REFLECTIONS ON WOOLWICH


Point number 4 especially important:

“To suggest that the Woolwich attack was not driven by political anger is not to deny that we should take the threat of Islamism seriously. But we should also understand what underlies ‘homegrown’ terrorism. There was something bizarre, indeed surreal, about seeing a young black man with a broad south London accent raging about British soldiers in ‘our lands’, and warning that ‘you people will never be safe’. It tells us less about his attachment to Islam than about his complete disengagement from British society. Islamism has become one expression of such disengagement and of such detachment from social norms.”

Pandaemonium

Woolwich attack

1

It was a mad, barbarous attack, more akin to a particularly savage form of street violence than to a politically motivated act. What was striking about the incident was not just its depravity but the desire of the murderers for that depravity to be captured on film. This was narcissistic horror, an attempt to create a spectacle, enact a performance, and generate media frenzy. In that it succeeded. We should not provide the act with greater legitimacy by rationalizing it in political or religious terms. Even to call it a terrorist act is to give it too much credibility.

2

Brutal nihilism and narcissistic hatred are central threads of contemporary jihadism. This is as true of 9/11 and 7/7 and the Boston bombing as it is true of the Woolwich murder. But while 9/11 and 7/7 were degenerate acts, the Woolwich attack shows how much more degenerate such…

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All in it Together: How Government Is Handing Ownership of our Schools and Hospitals to Banks


So the HSBC owns three of our NHS hospitals & also offshores it’s profits so that it doesn’t pay tax due here. Bloodsuckers.

Scriptonite Daily

PFImeme

There is a scandal unfolding quietly in this country which poses an existential threat to our most critical public services.  It is called the Private Finance Initiative.  Today, we look at the dangerous circle of self-interest which means our government is making the tax payer pay the bill for private service providers and banks to take over our schools, hospitals and other core public services.

What is PFI?

PFI stands for Private Finance Initiative.  The schemes were initially designed by Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1992 and were rapidly expanded under New Labour.  They are touted as a form of Public Private Partnership.  The government uses private finance, rather than borrowing in the usual way, to raise funds for projects.  Since 1992, our hospitals and schools have been built this way.  PFI loans are at least twice the rate of interest of ordinary government loans, and repaid over 25-30 years.

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Unbelievable govt comment on Foodbanks


Sickening neo-Victorian attitudes. What kind of a country are we that the hungry poor are starved and demonised by the aloof wealthy elites, while we all stand idly by?

SKWAWKBOX

I often pick up on interesting exchanges from the Commons for this blog. However, this week I came across one which went way beyond ‘interesting’ and well into the territory of ‘he can’t possibly have really just said that’.

I’ve written before about Foodbanks, and the appalling gall of David Cameron in trying to claim the exponential rise in their numbers as an expression of his ‘Big Society’. Cameron has also been incredibly disingenuous when criticised about this rise, claiming that

The use of food banks went up tenfold under the last Labour government.

As Channel 4’s Full Fact has pointed out, the tenfold increase during 6 years under the last Labour government in the number of people receiving help from Foodbanks (by around 36,000 to 40,898) is dwarfed by the increase of 87,799 (to 128,697) that took place in just the first 2 years of the coalition government.

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What is ‘tax avoidance’?


Conscience and Consciousness

George Osborne says he’s dealing with tax avoidance. He is and he isn’t. It all depends what you mean by ‘tax avoidance’. As Richard Brooks demonstrates in his excellent book ‘The Great Tax Robbery’, the government has made some moves to clamp down on ‘tax avoidance’, but only understood on the very narrow definition according to which tax avoidance involves transactions that are ‘unintended and unexpected [by legislators].’

According to this definition, Phillip Green did not ‘avoid tax’ when he arranged matters so as not to pay a single penny of tax on his 1.2 billion dividend from Acardia (the company that owns Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins and British Home Stores) by putting the company in his wife’s name (she happens to be a resident of Monaco). According to this definition, Starbucks is not avoiding tax when it shifts profits outside the UK and so manages not to pay UK…

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I’m an Egyptian Woman and I Like Being Sexually Harrassed


ridiculous and true

Diary of A DeskGirl in Cairo

I wake up every morning looking forward to getting sexually harassed in Cairo. Because a day gone by without being whistled at like cattle or groped like a melon at a vegetable store is a day unlived in this city. Right?

I even dress according to how often I’d like to get harassed that day. Tight white t-shirt? That’s the number one sign that I’m asking for it. Skinny jeans are obviously worn to highlight my butt so men know what to grab (some short-sighted idiots completely miss and grab my hip instead, which is just plain insulting).

And since I don’t cover my hair, then obviously I know what shit I’m getting myself into by walking on the streets of the city I call home as an equal citizen to the men that lurk on corners, outside shops, dangling from microbuses, waiting happily.

As an Egyptian woman, I completely…

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From the BBC: how not to eat healthily for £1 a day


Aethelread the Unread

The BBC have published an article by one Brian Milligan, which purports to show that it is possible to eat a healthy, varied diet for less than £1 a day. The article is – and I’m being polite here – a complete farrago of nonsense from beginning to end. Let’s start with the idea that the diet Mr Milligan lived on for five days (a whole five days, imagine!) was ‘healthy’.

We’re not going to rely on my attempts to assess the quality of his meals here. Instead we’re going to avail ourselves of the opinion of a professional dietician. I should make it plain that this isn’t the result of some great feat of research on my part. I’m simply quoting the words of the dietician Mr Milligan himself contacted, and whose views he reports in his own article. Here goes:

“Those dinners looked great,” says Alison Hornby, of…

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