Monday, August 29, 2011

Jammy Everton for once

Well after a painfully disappointing start again QPR the blues have bounced back with two wins. Yesterday's against Blackburn probably saw us play a lot worse than we did last week and come away with the points.

When it's your day it's your day...I have to disagree with Moyes about the penalties, both there's are soft penalties but are given every time. No complaints. In terms of ours Samba wins the header but Fellaini is taken out by his jump. Personally I am surprised it was given but if the Rovers players are doing it each and every time they are running the risk.

Still Blackburn must be gutted that they didn't win the game, the Everton players must be delighted. A win is a win.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Remember the Battle of Cable Street and ban the EDL marches

I can absolutely understand why some people are extremely uncomfortable with banning EDL marches.

Why i feel banning the far right EDL would be a dangerous precedence to set

I know we must always beware the thin end of the wedge and I can totally understand quotes like this :

"i think if we allow them to march we can expose them for the racist nazi's they are, much like when the bbc gave nick griffin a platform to speak, many critisised that but after that his support dropped as people could see through him, much the same here i feel. plus we risk shooting ourselves in the foot if we wish to protest for our own means in the future which i am sure we will"

I do think that difficult as it is I am perfectly comfortable with banning scumbags like this from spreading their hateful, divisive lies. It is a sign to the communities they target that we aren't all like that. The alternative is what happened at The Battle of Cable Street when the left rose up and counter-marched against Oswald Mosely's fascists when they targeted the Jewish communities of the east end of London.

If we have to do that then fair enough but we have moved on from that and such extremists are beyond the pale. We don't tolerate racism in this country, simple as that. Why shouldn't racist parties & organisations forfeit their rights to have their voices heard.

It is extremely tough because we cherish our freedom in this country, freedom isn't freedom to bully and spread hate though.

I agree with Nick on human rights (but he's wrong to blame Labour)

Read this with interest today, I agree that Nick Clegg is right to defend the human rights act and I agree with his rejection of of the frothy-mouthed tabloid furore every time it is mentioned. It is undeniably a massively important thing and one this country has embraced throughout our history. It is a convenient rabble-rouser for the empty vessel media to get riled about, find any outlying example and report on it as an example of the norm. It's similar to that other favourite spurious anger raiser: Health & Safety. I work with a Health & Safety specialist and let me assure you Health & Safety has not "Gone mad" (Neither has political correctness for that matter) but if you can find on outlandish example in some insignificant backwater than that's your "journalism" done for the say...

...and if you can lump Europe with it all the better. Remember that episode of QI where Stephen Fry debunked the health & safety, human-rights, political correctness, European parliament myths.

Chris Grayling was on the radio earlier this week pledging to try and cut through the mire and myth about health & safety but a rejection of the concept to score cheap political capital is definitely not the way forward.

So anyway while I agree with Nick *shudder* I do disagree with his fairly faint praise of Labour for passing the bill in the first place. Just another example of the whole dismissing of Labour's achievements in favour of a dissection of the bills looking for any negativity (A bit rich when you consider utterly ill thought-out policies such as tuition fees with £9k exceptional circumstances or the NHS Reform currently quivering in the long grass hoping everyone forgets it exists)

He is also fairly mean to single out Jack Straw as an opponent of Human Rights whilst linking to an article where he says basically the same as David Cameron is. Anyway here is an extract from the article :

The Labour government that passed the Human Rights Act then spent years trashing it, allowing a myth to take root that human rights are a foreign invention, unwanted here, a charter for greedy lawyers and meddlesome bureaucrats.

This myth panders to a view that no rights, not even the most basic, come without responsibilities; that criminals ought to forfeit their very humanity the moment they step out of line; and that the punishment of lawbreakers ought not to be restrained by due process.

The reality is that those who need to make use of human rights laws to challenge the decisions of the authorities are nearly always people who are in the care of the state: children's homes, mental hospitals, immigration detention, residential care. They are often vulnerable, powerless, or outsiders, and are sometimes people for whom the public feels little sympathy. But they are human beings, and our common humanity dictates that we treat them as such.

There is, of course, a sensible discussion to be had about the details of how the act operates. In November the UK takes over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe, and the government wants to take the opportunity to advance the reform of the European court of human rights, for example to improve the timeliness and consistency of its decision-making. At home, the government has set up a commission to investigate the case for establishing a UK bill of rights. It has long been my party's policy to use a bill of rights to deepen our commitment to the protections of the Human Rights Act, and also to protect other British liberties, such as the right to jury trial.

But the biggest problem with the Human Rights Act is not how it operates in the courts, nor how it interacts with other rights. It is how it is manipulated not just by the media but by overcautious officials. It was, for example, of no help to anyone when police spokespeople blamed human rights for a decision to deliver a KFC meal to a fugitive on a roof: this had nothing to do with the Human Rights act. There is no human right to fried chicken.

So, as Cameron has said, we need to "get a grip on the misrepresentation of human rights". Too many people have succumbed to a culture of legal paranoia where common sense decisions are questioned – not by the courts, but by overcautious lawyers and officials. This creates an ever-worsening cycle: the more we perpetuate the myth that, in the words of Jack Straw, human rights are a "villains' charter", the more those dealing with lawbreakers curtail their behaviour because of a general sense that rights trump common sense. The friends of human rights have the most to gain if we get a grip on this. We must give public officials back the confidence that reasonable decisions taken in the public interest will be defended by the courts – as they usually are when they actually reach the courts.

Court judgments themselves tend to tell a very different story about our rights culture than tabloid papers. The Human Rights Act and the European convention on human rights have been instrumental in preventing local authorities from snooping on law-abiding families, in removing innocent people from the national DNA database, in preventing rapists from cross-examining their victims in court, in defending the rights of parents to have a say in the medical treatment of their children, in holding local authorities to account where they have failed to protect children from abuse, in protecting the anonymity of journalists' sources, and in upholding the rights of elderly married couples to be cared for together in care homes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Everton stall against QPR but bounce back against Sheffield United

The opening day of Everton's season (week two for everyone else) was a massively frustrating one and one that underlined the gloom around the club at the moment. The players are talking positively but the fans see a squad that has been left high & dry by financial constraints.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle because the players see a loyal club that is seeking to back them and reward them for staying...the fans see the team that has needed a striker for about two years.

What is for sure is that a home defeat against QPR was not what we needed. One shot one goal from the visitors but a defeat is a defeat. Everton huffed & puffed, hit the bar, hit the post had penalty claims waved away but ultimately never put QPR on the ropes. Very frustrating.

Goodison was sparely attended on Wednesday (by our standards, apparently there was only 4000 at Loftus Road the night before against Everton 17,000) perhaps owing to the depression felt amongst the bluenoses. In truth Sheffield United offered little by way of a real test but rather humorously took the lead despite Everton dominating the whole game. This seems to act as a wake up call for the Toffeemen who hit back straight away and were out of site by half time.

A win is a win I suppose.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Louise Mensch fibs while Libya burns

The people of Libya are at a crucial point in their history as the rest of the world looks on praying that the Gaddafi regime doesn't have a sting in the tail.

The rest of the world minus Louise Mensch of course. As the TNC rebels massed outside Tripoli and what's hopefully the endgame played itself out everyone's favourite chick-lit author turned A-List selected MP was busy tweeting like a political groupie and proclaiming it a "Genuine Triumph for David Cameron" whilst bizarrely inventing a paralell universe where Ed Miliband opposed the Libyan intervention. See here

This brought about the usual storm of twitter derision but it is very sad considering A: People are still fighting and dying for freedom in Libya and B: Ed made a strong speech supporting the NATO action from the off (As showed in the links below)

Good to see the people at Political scrapbook ar taking her to task

Mensch’s “memory” of this incident appears to be a rather imaginative work of fiction. A quick search of Hansard reveals no such mockery in any of the seven occasions Miliband has mentioned the no fly zone. In fact, he could hardly have been more supportive of the idea:

28 February: “We welcome what the Prime Minister said about a possible no-fly zone.”

14 March: “when the Prime Minister first publicly floated the idea of a no-fly zone two weeks ago, that we welcomed the possibility. It is disappointing that Friday’s communiqué did not mention it … it seems to us that the priority must be to translate the no-fly zone phrase into a practical plan.”

28 March: “I welcome the fact that the military operation to enforce the no-fly zone and protect civilians is showing signs of success.”

I wonder if this shows a desperation amongst The Tories after recent travails. Regardless it is pretty grubby and we await a retraction.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A one eyed view of the Catholic church??? Never

Ignore the good and focus on the bad.

So the likes of the BBC and the Guardian are publicising people protesting over the cost of World Youth Day in Madrid, it must a modern day miracle. Two million people descending on a city and not putting a single penny into the local economy. Perhaps the protesters are expecting the Pontiff to perform the feeding of the two million? He's good but not that good.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


So Everton's season finally gets underway today....can't say I am optimistic about Everton's chances but I can't wait to get to Goodison, when all is said and done I do love being a bluenose.

Lib Dems telling "lies" in Liverpool (again).

Got this through from Liverpool Council leader Joe Anderson and though it worthy of a reprint:

"They’re at it again – but then did we ever expect anything less? Many residents have been contacting me over the last week to tell me all about the latest Lib Dem leaflet which has been going through letter boxes across the city this week.

Well, I say ‘across the city’ – its mainly been in the south of the city and in places which were once Lib Dem strongholds, where their sitting Councillors are now clinging on desperately.

Indeed, ‘desperate’ is how I’d describe their latest effort. Its such a shame, this is a bunch of councillors which could be lobbying their Government to stop hitting Liverpool with cut after cut after cut. This is a party which should be on the phone to their Ministers and MPs telling them not to slash 800 officers from Merseyside Police, or another £50million from Liverpool City Council.

But instead, they’ve taken to telling lies about how much we’re spending on taxis, trying to claim that what we’re spending in a year on taxis has been spent in six months. And here’s another thing: the vast majority of these taxis weren’t used by lazy councillors or extravagant council staff, but by adults and children to help them get to their care centres and children’s homes.

Do the Lib Dems want to make these vulnerable people walk to their care homes and children’s centres?

And here’s something else for the Lib Dems to think about from their moral high ground: Last year, 35 Lib Dem councillors claimed £2,321 in travel allowances, whilst 50 Labour councillors claimed just £303.

When the Lib Dems want to have a serious discussion about transport and care packages for vulnerable people – care packages that have to be delivered against a background of savage Lib Dem / Tory cuts – then I am ready to talk sensibly. Until then, I’m more than happy to keep embarrassing them with statistics just like these."

Pretty sneaky from the Liverpool Lib Dems but par for the course after their election fibs about weekly bin collections and the crap they through at Luciana before the general election.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reminder : "What Next for Labour" is out September 5th

Looks like it will be a good read

“Labour does not quite seem to get enough credit for its considerable accomplishments. The foundation of our modern state occurred in the 1945-51 period yet seems taken for granted; the 1960's was a vital decade of social change certainly made easier by a centre left Government; the achievements of the Blair period, constitutionally, electorally and socially are to be lauded and never denied; similarly the social spending of Gordon Brown together with his international financial management at a time of need- all represent considerable governmental achievements. That is progress to be proud of and to be built on. No blank sheets but rather a turning of the page.”

“We have to map out a vision of the future of an NHS which stands comparison with the best of consumer services in this country. Choice based on easily understandable information; services integrated across all its different parts; the patient’s journey smooth and unimpeded.”

Chapter list is as follows


Ann Black: In and Out of Power: A View from the Grass Roots
Lord Whitty: Reflections on Labour votes and Social Democratic Philosophy
Dr Rupa Huq: The Path Back to Power is a Suburban One
Tony Lloyd MP: In Search of Labour’s Big Idea
Peter Watt: Building a Party for the Future
Lord Temple-Morris: Labour: the Progressive Choice
Tracey Cheetham: Social Media and Labour


James Frith: New Ideas for Labour’s Fresh Economy
Matt Pitt: The Case for a British Investment Bank


Siôn Simon: Why Mayors Matter and Why Labour Should Support Them
Joseph Russo: Co-ops and New Labour
Bill Esterson MP: A Campaigning Party
David Hanson MP: What Awaits Labour in 2015?
Eric Joyce MP: It’s a Sin
Richard Robinson: Labour’s Good Society and Strong Communities


Ashley Tiffen: A Socialist Law and Order Agenda
Admiral Lord West: Defence: The Most Important Duty of Government but Sadly not a Vote Winner?


Lord Knight: What Chance an Enabling State?
Aaron Porter: Where Next for Labour’s Higher Education Policy?
Dr Nick Palmer: Student Fees: A Constructive Response
Axel Landin: Reclaiming Our Status as the Natural Party of the Young

Ellie Cumbo: All in This Together? The Future of Gender Equality in the Labour Party
Baroness Goudie: Can We End Poverty Globally? Asking the Difficult Questions


William Bain MP: Justice and Growth: Labour’s Agenda on Food Security
Kieran Roberts: Sustainable Socialism
Graham Stringer MP: Transport Policy for the Twenty-First Century
Nick Palmer: Animal Welfare: The Neglected Swing Issue


Irwin Brown: A Socialist Plan for Health
Lord Hunt: Our NHS: The Labour Party Challenge

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Premier League football is back

So despite Everton's game being cancelled it was nice to have the Premier League back at the weekend.

United look decent going forward but defensive injuries and their keeper looking suspect could be problematic (once the rest of the league smell blood on a dodgy keeper there is no mercy). City looked outstanding once they'd made the breakthrough against Swansea and Aguero looked immense when he came on (Dzecko looked decent too and Villa was his usual awesome self). Torres looked brilliant for Chelsea whilst Suarez looked superb for you-know-who. Arsenal have some questions to answer especially with losing Fabregas and Nasri.

Everton are in a very tricky position, another year without any transfers is pretty much unforgivable...If teams come looking for the likes of Jagielka and Fellaini we could well be in a lot of trouble because we are paper-thin and lacking strikers. We'll see I suppose.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ed Miliband setting the right tone over the riots

Have to say I liked the tone Ed Miliband took today on Radio4 (more and more he is impressing me recently), now is not the time for political point-scoring and I am wary of all the knee-jerking I am seeing since the riots began. We need to take time to listen to what places like Tottenham, Croydon and Clapham are telling is. I know being a bleeding heart Liberal is more out of fashion than ever but whilst I agree there has to be a big clamp-down on the criminal scumbags who did this we do need to work hard to see if we can address the issues that made the places such tinderboxes. Anyway, here's what Ed said

Ed Miliband has blamed the riots that swept English cities on a "me first" culture - and accepted Labour must share the blame for creating it.

The Labour leader said his party had failed to tackle inequality and not paid enough attention to morality.

And he linked the riots to a wider collapse in social responsibility exemplified by the banking crisis and MPs expenses scandal.

He said he would set up his own riots inquiry if David Cameron failed to act.

Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the breakdown in social order that occurred this week showed many people had lost their sense of right and wrong and there was a "me first" culture.

"There is an issue which went to all our souls - this is an issue not just about the responsibility and irresponsibility we saw on the streets of Tottenham.

"It's about irresponsibility, wherever we find it in our society.

"We've seen in the past few years MPs' expenses, what happened in the banks, what happened with phone hacking."

And he admitted that Labour had not done enough to tackle deep-rooted moral problems during its 13 years in power.

"I deeply regret that inequality wasn't reduced under the last Labour government. But we did great things to tackle inequality in our society," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We did better at rebuilding the fabric of our country than the ethic of our country."

He urged the prime minister set up a public inquiry in the next few days, adding: "We have got to avoid simplistic answers.

"There's a debate some people are starting: is it culture, is it poverty and lack of opportunity? It's probably both."

Mr Miliband said that if Mr Cameron does not agree to set up an inquiry "I'm going to do it myself".

Speaking to a group of young people in Brixton, south London, Mr Miliband said the inquiry should not just take evidence from the "usual suspects" but should also include people from communities affected by the rioting.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee will begin its inquiry on 6 September, with London Mayor Boris Johnson set to be its first witness.

Committee chairman, Labour MP Keith Vaz, said: "We will be looking at police tactics, we will be looking at the operation of gangs, we will be looking at mobile communications, and we will be revisiting some of the issues we have looked at in the past, such as the inquiry into the G20 protests.

"This will be a thoughtful and measured inquiry."

Policing the riots and criticising the police

I am hearing a lot of criticism of the police as the dust settles in the wake of the recent riots. This strikes me as particularly knee-jerk and opportunistic. I saw a lot of scary scenes from the comfort of my front room and I saw a lot of people's lives being torn apart by thugs and criminals and mindless morons but the one thing I didn't see was police lounging round doing nothing.

The police officers who put themselves in harms way night after night have barely caught their breath, I think it's hugely disrespectful to come out and publicly criticise the police and (judging by what I'm hearing from police officers speaking on the radio) Cameron might well live to regret it....yet another example of him looking to blame everyone else whilst taking responsibility for nothing?

I am sure they didn't get it 100% right in a rapidly developing situation, reviews will take place and improvements but it's wrong & distasteful to come out and publicly lambast the people who were landed with the job of containing an unprecedented amount of criminilaty.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The London Riots & David Cameron's Big Society

So what have we all learnt, well judging by the twitter, facebook and phone-ins we can certainly agree that people are very, very angry & shocked over what happened in the London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Salford, Bristol and West Brom. It is always a shame to see the surge of "Hang them high, birch them low" Daily Mail style knee-jerking but after what we've seen over the last week who am I to argue with them?

People took the opportunity to run amok, simple as that. This isn't a's simple scumbag criminality. The very second they new that police in Tottenham were confined to barrack they went out and started stealing. Then the rest of country's scumbags decided they wanted in too. We all know this...I say it to give a background of how I see it because ultimately we HAVE to look for the reasons behind this otherwise we'll be here again sometime soon. Given the background of cuts to police and fire services it is irresponsible of the coalition to pretend that frontline services can cope with emergencies like this with a massively reduced budget and much less manpower. The young police officers and fire crews who put themselves in harms way this week deserve to have this looked at because they always have our backing if we expect them to go out and bring order to anarchy.

The problem at the moment I see is that to give a reason for these riots seems to be viewed as making excuses...let's be clear (Politician speak!), these little rats where looting and torching local family run businesses with people living in the flats above. See it unfold in our own neighbourhoods or live on our tv screen was appalling. So what factors meant that given the chance to going a rampage people took the opportunity so readily and so widely? There will also be economic factors at play, these are difficult are scarce, benefits and services are being cut, families are broken. There is a just a void in these places and gangs and the opportunity to riot fill that. When violent crime takes place the rest of the country doesn't care as long it is is contained & away from the rest of us.

With all this there is no shame in the criminal behaviour because it's seen as taking a bit back from a society that wants to ignore you. There is also a lack of family and community pier groups to re-enforce the pride in being honest. It's an ever-decreasing circle then. Operation Trident was an attempt to police this in a more measured way but we will definitely have to look at where we are with that. My point is that going with the easy, instand reaction of coming down on these people like a tonne of bricks then doing nothing else is only a temporary solution. My thought is that David Cameron will finally get support for his oft-relaunched, oft-rejected Big Society but it will only work if this time he finally puts some funds and resources behind it. Things like SureStart centres are the Big Society but *gasp, shock, horror* they are coming from local government...if you can explain what's wrong with this let me know. Cameron's bizarre obsession with localism and federalisation is a postcode lottery writ large and it's not what we need because these communities where action is needed most have already lost that lottery.

One other thing we can be re-assured that the ordinary people of this country will always rise to challenges like this. Armies of clean-up volunteers have been spontaneously coming together to help restore high-streets to order and helping shop-owners get back on their feet...if there is a Big Society this is it, it is restorative rather than preventative though and it's effectively running on adrenalin...if we are to take this and apply it to the communities in question we need cash and resources. Liverpool jumped aboard The Big Society with gusto but quickly backed off when people realised it was little more than a fig leaf for government cuts, if Big Society relaunch #18 (I think that's what we are up to now) is to work when it's needed most then it has to be more than a bumper-sticker.

David Cameron seems to look massively annoyed whenever the job of PM involves something other than gala lunches and meeting famour people...he is a classic captain-of-industry figurehead chairman, well hopefully this week proves you can't do the job from the golf-course (or in this case Tuscany). He needs to work at establishing things that will make improvements to our inner cities and then people will the moment all he's done is to create a void (through cuts) and created a name for what he hopes will spontaneously fill it. If the Big Society is as important to him as he makes out then he's now got to put up or shut up.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Riots : I predict a garden festival

So sad and so shocking to watch the capital burn last night. Actually scary to see anarchy live on your tv...all this from a peaceful protest involving an grieving family. Is that what it takes? The police stay at home for 5 minutes and all of a sudden it's time to loot a retail park? Seeing shops set alight and the flames engulfing the surrounding flats just made you feel sick.

You watch with confilcting opinions...the Daily Mail reader inside all of use wants curfews, rubber-bullets, water-cannon and troops on the streets. The Guardian reader in you thinks of the levels of dissaffection, deprivation & anger that must exist for this madness to take hold so quickly. The truth will be much more complex and will almost certainly go back throughout the duration of Operation Trident. For this reason I'm glad Labour haven't jumped up and immediately blamed the cuts.

One thing is for sure this will leave those communities even further in the mire than they were before, there has been a lot of talk from community leaders about staying indoors and clearing the streets and community politicians like Diane Abbott have been talking a lot of sense. I do have to ciriticise Theresa May, just standing in front of the cameras and repeating the words "Sheer criminality" and making vague allusions to how tough the reaction is going to be just made her look horrifically out of her depth.She straight-batted every question with "Let's be clear this is just sheer criminality" and gave no assurances whatsoever to Londoners. She was basically a wind-up toy put out there until the government can chair a COBRA meeting, I don't blame Cameron for going on holiday but there really needed to be a better reaction from those left behind.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It's true, I think.

Popped down to Liverpool Pride (via the excellent new Liverpool Murseum) to say hello to the LGBT Labour chaps and's fair to say they have all the best stickers :)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

John Maynard Keynes Vs Friedrich August Hayek live on the BBC

Interesting article on the two economists, Keynes & Hayek. Obviously as a socialist I'd be on the Keynesian Economics side of the debate :

As their economies contracted, governments responded to their mounting budget deficits by raising taxes and cutting spending.

The Great Depression bottomed out at the end of 1932, with British unemployment having reached 20%, American unemployment even higher.

Keynes wrote the General Theory in 1936 to explain why the recovery was so feeble.

His revolutionary proposition was that following a big shock - usually a collapse in investment - there were no automatic recovery forces in a market economy.

The economy would go on shrinking until it reached some sort of stability at a low level.

Keynes called this position "under-employment equilibrium".

The reason was that the level of activity - output and employment - depended on the level of aggregate demand or spending power.

If spending power shrank, output would shrink.

In this situation it was the government's job to increase its own spending to offset the decline in public spending - that is by running a deficit to whatever extent necessary.

To cut government spending was completely the wrong policy in a slump.

When an economy is booming, a hair shirt at the Treasury is the right policy, when it is stagnating it is the wrong policy.

Keynes's message was: you cannot cut your way out of a slump; you have to grow your way out.

Eighty years on we have still not fully learnt the lesson.

Three years after the collapse of 2008, our economy is flat: there are no signs of growth, nor can the Osborne policy of a thousand cuts produce any.

Monday, August 01, 2011

A week away

Spent last week in Lourdes with the Hospitalite hence no posts...was shocked & appalled to hear of the events in Norway. Puts politics and sport in perspective. Thoughts and prayers with the AUF and the whole Arbeiderpartiet,

Lourdes was ace as always btw, hard work but good work...loads to be done and lots of new people to get to know.

It's great to just get on with the work at hand and then kick-back with a pint to relax afterwards. Not everyone's cup of tea but I love it.