A Brexit Nation – Just what have we become?

As our NHS crumbles before our very eyes, as social care for the old and the vulnerable crumbles with it, as our world gets dangerously more warm by the day, the national debate (as presented to us by the press) often seems to be about far, far less pressing issues.

The colour of our next passport, whether we should recommission the Royal Yacht Britannia, the troubles of TV’s Bake Off and how we can keep out anyone from the UK particularly if they have anything but white skin and can’t speak the Queen’s English.

Without doubt the UK is taking leave of it senses and its priorities seem utterly bizarre.

The Tories will see off the NHS (which depends heavily on doctors and nurses from across the world simply to function) soon just by starving it of the funds and staff it so desperately needs. They will push the costs of health care by default (and social care for the elderly and vulnerable in particular) onto families. This is happening now, it will be worse tomorrow and next week, etc. etc. Is this not a pressing crisis?

Our world is getting dangerously warm whilst we fiddle around the edges not really getting to grips with what needs to be done to save our plant for future generations. Is this not a major crisis?

It really is about time we sobered up. Our all but racist society is shameful, our sitting back and watching as millions of refugees die is a national disgrace and the unwillingness to fund health and social care properly is utterly bizarre because we are quite literally shooting ourselves in the foot and we know it!

When was the last time we had a Prime Minister we could have any collective confidence in? There was a spectacularly false dawn in this regard when Tony Blair got elected because even those of us who did not vote for him thought he was about to bring about the kind of serious change the UK needed. He had his moments of course but then involved us in illegal wars that have brought terrorism to the streets of the UK. His appalling legacy far out-ways the good things he did.

But can you think of another PM of recent times that folks had any kind of collective confidence in? Wilson possibly in his early years?

Without doubt the UK is facing many a major crisis at present:-

Funding the NHS
Paying for Social Care
An over heated and dysfunctional housing market
Deeply worrying energy supply problems
Global warming
An inability to defend the Country
Racial intolerance
An aging population

And the colour of our next passport and whether the Royal Yacht Britannia is recommissioned etc. are supposedly big issues to us? How low will this once proud, caring and open-minded Country have to go before we take notice of the real troubles that are all around us?

Syria – Jen Robertson writes a guest posting – So the main issue is Jeremy’s ratings!

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/30/labour-moderates-syria-vote-party-politics?CMP=fb_gu

This struck me as an interesting article – see link above to The Guardian web site. The man’s clearly got his own (Anti-Corbyn) agenda, but he points out very well how disgusting it is that people are making political hay over a decision like this.

Throughout this debate I kept hearing again and again ‘what will Syria do to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership?’ a hell of a lot more than I heard anything about what might happen to Syria itself or even the UK’s own security. Maybe if everyone spent more time on actual politics and less on internal Labour party politics everyone might have a better idea of what the hell’s going on in the world. Certainly it might at the very least help Labour look a bit better, as at present it simply no longer matters who amongst them is in the right because the conduct of both sides condemns them all.

The vile responses to those who voted in favour of bombing Syria are a good example of how whether you’re right or not rather ceases to matter when you behave in a reprehensible manner. People using terms like ‘final solution’ and using tactics involving intimidation and sexism are very much forfeiting any moral high ground they think they have.

There was a horribly telling tweet from Stella Creasy in which she wrote, in response to a tweet that appears to have since been deleted, ‘Am not sure what my fertility has to do with this debate but if you are Walthamstow resident come on Sunday?’. Unfortunately Stella I can you exactly what your fertility has to do with it (though I’m sure she already knows) you’re a woman, which means you will find that when you upset people they will hurl misogynistic abuse at you, especially a woman in your position who has dared to enter the political world dominated by men.

For the record I absolutely don’t like the way Stella, Tim, and far too many others voted but I’m afraid I find it hard to believe that people who hurl abuse are genuine proponents of peace. These issues seem sadly indicative of a politics that has forgotten what it’s there for, these are not supposed to be rival gangs simply craving power, these are the men and women who should be working to better all of our lives. Shall we talk about the impact the vote will have on Syria, on international security, on the refugee crisis? Nah, Jeremy Corbyn’s career is clearly more interesting and if we’re lucky there’ll be an MP out there we can criticise for wearing the wrong skirt or not being a mother. And we wonder why people seem disaffected.

Syria – Lord Tony Greaves has his say

Below are the views of Lib Dem Lord Tony Greaves – I agree with him entirely.

Tony Greaves

My Lords, if we had the Motion in front of us to vote on tonight I would vote against it. In doing so, I would be voting for the views of the majority of members of my party. Last night, when the Liberal Democrat MPs said they were going to support the Government, with various caveats, a ripple of surprise and shock went through the party. Some of us spent a great deal of time last night talking to people who were angry and felt they had been let down by our MPs.

British bombing will have little effect in practice. On its own it will not make any real difference. In that and many other respects I associate myself with the remarks that have just been made by the noble Lord, Lord Judd. The danger of ‘mission creep’ is a real problem.

The main impact of the Government’s Motion, this debate and the debate in the past few days has not been on international politics but on British politics. I have tried to understand why the Government have brought this forward at this time but I find it difficult to do so. My noble friend Lord Taverne may have some ideas.

Last week, the Liberal Democrats and Tim Farron, as leader, stated five conditions for supporting the Government today. He wrote to members of the party and said:

“We are writing to outline the criteria against which we will judge our response”.

He referred to five conditions. I emphasise the word “conditions”. The first was legal and I do not want to say anything more than my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford has said because he is an expert on these matters and I am not. The second was a wider diplomatic framework,

“including efforts towards a no-bomb zone to protect civilians.”

I see no evidence that there has been any progress on that.

The third was the United Kingdom to lead—I underline the word “lead”—a concerted international effort to put pressure on Gulf states, specifically Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, to stop the funding of jihadi groups and to do much more to assist in the effort to defeat ISIL, establish peace in Syria and help with the refugee situation. It was added:

“They are currently doing very little”.

I think that was a reference to the Government. I see no progress whatever on that or any commitments given. The fifth was domestic. Among other things he said:

“We call on the Government to step up its acceptance of Syrian refugees, and opt in to Save the Children’s proposal to re-home 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children from within Europe”.

The chances of this Government agreeing to that are close to zero. If I am wrong, I will hold my hand up and praise them to the heavens.

We are also told that things have changed because the Vienna talks are taking place and that this means there will be co-ordinated international action, a plan for the future, plans for the regeneration of Syria, rebuilding and so on. That seems to be an argument for waiting until that is in place before taking the kind of action now being proposed.

I do not believe that what is being put forward by the Government will work. In three or four or six months’ time we will be debating this issue again and people will want to do more. There is an old maxim: if you are in doubt about things and not completely convinced, first do no harm. Bombing at this time in Syria and Raqqa will do more harm than good.

With thanks to Tony Dawson for the lead to this posting

Cameron’s Government is destroying all the good in the UK

I increasingly despair about the present Tory Government. Just look at all the massive down sides of Cameron gaining an overall majority:-

* Social housing to be sold off when there is a huge shortage of affordable rented housing.
* Cutting back on sustainable green initiatives and putting future generations at risk from even greater climate change problems.
* Attacking trade unions who brought about many social advances that we all (including Tories) now take for granted.
* Trying to reduce your and my rights and in doing so making the state less accountable to us all.
* Hitting the most vulnerable in society with massive welfare cuts whilst the official Labour opposition stood back and abstained!.
* Taking food from children in our schools who otherwise may not get a decent meal at home.
* All but ignoring the appalling refugee crisis across Europe

This is an appallingly selfish Tory Government.