Power to the people
Any suggestion that the big six energy companies are operating an illegal cartel to fix gas and electricity prices to ensure massive profit is entirely erroneous; there are a magnificent seven gunslingers in the illegal cartel.
Akira Kurosawa`s superb “Seven Samurai”, released in 1954, told the story of noble warriors protecting simple farmers against evil, pillaging bandits. Hollywood updated the scenario into the wild-west with “The Magnificent Seven” released in 1960. Later, in 1998, Pixar used the same story in “A Bug`s Life”. The 2013 version is a little more complex. We still have the evil, pillaging bandits and the slightly camp cowboys and the hopelessly inept circus troop but we simple farmers might be a little confused as to who the mercenary protectors are and who the pillaging bandits might actually be. (more…)
Image via theguardian.com
During the evening of Saturday 30th November 2013, the War on Welfare petition reached its target of 100,000 signatures which means that the backbench Business Committee will consider if the systematic punishment of people in need of most support is worthy of a debate in the House of Commons. It is an indication of just how vile this coalition government is and how ineffectual the opposition has become, that it requires a petition to secure half a chance of a possibility that some sort of scrutiny of callous, vindictive and brutal oppression might or might not take place.
The WOW e-petition was created by comedian and disability rights activist Francesca Martinez and calls for a meaningful assessment of the effects that abandoning any pretence at humanity, or “Welfare Reform” as the vile coalition government prefer to style it, will have on sick and disabled people, their families and their carers. So rapid has the descent into venality been, that it is necessary for the petitioners to also request (more…)
Screen grab via BBC parliament
Imagine the managers of Manchester United and Chelsea deciding before a vital cup tie to play ten against ten and not field any goalkeepers. The resulting goal fest might delight match sponsors and broadcast sports media but the fixture could not under the current FA rules, be described as a game of football. As ridiculous as this appears, it is a common procedure in what is laughingly known as parliamentary democracy.
On Tuesday, the parliamentary Labour Party called an Opposition Day debate on Housing Benefit in an attempt to kick into touch the utterly vile and pernicious Bedroom Tax; a sanction designed specifically to punish people for being poor, vulnerable and disabled. As commendable and well-intentioned this enterprise by Labour might be, it was not considered an important enough issue to impose a three line whip and so the pairing system of House of Commons voting allowed MPs to be absent as long as an opposing MP wanted a day off as well. Out of a total of 650 elected representatives, 478 turned up to vote leaving 172 otherwise engaged and able to claim that the “pairing system” ensured that their potential vote was meaningless. (more…)
Dia de muerto
As Hallowmas concludes for another year and with extorting candy with menaces completely replacing traditional apple bobbing, it is perhaps time to welcome another celebration imported from the Americas.
Anyone with even a passing understanding of the Aztec deity Mictecacihuatl and the synthesis of pre-Colombian ritual and Catholic worship will know that the day of the dead is not just about marigolds and sugar skulls. All soul`s day involves food and music and dancing and laughter to encourage the souls of the dearly departed to join us for a single day back on earth. Rather than trick or treat or tooth decay, obesity and encouraging children to demand sweets from strangers, perhaps we should sing and dance to encourage the return of entities that we once held dear. (more…)
Image via nationalgallery. org.uk
After 208 years you might be forgiven in thinking Nelson`s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was pretty conclusive but more recent events might result in Napoleon Bonaparte and Admiral Villeneuve rising from their graves to demand a steward`s inquiry.
As a relative stranger to the concept of electricity (Michael Faraday had just turned 14 at the time of Trafalgar and Georg Ohm was only 16), Nelson was probably aware of electric fish and the funny smell that is produced when lightning strikes a ship at sea. He could not, however, have imagined that a novelty experiment would, one day, become a basic human necessity and that pillaging the treasure of colonial rivals would be replaced by pillaging the pockets of his own countrymen. Similarly, if the musket round to his shoulder hadn`t finished him off, the very idea that steam would replace sail would have seen him descending to Davy Jones` Locker faster than a Liberal Democrat thrown overboard at an election. (more…)