While You Were Watching Big Brother

The Australian Senate just passed a bill giving unprecedented powers to ASIO:

Power to access, modify, copy or delete data on your personal computer
Power to jail journalists for reporting on “national security” issues
Power to criminalise whistleblowers, journalists and anyone who unwittingly shares information they regard as sensitive on social media
Power to access and use surveillance devices without a warrant
This law also allows ASIO officers to avoid criminal or civil prosecution in the name of “national security”

None of this makes us any safer from terrorism.
None of this makes us any safer from violent criminals or from fraud and robbery.
None of this makes us any safer from racism, sexism, or rorts of the system
None of this makes us any safer from irresponsible and dishonest politicians intent on keeping power any way they can.

You thought you were watching big brother. What you didn’t realise is that big brother is watching you
And there is not a thing you can do about it.


Preposterous Impostors, Liars, Thieves and Other Charlatans

In the aftermath of the Scottish Independence Referendum, amongst all the shouting and finger pointing, it has dawned on me that I have come a long way since the heady days of my youth in the late sixties and seventies. In the earliest days of my political awareness, I was hanging around with all the cool people – they were in the IMG, Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party, RWP and the like. I was young and fancied myself as some kind of wee Che Guevara type. But I wasn’t really a revolutionary or visionary. I am still neither – but I do have dreams and I have learned how to describe what I believe in and what I want for my mother country.

I had some prejudices back then that I hadn’t worked out of my system. It was a problem because socialism and social prejudice of any kind are incompatible. Its a pity that the labour party have forgotten that. But enough, I want to talk about how I feel about the fallout from the Referendum campaign in Scotland and the finger-pointing, pontification and treachery that is going on now it is over (for the time being).

The No campaign made it plain from day one what their strategy would be – frighten the bejesus out of the old and the sick and the poor – they knew the wealthy and comfortably off would support Westminster, because they always do. They chose an alliance between all three mainstream Westminster Parties and the far right UKIP and BNP and their sorry gang of headbangers: stockbrokers, bankers, oil barons, supermarket CEO’s, churnalists and other wastrels offering fear and loathing and hatred while hiding the true nature of what was on offer from the Yes Scotland campaign.

Project Fear was their strategy, and it won them the day, because their strategy was fuelled by their own terror that they would lose, but they would do everything in their power to stop that happening. No lie was small enough or big enough not to be repeated loudly and often in the tradition of Goebbels himself. They deny this, but that denial haunts their dishonesty as much as their treachery of the poor and the vulnerable and the sick of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The constant repetition by the BBC and national press of the Project Fear buzz words and the many other untruthful and slanderous descriptions of the what would happen with a Yes Scotland campaign victory revealed their wish for a future Independent Scotland – and that wish came true with THEIR (pyrrhic) victory. Instead of the mother of all of the wildest and joyful street parties you could ever imagine, we got  the Orange Order and Britnat hordes rioting on the streets of Glasgow – the same people that destroyed Manchester in 2008! The Better Together campaign smacked the hornets nest with a big hammer and they got their wish!

The campaign went much as I expected. I had already expected the printed press, especially the Daily Mail, The Express, The Scotsman, The Telegraph and The Times to be rabidly pro establishment. I fully expected the red tops to be rabidly jingoistic and racist, anti-Scottish and rancid. One of my biggest  disappointments is the transformation and communion of the broadsheets to the redtop philosophy. Full-on jingoistic racism and slanderous misreporting of events and facts. Even the darling rag of the pretendy socialists – the Guardian has indulged in some vile and disgusting untruths and distortions that shocked many an old socialist, let alone a poor wee soul counting the pennies in Pennicuik or Prestonpans.

Owen Jones, faux socialist and darling voice of the elite left that hang around the periphery of the labour party, writes for the Guardian and doesn’t see any irony in his scribblings while tipping his hat and taking the pay from his right wing tory establishment masters. His hypocrisy and self-aggrandising pomposity fail to hide the paucity of integrity in his writing.  He is an arrogant, clueless, middle class tosser pontificating endlessly about treachery and mistreatment of the working class and he has never experienced how that feels.

He justifies labours treachery by calling it modernisation of the party. I call it selling out. What he doesn’t get is that the labour party are not on the left any more. In many ways, they have travelled much farther politically than me, but we went in opposite directions. I was a labour party member back in the day – for twenty four years – I know what I am talking about. I almost left when Kinnock’s National Exec wanted to dump clause 4. Many did. I stayed on (because I felt I was somehow being disloyal to the cause of the working man if I abandoned the party to the new labour Oxbridge elitists). I eventually left the party after they elected Blair as leader because, by then, I saw clearly where it was all going. Now they have Miliband, and they’re at their planned destination – they just don’t know it themselves, yet.

The parliamentary labour party have become a group of increasingly jingoistic racist bandits, fast becoming millionaires (if they are not already) and still coining it from the  £100k pa salary and office allowances (plus additional expenses) while ordinary working people suffer cuts in wages, cuts in welfare and cuts in services.

Miliband shows how utterly removed from real life he is when he said  on TV recently he thought his wife spent something in the region of £70 a week on groceries for the family of 2 adults and 2 kids. I was spending more than that in 1995 with just me and two kids in the house, and trust me, there were no treats in there.

The labour party of Miliband and Owen Jones doesn’t, either, see the irony in lining up shoulder to shoulder with the Orange Order, UKIP, BNP, Libdems and tories to shout down the biggest mass movement for change in over 100 years and still claiming they are socialists and a force for change. They have changed nothing in 40 years except the continued subjugation of the poorest and most vulnerable in society while enhancing the quality of life, the salaries and the perks of the political elite in Westminster and their best friends – the bankers in the city of London.I find that sickening and mind-numbing – and Jones had the audacity to call me “unhinged” when I called him out on it. Miliband just did what he always does – ignored me and the millions living in poverty.

I also find it sickening and, frankly, laughable that Miliband said he wants to ‘rule like Thatcher’ to paraphrase his own words.  Yet he pretends to care about the ordinary working folk that he walks away from when they ask him questions on Glasgow streets? So, it seems that these “socialists” walk away from people  crying out for help from the party they thought should be representing them. Unhinged, Owen ? You are fucking right I am! I am so unhinged from slamming the door of my support hard in the face of all you mealy-mouthed, hypocritical middle class book learning bastards that stole my party and from under me and turned it over to tories!

Yep – I’m venting. I’m letting out the anger and betrayal I feel because I spent my best years campaigning for labour. I spent sleepless nights and weekends campaigning to get people (including me, on one occasion) elected to the local council in unwinnable seats for the cause and still going to work the next day. I spent days and nights on picket lines at Grunwicks, at Cannock in the miners strike, on the front line of the right to work marches. As a 14 year old, I was in Grosvenor Square being trampled by police horses at the Anti-Vietnam rallies. When labour MPs and trade union leaders were condemning us in Brighton, I was in their face for letting us down. I went into the Bogside and Creggan in 1972 and stood with the protesters in quiet contemplation and solidarity a year and a half after Bloody Sunday and I talked to people to educate myself about how they lived and how they were being oppressed while the labour party turned their back on the victims murdered that day. They still don’t go to those places or talk to the people anymore. At least, not until their gravy train livelihood and expenses are at risk. The bastards still only speak to invited audiences they bus in from Merseyside.

But its easy for me to vent. I have the time and the energy. I live in Australia now. I have a brilliant lifestyle. A truly great life now. But I left Britain in 2010 with my eyes filled with tears.  I never saw my father again. He died 2 weeks to the day I arrived in Queensland. I did see Maw, but she was broken without my Da. She died last year, but I will always be grateful that I was able to travel from Australia to be there when she celebrated her 80th birthday in 2012 with the whole clan – my Uncles, Aunts, 4 brothers, 3 sisters, our sons and daughters and many family friends. It was a moment of love and solidarity with a woman, and, in spirit, my Dad, that I have admired and loved since my very first breath and will do so until my very last.

They are the people who showed me what the right way is. The main reason I believe in a better way. A way that is fair to everybody that works for the common good in the smallest of families and the largest of nations. That is:  everybody who tries to put something in is due something out of the deal and those that are unable – for whatever reason – to even try are put in for by everyone else because that is what we do. It worked in my Maws hoose. It works in my hoose and it used to work reasonably well in the UK.

I still don’t know why it was changed to the “You scratch my back, you scratch me more” system they have today. You know what I’m talking about – the way of Jim Murphy MP who has claimed over a million pounds in expenses in just 12 years in parliament. Most people don’t make that much money in 50 years of working for a living. The way of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling who presided over the biggest banking failure and economic crisis since 1926, and allowed the guilty bankers to write their own bonus cheques, then go about the world and talk for thousands and thousands of pounds to bankers about what a great job they did of saving the banks. I would have preferred it if they got it for saving the jobs and pensions that were lost. They should have got fuck all. Any of them.

I don’t understand why the labour party are so afraid of my Maw and Dads way, the old labour party’s way. It always worked – until the accountants, lawyers and feckless shitebags like Jim Murphy, George Galloway and the whole Blair/Brown/Miliband cabalah got in there.

They claim to be socialists, while they scaremonger, warmonger and guild their own lilies and pile  extra quids into their own wallet straight out of the benefit giros and meagre earnings of the most vulnerable in our society. They work hand in hand with the privileged few old Etonian and Oxbridge  elite to ensure that the few remain few. They work with those they call their own – like Owen Jones – who learned his politics from text books in Oxford or Cambridge University alongside the Anthony Blunts of this world to keep the masses believing that they are on their side. Intellectual giants who can’t tell the difference between democracy and plutocracy. They are living off the backs of the working class who have kept them with seats at the tables of power for decades at the expense of their own families and friends. Aye, and ‘Middle England’, too – they have been with us on occasion. Feathering their own nests and blithely labelling people that see a better way as ‘narrow nationalists’, or ‘nazis’, or ‘subsidy junkies’ when the opposite is true. They are Preposterous. They are Impostors. They are Liars, thieves and charlatans. They do not speak for or to me. They disgust me.

I have a lot to be grateful to the UK for. I have a lot of family and good friends there. I lived in Scotland and England and I travelled the world because of opportunities I had there. I made a decent living for most of that time, though I had some hard times too. But I never forgot the good times and what good people did for me. My heart never left Scotland, though and it still belongs to Scotland. Always will. My wife understands that and she was willing, if we had won independence, to come back with me to live there – even though she is Australian and her heart lies here in Brisbane along with her 2 sons and 3 of our 4 grandchildren. That gift was tempting me and still does, but I won’t bring her back to  a Scotland that has been ripped and torn  and stabbed in the back and raped by Westminster, because it would break my heart to watch her suffer. She would hate that world, as would I, but I would be fighting hard against the ones perpetrating these crimes on MY good people. I can stand the pain I have, because she is here with me and I feel blessed. I am not sure I would be able to protect her perfect soul from the worst of the Glasgow climate, and the worst of the poverty would kill her just to look at it. It does not, though, stop me feeling the pain for my Mother Country. It salves the wound, a wee bit. It will, however, never stop me dreaming of the day our freedom comes, nor will it stop me doing whatever I can, wherever I am to bring that day forward. The next time I will be there. Fighting.

Saor Alba. Alba gu brath!

The crumbling castle of can’t

A Wee Ginger Dug speaks what is in my mind

Wee Ginger Dug

Go home Yes supporters. Let’s stick our heads under the duvet and give up. It’s all over, we’ve lost, we’ve been trounced and humiliated and everybody hates us … Meanwhile in other news from the same dystopian universe, immigrants give you cancer, benefits claimants are dishonest cheating wastrels to a man and woman, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are the voices of common sense, and Scotland only wants independence because we hate the English. Welcome to Ukmedialand.

A recent opinion poll has been published that seemingly shows a fractional increase in the gap between Yes and No, and it’s proof positive that the only person in Scotland who is going to vote Yes is the guy with the blue painted face and the jimmy wig whose photie is always used to illustrate articles on independence. But we must not take that too seriously, the photo that is, the poll is…

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Inaudible Mumbles

Living in Australia gives me a quite useful perspective on the Scottish Independence debate. I get both sides of it because Australians, in general, don’t give a fuck about it – they have their own battles to fight.

The latest furore created by the No camp seems to be perched among an inaudible mumble that arose out of an interview with Alistair Darling in New Statesman magazine. If the reports are correct, almost in the same sentence, he accused Alex Salmond of sounding like Kim Jong Il and promoting Blut und Boden (Blood and Soil) nationalism. For the uninitiated, Blud Und Boden was a brand of nationalist opinion which began appearing in the 1890’s in Germany and was commandeered by the Nazi Party in a more sloganised form – blaming foreigners, Jews and generally, non-German stock of seeking to pummel Germany into submission to the power of global and personal finance. There is some irony in there to be extracted.

The fact that Alistair Darling has compared Alex Salmond to a recently deceased dictator and compared the Yes campaign to a less recent fascist regime is not only laughable, but oozes a desperate and defamatory resentment of the success of the pro-independence campaign and the First Minister of Scotland in persuading enough Scottish residents to scare the living daylights out of Westminster. What the No campaign (and Alistair Darling, in particular) don’t see is that the majority of pro-Indy folk had made their minds up long before this referendum campaign got under way.

For me, personally, the realization that I am in favour of independence came about 7 or 8 years ago. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for me) I met and married a wonderful woman who brought me to Australia, and I chose to live here. Funnily enough, I now have a similar fight against neo-liberalist elitist politicians here in Australia that I had gotten so tired of while living in Britain. You couldn’t get a fag paper between the Tories here and the Tory-LibDem-Labour elite in Britain.

Spot the similarities: They favour privatisation of the NHS, we already pay a medicare tax to fund it, but they want to charge us more every time we have a blood test, an xray, see a doctor or any other medical therapist; They want to cut pensions by $80 a week for some, which will push a lot of older folk from abject poverty into starvation and homelessness. They want to abolish the carbon tax and taxes on the major mining corporations rather than make it work to furnish the nation with a fund for future development and care of the nation. They also want to make those earning more than $200000 per annum about $400 worse off while making those on benefits and under 30 years old $2469 a year worse off. They are in favour of fracking, too – despite the proven damage to water tables, soil, and flora and fauna. I have seen running water from a tap literally set on fire after fracking took place below the property.

In the great scheme of things, my opinion matters little to anyone, but me. I don’t have a vote in the referendum, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a say! I have made it my mission to try to persuade all the waverers among my family and friends in Scotland to vote Yes to an independent Scotland. As a people, we are quite clearly different in attitude to the rest of the British isles when it comes to Social welfare, politics and outlook. It is time to withdraw the power from Westminster to rule over us without our voice being heard and listened to. Time to bring our government home.

When that happens, I am likely to follow close behind!