaded on the site...

    I changed template too, heresy i know, let me know what you all think, very easy to change back.

  114. If anyone cant see new template log out then come back in.

  115. Bloody hell, what's happened here?

    Napoleon, I had no idea the population of Russia had dropped so much in that time. Incredible.


    re your OFCOM swear word post on WADDYA.

    Does anyone else remember when the BBC used to replace 'motherfucker' with 'melonfarmer' or 'motherhubbard'?

    Normally on Eddie Murphy films.

  116. Jay;

    Thought I was going bonkers then!

    naughty.... twiddling the knobs behind the scenes ;)

  117. I quite like it meself - it's like a mirror image...slightly easier to read too..

  118. Right well I'm going to leave the knob twiddled for now and get some work done, but will be back later to untwiddle as required, and to pick up the violence debate if Annes back.

    Honestly, you old folk, website changes colour and you're all bewildered... ;)

  119. Jay,

    hmmmm. Not sure that I like this format.

  120. I must count among the old folk then because it freaked me out Jay.

    I am sure I will get used to it. ;)

  121. LaRit.....
    I was bleedin' surprised an' all!!!

    mmmmmmm new format.....naw!

    Re russian mafia

    it's rife in India...buying up illegally loads of land especially along the coastal belts of Goa....also in the himalayas where surprisingly there is the drugs trade.....Indian govt is getting pissed off....I'll try and get some info...

  122. afternoon all

    What's going on here then? Someone's been re-decorating whilst i was away. - but it looks very pretty so it's ok by me.

    Lots of serious conversation that I'm too knackered to participate in - but all good stuff.

    Tend to agree with Jay about 'human nature'. We'll always need regulating as there will always be those who care naught for the common good but are only interested in their own interests and its in plenty of historical records what havoc people like that can wreak.

    Am very pessimistic about the short and medium term and think things are going to go from the 'bad stuff' we see unfolding before us now to really serious shit and a lot of people will suffer. The Middle East and parts of the Balkans are looking very wobbly and it won't take much for something to trigger off problems that could easily spread.

    The rich of course will find ways to preserve themselves and their 'entitlements' - it was ever thus. What we call 'civilisation' is very fragile.

    I admire you Anne for fighting your corner but I think the LP is unsaveable now and think we need a completely different set of politics to the old adversarial tradition we've followed for so long. How that may work is anyones guess. but it will take a willingness to co-operate that I see very little will for anywhere at the moment. Gloomy times.

  123. Satanic hordes!.

    Actually it is easier to read.

  124. Nap
    Interesting posts on Russia.

    Apologies for my rudeness to you the other week.

    Have you read John Le Carre's "A Most Wanted Man"?

  125. Woah - all this space - surely it should be easier to read, but somehow it isn't...

  126. Gandolfo:

    It's happening along the coast of Ghana too (going West towards Cote d'Ivoire) .... mainly Americans and Australians doing the buying-up.

  127. My t'internet is having a bit of a benny at the moment....

    I like the 'space' - but it's a little unsettling ;)

  128. Duke:

    Oh, god Duke, looks like the Dutch are about to have a re-run of what we've just had...Wilders looking very smug indeed.

  129. Kingmaker of the Coalition he's being called...

  130. Oh new layout. Bit freaky - don't like change. But will be used to it in a few days.

    Can I just say Nap and Duke - bloody brilliant posts on Russia.

    Jay and Annetan. Well I am kind of in the middle of you both. I belive that human beings are mostly good. Some people are not so good and mostly good people do bad things and probably that was the way it always was. However in one way Jay is it relevant? Because people die a plenty under capitalism - it aint as if this is some peace loving system is it?

    And I think the deaths in hunter gatherer societies tended to be between societies rather than deaths within groups. I am not an expert on all of this but did do some stuff on anthropology years back and my sis is an out-of-work-right-now sometime archeologist - she was taught by some very respected guys in this field and was taught that early humans were very co-operative -it's how we got this far.

    In fact I would go as far as to say that even under feudalism there was much greater co-operation. The lord would have a reciprocal relationship with the peasants. There would have been power but responsibility to those he had power over, whereas now under capitalism huge power and wealth can be accrued and people are seen as nothing but units of production to the people accruing it.

    My sis gave me the figures for how many hours a week the average fuedal peasant worked and it is something like eighteen! Not that I am advocating feudalism but I do believe that capitalism has fundamentally changed us - it has in a true sense of the word - perverted relationships between people.

    Re Marxism and socialism. The USSR was not socialist and as Duke says it was a lot more complex than we give it credit for anyway. However Marx always said that socialism could not evolve from a feudalist economy. It can only evolve from a capitalist economy. As I understood it (maybe Anne can tell me if I am right its so long since I studied him) Marxists see socialism as kind of contained within capitalism. And that it will evolve from it when capitalisms crises become overwhelming.
    But if capitalism does collapse (and swifty nothing lasts forever - feudal lords probably never thought a system that was hundreds of years old could collapse) then we face a choice and that choice will be to co-operate and live in a socialist manner or to descend into barbarism

    Wow sorry for the massive long rant. P.s. if I could reccommend one person to read on this if anyone is interested it would be Gramsci.

  131. @Jay

    I like it - looks better on my screen, and easier to read.

  132. had i read the comments first I might have spent less time trying to fix it ! Now I see someone dun it deliberately.

    It's a bit spacey.

  133. What happened to the bins ?

  134. Evening all

    WTF has happened to the format? Or has someone
    simply been over-indulging in the 'sauce'

  135. princess

    And I think the deaths in hunter gatherer societies tended to be between societies rather than deaths within group

    I'm certainly no expert but I think the real problems between different 'groups' began with agriculture and settlement when it became necessary to defend settlements, land and crops against raiders - the beginnings of 'ownership', and the problems of competition for resources as populations grew - the need for 'military' protection and the rise of war lords etc.

  136. Leni:

    "It's a bit spacey"

    Have you been at the 'shrooms Leni? ;0)

  137. Looks nice on my screen too peter.

  138. @ Malawi.
    PCTs to be disbanded Got a link to say that's definite?
    my undertsanding is that PCTs will be stripped of providing any services, but it's SHAs that will be scrapped. PCTs will be a little like (very) old-fashioned health boards and q. possibly controlled by Local Authorities.
    It'll still be a cluster-fuck, mind.Just watch the amalgamations and re-naming rather than genuine abolition. Also watch for highly creative accounting and reporting: the cuts will hit the frontline appallingly while the managerial types (n.b. managerial types, not managers per se) will wheedle and connive and survive with unwarrantably large salaries intact: I can attest to some such characters in my neck of the woods oh so casually repositioning themselves, turning up to meetings they've not attended for literally years (i.e. those with any public or underlings input) so they can then present themselves as somehow necessary.Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast.

  139. alisdair

    Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast.

    Will that include the human variety do you think?

  140. Who done this layout?


    In fact I would go as far as to say that even under feudalism there was much greater co-operation. The lord would have a reciprocal relationship with the peasants. There would have been power but responsibility to those he had power over, whereas now under capitalism huge power and wealth can be accrued and people are seen as nothing but units of production to the people accruing it.

    Well, yes, but I think that's as Utopian a view as Anne's (sorry both!). It all depended on the character of your Lord and Master, much as today's great corporations are evil to greater or lesser extents, but still fundamentally evil to the average worker.

    My sis gave me the figures for how many hours a week the average fuedal peasant worked and it is something like eighteen!

    That's interesting! Is it calculated by year, though, so you'd have very long days in the planting and reaping seasons and very little otherwise?

    God, I'd love an 18-hour week.... (For the same pay of course.)

  141. From HSJ today

    "PCTs to lose responsibility for GPs
    10 June 2010 By Sally Gainsbury, Dave West, Charlotte Santry"

    Primary care trusts will have their responsibilities radically stripped back under plans being developed by health secretary Andrew Lansley.

    The government has already announced plans to make GPs the lead commissioners for care worth up to £60bn. HSJ understands this will mean 500-600 GP consortia contracting directly with a new independent NHS board, removing all of PCTs' existing GP contracting and performance management functions.

    PCTs are screwed. If you've got shares in PCTs, I think you should sell

    A senior Department of Health source told HSJ: "PCTs are screwed. If you've got shares in PCTs, I think you should sell. They are under more threat than the strategic health authorities."

    The coalition government's document Our Programme for Government said PCTs would have a responsibility for public health spending, act as a "champion for patients" and commission "residual services".

    Public health spending accounts for approximately £4bn a year - just 4.7 per cent of the total £84bn now allocated directly to PCTs. HSJ has been told the further "residual" commissioning responsibilities likely to be left with PCTs include maternity care, optometry, pharmacy, dental services and services for patients "GPs don't want" such as homeless people.

    DH and PCT sources said the government's plans meant the future for many staff employed by PCTs now lay in "selling [their] services to GP consortia". The DH source said: "If I were them I would be trying to do a good job now. Some of them would be a shoo-in as managers of a consortia."

    The radical nature of Mr Lansley's plans for GP commissioning have not been lost on the NHS Confederation - whose acting chief executive Nigel Edwards met with Mr Lansley at the end of May.

  142. Part Two...

    "In a letter sent to confederation members about the meeting last week and seen by HSJ, Mr Edwards said most commentators had "underestimated" how radical the changes would be.

    "In the NHS we are used to reform and reorganisation which changes the architecture: the organisations get bigger or smaller and titles change but mostly existing power relationships remain intact," he said.

    "The proposed programme goes beyond this to fundamentally change the healthcare system.

    "The intention seems to be to put all the enabling mechanisms and the policy framework in one set of reforms and allow the detail of how they work on the ground to be developed locally, as opposed to the approach of the last 10 years of a more step-wise approach."

    But the lack of detail on how GP commissioners will be managed and scrutinised is raising concerns, including at the Treasury, where officials are worried Mr Lansley's plan to transfer the vast majority of NHS spending to untested organisations comes just when the NHS needs to make significant efficiency savings.

    One PCT chief executive said: "The inconsistencies of this policy are so gross they cannot be avoided. We need somebody to articulate in greater detail how they want the system to look."

    A chief concern is where the line of accountability will sit and who will be the accounting officer for GP commissioners. At present that accountability lies with PCTs, but DH officials are considering transferring it to either consortia chiefs or independent board regional offices.

    News of the uncertain future of PCTs comes as SHA regions have been given separate management cost reduction targets. The 2010-11 operating framework said the target was 30 per cent by 2013-14. But HSJ has been told the target in the South East Coast region is 40 and in London it is 50.

    A DH spokeswoman confirmed differential targets had been set and warned: "We are reviewing the need to go further and faster in light of the commitment to reduce costs in bureaucracy and admin."

    Doubts have also been raised over PCTs' future public health role, which many expect to pass to local authorities once the technicalities of bringing elected members to PCT boards are discussed in Parliament.

    Asked by HSJ whether this was a likely outcome, the health secretary said: "We will be saying more about this in the white paper. We are not going to try to drive the service by changing structure. Function will change and form will follow function."

  143. I quite like the whiteness, feels a bit tidier and more pristine to me but am really not fussed either way, is only a click of a button to put it back or to another template (very clever this Blogger malarkey).

    Sheff - agreed, and the problem is you only need a few people to spoil things and everyone else must adapt to fix it, using whatever needs must.

    PCC - it doesnt really matter much, no, was just picking up Anne's point -

    "If there are no longer any classes then the state is no longer needed and should wither away."

    I just dont believe the end of class would be the end of violence, and i think because of that some form of state will always be desirable, though obviously I'd like to see this Leviathan in a different shape to what it is now, but thats another argument...

  144. Interesting, BW, thanks. Not sure what to think of it until the details come out. My cynical side says that it'll be terrible, but on the other hand we all know that there is loads of wasted overhead in the NHS (and of course other areas).

    No doubt all decision-making will be out-sourced to private companies who will charge a fortune to make sure that no-one gets the care they need.

    (Oops, there goes my cynical side again.)

  145. Jay

    I just dont believe the end of class would be the end of violence

    I don't believe that the end of class would actually be the end of class. A period of violence would ensue, in which new warrior classes would arise. The 'warriors' might not take the form of actual bloodshed - at least, not openly (Halliburton) - but would certainly wage financial war to consolidate and protect its interest.

  146. Hate this format - much easier and quicker to refer to previous and latter posts on the old format.

    This format sucks really.

    Probably more more likely to be what Alastair C says than privatisation...

    We will see

  147. This comment has been removed by the author.

  148. @ BW, that was expected, or at least I knew that was coming, via a DH e-mail last week.
    Full of inconsistencies. PbC doesn't work (and there are great chunks of the NHS where they simply can't, and don't know how to set 'tariffs': was tangentially involved with some discussions on the MH side of things, and we all incontrovertibly said it can't be done because your 'outputs' (vile terminology) are so variable, because that's the inherent nature of MH.
    Furthermore lansley speaks of GPs as commissioners, well, a) hardly any are interested or want to do that, b) even with existing PbC they don't: little 'secret' is that it's practice managers doing all that, so back to managerialist types, I fear, plus greater scope for less-detectable cronyism. Take something like,ooh, phlebotomy for GP practices. A PCT commissioning them is pretty public and you can more easily check if there's been shenanigans. Less easy if it's done at the micro/practice level. c) we have PbC clusters,some of which which verge on being PCT sized anyhow, so that's another way in which the reality is more distant from GPs doing the commissioning that they don't want to be doing, don't have the time to do and possibly aren't best placed to do.

  149. True thauma I don't there can ever be such a thing as the end of class, it might one day be based on different criteria but some form of hierarchy will always be with us.

  150. Alisdair:

    "Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast"

    You're not wrong there, I've seen so many of them in various work places in my time.... with their knives and forks out and their desire to stomp on faces and stab backs to get themselves in the forefront of the pay queue.

  151. BW/Alisdair

    OK, have gone back and re-read Alisdair's previous and now his 20:35. Am not conversant with various acronyms used, nor really with the way things work today, as a pure consumer of healthcare.

    The issue of allowing Local Authorities a lot more power is troublesome in many ways, yet attractive in others. A bit like my feudalism point earlier: it all depends on who's running your LA.

    When local elections come up, there is far less info about the candidates than there is for a national election, for one thing.

  152. Oh, BW and thauma, this doesn't rule out privatsation at all. After all, that's waht New labour covertly pursued, not merely with the overt outsourcing and use of the private sector, but also talk of the NHS as a brand (i.e. a lable, to be applied to pfofit-seeking cherry-pickers). It alos lies behind FTs, which are simply trusts aping corporate structures,financially and in mindset all separate and competing with one another. Next step, by this horrid logic is simply have them compete "on a level playing field" (urgh) with the likes of UnitedHealth and the other corporate bastards.
    Factor in that a huge part of the Connecting for Health IT haemorrhaging of money was on nothing to do with patient care or records (which can be done q. cheaply, and don't need a grotesquely expensive apparatus) and all to do with "transaction" tracking: that is to say, a massive part of the IT spend is on a system that mirrors that of privatised, insurance-based healthcare, as in the USA. Woe-betide you if you have any uninsurable health condition or complex,costly conditions. Healthcare insurance firms (and remember ATOS: that's their background)don't like sick people, they just like money.

  153. Alisdair - that's the opposite of my experience. PBC actually effecting change on the ground where I live as opposed to the PCT stifling initiatives - and not actually ever commissioning - any (really!) new services unless PBC kicks their sorry managerialist arses by embarassing them into action.

    Our PCT is full (newbuild occupied in 2008, 400 staff) of *pointless* managers on 30-50k PA doing positively fuck all to help local health and social economy and driving Audis.

    Fuck those cunts.

  154. Sorry.
    PCT = Primary Care Trust
    SHA = Strategic Health Authority
    LA = Local Authority
    PbC = Practice based Commissioning
    FT = Foundation Trust

    And don't get me started on the imminent disaster that is coming in social care with personal budgets and the woeful model being implemented for all social care.

  155. BW, I don't defend PCTs, but PbC ain't a panacea. There are some (in fact more than you might expect) areas in which economies of scale are needed and/or sufficient clout to negotiate with FTs, who are way too big, and so end up getting their way too often in negotiations.

  156. Oi! Stop with the acronyms! I understand "PCT" (vaguely) and that's it....

    BW, I have no doubt about the pointless managers, but with this government (not much different from NL but slightly less coy about it) I expect to see just about everything privatised.

    The Tories' goal is doubtless a US-style, disastrous private insurance scheme. We should all move in case we get ill(er).

  157. Ah, thanks, Alisdair. OK, I know what the LA is, but what exactly are the rest, and how do they inter-relate? I've actually never heard of PbT before.

  158. [note to self: do not procrastinate, getting into discussions, no matter how interesting, no matter how engaging the correspondents,on the UT, when you have a talk to give first thing tomorrow morning and you haven't yet written any of it...]

  159. PbT: Lead T[i]tanium?

    OK Alisdair, off you go, don't let us distract you! :-)

  160. Alisdair Cameron
    Shame you weren't down in Sheffield last Saturday, we could have had a really good rant about all this. Really.

    Anyhoo, my missus is due home from work any moment, and will be swithcing my synergies to Chinese Takeaway and Cheap White Wine based health strategies.

    Have a good evening bro.

    (And the rest of you)

  161. White, BW? I am ashamed of you.

  162. I mean, everyone knows red is much healthier.

  163. Duke

    One for you here.According to an article in todays Times unemployed single Dutch women are being offered £1150 for a fashion and beauty makeover plus free membership of a dating
    agency.It is thought that if they improve their
    appearance and find themselves a solvent husband
    they will settle down,find a job and come off benefits.

    The package includes a new hairstyle and outfit
    as well as tips from a life coach on how to attract a new partner and/or a job.

    NB-On hearing the news Harriet Harman had to
    lie down in a dark room with a wet flannel
    on her forehead.However it is widely believed
    that the scheme would be unworkable as far as
    the Waynetta Slobs of the UK are concerned.
    Plus the fact that all the little spare cash
    the government has is needed for Trident.
    Nevertheless DWP Boss IDS has announced that
    a certain Mme Bruxelles has offered a free on-line service for any unemployed Britsh
    women in need of a leg up.

    ps The first 2 paras are genuinley true!

  164. £1150 I think I might need a bit more than that Paul.

  165. Some class posts today folks -I'm looking forward to a more considered read after I've walked me dogs.

    Fucking wood-chip is done thank god.

    Thank god twice 'cos a checkout girl in Tesco liked me so much that she only charged me for three bottles of a decent Chilean Red when she loaded six bottles into my wine carrier. And she smiled nicely at me whilst she did it, I thus feel much loved today.

  166. Paul, whaaaa? No, really, WTF????

    I think I may have to lie down in a darkened room with a wet flannel myself.

    That's just wrong.

  167. Deano, er ... don't you feel slightly guilty about that?

  168. 'Some kind of hierarchy will always be with us'

    Hm - does rather depend on what you mean by 'Hierarchy'. There will always be leadership if thats what you mean - certain individuals who have a natural talent in a given field that others in that field will look up to.

    But I can envisage a society with no imposed hierarchy - just a natural on based on reputation and trust not wealth and power.

    'There will always be class'

    The problem with all debates on class is that we all mean something different by it - if you mean there will always be people with different levels of ability - well yes thats probably true (difficult to be certain because so many people suffer disadvantage that may interfere with their natural ability.

    Thats why, in this context I prefere to use the Marxist definition - upper class own wealth (capital) and have no need to sell their labour power. Working class cannot live a decent life without selling their labour power.

    In a classless (in that sense) society no-one would be freed from the obligation to work but would for the most part be doing work they enjoy and there would be no obligation to work long hours. There would be no fear of destitution brought about by illness as the sick the vulnerable the old and the young would be decently cared for and where necessary, properly educated.

    I am not suggesting that imperfection and problems would disappear and I do not believe my views are Utopian.

    The people of feudal times would have thought a society where people could improve their lot in life by their own efforts was Utopian. Well we are living in it - this was a step forwrd but only a limited one.

    Of course people will get drunk, get violent with each other have arguments and there will be control freaks who want to boss people around. But if the people all have real ecconomic and political freedom and do not have to work long hours there will be time for society to solve these problems by self regulation instead just leaving them to fester as happens now.

    Our society is based on some people controlling the rest of us - controlling what we do, how much money we can earn, how long we have to work even what we think and most of us have been told, time and time again that capitalism is as good as it gets and that its unrealistic to want a better world.

    Ask yourselves - who benefits from that viewpoint? I'm sure as hell certain I don't.

    I believe that a better society is possible but that any permenant change for the better requires the removal of capitalism and the class system.

    Like the white background I can read it more easily can't find stiff though - I guess I'll get used to it.

  169. Paul

    reminded me of the Nepalese govt that offered 50,000 rupees (about 500euro) to men that would marry widowed women.........

    a real WTF moment....

  170. thaumaturge/jen

    You can see the story on Times Online
    under the Europe News category.

  171. I love your view of what is possible Anne just stuck in a bit of a 'what's the bloody point' state lately.

    I think something really catastrophic is going to have to happen to force any change on us if most people are as resigned and as unmotivated as me.

    I think I am coming out of that state but it is taking its bloody time. :)

  172. thaum what me feel guilty for being loved by a Tesco girl?

    Nah I said thank you very much and smiled right back, charming young lass.She will I'm sure develop into a very fine young woman.

    It would have been cruel/ungenerous of me to make her feel uncomfortable at her error or her act of intended kindness to an old tramp

  173. I believe you Paul, there are some back to work schemes over here that will give you money to buy smart clothes for interviews and stuff.

    The dating agency thing is a bit more concerning to me.

  174. Thauma

    re deano's wine
    a few quid out of the Dame Shirley "gerrymandering" Porter coffers wouldn't worry me in the least.......!

  175. Only trouble with the wine thing is that if it is spotted by one of the many cameras they have in those stores or it is found out in any way the woman will be in big trouble.

    I am sure if she did it she knew she could get away with it but a lot of companies spend more time trying to catch the staff out than they do shoplifters.

    I worked for a place that used to take any shortages out of your wages and any more than three in a month resulted in a warning.

    I worked in KFC when I was a student and always used to give away extra chicken (yes I am responsible for the obesity epidemic) until someone noticed, they actually count how many bits of chicken they cook and compare it to how many are sold, I didn't get sacked but I got a right telling off.

  176. Anne

    There will always be leadership if thats what you mean - certain individuals who have a natural talent in a given field that others in that field will look up to.

    Yet I fear that this 'natural leadership ability' is what got Tony (C***) Blair elected. Charisma is not integrity. Not that I have a better solution.

    In a classless (in that sense) society no-one would be freed from the obligation to work but would for the most part be doing work they enjoy and there would be no obligation to work long hours.

    Someone's got to clean the toilets or look after children / the incapable, or risk their health and safety by welding or mining or working in a foundry. For example.

    Now, I think these jobs should be paid far better than your average just because they are dirty and/or dangerous. Manufacturing work (at least in the auto/aerospace industries) actually is paid fairly well, at least in the west. However those jobs are fast disappearing from these shores due to cheaper - and much less regulated - labour in the third world.

    I know a bit about auto welding. It is a horrifically dangerous job, and in the major industrial countries has mostly been replaced by robotics. Robots don't get maimed or killed, and they are more accurate, which leads to better vehicular structural integrity.

    However, many auto manufacturers have outsourced Body-in-White assembly to third-world countries where people will take these dangerous jobs for a lot less money, thereby compromising not only local jobs but vehicle safety.

    So what is required is a world-wide revolution of labour. Sadly, I can't see this happening, because the people in the third-world countries who are taking these jobs are *still* slightly better off than they were before ... if they aren't injured or killed.

  177. Re the wine issue: what Jennifer said about the cashier possibly getting in trouble, and also ... we all revile big businesses for dishonesty, but are they not right to be cynical about their customers if you'll happily be dishonest with them?

    Theft and this sort of 'error' causes businesses to raise their prices to cover the cost, which only hurts the least well-off.

  178. That is what I meant by my earlier comment thauma, I just don't believe that those who are fitted for leadership will be the ones to rise to the top.

    It will be the fast talking, sneaky buggers who do and once they are up there off we go again as they hoard that power and pass it on to who they choose.

    I don't think humans are inherently bad but I do think we are gullible.

  179. I've got to admit thauma I am not so worried about the company, they already cover expected losses plus however many % in their prices.

  180. Jennifer - yes, but the higher their perceived theft, the more they will raise their prices. I'm not crying on their behalf, but it's the customer who pays the price in the end.

    And if it's a small local operation there's no excuse at all.

  181. Oh definitely not thauma but Tesco can kiss my backside. ;)

  182. Jen - completely agree with your previous comment. Well, except that I do think that a few humans are inherently bad (Blair, Mandelson, Cheney, Bush). Unfortunately these seem to be the ones who rise to the top, probably because they are ruthless.

    Anyway, me off to bed; a good night to all!

    Except obviously B, M, C, B.

  183. Thauma I lost any sympathy I might have for the supermarkets when they put up all their prices during the petrol price rises.

    Yes it takes more money to transport goods etc.

    Doesn't explain why the prices never went back down when the crisis was over, they are everything that is bad about this society.

  184. Sorry to butt in, but ..

    ***message for princess - emailed you via sheff tonight.

    Obviously missed a few good discussions here while I've been away. Now fully recovered from the weekend (and I was one of the sober ones!), but apart from the odd post, giving CiF a bit of a swerve for the sake of my sanity.

  185. jen

    tesco made a profit of £3.13 billion last year....just thought I'd cheer you up!!

  186. And Jen - I agree with you about the Tesco scenario. John Lewis for eg have always required staff to put any shopping they've got into lockers before entering the store for work. Most places dock staff wages if the till is down 'cos you've given someone too much change.

    Sorry deano. x

  187. Jennifer - just refreshed screen! - they are right bastards but they are NEVER going to let their executives or shareholders suffer. So if there is any slippage in profits, it's going to get passed right on to the customer. Therefore you and I end up paying more for our food because other people are nicking things.

    OK ... really off to bed now.

  188. evening all!

    now, I like the new template/layout doobrey, but suspect that this may be a cunning plan by reilly to get us all facing right...

    your grace - 'flip you melonfarmer' was repo man - alex cox insisted on the most stupid overdubs for the 'clean' version to make a point, i think...

  189. Oh well then Gandolfo they can afford to gift Deano a couple of bottles of wine.

    I actually hate tesco.

  190. Early start & a happy day tomorrow enduring the frozen stare of the boss who has me card marked ..

    Life could be better, but then again, it has also been infinitely worse, so there's always an upside. Somewhere.

    Night all

  191. I ain't dishonest with anybody - the value of the wine will be given many times over to those less fortunate than me.

    The issue always for me is to cooperate with an angered spirit. Over the years I have observed human beings finding ways of getting even with organisations who deny their humanity and intelligence.

    It's not my style to let others suffer for my gain.

    Anybody who works for an organisation that scripts their words of greeting/contact with other humans gets my support when they 'fight back'

    I didn't for one minute think the girl would be in trouble (she was cute in the execution).In any event I am well known (on cameras) to all the supermarket managers in my area for being an awkward bastard. If I have one on me they know that I will take half their day in unyielding argument, and a lot of the next one as they have to email/phone head office for advice...

    I once forced the Morrisons supermarket Manager of the year to allow me to buy one of his checkout ladies a bottle of wine. It took me an hour but I did it.

    The argument arose because I bought six bottles of wine and then decided to give one to the lady on the till.............she said "how lovely but I'm not allowed to accept gifts from customers" I said "call the manager", she did, and he and I argued for an hour and then he changed the policy.

  192. For all you supermarket wine drinkers take a read of this........talk about exploitation.....

  193. ....i also buy wine in the supermarket!!

  194. Can I just say I don't really like wine (not even a fine red).

    You can all hate me now. ;)

  195. jen

    if it makes you feel better i don't drink red after a particularily nasty yoof experience of mixing red wine and beer.......

  196. Deano/Gandolfo:

    I used to regulary nick woine and washing powder from me local Tezzas, after the Dame (is she still a f'kin dame?)Porter fiasco, nicked £60 million paid back 50p, I thought I'd get me own back on her :)

  197. I love the way Mr JR foists a new format on everyone and then buggers off.... typical bloke !