Friday, September 13, 2019

The Collected Lies (and loose words) of Boris Johnson

The output of some fantasists and liars are often underestimated simply because they can be so numerous that they are ignored. This blog post is an attempt to draw together a brief list of some of  Mr Johnson'e oeuvre, not just  for the education and delight of interested parties, but also so that we can all form judgments about all of his claims and statements.

1989-94   EU plans one-size eurocoffins,
                EU plans to introduce banana police,
                EU plans to ban prawn crisps - all untrue

1988 Edward II and Piers Gaveston cavorted in the Rose Palace  - Sacked from Times

1989 Drunken Liverpool fans were responsible for Hillsborough - forced to apologise.

1999 I will not pursue a political career

2004 I did not have an affair with Petronella Wyatt - Result - sacked as Shadow Arts Minister

2008 There will be manned ticket offices in every underground station. He closed them.

2012 I will eradicate rough sleeping - Rough sleeping doubled during his Mayorship.

2012 Police numbers will increase - they did not

1990 I was just humoring an old pal - when he agreed to give Darius Guppy the contact details of a man that Guppy wished to have beaten up.

2014 Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe was teaching people journalism - Nazanin's jail sentence was lengthened. No apology given.

2016 Obama deliberately moved a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office because he dislikes him - Obama moved it to a better position.

2106 We give £350 million a week to the EU.  The figure is £190-285 million a week. The Office of National Statistics called this "a clear abuse of official statistics".

2016 "Last time I looked the government was trying to accelerate Turkish membership of the EU".
"I didn't make any remarks about Turkey".

2019 Johnson lied to the Queen over proroguing Parliament.
He told the Queen he wanted to suspend Parliament in order to develop a new agenda.
A Scottish Judge found that the "true reason for the prorogation is to reduce the time available for Parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit at a time when such scrutiny would appear to be a matter of considerable importance".

So there we have it. 16 incidents where Johnson either lied or said things which were untrue, ranging from the venal to the massive (deceiving the Queen).

Clearly he is not fit to be Prime Minister.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Extinction - Long story short

Forest cleared for crops © Lanthilda |

I support my local Extinction Rebellion group - Mendip XR - and hundreds of thousands of people, ordinary and extraordinary, likewise support XR.

But why is it called "Extinction" Rebellion?

Extinction of species is a normal part of life on this planet, but it is now happening at a completely abnormal rate.

Over the last 50 years, the biomass (a measure of the total weight of a species ) of wild animals has dropped by 80%.
Over the last 50 years, natural ecosystems have lost 50% of their area.
One million species, about 10% of the total species on the planet, are at risk of extinction. [source]

Unless we humans change our ways, it is inevitable that in the end the only species surviving on this planet will be us humans, animals we keep for food, and pests that we cannot get rid of like rats and cockroaches.

Therefore we have to change our ways.

The reason for the fall in wild animal numbers is pretty straightforward - it is that we are clearing natural ecosystems to plant cash crops like food and bio-fuels. There are other factors also such as climate change and trophy hunting, but farming is the worst culprit, as we have been seeing this month in the deliberate burning of Amazon rainforest in order to create space for soya beans and other crops.

In the UK we waste about 30-40% of the food we grow, so there is some scope for reduction in impact by reducing waste. It is also the case that a near-vegan diet is more efficient, to the extent that the same area of land devoted to growing vegetable foodstuffs could support about 50% more people  than if it were growing food animals, so again there is scope for reducing the pressure on natural ecosystems if we move towards a near-vegan diet.

In addition, we are already spoiling the ecological balance of the oceans by over-fishing.

These problems exist at a point that the human population stands at 7 Billion. This number is projected to rise to 11 Billion by the year 2100 - a rise of nearly 50%. This expansion will unarguably demand a further destruction of natural ecosystems for farm land.

An essential part of wildlife conservation, and of the Extinction Rebellion, must  therefore include reforms to reduce human population growth. This is a complex and emotive subject, but it must be addressed, and not dismissed as solely a problem caused by consumer capitalism, although that is indeed a very big factor.

The population problem must be addressed through education not coercion, and it involves empowerment of women, provision of contraception services, general medical services, care of the elderly, and bringing the living standards of the poorest nations up to a condition where everyone has enough. More on this topic on this blog.

So extinction is a matter that goes well beyond giving a donation to WWF, and indeed, in getting arrested for closing a road, important though both those actions are.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Introducing the General Tea Break

The un-elected Boris Johnson has just had his plan to prorogue Parliament in order to get his ruinously destructive No Deal Brexit plan into action rubber-stamped by the un-elected Monarch.

In a normal country this kind of political absurdity would be met with a General Strike. 
However the UK is not a normal country. 
We have no written constitution, a very weak form of democracy, and our public opinion is dominated by a set of pro-Brexit press barons. 
Therefore Joe Public may not be ready yet for a General Strike, but we may be ready for a General Tea Break. 

The General Tea Break works like this: 

Every Friday morning at 9 am, politically concerned workers meet up at work at the water cooler or someplace, and talk about the political situation for 10 minutes. That's all. Talk for 10 mins.

If management comes and says "Why aren't you at your stations?"  the response is "We are talking about Johnson's Brexit. He is going to wreck the country, do you not agree? We were just going back to our stations, but since you are here, we would like to know what you think? Do you think it will end up with a General Strike?"

After 10 mins they get to work, so it's not worth the manager getting all disciplinary.

As weeks pass and numbers gather, the time slowly extends.

Management will get the idea, as soon as they realise it is happening in other companies. They will realise we are tooling up for a General Strike. The CBI will have a word with the Treasury, which will have to start calculating the economic costs of a General Strike.

General Tea Break is not as impactful as a General Strike, but as a simple act of non-cooperation that ordinary people can participate in, it has certain possibilities...

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Government is responsible for facilitating the explosion in knife crime

Yippee! Got a letter in the Guardian today, suggesting that parents of children affected by knife crime should sue Ministers for failing to discharge their responsibilities. 
This is an extension of the concern that we need to create a healthy social environment for children to grow up in, with help in parenting, schooling (including management of excluded students), and full employment of 16-24 year olds, on this blog here.