Sunday, 28 April 2013

Newell News-round up, week 5

Week 5 and the hot topic has to be human rights, those things that serve us everyday without even realising it.

Human rights allow each of us to get married, divorced, practice religion (or not), meet in large groups (to cheer for athletes chasing balls) to exercise a vote, allow us to vote in the first place and generally allow us to live our lives with out fear of oppression and with the freedom to speak as we see fit.


Syria have allegedly used chemical weapons against their own people, with varying degrees of confidence according the US. Both darling David Cameron and Barack Obama have been highly critical of the latest news coming out from Syria, using rhetoric such as there being a 'red line' on Syria. We have heard this talk before and there are varying stories coming out from Syria that do not give any such smoking gun that the imperialist war criminals rallied behind before invading Iraq. For Cameron or Obama to lecture anyone on war crimes is unfathomable. These two war criminals and their predecessors Bush and Blair have more blood on their hands than anyone since Stalin or Hitler for that matter. They continue to sell arms to regimes that suit, such as the Bahraini government, who are using them to oppress a revolution for freedom and have descended the world into civil war in the name of new democracy.

In China 21 people have been killed following a 'terrorist' incident in the region of Xinjiang in ongoing tensions. An apparent effort to establish an independent East Turkistan is said to be the cause, with the government claim that the attack was based on terrorism, not necessarily echoed by others in the region, who said it was more ethnically motivated.

India is still witnessing street protests over the issue of rape with young children taking to the streets after a 5 year old girl was abducted and sexually assaulted. This comes after the horrific incident in 2012 and numerous high profile attempts or cases since.
Also in India, a factory unit collapsed killing over 300 people, with 900 still missing. Police are said to have detained the owners but I doubt that there are any suits from Primark, Mango or Matalan being held for their part in this tragedy. They outsource the making of their products mainly to increase their profit margins but also because the further they spread their supply chains from the consumer, the less people tend to care about the conditions that made them.
These high profile incidents come against the back drop of strained relations with the United States over an issue of solar power.
India receives plenty of sun and is severely struggling with a lack of power and so are pinning their hopes on the solar power, the most abundant source of power in our solar system. In February this year the US lodged an appeal to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over India's intentions to use domestically produced solar cells to provide the materials, also providing work for their own people. India are doing so as both the Chinese and the Americans have been under cutting local producers of these goods as they are able to be imported tax free. The US have claimed that these are discriminatory practices and claim it will raise the cost of clean energy, or do they not want to see a nation get off their knees in front of the oil and coal barons that currently run this world?

A Senate hearing this week heard how drone strikes are the face of America in Yemen as a man gave a chilling account of life in the cross hairs of Americas drone army. Terrorism in all its forms is abhorrent and our governments are the greatest purveyors of war and terror.

A prison riot in Mexico has resulted in several deaths. Whether or not the former head of HSBC, Lord Green, is being looked into regarding this, after the bombshell in 2012 that they laundered billions of dollars of Mexican drug cartels money, is any ones guess...

The Artist Taxi Driver

The House of Lords were busy debating the NHS Act: Section 75 and the fire sale that will now undoubtedly follow. Doctors have expressed their concerns over it back in 2007 and another GP has recently resigned as a consequence. To raise awareness of the issue the Artist Taxi Driver pushed a toy pig 4.1 miles from Kings College Hospital to Downing Street, where he handed in a petition against the act. In the build up to the act being debated there was a distinct lack of discussion around in the mainstream news, but there was much discussion surrounding nurses on apparent "safari's" looking for lost patients. Murdoch media picked this up and was abetted nicely by the BBC.
The NHS is the single greatest thing that this country has and we are on the precipice of watching it sail off into the sunset, on HMS Profiteer.

Profiteering scoundrel, Iain Duncan Smith, received an open letter this week from a woman who has recently come off benefits after finally managing to secure work following a long hard 18 months. She wrote the letter fearing what will come of the people left on the welfare system that have been unfortunate enough to find a way back in the working world. I hope he has read it and feels ashamed of himself. I doubt he will, he has been too busy telling rich pensioners that they should not be claiming benefits, whilst he is raping and pillaging the benefits system himself with endless expenses claims.


Google Glass is on its way and is set to take the world by storm in much the same fashion as perhaps the iPod did all those years ago now. Being able to record, take pictures and search the Internet (with both hands free) is raising the heart beats of many; but what will this latest immersive technological advancement do for the ever widening, dissociative behaviour of the human species?

The first steps into the world of iRobot happened this week after a teenager was fitted with the world's first phone controlled robotic hand, fittingly called the iLimb and nanoscience hit the big time again this week with talk about the potential for 'smart skin' to soon be upon us.

Human Rights 

Theresa May has being showing off her sinister side again this week with more bluster over the famed fanatic preacher Abu Qatada, after she claimed the UK would temporarily withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights to deport him. This was quickly followed by a defeat for this wicked woman in the courts after a 17 year old's case was overturned, saying that he should be afforded the same rights as a 16 year old. Theresa May has been supportive of a move to treat 17 year old's as adults and this has potentially resulted in the deaths of two young boys, Joe Lawton and Edward Thornber, after they were arrested and treated as adults but would have been convicted as children if the case was found against them. The government are calling this an 'anomaly'. The courts stated that under the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) , the police could treat children as adults at the age of 17, but that the Home Secretary's failure to revise the code was a breach of her obligation under Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and that PACE breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to private and family life. I hope that they (the government) are comfortable with their use of the word anomaly and I hope that Theresa May can sleep at night.

The RAF have apparently been complicit in the American drone war campaign since 2004 and there has been drone assistance set up at RAF bases within the UK for some years. These deadly machines are evolving at an exponential rate and before long will be able to select targets themselves, making the current, but limited human envolvement, redundant. When in power Geroge W. Bush started the drone war but Barack Obama, the man we gave a Nobel PEACE prize to has become its main advocate. We should think about this when he is giving ridiculous 'comedy' speeches. He, like the others, is a war criminal.


A man has died in the UK after armed police responded to an incident and discharged their Taser on him; he was known to be covered in flammable liquid. The police Taser caused him to burst into flames, and he died from his burns as a result. Police armed response units carry a selection of weapons and say that they must carry a "less lethal option." These range from semi automatic rifles, to hand guns, rubber bullet guns and the Taser. Quite why they thought it was appropriate or less lethal to Taser a man covered in petrol is staggering. I await the investigations conclusions with baited breath.

We have avoided a triple dip recession, apparently, thanks to millionaire George Osborne and his 'no plan b'. When you consider that last year we managed to make just 0.1% growth despite there being a jubilee, a royal wedding and the olympics, it leaves me wondering how we have managed to snatch 0.3% growth in this quarter despite all the wind, rain, snow and ice we have had across the country. You could not make it up. Our arms dealers must have been making record profits selling arms in the Middle East over the winter.

Whilst this has been happening and the government have been raping the public of their public services, they have appointed a tax dodger as head of Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the former head of npower who have been coming up short in paying up.. No I am not making this shit up.

Beekeepers have been protesting in London over the use of neonicotinoids that are thought to be killing off large populations of bees. Defra have said that evidence so far is inconclusive.

The powers that be (PTB) have decided that they want the power to switch off your fridges at their discretion in an apparent attempt to help power stations cope with demand. What is that you say? A prelude to war? Who knows.


War criminal Barack Obama has been at it again with his White House Correspondents Dinner, cracking jokes to the yuppie upper class war mongers in attendance whilst children across the planet suffer daily at the hands of famine, depleted uranium poisoning and death by skynet hunter killers. Thanks.

There is no sport, weather, Justin Bieber, JLS, the Voice, Britain's Got Talent or any other distraction television news because these war criminals and thieves are getting away with murder and its time we started offering some kind of resistance to it.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Why did the pig cross the road? To save the NHS

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and so it was yesterday outside Kings College Hospital in London where the Artist Taxi Driver crawled from to Downing Street with a petition against the privatisation of the NHS... and a toy pig.

The effort to raise awareness of the issue was highlighted to a number of media outlets including the BBC and the Guardian but neither saw fit to cover the event, instead it was left to independent media sources to do it. Initially the crowd was small, perhaps ten people, but as we made our way through the sunshine down to Camberwell road the numbers grew and by the time we stopped for The Artist Taxi Drivers alternative news broadcast special the numbers were beginning to increase. By the time we made it to the Elephant and Castle there approximately fifty people now with placards and banners stopping people and traffic to explain what we were doing.

Everyone was in agreement that privatisation of the NHS is wrong.

As we made our way across the bridge and down towards West Minster the crowd got larger with passers by sometimes sneering at a man on his knees in their Gucci suits, seemingly almost aloof to the situation that was unfolding in the building behind them. Every single one of us on that street at some point in our lives has been saved by the magical people that work in the NHS from the moment we were born. To have the NHS carved by these millionaires with special interests is a disgrace to the history and the memory of it.

Some passers by did ramble on with rhetoric cast out by the Sun or the Daily Mail that it is 'foreigners' coming over and using it which has caused the problem but as I pointed out, we are probably spending more money on air conditioning in military bases than we are on the NHS so the money is there. The government just need the media to keep playing us off against each other.

Walking up Parliament Street a band had joined us and the crowd was now up to one hundred, we awaited at the gates and the crowd cheered as The Artist Taxi Driver addressed the actors standing guard. A number of people were allowed through the gate and the Artist delivered his petition that had gained hundreds of signatures along the way, he was not allowed to push his pig up Downing Street, apparently it was due to the abusive references and the actors just generally not liking pigs.

The petition and protest is against section 75 that was being debated in parliament whilst we made our way to Downing Street earlier in the day. It will potentially open up the way for a fire sale of the NHS. Privatisation is often sold to us on the idea that it drives competition and keeps prices down. Anyone that regularly uses the railway system or is being held hostage by the energy companies will know that what privatisation really means is one or two companies monopolise the area and end up charging whatever they want.

If you are concerned that the government are selling your NHS you can do something about it here.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Push a pig, save the NHS

The Artist Taxi Driver Mark McGowan is pushing a toy pig with his head from Kings College Hospital to 10 Downing Street where he will hand in a petition against the privatisation of the NHS.

Starting at 0800hrs, Mark has steadily made his way up towards tower bridge, stopping along the way to explain to passers by the reasoning for him being on his hands knees knocking a squeaky pig along the pavement. Many have signed the petition in support of his cause and like a scene from Rocky 2 more and more people are joining him on the walk to the privateers head quarters at Downing Street.

The pig pushing idea came Malcolm Grant, head of the NHS, said that there would be every chance that by 2015 we will all have to be paying for our NHS treatment, despite the fact we already pay for it through our taxes. Today in Parliament they are debating the option of selling off the NHS. This daylight robbery of our health system must not be allowed and The Artist Taxi Driver is on a mission to raise people's awareness.

Mark said: "These people and the media keep telling us that there is no money for health care, for welfare but they can find billions for their friends in banks and other profiteering corporations through privatisation. It's a disgrace."

One activist supporting the event added: "The front page of The Sun today was an exclusive that JLS had broken up,what? The NHS being carved up for private gain should be front page but they (the mainstream media) don't want us to know about that."

Many of the people here have been getting Mark drinks to keep him hydrated as the sun has come out, helping to stop traffic as Mark ploughs on. The weather has made it a good day out for anyone interested in defending their NHS. Step by step on his hands and knees he pushes this pig, the symbolic reference to the those with their snouts in the bowl of privatisation and special interests, towards Downing Street with a clear message - "Hands off our NHS!"

The Artist Taxi Driver and the pig

Monday, 22 April 2013

Newell News-round up, Week 4

Week 4 of the Newell News-round up and it has been another epic week of news, distraction and horror.

The main headlines have been dominated by the Boston Marathon bombings and the wall to wall coverage across nearly every news platform of the subsequent manhunt.


Our good friends iRan and North Korea are in the news again, this time because they aim to buy and sell oil between themselves. With the sanctions taking their toll on both nations is it any wonder that they would look to circumvent these measures?

A fertiliser plant in Texas blew up leaving fires burning for days. The press have reported numerous fatalities and injuries with a nearby sports field providing emergency care treatment for those in the initial blast. With this hot on the heels of the Boston bombings, thoughts gravitated to whether or not this was an act of terrorism or whether or not it was the fault of corporate terrorists. Naturally corporate terrorism has not been discussed in the mainstream news. A video of the second explosion can be found here.

Iraq had their first elections since the U.S. troop withdrawals but has been met with a series of devastating bombings across the country. Early reports stated 31 dead and over 200 seriously injured. Where is the voice of the Iraqi people? We have heard non stop, vomit inducing chest thumping from America but nothing from Syria, Iraq or Bahrain.

Syria's rebel army are to receive an extra $123m from the U.S. which will continue to perpetuate the civil war that has torn this country apart for the last two years. Anyone that has seen what has happened in Libya and Egypt since those rebel alliances were backed, or that remembers Rambo 3, will question the sense in jumping in behind the first rebel element that raises it head.

Anti rape demonstrations continue in India with further clashes and incidents taking place.


The House of Representatives have passed the cyber security act CISPA this week behind the scenes whilst the rest of the United States and the planet waited with baited breath whether or not the Boston Manhunt and Texas explosion would lead to some kind of state of emergency and martial law. The debate in the House mentioned the Boston bombings and seemed to seal the acts fate. This act allows governments to access a variety of additional personal information that they would not easily have obtained otherwise from service providers and apps. Where America treads, the UK follows, as the lap dogs have come up with their own draconian version of CISPA, the Communication and Data Bill. The UK Bill has some very serious consequences for everyone. Now we are all terrorists.

Health and Fitness/Welfare and the NHS

Ahead of the London Marathon this week we had a study that claimed the use of painkillers before the event to get you through was bad for you and would lead to a high propensity for cramping and other side affects. I wonder if these studies are being conducted in the light of two high profile fatalities in the last two years at marathons in the UK.

The ambulance service is at risk of being privatised or rather it is being privatised via the back door and the consequence of this is that you may well be getting an ambulance without fully trained (or qualified) people to deal with your emergency. Will they look to another blue light service to provide this or will they continue with the privatisation element?

Malcolm Grant, the head of the NHS has said that free NHS care may be a thing of the past if the economy does not pick up. What the hell are we paying all our taxes for then?

A report this week found that a man from Yorkshire committed suicide following the removal of his benefits following a brain hemorrhage some years ago had left him partially paralysed. Subsequent re-evaluation for working status found him to qualify on a number of points. This type of re-evalutaion is occurring more and more often with companies like Atos seemingly being able to find even Bob Hope fit for duty.

Food giant Nestlé are seemingly out to try and patent a naturally occurring healing fennel flower. Considering the CEO for Nestlé has said that a naturally occurring element such as water should be just like any other foodstuff, a chargeable commodity, is it any wonder they would try and patent flowers?


Michael Gove has been upsetting the teachers again by claiming he wants a longer working day for children and an end to the six week summer holiday. Louise Mensch, the discredited former Tory MP who quit to live it up in America, has been supporting the notion and saying it will alleviate the burden of homework on mums and children, totally dismissing the fact that men are indeed parents too; and in some instances the only parent.

Another Tory MP has caused uproar with his comments that inner city students should not be taken to a village boarding school because they will require regular drug testing and would lead to a sexual volcano occurring in the woods. What century are these dinosaurs living in?

The Daily Hate Mail was busy telling us this week to prepare to work until we are incontinent. They are claiming that a fall in school leavers will mean us having to work through to our 70's and basically keep supplying the state with our labour in exchange for depreciated purchasing power until we die. How they have come about this figure, having previously reported record levels of youth unemployment  in the same newspaper just a couple of months earlier, is beyond me.

The UK is also looking at passing a 'shares for rights' bill whereby workers can trade off their employment rights in exchange for shares in their company. The sad thing is that people who are struggling in these times of austerity, having to make choices between food, utilities and pensions, will probably give up their employment rights. These rights, that have been fought for for decades and not given to us, will be passed up without a second thought. 


Clothing may now hold the key to those frustrating moments when your phone battery is about to die. Instead of companies building things with superior batteries in the first place, or utilising Tesla's idea of wireless electricity, we will have to invest in the latest garments being pioneered, probably for military deployment first.

Not content with ruining our own planet we are looking to send a group of reality wannabe astronauts to go and live on Mars. I will have to continue my wait for my intergalactic space taxi back to civilisation.


North Korea has been taking a hammering in the cinema of late with both the Red Dawn remake and Olympus Has Fallen casting the spotlight firmly on them as the current aggressors we need to be weary of. Without knowing the filming time table for Olympus it was eery to hear the comments being made when this was being filmed, playing out live in real time today in the Western propaganda machine.

We finally buried Margaret Thatcher and George Galloway has said the funeral should be paid by sponsorship from Burger King causing quite the stir. Not as much of a stir as there was at the funeral itself with protesters turning up on mass and much debate being had about what she did or did not do for our country or the world. One former Paratrooper told me how she loved her armed forces. Of course she did. All tyrants love their military as they require the support of them in the event that they ever need to oppress their people. Booing ensued and I said to one protester that a better demonstration would have been a sound system playing the imperial march theme from Star Wars as the parade came up the hill. Perhaps they will do this for war criminal Tony Blair when his time comes.

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix also took place and inevitable protests have occurred. Ecclestone has commented stating that the Bahraini government were being stupid for allowing a Grand Prix and the attention it gives a pro democracy protest. Old Bernie has a habit of sticking his foot in it, such as his comments about Hitler "getting the job done". Strangely enough Bernie has said he would not hold a Grand Prix in Syria.

For all the bluster surrounding the Formula One, the people that have the real power are the drivers. If the drivers took ownership of the issue and refused to race there, it would have a massive impact on the situation and a much stronger one than any that the media could spin.

And Skunk Anansie played their first ever acoustic gigs in London this week and they were amazing.

**Statement of the bleeding obvious**

New to week 4 is statement of the obvious and this week it belongs to the Washington Post for their comments that "People who distrust Muslims are more likely to back the war on terror."

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Madness of an un-sane planet

What the hell is going on? We have bombs going off in Boston, bombs going off in Iraq, fertiliser plants exploding in Texas and Rolf Harris (can you see what it is yet?) has been questioned as part of Operation Yewtree, the Jimmy Savile paedophile operation.

On Monday morning news reports came through that there had been not one but two explosions at the Boston Marathon, the worst incident of terror on U.S. soil since September 11th 2001, leaving three people dead and hundreds injured. Within the first couple of hours the news was quick to start using the words terrorist and Al Qaeda. President Barack Obama decided not to jump straight into the the debate using such language. The Internet has been full of discussion questioning whether or not this was Muslim extremists or militant Islam (as is one of their other favourite phrases) or whether or not this was a false flag attack in much the same vein as divided opinion over September 11th. What is sure is that we have people who have lost loved ones and that have had their worlds changed forever with the realisation that they have lost limbs.

Social media networks and media outlets shared stories of runners finishing the race continuing on to the nearest hospitals to give blood, other stories told of heroism as people ran towards the blasts to help and there were International outpourings of grief and 'solidarity' with the victims in Boston. Obama preached on the heroism of the first responders at length but the U.S. favours attacks on first responders in Pakistan with their drone strikes, killing potentially innocent people based on the knowledge that humans have an innate desire to help one another in times of need.

Less than 24hrs later, but a couple of thousand miles away,  there were a series of bomb blasts that again tore through Iraq leaving more than 30 people dead and hundreds of people seriously wounded. Strangely enough there was not nearly the same International outpouring of grief.
Why is this we should ask ourselves?
Is it because supposed middle class white people do not care about brown people? Is it because they brought it upon themselves and are doing it to themselves? Or is it because, as the Joker said in The Dark Knight, that "Nobody panics when things are going according to plan, even if the plan is horrifying..." but if something other than the plan occurs, in this case an eight year old American boy being killed by a bomb, the whole world loses their minds. Is someone else's eight year old child in a war torn country just collateral damage and is their life worth less than that of you or I, here in the so called civilised world?

Some reports this week suggested that the atrocity in Boston was made worse because these people were largely 'normal people' raising money for charity or running with messages 'for dad' on their running jerseys. I have found this difficult to stomach because as horrific as the scenes were in Boston, are they any more or less 'normal' than the families in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine or Bahrain? Obama claimed that Americans refused to be terrorised, if only the same could be said of people in other nations. In countries like these the people have no choice due to the foreign policies of our governments.

For the last seven days we have had continuous live feeds and updates, wall to wall, on the Boston bombings that culminated in the Boston manhunt, which left the city in what was more or less under martial law. The armoury that was deployed on the streets looked like they were straight out of down town Baghdad. Two brothers were identified by a victim, Jeff Bauman, as being the main suspects, this was despite the Internet launching an investigation of its own. The fact that mainstream media outlets seem to be almost gloating over this form of investigative deductive reasoning, they should themselves remember that they were the ones that paved the way for the illegal imperialist wars in Afghanistan, and particularly Iraq, with their regurgitation of the Tony Blair lies on weapons of mass destruction. Jeff Bauman has featured in an iconic image and lost both his legs below the knee as a result of the explosions.

The suspects turned out to be from Chechnya but raised in the States and had the Twitter world reeling, wondering if it would result in the change in definition of the term 'caucasian'. You see terrorists are usually brown people with beards, living in caves in the Middle East, or so I used to be told on a daily basis by everyday humans. For America to be faced with home grown suspects that were decreed 'caucasian' must have hurt. Of course it was not long until the rhetoric surrounding religion surfaced, being described as a 'devout Muslim' has been a popular description of one of the suspects. Being devoted to a religion does not make you an extremist or indeed a terrorist by their definition of the word. The careful, relentless and methodical demonisation of Muslim's since September 11th has lead to the witch hunt we have witnessed with the Reddit 'who dunnit' web search and the outrageous comments from a Fox News commentator, Erik Rush who seemed to suggest early on that the suspects must be Saudi. Fox News of course is that corner stone of fair and balanced debate we sorely need.

Fair and balanced or fear and unbalanced?

The capture of the Tsarmaev brothers reads like something from a badly scripted Hollywood movie, gun fights with hundreds of rounds discharged, bombs being thrown out of moving vehicles followed by a stand off in a boat on someones drive way. The eldest brother was declared dead upon arrival at hospital and the youngest brother was in a critical condition awaiting interrogation from a specialist team. Fox News  have reported that the the surviving suspect may be deemed an enemy combatant to enable them to extend the period of time they have to interrogate him without reading him his Miranda rights.
As a teenager I once believed that a terrorist wavered their human rights if they took the lives of others in the course of their actions but thankfully, as I began to question things more and not read things in isolation, it soon dawned on me the naivety of this thinking. Today any one of us can be declared a terrorist if the state decides so, as with the Occupy Movement in 2011, and with legislation such as CISPA (passed by the House of Representatives whilst the Boston Manhunt has been going on) and the Communication and Data Bill being passed or re-drafted. We are living in extremely troubling times indeed.
It does not help when we have comments such as those from CNN Columnist LZ Granderson who said: "If September 11th 2001 was the day our innocence was taken away then April 15th 2013 is the reminder that it is never coming back." With one dimensional thinking such as this we will never change the world we are living in.

Noam Chomsky famously said that one way for us to stop the terrorism is to first stop participating in it. Rather than fighting for our countries we should be fighting for our planet, the only one we are going to live on.

The Artist Taxi Driver and his pig are on the march

The Artist Taxi Driver, Mark McGowan, is to push a toy pig from Kings College Hospital to 10 Downing Street, on Wednesday April 24th at from 8am. He is doing so to raise awareness of government plans to consolidate privatisation of the NHS. Malcolm Grant has this week dropped the bombshell news that the NHS may have to look at new ways of funding should the economy continue to flag.

Malcolm Grant
The gold diggers who have been sucking up our taxes for decades have decided that there are not enough funds to continue to provide free NHS treatment for us and that we will now have to resort to some proposed American system of insurance, creating a clear divide between those that can and those that cannot provide for their families. Your child breaks a leg playing football? That is going to cost a few pennies. This will harm the families who have the least and the prosperous will continue on.
How has it come to this?

Soon we will be left with a choice between Virgin Care, BUPA and whomever else decides to swoop in like a flock of ravenous vultures for the scraps of social care.

The sharks are circling.

The Artist Taxi Driver is raising awareness of this behind the scenes sell off of the NHS and is starting this Wednesday at Kings College. The pig is a symbol of those with their nose in the trough taking, taking and taking whilst the rest of us are left with the scraps.

Spread the word and help to raise awareness about the NHS sell off and more importantly take ownership and care about an issue that affects us all.

The Artist Taxi Driver

Monday, 15 April 2013

Newel News-round Up, Week 3

Week three has been dominated by the death of Margaret Thatcher which must mean there has bee plenty else going on around the rest of the globe.

Health and fitness

In some ironic and comically morbid twist, Thatcher who is known by some for stealing milk from babies, her death coincided with the UK having to ration the amount of baby milk formula sold due to an issue with a surge in demand in China. First signs of a trade war or more worryingly a sign of the dependence families have on corporations to provide our children with nourishment. Let's face it, if Tesco or Sainsbury's disappeared tomorrow the population in the UK would halve within months.

Wonder drug Prozac has been in the news again and is twenty-five years old. Quite how a drug that has so many side affects has been championed as a saviour in mental illness is open for debate. Anyone who has seen the BBC documentary, Pill Poppers, will know what I mean and if you have not seen it? Take an hour and get informed on the great pharmaceutical company con.


The government and their scientists are still trying to persuade us that fracking will solve all our energy crises needs. With an up coming Matt Damon movie, The Promised Land, which seems set to light up the debate again the government and all vested stake holders seem to be pushing the message out that fracking is safe. If only honesty, health and safety did not suffer when profits rule I would not be so concerned. Fracking as an alternative energy does not solve the issue that everything we have or use is made from oil.

Science and Technology

Nanoscience has shown us another amazing development with the latest creation a new material. For those of you with science minds the more in depth information can be found here.


Unicef, the charity that champions children's rights, something that currently the U.S and Somalia do not, have reported that the current UK austerity measures have set our children back behind the majority of the so called civilised world. Aspiration nation? More like dream snatcher nation.

The academy debate is over (so much for democracy) as the new child chief says it is time to be concerned about what kids are taught rather than where they taught, except that when a school is privately owned and run then it becomes a results driven basis to provide profit for shareholders. This can not be to the benefit of the children can it? Particularly if children are subsequently taught what to think and not how to think.

Not content with dumbing down the nation via grade inflation, now they want to remove the climate debate from the curriculum. It must be that those with the disillusionment of power have fallen for the "Climate change? What about all this snow?" Argument that seems to be doing the rounds. Like I have told my esteemed colleagues; climate and whether is like class and form in sporting terms, form is temporary and class is permanent. So it is with weather (form) and climate (permanent) so to speak.


Aside from the Thatcher fiasco we have war monger and criminal, Tony Blair, causing a disturbance in the force and a rift in the Labour Party with his comments about their 'move to the left'. The fact that Stalin was further left than Tony Blair and the position of this current Labour lot is no different to that of his blood stained time in Downing Street seems to have been lost on him. He must be setting himself up for a shot at 2015 or beyond.

The young girl who would be Youth Police Crime Commissioner has also stood down. If she had lied to 60 million people and been responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, including fathers, mother sons and daughters, she would have been given a multi-million pound deal working for J.P. Morgan.

The ministers from the G8 met to talk about North Korea (I feel safer already...) who have now upset their Chinese neighbours with their latest comments and actions.


Angelina Jolie has been schmoozing the G8 by saying that wartime rape is preventable. She must have missed the bulletin from Theresa May when she said that a woman's human rights is only applicable during a period of peace time and not during war time, to coin a phrase from her "I am not making this up."

America as usual is a basket case. This week a man was gunned down by S.W.A.T for holding firefighters hostage in his house (that was to foreclose) as he asked for his utilities to be switched back on. Police said they had no other option.

Another man has been arrested and is suspected of over 1000 thefts in the area of Maine. I am surprised he has not been deemed a terrorist as one of the stipulations in various different terror acts that the U.S. have now is that you cannot have more than 7 days worth of supplies.

And finally Barack Obama has been back to his acting best by making more inroads into the removal of guns from the streets of America. He did not make any comment about the number of families he and previous governments have torn apart by their use of arms and policies for supplying arms to the first sign of insurgents in a country that they want political control over. No he didn't.

Thatcher is dead but the memory lives on

This week Margaret Thatcher passed away and we have witnessed much debate about the legacy and memory of the woman we came call The Iron Lady.

The death of Thatcher has seen street parties up and down the country (presumably to the tune of Thatcher! Thatcher! Milk and dream snatcher!?) where communities who felt particularly affected by her policies demonstrated their ill feelings towards her and occasionally clashed with the police. This has lead to derision from members of the right side of the force and also from members of the left and the UK has been at war with itself on the way in which we should remember Thatcher. Even today in London revellers attended a street party to celebrate. Some have commented that the early years of Thatcher were some of the most interesting to cover as journalists and, to some extent, true for me in the early years of the latest tory government.

Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament to much criticism, the MPs were eligible for over £3000 in expenses for being called back during their recess and we had to endure hours of endless tributes to Thatcher's achievements. MP's were told they could criticise if they wished but that there must be respect. The Government filled their seats whilst Labour elected largely to miss the event by either representing their constituents (people who Thatcher had cast aside decades ago in their eyes) or by taking much need trip to the dentist. The Murdoch fish wrapping The Sun was on top of this leftie bashing opportunity and gloated in the name dropping of Tory MPs recalling the smash and grab days of the newspaper industry Thatcher and Murdoch lead. What we got as a result was Cameron and Miliband stating how she set the political map for a generation and as Winston Churchill put it she "made the weather." Cameron said her epitaph should be that she "made Britain great again." Depending on which side of the political compass people sat has varied the recollection.

Now here is the crux of the argument.

I have long deliberated whether or not the digital revolution we are experiencing will make for a more accurate account of history for future generations; history is really his-tory, but already this past week we have seen Thatcher's time in power literally re-written. This was made quite clear by Glenda Jackson in parliament to much howls of disapproval from the opposition. To rub salt in to the wounds of the many that feel they have suffered at the ideology of Thatcher, known affectionately by her disciples as 'Thatcherism', the funeral costs have soured as it appears the country is footing the bill for what is generally regarded as a state funeral, something usually reserved for royalty. The irony for this should not be lost on us considering that this was the woman that said there was "no such thing as society", only individuals.

Why then does the bill for this sit with us?

Perhaps this very notion of individualism that Thatcher helped to peddle in the 1980's is the very reason we are seeing the scorn and celebration poured upon her departure from our mortal coil this week. If the children of Thatcher had grown up in a world where society existed, where the core of our evolution  (namely co-operation, love and empathy) were nurtured properly in the right environment then perhaps we would not be witnessing street parties or the campaign to get a 70 year old song, Ding Dong! The witch is Dead to number one in the music charts? Do not get me wrong, I do not necessarily agree with the fact there have been street parties or campaigns for songs but can people really be as angry and upset by these actions as they claim considering the way Thatcher viewed us as a collective? There will be some that say you should not speak ill of the dead, again this depends on whom you are as plenty of spite has been recorded over the deaths of people such as Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, Bin Laden and Gaddafi to name a few departed tyrants, according to popular definition.
Of course people will say that they were monsters, or that they killed people but the argument for why we should leave Thatcher alone could stand the same; that they were fathers, sons and brothers and perhaps their family respects should have been acknowledged? The last time I saw Gaddafi was over my breakfast at work on BBC News being dragged through the street either dead or half dead and Bin Laden was dropped in to the ocean along with Megatron.

More amusingly I saw a post that sums up the furore against the anti Thatcher debate: "I just watched Return Of The Jedi. Disgusted by the distasteful scenes at the end where everyone is celebrating the death of Emperor Palpatine. He may have been divisive, but he was strong and he made decisions and stuck to them, and I think he should get a bit of respect. He was after all, a little old man who died, when you remove any other context whatsoever."

Death should not exonerate anyone from debate, what will people say about George W. Bush, Tony Blair or Barack Obama in the future? Should they be exempt from criticism for their actions that are tantamount to war crimes?

Thatcher, like many other leaders, cosied up to despots and tyrants when it suited, lest we forget Pinochet who was not extradited for being to old and frail when in the UK, something the current Tory crop forget when discussing Julian Assange. Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a common terrorist and to be frank she stole my milk. I shall not be crying for her and no doubt neither will Carlos Tevez or Argentina.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Newell News- round Up Week 2

Week 2 of the Newell News-round Up begun with April Fools' day and with it came a series of ridiculous stories that most of us wished were jokes.

Welfare state

Poet T.S. Eliot said in The Waste Land that 'April was the cruelest month' and he was not far wrong.
First up we have the bedroom tax which came into effect, or as the Tories want the BBC and other mainstream puppets to call it, removal of spare room subsidies, as Iain Duncan Smith launched a scathing attack on the BBC the week prior for "adopting the language of Labour and causing panic." He then went on to say he could live on £57 a week (his current annual wage is £134,565) and subsequently had a breakfast that cost £39, which would only leave him £18 for the rest of his week.

We also had a woman feature on ITV's This Morning, who had recently lost a child due to a brain tumour, where it seemed as though they were shamelessly exploiting her grief in the name of fair and balanced debate with some grotesque, overweight man debating the bedroom tax issue. The woman, who was still visibly grieving the death of her child, now faces paying for the room she wishes to keep as it is for the time being, or vacate the premises to somewhere smaller. Anyone who has lost a loved one will know the delicacy of the grieving process and that it has no time bar on it. Quite how or why Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby allowed the interview to continue is beyond me and is another example of how these governments go about their business with no thought about the wider implications their actions have.

The iconic class structure image
The media's attention focused next on the great class debate. The classic depiction of working, middle and upper class, has given way to the new and revamped seven class system. There is a test for you to take and everything. This particular news item has been an almost daily feature with people climbing on the bandwagon to explain the way society has changed and how many more of us than ever have climbed out of the working class struggle. This is a great con because the definitions raised for the differing classes do not truly reflect the majority of the people's true position; that of the working class. Still the media and the politicians make it sound like it is something to be ashamed of and have pushed quite hard this message that we now have different levels within the class system. I believe if you cannot go without one or two pay cheques then you are not middle class. The latest great class debate just seems like it is another ruse.

Lastly on the welfare issue we have had the trial of Mick Philpott, who was found guilty for the deaths of his children, following a house fire started deliberately in an attempt to portray the hero by swooping in to rescue them. In true foot in mouth fashion the government then waded in with their oaf like feet and questioned whether the welfare state subsidised lifestyles like Philpott's. There was no mention of the celebrity he craved, the attention he seemed to desire and the role that media plays in this by Osborne or Cameron, just a tenuous link back to the welfare system.

The Economy

BBC Radio 4 had a lovely piece on the economy (covered back in January 2013 on BBC News) harping back to Alan Greenspan's famous statement that the sales of men's underpants reflected the health of the economy. This was previously covered back in 2009 by The Daily Mail. Interestingly the company the radio were talking to said they had previously experienced a drop in sales, in line with the economic recession since 2008 and were looking at another drop this quarter. Triple dip recession or a depression?


Motorola first market phone
The mobile phone was 40 years old this week and we have come along way from the early market mobile phones to the multi-function devices we have at our finger tips today, which goes to show that mans reach far exceeds his grasp.

Samsung new Galaxy S4

Tweeters will be glad to know that their tweets will be recorded by the British Library, along with their
Facebook status updates, which will make for some fascinating history lessons many years from now I am sure. One thing to wonder is whether the digital revolution will make history more accountable or will it continue to be his-tory? Alternatively there will be those of us who will be squirming at the idea of some of our previous posts being kept for eternity as the new Youth Police Crime Commissioner found out  this week. Previous Tweets have included gems such as: "Everyone on Made in Chelsea looks like a fag." But she of course denies being racist, homophobic or anything else for that matter, just guilty of being young and brash growing up in the social media age.


North and South Korea and the U.S. have been playing war games in the east. Every man and his dog has been pumping up their chests in grand displays of masculinity that have left some people worrying that the world is on the brink of war. Of course the British lap dogs have been sounding their ten pence worth with William Hague calling for calm after the UK Embassy staff were told to leave but have decided to stay. Perhaps they fancy being the unwitting stars of another movie like Argo.

The battle for Africa continues with the U.S. now offering $5m for the capture of 2012's most wanted man, Joseph Kony. Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be wanted for the deaths of thousands but one group decided to focus on Kony. You may remember the viral campaign video that was launched on March 5th 2012 where you were called to 'stop at nothing' to bring Kony to justice for his atrocities with the LRA, or you may not. Either way the U.S. have their boots on the desert and are now rolling out Defence Secretary John Kerry to call for his capture.


Where are all the bees? The politicians have finally caught wind of the dangers we face with the declining bee population. Bees pollinate plants free of charge, and the way we repay them? By poisoning them with pesticides. The cost currently is being counted in monetary terms (in the millions) but the real cost is in our very own health, well being and existence.

And lastly but not least the UK is to become a net importer of wheat for the first time in over a decade as poor weather has resulted in poor crop harvests. I wrote about this topic a few weeks ago in the context of the issue of global food shortages with some interesting statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, National Union of Farmers and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. The extreme rain followed by the harsh winter has lead to farmers effectively having to focus on preparing for next years crops and forget 2013.