Tag Archives: Conservative

Return The jaws Of Doom Of the Tories


lingOh no, here comes the boring old fart do I hear from some quarters. No is the simple answer I bring strong tidings that some people may not want to read but the wise will read and comprehend where I’m coming from.

If people thought that Labour was the big bad wolf then I’ve got news for you they are not the enemy it’s the conservatives and if you think that is left talk then I must have mugging written on my forehead.

Conservatives are like reprobates over our NHS, Human Rights, Trade Union Rights and Welfare then they have the very cheek to say trade unions laws need amending to make it harder for Trade Unions to strike. This is not the first time that the Tories have done this. Remember the dreaded milk snatcher years aka Margret Thatcher Government smashing the trade unions and coal miners’ strike and breaking up coal mining communities which led many miners on the dole.

IMG_2012Next time at Prime Minister Question (PMQ) when David Cameron harps on about Patrick McLaughlin being the first coal miner cabinet minister let’s us all remind him to stop telling porkies to the public.

Let all the Labour MPs let ripe that Roy Mason was Jim Callaghan’s Northern Ireland Secretary who was also a former coal miner and let us not forget that Dennis Skinner is a former miner and current still a Labour MP but given how few mines there are these days it’s not very likely that were going to see many ex-miner MP’s.

I recall reading somewhere in 1924 the then Labour Government had three and Nye Bevan is perhaps one of the most famous coal miners in the cabinet. Now that I have got this out of my chest back to what will happen with the Conservatives since they won the 2015 General Election.

As the promised by the Tories they will use this time to lay into their programme of cuts as they are aware know that there will be little to stop them as Labour Party and Libdems will be choosing their leader(s) just to give you a flavor checkout their manifesto starting with the incumbent government:

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/manifesto2015/ConservativeManifesto2015.pdf

This will give you an idea why they want to start their austerity cuts as soon as possible.

Today I was at London HQ to listen to Harriet Harman and I have to concur with her analyses on what she thinks took place. See below

http://www.harrietharman.org/time_to_let_in_the_public

For this reason I will say if Labour does not get it right this time round my greatest fear is that the party will be cast into the wilderness for 18 years if we don’t get it right with our leader and manifesto. May be the national party con learn some lessons from Birmingham in the West Midlands region where we won 9 seats out of 10 and how to win leadership contest. See below:

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/sir-albert-bore-sees-challenge-9235848

 

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My thoughts on TUC letting UKIP know to keep their mitts off our trade unions rights


Here something to remember about UKIP:

Let’s face some home truths, be frank and honest with ourselves when trade unions put some questions to UKIP members and their leadership what are their policies regards to a well-established trade unions and trade movement at large most of UKIP membership and their great leader are clueless on what their basic policies are on trade unions rights let alone to give a position on it.

chuSince the formation of UKIP all they are concerned about is out of European Parliament, stopping immigrants entering the UK and they want a referendum now. Err hello welcome to Cloud coo land they seem to forget it was the trade unions who fought tooth and nail to secure trade union rights to be recognised both in Europe and UK via Labour MEPs which a Labour Government has delivered and many trade unions members have benefited so why would the trade unions throw in the towel and embrace UKIP it makes no sense.

tuc All the trade unions who are affiliated to the TUC have concurred that UKIP has nothing to offer to the trade union membership. If anything they foresaw that UKIP would rather be bed partners with the conservatives to help them to implement Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) /Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA)  which will see the end of our NHS and Local Government under the guise of Jaws of Doom to put it in a nutshell which many UKIP members brags about today as this article goes to print.

This what some UKIP members had to say about the general policy for UKIP about the trades unions, or even if it has a policy concerning that matter. As a true libertarian party, UKIP would have to accept trade union membership of it’s supporters.

As a Kipper myself, I have nothing to hide, and can confirm that I am a fully paid up member of a large Trade Union, and have been for many years. I personally see that they do ‘mainly’ good things to represent workers and help improve working conditions and help make the workplace safe, as well as negotiating pay deals and work benefits. Although I do not support wild cat strikes like they used to have in the 70s, or indeed the national ‘general strike’ that was called for by the big union bosses the other week.

the other UKIP member said I am a fully paid up member of UKIP and was a Candidate on Thursday. I am not currently a member of a trade union but was for several years with a union which I joined when I worked for BT. Unions are important, but we would be wise to avoid being ruled by them. We certainly need to avoid, like labour, being dependant on them.

This is what  the leader of UKIP has to say about trade unions:

Unions have great power and when used wisely it can benefit everyone, when union leaders will not compromise or accept certain arguments, life can get pretty difficult. They key is to be honest with them and for them to be honest with whomsoever they are representing and or negotiating with.

No party can guarantee that a particular policy will be agreed with by the Unions, but if the policy is correct, then the argument should be made and those unhappy either convinced about them, or allowed to make their argument and in some cases seek a compromise. There will be cases when compromise cannot be reached, if this is so, then the reason for that lack of compromise should be clear cut and at the end of the day justified.

Trade union campaigners have launched a drive against the far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) just before he European elections.

The Unions Together campaign will aim to highlight that as well as Ukip’s divisive immigration policies, the party also stands for a series of reactionary reforms, supporting the rollback of basic workers’ rights such as maternity leave, sick pay and paid holidays.

The announcement comes a day after a protester was arrested for throwing an egg at Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

MANOFACTION“Ukip will take Britain’s working people back to the dark ages, scrapping basic rights we fought hard for and relied upon by the 31 million workers in this country,” said GMB general secretary Paul Kenny.

“This is a chance to show that Ukip’s agenda, specially its small-business manifesto, is far from being in touch with Britain’s common people.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” said Unite community activist Bernadette Horton about the campaign.

“People only see the immigration issue and are blind to all the other things that Ukip wants to do.

“Ukip want to decimate the public sector,” Ms Horton added. “I’m a full-time carer and the cuts have already been bad enough.”

Less than a week ago Nigel Farage’s party stood up for an Exeter member who publicly argued women should “stay at home.”

 A Unions Together van will be spreading the message “Don’t let Ukip steal what matters to you” across south-east England over the bank holiday weekend.

Let’s not forget it was both Labour and trade unions that put in place the Human Rights Act and We should all share pride in our Human Rights Act’

In those heady days after 1997, Labour put into action many of the policies devised in opposition. We started to improve the NHS (do you remember how people used to die on the waiting list for a heart op?). We brought in the minimum wage. We set up Sure Start centres for young children and Connexions for older ones. And we brought human rights home by passing the Human Rights Act.

The European Convention on Human Rights was not devised by foreigners in a far off land. The UK was fully involved in its development and a Conservative MP, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, oversaw the drafting.

We signed the Convention over 60 years ago. But asserting your rights by going to the European Court of Human Rights could be a cumbersome process, with cases at home backed up and waiting for the decision. So, in consultation with lawyers and judges, Labour passed the Human Rights Act.

We all benefit from the Human Rights Act. The Countryside Alliance used the Human Rights Act to challenge the ban on fox hunting. Elderly couples can no longer be separated by care homes hat used to be common practice.

Human rights have been used to protect our privacy; to confirm that we cannot be tried and convicted without knowing the evidence against us; to stop innocent people from having their DNA stored indefinitely; to prevent discrimination.

This Tory/LibDem government and with the possibility of a UKIP/Conservative coalition has not been good at protecting civil liberties: from cuts to civil legal aid, changes to judicial review and the ‘gagging act’ we have gone backwards on a number of fronts. And now the Tories are promising to repeal the Human Rights Act and to pull out of the Convention if they stay in government next year.

We should be proud of our Human Rights Act. It is the mark of a civilised democracy. Of course, some decisions might not be popular. Some decisions might criticise the government of the day. But that’s really the point. We all benefit when government is more accountable, when we are all recognised as being equal and possessing inherent human rights.

I’m not surprised there have been two defections from two Conservatives Member of Parliament to UKIP and five members of Conservatives who were elected in 2010 will be standing down as one of them will go onto challenge the leadership in the near future. This may be claptrap to some quarters of UKIP members rest assure it’s in the pipeline.

IMG_1739I’m glad to have the opportunity to attend the TUC to listen to Chuka Umunna full speech which he said:

Thank you Congress. It’s an honour to address you for the first time today.

Let me begin by paying tribute to your General Secretary, Frances, who is doing a fantastic job leading this movement. Keeping us on our toes. And fighting for social justice in this country.

Today I’d like to speak about the importance of this movement and our shared mission to build a new economy. But as my time is limited, I won’t be able to cover all I want to say but will be happy to deal with anything I don’t address in the Q&A.

So to start with – a simple statement: I am a proud trade union member. Out of choice and out of conviction. I don’t come from a family with a history of labour trade union activism.

But my Dad – a self made man – always supported this movement and voted Labour Let me tell you why.  He arrived in this country, in this very City in fact – at Liverpool Docks – in the mid-1960s, after a long boat journey from Nigeria. It took some courage. Not just because he was leaving everything he knew, but also because he couldn’t swim – if the ship went down, he was going to go with it.  And he was sea sick for the entire journey. But, carrying only a battered suitcase, he made it.

He came here – like so many immigrants – to create a better life for himself and to make a contribution. But, like every other person of colour in 1960s Britain, he faced rampant discrimination. Remember the famous signs on hostel windows: “no Irish, no blacks, no dogs”.

NHS1The reason my entrepreneur father supported this movement – in fact his hero was Harold Wilson – was simple: this movement gave him a chance. The reason those racist signs came down and my father got his opportunity was because of the trade unionists and Labour Governments leading the charge for equalities legislation in the 60s and 70s. That, Congress, is why I’m so proud to be speaking here today.

Too easily, people forget the impact this movement has had. Sometimes in Westminster, you just shake your head at some of the rubbish you have to sit through. Government Members, week after week, smearing and denigrating our trade unions.

Just think: they’ve had this big push to appoint more women ministers – which is great, yet they seem to forget that these very same Conservative women have benefitted from the right to equal pay, equal rights and all the other social reforms that this movement worked so tirelessly to introduce. So they attack the very people who helped remove the barriers to their progress. It’s a disgrace and it must stop.

Maybe they think it’s pro-business to attack you. But just as I am clear that you can’t be pro-worker if you don’t back the businesses that create decent jobs; you cannot be pro-business if you constantly attack the rights and representative organisations of the people who work in our businesses.

Pro-worker, pro-business – that is the right approach. After all, many of the most successful companies in the FTSE100 are the ones that recognise the important role of trade unions and your members. And it’s an approach that’s going to be more important than ever in the future.

NHS2As a movement, we’ve always worked to ensure the right balance of power between those who have and those who do not. That ideal endures. But – let’s face it – the context in which we seek to achieve social justice – to ensure people have good, fulfilling work – is changing.

We’ve all seen the winds of change blowing through towns and communities across Britain. The emerging economies of the South and East are posing greater competition than ever to our firms and our workers. New technologies are transforming how business is done.  Yes, creating new jobs, but also making many of the jobs people have done for generations disappear; and the new jobs are not always better jobs.

And, the thing is, we cannot stop this change: we can’t stop the rise of international competition. We can’t stop the onward march of technology. Doing so through protectionist measures, for example, would be entirely counter-productive.

But we can and we must shape these forces of change together to build the kinds of jobs and the better future we want for our children, our families, our communities.

We must ensure our firms are the ones producing and creating those new technologies the world wants, enabling us to pay our way in the world, building an economy of good jobs and higher wages for all.

And Congress, for this we need you. Too often, trade unions only come to prominence in the media when things reach crisis point: during difficult pay negotiations, when a plant is under threat, during a dispute. That essential role for trade unions will continue.

But we need unions to be engaged not just in times of dispute or crisis. But much earlier, in a continuous discussion, shaping the process of change. Working with our businesses to transform themselves, harness new technologies and compete with India, China and beyond.

So at the level of each firm, we must be ready for these kinds of discussion – as I know you are – and we need employers engaging with you, including you in this process.  Promoting investment in people and the business, so we are producing goods and services each business can sell to the world.  I am clear: adding value is what this movement does for our economy.

And this approach is needed at the level of each industry sector too.  It is essential trade unions are included and play an active part on different sector bodies in shaping the different industrial strategies we have.  And Government must of course play its role in the implementation of a those industrial strategies across all departments, bringing employers and union representatives together to help forge that future.  Resolutely backing those sectors where we have a competitive edge or might do in the future.

That’s not happening right now. Look at the defence industry, where the Government abandoned UK firms at the start of this Parliament to buy kit off the shelf from the US. Look at renewables and the damage caused by their u-turn on Feed in Tariffs.  Look at pharmaceuticals, where they were happy to waive through the takeover of our second biggest firm, AstraZeneca, by Pfizer, a firm with a record of intellectually asset stripping companies and cutting R&D investment.

As Ed Miliband says, we can and must do better than this.  And under Labour our long-term plan for growth with industrial strategy at its core – we call it “Agenda 2030” – will animate the whole of government, backing our businesses and those working within them.

A strategic and strong pro-worker, pro-business agenda that has us all working together – employers, trade unions and government – to ensure the UK and all of our people succeed.

It’s the only way we will rise to the challenge of building a new economy for this modern, global world.

Now, the Conservatives don’t understand this: that you have to build an economy – not on the stress fractures of conflict – but on the firm foundations of collaboration.

They see workers as a threat to be controlled, not as the inspiration for everything our companies achieve. They see unions as a brake on our nation’s success, not as partners in building the new shared and fair economy we need. They say we’re all in this together but their actions seek to divide and rule.

And don’t even get me started on UKIP, who take this division to a whole new level.  We can’t meet the challenges our nation faces by setting our communities against each other, by scapegoating and blaming.  The rhetoric which seeps out of that party in respect of our fellow Europeans is not at all dissimilar from the rhetoric deployed against black and Asian people in times past. We will not stand for it.

And that’s why when people argue that we’re all the same.  I am resolute in my view that we are not.  Because the Tory way, the UKIP way is not the Labour way of doing things.

Labour is a political party built on the power of common endeavour, the value of collaboration, the importance of solidarity, respecting people’s rights and ensuring they have a voice.

That’s why I’m proud we voted down the move by Tory MPs to abolish trade union facilities time in this Parliament.

It’s why I’m proud we saw off the threat of Adrian Beecroft’s compensated no-fault dismissals.

It’s why I’m proud we blocked the proposal by Vince Cable and his ministers to end the Equality & Human Rights Commission’s duty to promote equality.

Above all it’s why I’m proud to say we will do what this Government has refused to: launch a full enquiry, held publically, into the inexcusable blacklisting of workers in the construction sector.  Let me be clear.  If am given the privilege of serving as Business Secretary in the next Labour Government we will deliver justice to those workers who lost their livelihoods and end blacklisting for once and for all.

Labour beliefs – not just in words but, proudly, in our actions too.

And in Government, you will see our beliefs in action too.

We have fought to defend people’s rights and voice in opposition but these rights are only meaningful if you can get proper redress.  The current employment tribunal system is unfair, unsustainable and has resulted in prohibitive costs locking people out of the justice they are entitled to.

Affordability should not be a barrier to workplace justice. But it would be a mistake to simply return to the system of the past, where tribunals were so slow that meaningful justice was not available.

So if we are elected the next Labour Government will abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system which ensures all workers have proper access to justice.

Openness and respect. Rights and justice under a future Labour Government.

It is this same drive for social justice that has driven our commitment to restoring the value of the national minimum wage, alongside increased fines and better enforcement, to incentivise employers to pay a living wage, to outlaw exploitative zero hours contracts.  Because if you work hard – day in, day out – you shouldn’t have to live in poverty or have insecurity heaped upon you.

And there is more. We will take action to ensure agency workers are properly protected and that there are no exemptions from equal treatment on pay including by ending the Swedish derogation from the Agency Regulations.  We will extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licencing Authority.

But all of this will only happen if a Labour Government is elected.

And I should say: if you live in Scotland, the SNP would have you believe that social justice can be achieved by voting for separation.  But when asked what measures in their White Paper redistribute money and power from those who have it and to those who do not, they have no answer because there are none.  Instead they are committed to a further 3p reduction in corporation tax for the biggest and wealthiest companies.

Congress, there is only one way to achieve better social justice in this United Kingdom and that is through this pro-worker pro-business agenda I have talked about which the election of a Labour Government will deliver not separation.

To finish, I’d like to go back to the beginning.

When my father arrived here in Liverpool, he was filled with hope and ambition. That’s what this country represented to him – and what it proved. Due to your work in protecting his rights, the infrastructure this country provided and his ability to see the opportunity in the world – he was able to make it.

That simple story of hope, hard work, rights, opportunity and success is what we want for all of our people. That we can lead lives where tomorrow is better than today and we can give our children more than we had.

Let’s work together – in solidarity – to make that happen.

Thank you.

After the wonderful speech from Chuka Umunna the following resolution was agreed at the TUC:

Congress continues to be deeply concerned at the effects of the government’s austerity agenda which has already resulted in over 13 million people living in poverty with around five million people still earning below the living wage (currently standing at £7.65 an hour).

Congress condemns the fact that 10 per cent of our young people live with a level of social and economic deprivation that creates educational barriers which blight the life chances of a significant proportion of our next generation.

Congress notes that, at a time of increasing poverty and austerity for the many, the UK is now the fourth richest nation in the world (GDP/capita) with the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK currently worth over £518bn, an increase of 13 per cent since 2013.

Congress also notes with concern that the recession and the increases in poverty and inequality which come in its wake have also led to an upsurge in racism and xenophobia in the UK and across the whole of Europe.

Congress notes with concern the advance of UKIP and other even more right-wing, xenophobic and outright racist parties in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections. Congress continues to reject the policies put forward by such organisations, including on immigration.

Congress notes the deep disillusionment with mainstream politics revealed by the results of the 2014 elections. In particular, low turnout assisted UKIP to considerable gains. UKIP’s true agenda stands counter to the interests of working people of all backgrounds. UKIP have previously called for the elimination of virtually all workplace protections, with employees’ rights wholly dependent on the goodwill of the employer. UKIP have also called in the past for the privatisation of schools and hospitals and a flat rate of income tax, policies that would be disastrous for low-paid and working class people. Their success has damaged mainstream politics, leading to more punitive measures against migrant workers, legitimising racist rhetoric and attacks against vulnerable workers.

While UKIP preys on economic anxieties, Congress believes that the only real answer to low pay and exploitation is stronger employment rights protections and trade union solidarity. Congress asserts that trade unionists are uniquely positioned to challenge such propaganda.

Congress calls on the General Council, affiliated unions and others to continue to campaign vigorously against organisations who have no contribution to make to improving the living standards and quality of life of the millions of people suffering from the impact of austerity cuts imposed by various governments across Europe.

Congress is also critical of the UK right-wing media’s obsessively prejudicial coverage of immigration issues characterised by exaggeration, lies and half-truths – including increased pressure on our schools, hospitals and other public services.  Congress rejects this analysis and instead recognises the enormous positive contribution generations of migrants have made to the UK economy and society. Indeed, many areas of employment including vital services like the NHS and public transport would suffer greatly were it not for the hard work and commitment of migrant workers.

Congress rejects attempts to pit UK workers against migrant workers or claimants. It rejects the divide and rule rhetoric and notes that migrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. Congress further notes that UK benefits are among the lowest in Europe, making claims of ‘benefit tourism’ ridiculous

Congress is also concerned about the opportunity for unscrupulous employers to exploit migrant workers as a cheap source of labour to undercut people’s pay and pensions and considers this is the real problem that mainstream politicians need to address.

Congress calls on the TUC and its affiliates to challenge the politics of hate by:

  1. developing local community campaigns ahead of the 2015 general election in conjunction with groups such as HOPE not hate and UAF;
  2. counteracting voter disillusionment and UKIP’s policies for workers, highlighting voter registration and engagement through active campaigning and political education
  • tackling the toxic rhetoric around migration and placing a renewed focus on organising and recruiting migrant workers.

Congress calls on the General Council to continue to fight for a more humane immigration policy. This, together with better employment rights for all workers and the reversal of austerity cuts, will help defeat racism, prejudice and discrimination. Congress, therefore, calls on the General Council to:

Continue its campaigning work to combat the structural inequalities that lead to poverty, including support for the establishment of the living wage across the economy.

Continue to counter the racist anti immigration propaganda that originates in the overtly racist parties and groups in the UK but which is now being adopted by some of the established mainstream parties.

Now you know why Trade Unions members will not be voting for UKIP but rather remain with Labour for a Labour Government 2015

My thoughts on NHS


HSThere have been many of us who been campaigning together to protect our NHS for years now. many of us want an decent NHS we can rely on. We want everyone in Britain to have great health care.

Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, wherever you live – we should all get decent treatment whenever we need it. So we need the NHS to be properly funded. And we need it run as a public service that puts patients first – not the profit of private companies.

Today, bosses at NHS England unveiled their five-year blueprint for the NHS. [1] I listened closely, because I know how much it matters to 38 Degrees members. Here are the headlines:

NHSThey make a very strong case for why the NHS needs better funding. They explained why the NHS needs billions of pounds more than any of the politicians have promised – and set out grave risks to the quality of our health care if this doesn’t happen. They haven’t ruled out more privatisation. This is worrying, and proves that we need to do more to campaign against privatisation.

There are some strange new proposals to investigate  like paying doctors extra cash each time they diagnose someone with dementia or paying patients to lose weight.
The other interesting thing that happened this morning was Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s response. When the BBC grilled NHS England chief about cuts and privatisation, Jeremy Hunt took to Twitter to accuse 38 Degrees members of hijacking the interview! [2]

The government clearly sees 38 Degrees as the main organisation fighting to protect the NHS and stop their privatisation plans. That’s a huge responsibility.

I know that protecting the NHS will be a long-term task for the many. We need to push politicians to promise enough funding. And we need to push the politicians to drop their obsession with handing contracts to dodgy private companies. [3]

At the same time we need to keep running the shorter term campaigns to protect the NHS – like saving Lewisham Hospital, or stopping privatisation at the Dorchester General. [4] Not to mention blocking the outrageous plan to sell our medical records to private companies. [5]

Scale up our anti-privatization work. We could block more local proposals to privatize hospitals and services. We could launch fresh investigations to expose private companies when they provide bad care.

 

I would strongly all to put every MP, and candidates, under pressure to promise to fund the NHS properly and tell us exactly how they’d pay for it.

Some may have witnessed on  television or may have been in the public gallery in Parliament or read via press recently at the Prime Minister Questions Time (PMQs) when Ed Miliband put some questions to the Prime Minister regarding the NHS in the reply was about the NHS in Wales. This clearly shows that David Cameron has decided to tackle the greater confidence in Labour over health matters by what I can only describe as attacking the NHS in Wales.

There is no doubt whichever way we look at this NHS does needs more levels of funding and I give credit where it’s due during the thirteen years of a Labour government they invested more than any current coalition into the NHS however more can be done. I am sure of one thing I would rather put my trust in Labour when it comes to ensuring that we have the right investments in our NHS which Labour has a very good track record for investment. Intriguingly patients, health professionals, and voters are united in opposition to the internal market and top down re-organisation imposed on the health service in England by the conservative coalition.

Let’s not forgot that the Heath budget in Wales is subject to the Barnett formula block grant from Whitehall to Cardiff Bay that short changed Wales by the sum of £300 Million a year and which the Westminster establishment coalition cut by 10% which this coalition conveniently left out in their reply to the opposition leader.

If funds were based on need rather than population as Lord Barnett proposed the Welsh government would be better placed to increase NHS spending.

David Cameron seems to have forgotten that he has a coalition partner viz Nick Clegg and do seem to imagine it’s the conservative government who is running the country   and he is the Prime Minister who speaks for all.

Just after the Scottish referendum David Cameron and other Westminster party leaders welcomed the No vote in Scotland that he is in a position to take a pop at the Welsh patients treated in hospitals in England and vice – versa.

I’m sure that David Cameron’s insinuation(s) is that if four times as many residents in Wales this must be true and must represent a choice based on qualitative criteria. Surly he must be aware that countries cannot be compared in population wealth and number of hospitals let alone specialist units which makes up the NHS ie Learning Difficulties, Mental Health, physical disabilities, and dementia and the list goes on.

It is deteriorating swiftly with hospitals weighed down by debts and care service at near breaking point. Tory and FibDems opposition to our NHS public service ethos based on paramountcy of private profits is very lethal to health services throughout Britain and must be rejected on 7 May 2015

How many people has the feeling that David Cameron will drive a wedge between his party and our NHS and Europe hence it’s little wonder why two of the backbenchers defected to UKIP and some of his MPs who were elected in 2010 are stepping down making way for a more right wing agenda.

Its comes as no surprise when Secretary Jeremy Hunt was challenged to end the Tories’ NHS England cash freeze yesterday after he was warned it faces meltdown due to a looming £30 billion-a-year hole.

In Westminster Labour shadow minister Andy Burnham pummelled his Tory counterpart at the dispatch box following the release of a five-year blueprint by NHS organisations which warned that “efficiency” savings alone would not be enough.

A grinning Mr Hunt labelled the report “essentially positive and optimistic” but brushed off calls to invest more cash.

Mr Burnham, whose party has pledged a £2.5bn-a-year above-inflation funding rise, retorted: “The report could not be clearer — simply protecting the NHS budget in the next Parliament as the Conservatives propose will not prevent it tipping into a full-blown crisis.”

The joint report by six bodies, including watchdogs Monitor and the Care Quality Commission and NHS England itself, speculates that new technology, restructured community services and better public education could make the service “more productive” and reduce a projected £30bn annual funding shortfall.

It set out sweeping plans for GP practices to hire hospital doctors, to allow hospitals to provide GP services to plug gaps, to merge the back-office functions of smaller facilities, and to encourage bigger hospitals to open franchises in smaller ones.

But even the most optimistic estimates set out in their “forward view” would leave a £16bn-a-year gap if the government continues its planned real-terms budget freeze.

And trade union Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said that the real picture would be worse because the plan’s cash-saving goals simply could not be achieved in time.

The service is already struggling with existing demands for annual “efficiency” savings that have seen £20bn drained from budgets since 2010, she said.

And she warned the NHS plan “will be impossible to deliver in five years if you are talking about a real improvement in health prevention, retraining and realigning the roles of NHS staff, together with integration of health and social care.

“The best investment that the government could make in the NHS is the immediate scrapping of the Health and Social Care Act which has already squandered £3bn in a pointless reorganisation.”

The NHS blueprint states that continuing current inflation-only budget rises would lead to a massive black hole even if the service succeeded in finding more ways to cut costs. It predicts a £21bn annual shortfall if the current “efficiency” drive to find 0.8 per cent savings a year continued and funding remained in line with inflation. That gap could narrow to £16bn if savings increased to 1.5 per cent a year and the budget remained flat.

But NHS England would only meet costs by 2020-21 if a hugely ambitious 2-3 per cent annual cost-saving target totalling £22bn was met and real-terms funding rose by £8bn a year.

The Jaws of doom just don’t affect Local Government but it will also affect our NHS under The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) if the Conservatives and UKIP coalition or Conservatives and Fibdems coalition after the general election on 7 May 2015.

Nor can I defend or even justify The boss of the NHS in England has defended the privatisation of services as a way of helping patients get treatment but insisted that the health service would continue to do most of the work.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said that “sometimes there will be a case” for a patient needing, for example, a hip operation to use a private provider paid by the NHS and stressed that patients should decide themselves who should treat them.

He was responding on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to questions about the NHS put by its listeners, many of which involved the outsourcing of NHS clinical services.

Stevens, an ex-Labour government health adviser under Tony Blair, started in the NHS’s top job on 1 April after 10 years working for UnitedHealth, an American private health firm.

Asked if it was his intention to have more private companies delivering care, he replied: “No. Most services in this country are delivered by the NHS and that’s going to continue to be the case under any foreseeable future. But the tests we should be applying are that we think like a patient and act like a taxpayer and sometimes there will be a case for whether you need a hip operation [being done in the private sector, but paid for by the NHS.”

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong Protest vs Chinese Establishment


I seem to recall between 1987 -1996 in my former trade union debating the Handover of Hong Kong to China which I recommended to my former trade union Conference for reference back I remember there was a very big split on the debate. I make no apologies for allowing the debate to take place and in one sense I was glad that I had the opportunity to state my case by informing delegates the mover was anti-China as the mover was pro Hong Kong and I was and still am pro-China and I felt that the motion was one-sided and it was by applying the common sense approach which won the day and the motion was put to the vote and reference back won the day.

Nobody would have anticipated that this motion caused passionate debates from all sides of the conference and the then president and general secretary got involved which would have not make no difference as the atmosphere was like a us and them at one point as some of the delegates where not engaged with the Chinese political scene as there were on two Chinese members who could really could argue for and against whilst some delegates who thought they knew about the situation but it turned out to be limited with the information as the mover fail to produce the additional information that was required to sway the delegates.

Let’s us all not lose focus here for one moment that Hong Kong’s territory was acquired from three separate treaties: the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, and The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory in 1898, which gave the UK the control of Hong Kong IslandKowloon (area south of Boundary Street), and the New Territories (area north of Boundary Street and south of the Shenzhen River, and outlying islands), respectively. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, the control on the New Territories was a 99-year lease. The finite nature of the 99-year lease did not hinder Hong Kong’s development as the New Territories were combined as a part of Hong Kong. By 1997, it was impractical to separate the three territories and only return the New Territories. In addition, with the scarcity of land and natural resources in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, the New Territories were being developed with large-scale infrastructures and other developments, with the break-even day lying well past 30 June 1997. Thus, the status of the New Territories after the expiry of the 99-year lease became important for Hong Kong’s economic development.

In March 1979, the Governor of Hong Kong Murray MacLehose paid his first official visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), taking the initiative to raise the question of Hong Kong’s sovereignty with Deng Xiaoping. Without clarifying and establishing the official position of the PRC government, the arranging of real estate leases and loans agreements in Hong Kong within the next 18 years would be rather difficult. In fact, as early as the mid-1970s, Hong Kong had faced additional risks raising loans for large scale infrastructure projects such as its MTR system and a new airport. Caught unprepared, Deng asserted the necessity of Hong Kong’s return to China, upon which Hong Kong would be given special status by the PRC government. MacLehose’s visit to the PRC raised the curtain on the issue of Hong Kong’s sovereignty: Britain was made very much aware of the PRC’s aspiration to resume sovereignty over Hong Kong and began to make arrangements accordingly to ensure the sustenance of her interests within the territory, as well as initiating the creation of a withdrawal plan in case of emergency. Three years later, Deng received the former British Prime Minister Edward Heath. Heath had been dispatched as the special envoy of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to establish an understanding of the PRC’s view with regards to the question of Hong Kong. Throughout their meeting, Deng stated clearly for the first time the PRC’s willingness to settle the sovereignty issue with Britain through formal negotiations. In the same year, Edward Youde, who succeeded MacLehose as the 26th Governor of Hong Kong, led a delegation of five Executive Councillors to London, including Chung Sze-yuenLydia Dunn, and Roger Lobo. Chung presented their position on the sovereignty of Hong Kong to Thatcher, encouraging her to take into consideration the interests of the native Hong Kong population in her upcoming visit to China. In light of the increasing openness of the PRC government and economic reforms on the mainland, then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought the PRC’s agreement to a continued British presence in the territory. However, the PRC took a contrary position: not only did the PRC wish for the New Territories, on lease until 1997, to be placed under the PRC’s jurisdiction, it also refused to recognise the “unfair and unequal treaties” under which Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to Britain in perpetuity.[1] Consequently, the PRC recognised only the British administration in Hong Kong, but not British sovereignty.

In the wake of Governor MacLehose’s visit, Britain and the PRC established initial diplomatic contact for further discussions of the Hong Kong question, paving the way for Thatcher’s first visit to the PRC in September 1982.[2] Margaret Thatcher, in discussion with Deng Xiaoping, reiterated the validity of an extension of the lease of Hong Kong territory, particularly in light of binding treaties, including the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, the Convention of Peking in 1856, and the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory signed in 1890. In response, Deng Xiaoping cited clearly the lack of room for compromise on the question of sovereignty over Hong Kong; the PRC, as the successor of Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China on the mainland, would recover the entirety of the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

During talks with Thatcher, China planned to invade and seize Hong Kong if the negotiations set off unrest in the colony. Thatcher later said that Deng told her bluntly that China could easily take Hong Kong by force, stating that “I could walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon”. Thatcher replied that “there is nothing I could do to stop you, but the eyes of the world would now know what China is like”.

After her visit with Deng in Beijing, Thatcher was received in Hong Kong as the first British Prime Minister to set foot on the territory whilst in office. At a press conference, Thatcher re-emphasised the validity of the three treaties, asserting the need for countries to respect treaties on universal terms: “treaties ought always to be respected; without such respect, without such necessary trust, it was impossible for any negotiations to take place”.

At the same time, at the 5th session of the 5th National People’s Congress, the constitution was amended to include a new clause which stated that the country might establish a special administrative region (SAR) when necessary. The additional clause would hold tremendous significance in settling the question of Hong Kong and later Macau, putting into social consciousness the concept of “One country, two systems“.

A few months after Thatcher’s visit to Beijing, the PRC government had still yet to open negotiations with the British government regarding the sovereignty of Hong Kong. Unsure of what to do, Thatcher consulted former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, though consultation proved fruitless in the end. Shortly before the initiation of sovereignty talks, Governor Youde declared his intention to represent the population of Hong Kong at the negotiations. This statement sparked a strong response from the PRC, which criticised Britain for “making a three-legged stool” and “playing public-opinion cards” as bargaining chips.[1] At the preliminary stage of the talks, the British government proposed an exchange of sovereignty for administration and the implementation of a British administration post-handover. The PRC government refused, contending that the notions of sovereignty and administration were inseparable, and although it recognised Macau as a “Chinese territory under Portuguese administration”, it also sought the return of that territory.

The conflict that arose at that point of the negotiations ended the possibility of further negotiation. During the reception of former British Prime Minister Edward Heath during his sixth visit to the PRC, Deng Xiaoping commented quite clearly on the impossibility of exchanging sovereignty for administration, declaring an ultimatum: the British government must modify or give up its position or the PRC will announce its resolution of the issue of Hong Kong sovereignty unilaterally.

In 1983, Typhoon Ellen ravaged Hong Kong, causing great amounts of damage to both life and property. The Hong Kong dollar plummeted onBlack Saturday, and the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong John Bremridge publicly associated the economic uncertainty with the instability of the political climate. In response, the PRC government condemned Britain through the press for “playing the economic cards” in order to achieve their ends: to intimidate the PRC into conceding to British demands.

Governor Youde with nine members of the Hong Kong Executive Council travelled to London to discuss with Prime Minister Thatcher the crisis of confidence – the problem with morale among the people of Hong Kong arising from the ruination of the Sino-British talks. The session concluded with Thatcher’s writing of a letter addressed to the PRC Premier Zhao Ziyang; in it, she expressed Britain’s willingness to explore arrangements optimising the future prospects of Hong Kong while utilising the PRC’s proposals as a foundation. Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, she expressed Britain’s concession on its position of a continued British presence in the form of an administration post-handover.

Two rounds of negotiations were held in October and November. On the sixth round of talks in November, Britain formally conceded its intentions of either maintaining a British administration in Hong Kong or seeking some form of co-administration with the PRC, and showed its sincerity in discussing PRC’s proposal on the 1997 issue. Obstacles were cleared.

Simon Keswick, chairman of Jardine Matheson & Co., said they were not pulling out of Hong Kong, but a new holding company would be established in Bermuda instead. He remarked that it was not desirable to “put all of one’s eggs in one basket”. The PRC took this as yet another plot by the British. The Hong Kong government explained that it had been informed about the move only a few days before the announcement. The government would not and could not stop the company from making a business decision.

Just as the atmosphere of the talks was becoming cordial, members of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong felt impatient at the long-running secrecy over the progress of Sino-British talks on the Hong Kong issue. They held that the people of Hong Kong should have the right to know what was being discussed and to speak at the talks. A motion, tabled by legislator Roger Lobo, and declaring, “This Council deems it essential that any proposals for the future of Hong Kong should be debated in this Council before agreement is reached”, was passed unanimously. The PRC attacked the motion furiously, referring to it as “somebody’s attempt to play the three-legged stool trick again”.[5] At length, the PRC and Britain initiated the Joint Declaration on the question of Hong Kong’s future in Beijing. Zhou Nan, the then PRC Deputy Foreign Minister and leader of the negotiation team, and SirRichard Evans, British Ambassador to Beijing and leader of the team, signed respectively on behalf of the two governments.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed by the Prime Ministers of the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom governments on 19 December 1984 in Beijing. The Declaration entered into force with the exchange of instruments of ratification on 27 May 1985 and was registered by the People’s Republic of China and United Kingdom governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985. In the Joint Declaration, the People’s Republic of China Government stated that it had decided to resume the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong (includingHong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories) with effect from 1 July 1997 and the United Kingdom Government declared that it would restore Hong Kong to the PRC with effect from 1 July 1997. In the document, the People’s Republic of China Government also declared its basic policies regarding Hong Kong.

In accordance with the One Country, Two Systems principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, the socialist system of People’s Republic of China would not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years. The Joint Declaration provides that these basic policies shall be stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law. The ceremony of the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration took place at 18:00, 19 December 1984 at the Western Main Chamber of the Great Hall of the People. The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office at first proposed a list of 60-80 Hong Kong people to attend the ceremony. The number was finally extended to 101. The list included Hong Kong government officials, members of the Legislative and Executive Councils, chairmen of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong celebrities such as Li Ka-shingPao Yue-kong and Fok Ying-tung, and also Martin Lee Chu-ming and Szeto Wah The Basic Law was drafted by a Drafting Committee composed of members from both Hong Kong and mainland China. A Basic Law Consultative Committee formed purely by Hong Kong people was established in 1985 to canvas views in Hong Kong on the drafts. The first draft was published in April 1988, followed by a five-month public consultation exercise. The second draft was published in February 1989, and the subsequent consultation period ended in October 1989. The Basic Law was formally promulgated on 4 April 1990 by the NPC, together with the designs for the flag and emblem of the HKSAR. Some members of the Basic Law drafting committee were ousted by Beijing following the 4 June 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, after voicing views supporting the students.

The Basic Law was said to be a mini-constitution drafted with the participation of Hong Kong people. The political system had been the most controversial issue in the drafting of the Basic Law. The special issue sun-group adopted the political model put forward by Louis Cha. This “main-stream” proposal was criticised for being too conservative. According to Clauses 158 and 159 of the Basic Law, powers of interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law are vested in the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and the National People’s Congress, respectively. Hong Kong’s people have limited influence.

Chris Patten became the last governor of Hong Kong. This was regarded as a turning point in Hong Kong’s history. Unlike his predecessors, Patten was not a diplomat, but a career politician and former Member of Parliament. He introduced democratic reforms which pushed PRC-British relations to a standstill and affected the negotiations for a smooth handover.

Patten introduced a package of electoral reforms in the Legislative Council. These reforms proposed to enlarge the electorate, thus making voting in the Legislative Council more democratic. This move posed significant changes because Hong Kong citizens would have the power to make decisions regarding their future.

The handover ceremony was held at the new wing of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on the night of 30 June 1997. The principal British guest was Charles, Prince of Wales who read a farewell speech on behalf of the Queen. The newly elected Prime Minister of the United KingdomTony Blair, the British Foreign Minister Robin Cook, the departing Hong Kong governor Chris Patten and General Sir Charles GuthrieChief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom, also attended.

Representing China were the President of the People’s Republic of ChinaJiang Zemin; and Tung Chee-hwa, the first Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of thePeople’s Republic of China. This event was broadcast on several television and radio stations across the world.

As much I still look toward for China to make the right move by implementing the Sino-British Joint Declaration. I have to raise my strongest object to China for not listening to student protesters after all they are the future leaders of both Hong Kong and China.

There is no doubt that the two tier system has allowed foreign investment to flow into the country which China is hoping to show the western world that they are taking the lead in this field where other communist country has failed.

Some will recall the Tinnaman Square incident which many lives were lost and is still raw in people’s memories the Chinese establishment sent out the troops to stop demonstrators from exercising their right for reform in China where not held to account for the injustice of innocent lives for this reason many Chinese internationally does not trust the Chinese regime to allow the flow of democratic free elections and hopefully all over China one day free from interference of vetting of their chosen candidates.  As here is another part of history which the Chinese establishment would want us to forget if it had its way:

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Executive Councillors and the Legislative Councillors unexpectedly held an urgent meeting, requesting that British Government give the right of abode in the United Kingdom to the people of Hong Kong. More than 10,000 Hong Kong residents rushed to Central in order to get an application form for residency in the United Kingdom. On the eve of the deadline, over 100,000 lined up overnight for a BN(O) application form. While mass migration did begin well before 1989, the event did lead to the peak migration year in 1992 with 66,000.

Many citizens were pessimistic towards the future of Hong Kong and the transfer of the region’s sovereignty. A tide of emigration, which was to last for no less than five years, broke out. At its peak, citizenships of such small countries as Cape VerdeTongaGambia and Ecuador were also in great demand. Many consuls were deported for their corrupt behaviour in granting immigration visas.

Canada (Vancouver and Toronto), United Kingdom (London, Glasgow, and Manchester), Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), and the United States (San Francisco and New York) were, by and large, the most popular destinations. The United Kingdom devised the British Nationality Selection Scheme, granting 50,000 families British citizenship under the British Nationality Act (Hong Kong) 1990. Vancouver was among the most popular destinations, so much so that Richmond (a suburb of Vancouver) earned the nickname of “Little Hong Kong” and “New Chinatown“, and for the city itself, “HongCouver”. Other popular settlements are found in AucklandNew Zealand and DublinIreland. All in all, from the start of the settlement of the negotiation in 1984 to 1997, nearly 1 million people emigrated; consequently, Hong Kong suffered serious loss of capital.

It is for this reason I call on all international Chinese, and The International Communities to lobby their respective governments to ensure that Chinese Government honour’s its agreement to allow Hong Kong Chinese to have its democratic rights to choose who they want to have as their candidates and not be dictated by the Chinese Government to vet the candidates as to not rock the boat. It clearly shows that china has no idea how to deal with this situation and that they are likely to back track on the agreements signed with the British Government.

As many will be aware that elections are due in 2015 in the UK now is the time to lobby your MP to ask them the question where do they stand on Hong Kong and ask them to highlight this issue at the Prime Question Time(PMQ)

Or click on this link to find out who your MP is:

https://www.mysociety.org/who-is-your-mp/?gclid=CjwKEAjwns6hBRDTpb_jkbTv1UYSJACBhberTYPkmQXO-B9-ejznXBs1_ckCezuZnd3GA7GhbukjWBoCMYfw_wcB

 

Is Multiculturalism dead or alive in UK?


What my understanding of Multiculturalism is the cultural diversity of communities within a given society and the policies that promote this diversity. As a descriptive term, multiculturalism is the simple fact of cultural diversity and the demographic make-up of a specific place, sometimes at the organizational level, e.g.,schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities, or nations. As a prescriptive term, multiculturalism encourages ideologies and policies that promote this diversity or its institutionalization. In this sense, multiculturalism is a society “at ease with the rich tapestry of human life and the desire amongst people to express their own identity in the manner they see fit.”

Multicultural ideologies or policies vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group they belong to.

Two main different and seemingly inconsistent strategies have developed through different government policies and strategies. The first focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures. Interactions of cultures provide opportunities for the cultural differences to communicate and interact to create multiculturalism. This approach is also often known as interculturalism. The second centers on diversity and cultural uniqueness. Cultural isolation can protect the uniqueness of the local culture of a nation or area and also contribute to global cultural diversity. A common aspect of many policies following the second approach is that they avoid presenting any specific ethnic, religious, or cultural community values as central.

The has been some negative debates around various social media, press, and Television on multiculturalism  and as usual there will be some people who are for and against it. Whilst some talk of going back to the good old days which I have question it as I try to look at the wider picture then came to conclusion which may not reflect my opinion but others. Yet there still many that will continue to give support to multiculturalism and people acknowledge that it still continues to evolve whilst some people are in constant denial that it exists on the grounds of it is not white working class enough, foreigners are taking our jobs, or they are taking our sons and daughters, ban the burka in public, and it’s a political ideology. Just look around there is so much diversity which enables UK to draw on its richness and wealth. Just think for one moment all sorts of people are attracted to this country which dates back to Romans Romanian, Slovakian Vikings, to the present that has contributed to our nation from the catering industries, car manufacturing, entertainment, fashion, employment, housing, IT, to name a few. 

Let us all remember our history for a moment that the archipelago has been referred to by a single name for over 2000 years: the term British Isles derives from terms used by classical geographers to describe this island group. By 50 BC Greek geographers were using equivalents of Prettanikē as a collective name for the British Isles. However, with the Roman conquest of Britain the Latin term Britannia was used for the island of Great Britain, and later Roman occupied Britain south of Caledonia. The oldest mention of terms related to Great Britain was by Aristotle (c. 384–322 BC), or possibly by Pseudo-Aristotle, in his textOn the Universe, Vol. III. To quote his works, “There are two very large islands in it, called the British Isles, Albion and Ierne”.

Pliny the Elder (c. AD 23–79) in his Natural History records of Great Britain: “Its former name was Albion; but at a later period, all the islands, of which we shall just now briefly make mention, were included under the name of ‘Britanniæ.

The name Britain descends from the Latin name for Britain, Britannia or Brittānia, the land of the Britons. Old French Bretaigne(whence also Modern French Bretagne) and Middle English BretayneBreteyne. The French form replaced the Old EnglishBreoton, Breoten, Bryten, Breten (also Breoton-lond, Breten-lond). Britannia was used by the Romans from the 1st century BC for the British Isles taken together. It is derived from the travel writings of the ancient Greek Pytheas around 320 BC, which described various islands in the North Atlantic as far north as Thule (probably Norway). Marcian of Heraclea, in his Periplus maris exteri, described the island group as αἱ Πρεττανικαὶ νῆσοι (the Prettanic Isles). The peoples of these islands of Prettanike were called the Πρεττανοί, Priteni or Pretani.[17] Priteni is the source of the Welsh language term PrydainBritain, which has the same source as the Goidelic term Cruithne used to refer to the early Brythonic speaking inhabitants of Ireland. The latter were later called Picts or Caledonians by the Romans.

The classical writer, Ptolemy, referred to the larger island as Great Britain (megale Britannia) and to Ireland as little Britain (mikra Brettania) in his work, Almagest (147–148 AD).  In his later work, Geography (c. 150 AD), he gave these islands the names Alwion[sic], Iwernia, and Mona (the Isle of Man), suggesting these may have been native names of the individual islands not known to him at the time of writing Almagest. The name Albion appears to have fallen out of use sometime after the Roman conquest of Great Britain, after which Britain became the more common-place name for the island called Great Britain.

After the Anglo-Saxon period, Britain was used as a historical term only. Geoffrey of Monmouth in his pseudohistorical Historia Regum Britanniae (c. 1136) refers to the island of Great Britain as Britannia major (“Greater Britain”), to distinguish it fromBritannia minor (“Lesser Britain”), the continental region which approximates to modern Brittany, which had been settled in the fifth and sixth centuries by Celtic immigrants from the British Isles.The term Great Britain was first used officially in 1474, in the instrument drawing up the proposal for a marriage between Cecily the daughter of Edward IV of England, and James the son ofJames III of Scotland, which described it as “this Nobill Isle, callit Gret Britanee.” As noted above it was used again in 1604, whenKing James VI and I styled himself “King of Great Brittaine, France and Ireland.”

The island was first inhabited by people who crossed over the land bridge from the European mainland. Human footprints have been found from over 800,000 years ago in Norfolk and traces of early humans have been found (at Boxgrove Quarry, Sussex) from some 500,000 years ago and modern humans from about 30,000 years ago.

Until about 14,000 years ago, Great Britain was joined to Ireland, and as recently as 8,000 years ago it was joined to the continent by a strip of low marsh leading to what are now Denmark and the Netherlands In Cheddar Gorge, near Bristol, the remains of animal species native to mainland Europe such as antelopesbrown bears, and wild horses have been found alongside a human skeleton, ‘Cheddar Man‘, dated to about 7150 BC. Thus, animals and humans must have moved between mainland Europe and Great Britain via a crossing. Great Britain became an island at the end of the Pleistocene ice age when sea level rose due to the combination of melting glaciers and the subsequent isostatic rebound of the crust.

Great Britain’s Iron Age inhabitants are known as the Britons, a group speaking a Celtic language. The Romans conquered most of the island (up to Hadrian’s Wall, in northern England) and this became the Ancient Roman province of Britannia. In the course of the 500 years after the Roman Empire fell, the Britons of the south and east of the island were assimilated or displaced by invading Germanic tribes (AnglesSaxons, and Jutes, often referred to collectively as Anglo-Saxons). At about the same time,Gaelic tribes from Ireland invaded the north-west, absorbing both the Picts and Britons of northern Britain, eventually forming the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. The south-east of Scotland was colonised by the Angles and formed, until 1018, a part of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Ultimately, the population of south-east Britain came to be referred to, after the Angles, as theEnglish people.

Germanic speakers referred to Britons as Welsh. This term came to be applied exclusively to the inhabitants of what is now Wales, but it also survives in names such as Wallace and in the second syllable of CornwallCymry, a name the Britons used to describe themselves, is similarly restricted in modern Welsh to people from Wales, but also survives in English in the place name of Cumbria. The Britons living in the areas now known as Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall were not assimilated by the Germanic tribes, a fact reflected in the survival of Celtic languages in these areas into more recent times.  At the time of the Germanic invasion of Southern Britain, many Britons emigrated to the area now known as Brittany, where Breton, a Celtic language closely related to Welsh and Cornish and descended from the language of the emigrants, is still spoken. In the 9th century, a series of Danish assaults on northern English kingdoms led to them coming under Danish control (an area known as the Danelaw). In the 10th century, however, all the English kingdoms were unified under one ruler as the kingdom of England when the last constituent kingdom, Northumbria, submitted to Edgar in 959. In 1066, England was conquered by the Normans, who introduced a Norman-speaking administration that was eventually assimilated. Wales came under Anglo-Norman control in 1282, and was officially annexed to England in the 16th century.

On 20 October 1604 King James, who had succeeded separately to the two thrones of England and Scotland, proclaimed himself “King of Great Brittaine, France and Ireland”. When James died in 1625 and the Privy Council were drafting a proclamation,Thomas Erskine, 1st Earl of Kellie insisted that it use the phrase “King of Great Britain”, which James had preferred, rather than King of Scotland and England (or vice versa).[38] While that title was also used by many of his successors, England and Scotland each remained legally separate countries with their own parliaments until 1707, when each parliament passed an Act of Union to ratify the Treaty of Union that had been agreed the previous year. This created a united kingdom, with a single, united parliament, from 1 May 1707. Though the Treaty of Union referred to the new all-island state as the “United Kingdom of Great Britain”, many regard the term “United Kingdom” as being descriptive of the union rather than part of its formal name, which the Treaty stated was to be “Great Britain” without further qualification. Most reference books, therefore, describe the all-island kingdom that existed between 1707 and 1800 as the “Kingdom of Great Britain”.

 There are a lot of different cultures I think it’s worked really well. Sadly there some racists and fascist that spoils it for those of us who just want to get on with loving people. I make no apology for stating a fact that parliament does not fully represent all communities but it’s getting there. I feel this will change in the future with a more diversity on its way to fully represent multiculturalism and diversity in the House Of Commons. For those people who does not accept it ask yourselves  this question is it on the grounds that you look into the mirror and say to yourselves what have I achieved and what have I done to serve my community to improve it after you have answered the question look around your community and start to embrace multiculturalism and stop blaming foreigners who has helped to create this great nation of ours.

My Thoughts Islamic State (ISIS) threat


Whilst I welcome the decision that Britain has welcomed a UN resolution designed to weaken Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The United Nations Security Council gave unanimous approval to the document, which was drawn up by the UK.

It backed sanctions on individuals recruiting, financing, supplying weapons, or fighting for Islamic State (IS) and linked groups.

The UK Ministry of Defence has revealed that its Joint Rivet surveillance aircraft has been operating in Iraq.

The reconnaissance plane had been operating in the region for the last few weeks, a spokeswoman said, helping to “build an understanding of the humanitarian situation and the associated ISIL (also known as IS) threat”.

“The intelligence and insight it has provided has guided our humanitarian efforts giving us an accurate picture of what is going on the ground so that we could best deliver aid to the Yazidi people.

The hot potato of the day has to be for me is how will world leaders address of the increase presence of Islamic State(ISIS) in Iraq which in my opinion has more than one leader with no base or constitution and why so many young people are being attracted in joining various Jihadist Groups.

I would like some acknowledgement that “we” the West, are in some measure to blame. After all, “we” did invade, overthrow a secular dictator, ostracise the experienced Civil Servants, and ensure the candidates for Presidential Election were acceptable to the transnational corporations. Val McDermid expressing sensible concerns that when you arm people you think are the goodies, they may actually be as bad as the baddies, and that in any event you escalate the use and possession of lethal weapons. All wanted super dooper diplomatic initiatives, though these were unspecified, and a longer term strategy for the Middle East. Nobody mentioned Russia and China. It was all “The West”. On Russia in particular, I am horrified that “the West’s” focus on “Aid Convoys” from Russia to Eastern Ukraine appear to be blinding intelligent people from considering the importance of the diplomatic role Russia could play

There are so many think tanks out there with little or no solutions to address the wider issue which affects some ethnic communities which the FarRight groups are quick enough to jump on the bandwagon to spread their hatred of Muslims and Islam what their lack of understanding of the Koran from some intellectually challenged people.

Ironically the UK has banned some Islamic groups but failed to ban groups like English Defence League, (EDL) British First (BF), British National Party (BNP) and United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP) no doubt some will argue that those group will go underground well folks wake up they have in some cases gone underground but only surface to spread their vile messages to their lieutenants then disappear letting their foot soldiers taking the can who are already brainwashed is the only way to describe them.

Intriguingly I read two articles which really sums it up in a nutshell for me when it began with:

The US and the UK can’t defeat ISIS  Arab states have to take the lead The destruction of this caliphate must come from a Muslim led force

On Friday last week, as he became the fourth US president in succession to authorise airstrikes in Iraq, Barack Obama effectively said the world’s most powerful terrorist group, ISIS, was an Arab problem and that regional leaders would have to deal with it.

“The nature of this [ISIL / ISIS] problem is not one that the US military can solve,” he said, offering the clearest indication of his thinking. “[W]e can then be one of many countries that deal with the broader problem that ISIL poses,” he said during the press conference, but the US was not going to take the lead.

Over the last year ISIS has captured territory that is now larger than Great Britain. It is among the fastest-growing and richest terrorist groups of all time. After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul. Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to £3m a day by selling the resource on the black market. The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.

The plight of Iraq’s minorities, especially the Yazidis, has struck a chord strong enough to raise demands that the USA and UK should intervene to help such groups and destroy ISIS. I don’t say this as a blind anti-interventionist – I supported the invasion of Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban and heavy military intervention in Syria to avoid a humanitarian crisis – but such a course of action would be foolhardy and counter-productive. On this, President Obama is absolutely right: the problem posed by ISIS cannot be solved by US military.

A wide-scale military operation spear-headed by the US or UK to defeat ISIS is doomed to failure. In fact they welcome the prospect. “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones,” a spokesman for the group told Vice News. “Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, god willing,” he added. ISIS would love the United States and UK to invade with soldiers or to step up aerial bombardment across the country.

There are two key reasons why I oppose such action. Firstly, aerial bombardment won’t make much difference, and may well lead to extensive civilian casualties. ISIS are well-versed in fighting an established army – in Syria – and constantly move around equipment and people. In case of (a highly unlikely) ground war, they would bog down American and British troops in a costly and draining ground war stretching over years, if not decades.

To reiterate, ISIS aren’t a rag-tag bunch of rebels hiding in caves, as al-Qaeda is largely reduced to now. It is a well-equipped urban guerilla army fighting on several different fronts and winning in most of them. While Saddam Hussain’s army barely put up a fight against American troops, the warriors of Islamic State would relish fighting them on their holy land.

A western-led attack on ISIS would also be counter-productive because of the inevitable blowback. The establishment of a caliphate has not just made ISIS more attractive than al-Qaeda, it also puts us in a deep quandary. To put it bluntly, the US or UK cannot be seen as cheerleading the destruction of the most successful caliphate in recent times.

It doesn’t matter how many imams or Muslims across the world have distanced themselves from ISIS, the destruction of this caliphate must come from a Muslim-led force. Otherwise the symbolism is such that we would be fending off terrorist attacks forever. To offer one example of their popularity – while not one Indian Muslim has been found fighting with al-Qaeda (in a country with the world’s second largest Muslim population), ISIS has not only inspired imams but attracted four Indian Muslim fighters already. The symbolism of a caliphate cannot be underestimated, and neither can the symbolism of its destruction.

I suspect Obama knows this. This is why there is hesitation across the American and British administrations, and why he said Arab leaders had to lead the charge against ISIS instead. The airstrikes authorised by Obama last week were limited, solely to help Kurdish armed forces fighting ISIS in northern Iraq. The British government isn’t even debating the prospect of joining its ally in these airstrikes and Labour opposes any such action outright.

There’s a reason, too, why we can afford to take a step back from this conflict. In contrast to al-Qaeda, the focus of the Islamic State is inward. It wants to consolidate territory across the Middle East before it takes on the might of the United States. It’s ironic that Saudi Arabia, which sponsored Wahhabism for decades, is now threatened by a group based on its ideology. We should let it deal with the consequences.

The ISIS leader was NOT trained by the CIA or Mossad, and Snowden didn’t say it

There are three common rules when people discuss politics:

1) they are willing to believe anything on the internet if it confirms their prejudices
2) they don’t want to accept people of their tribe do awful things
3) they find a way to blame America or the UK for most of the world’s problems

A recent example: the claim that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the self-proclaimed leader of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq – was funded or trained by the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, and that this was apparently revealed by Edward Snowden.

Stories claiming this hoax have gone viral all over the web (example 1example 2example 3). This is simply not true. In fact I asked the reporter Glenn Greenwald, who has had more contact with Snowden than most people this question directly.

Furthermore, Edward Snowden’s lawyer called this claim a hoax too.

So where did ISIS money and the guns come from?
I explain this briefly in my New Statesman article:

After initially funding its efforts with extortion, smuggling and private donations, it literally struck gold in June when it made off with $400m in cash and gold from the central bank in Mosul.

Since then it has also captured oil fields and earns up to £3m a day by selling the resource on the black market.

The group also has a modernised arsenal from the weapons and vehicles it has captured from the Iraqi army. Even the well-trained and feared Kurdish forces are being pushed back in places.

But America is still to blame, right?

In some ways, yes. The New York Times recently reported:

The Pentagon says that Mr. Baghdadi, after being arrested in Falluja in early 2004, was released that December with a large group of other prisoners deemed low level. But Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar who has researched Mr. Baghdadi’s life, sometimes on behalf of Iraqi intelligence, said that Mr. Baghdadi had spent five years in an American detention facility where, like many ISIS fighters now on the battlefield, he became more radicalized.

From there he joined al-Qaeda, and later split off into his own group which later became ISIS and Islamic State.

But what about all the pictures?

If you see any pictures, supposedly of al-Baghdadi meeting someone (like John McCain!), they’re also fake. These pics never reveal their source, time, date or location. Unless a pic does that, so it can be verified, it’s a fake.

Here is the history of the vile terrorist group and remember the quote:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out  Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me”.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a jihadist group, widely regarded as a terrorist organisation. In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world and aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control, beginning with territory in the Levant region, which includes JordanIsraelPalestineLebanonCyprus, and an area in southern Turkey that includes Hatay. The group has been officially designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, and has been widely described as a terrorist group by Western and Middle Eastern media sources, including Amnesty International

The group, in its original form, was composed of and supported by a variety of Sunni Arab terrorist insurgent groups, including its predecessor organizations, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) (2003–2006),Mujahideen Shura Council (2006–2006) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) (2006–2013), other insurgent groups such as Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura, Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba and Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, and a number of Iraqi tribes that profess Sunni Islam.

ISIS grew significantly as an organization owing to its participation in the Syrian Civil War and the strength of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Economic and political discrimination against Arab Iraqi Sunnis since the fall of the secular Saddam Hussein also helped it to gain support. At the height of the 2003–2011 Iraq War, its forerunners enjoyed a significant presence in the Iraqi governorates of Al Anbar,NinevehKirkuk, most of Salah ad Din, parts of BabilDiyala andBaghdad, and claimed Baqubah as a capital city. In the ongoing Syrian Civil War, ISIS has a large presence in the Syrian governorates of Ar-RaqqahIdlib and Aleppo.

ISIS is known for its extreme and brutally harsh interpretation of the Islamic faith and sharia law and has a record of horrifying violence, which is directed at Shia Muslims, indigenous Assyrian (Chaldo Assyrian), Syriac and Armenian Christians,YazidisDruzeShabakis and Mandeans in particular. It has at least 4,000 fighters in its ranks in Iraq[71] who, in addition to attacks on government and military targets, have claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of civilians. SIS had close links with al-Qaeda until 2014, but in February of that year, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with the group, reportedly for its brutality and “notorious intractability”.

ISIS’s original aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni-majority regions of Iraq. Following its involvement in the Syrian Civil War, this expanded to include controlling Sunni-majority areas of Syria. A caliphate was proclaimed on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—now known as Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim was named as its caliph, and the group was renamed the Islamic State.

The group has had a number of different names since its formation in early 2004 as Jamāʻat al-Tawḥīd wa-al-Jihād, “The Organization of Monotheism and Jihad” (JTJ). These names are underscored in the following paragraphs.

In October 2004, the group’s leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the name of the group to Tanẓīm Qāʻidat al-Jihād fī Bilād al-Rāfidayn, “The Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers“, more commonly known as “Al-Qaeda in Iraq” (AQI). Although the group has never called itself “Al-Qaeda in Iraq”, this name has frequently been used to describe it through its various incarnations.

In January 2006, AQI merged with several smaller Iraqi insurgent groups under an umbrella organization called the “Mujahideen Shura Council“. This was little more than a media exercise and an attempt to give the group a more Iraqi flavour and perhaps to distance al-Qaeda from some of al-Zarqawi’s tactical errors, notably the 2005 bombings by AQI of three hotels in Amman. Al-Zarqawi was killed in June 2006, after which the group’s direction shifted again.

On 12 October 2006, the Mujahideen Shura Council joined four more insurgent factions and the representatives of a number of Iraqi Arab tribes, and together they swore the traditional Arab oath of allegiance known as Ḥilf al-Muṭayyabīn (“Oath of the Scented Ones”).[b][80][81] During the ceremony, the participants swore to free Iraq’s Sunnis from what they described as Shia and foreign oppression, and to further the name of Allah and restore Islam to glory.

On 13 October 2006, the establishment of the Dawlat al-ʻIraq al-Islāmīyah, “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI) was announced.  A cabinet was formed and Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi became ISI’s figurehead emir, with the real power residing with the Egyptian Abu Ayyub al-Masri. The declaration was met with hostile criticism, not only from ISI’s jihadist rivals in Iraq, but from leading jihadist ideologues outside the country.[84] Al-Baghdadi and al-Masri were both killed in a US–Iraqi operation in April 2010. The next leader of the ISI was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current leader of ISIS.

On 9 April 2013, having expanded into Syria, the group adopted the name “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”, also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”.

The name is abbreviated as ISIS or alternately ISIL. The final “S” in the acronym ISIS stems from the Arabic word Shām (or Shaam), which in the context of global jihad refers to the Levant or Greater Syria. ISIS was also known as al-Dawlah (“the State”), or al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah (“the Islamic State”). These are short-forms of the Arabic name for the “Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham”; it is similar to calling “the United States of America” “the States”.

ISIS’s detractors, particularly in Syria, refer to the group using the Arabic acronym “DAESH” a term which it considers derogatory. ISIS reportedly uses flogging as a punishment for people who use the acronym.

On 14 May 2014, the United States Department of State announced its decision to use “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) as the group’s primary name. The debate over which acronym should be used to designate the group, ISIL or ISIS, has been discussed by several commentators. Ishaan Tharoor from The Washington Post concluded: “In the larger battlefield of copy style controversies, the distinction between ISIS or ISIL is not so great.”

On 29 June 2014, the establishment of a new caliphate was announced, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi named as its caliph, and the group formally changed its name to the “Islamic State”.

ISIS is a violent extremist group that follows al-Qaeda’s hard-line ideology and adheres to global jihadist principles. Like al-Qaeda and many other modern-day jihadist groups, ISIS emerged from the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt. ISIS follows an extreme anti-Western interpretation of Islam, promotes religious violence and regards those who do not agree with its interpretations as infidels and apostates. Concurrently, ISIS (now IS) aims to establish a Salafist-orientated Islamist state in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Levant.  ISIS’s ideology originates in the branch of modern Islam that aims to return to the early days of Islam, rejecting later “innovations” in the religion which it believes corrupt its original spirit. It condemns later caliphates and the Ottoman Empire for deviating from what it calls pure Islam and hence has been attempting to establish its own caliphate. However, there are some Sunni commentators, Zaid Hamid, for example, and even Salafi and jihadi muftis such as Adnan al-Aroor and Abu Basir al-Tartusi, who say that ISIS and related terrorist groups are not Sunnis at all, but Kharijite heretics serving an imperial anti-Islamic agenda.

Salafists such as ISIS believe that only a legitimate authority can undertake the leadership of jihad, and that the first priority over other areas of combat, such as fighting against non-Muslim countries, is the purification of Islamic society. For example, when it comes to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, since ISIS regards the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas as apostates who have no legitimate authority to lead jihad, it regards fighting Hamas as the first step toward confrontation with Israel.

From its beginnings the establishment of a pure Islamic state has been one of the group’s main goals. According to journalist Sarah Birke, one of the “significant differences” between Al-Nusra Front and ISIS is that ISIS “tends to be more focused on establishing its own rule on conquered territory”. While both groups share the ambition to build an Islamic state, ISIS is “far more ruthless … carrying out sectarian attacks and imposing sharia law immediately”. ISIS finally achieved its goal on 29 June 2014, when it removed “Iraq and the Levant” from its name, began to refer to itself as the Islamic State, and declared the territory which it occupied in Iraq and Syria a new caliphate.

In mid-2014, the group released a video entitled “The End of Sykes–Picot” featuring an English-speaking Chilean national named Abu Safiyya. The video announced the group’s intention to eliminate all modern borders between Islamic Middle Eastern countries; this was a reference to the borders set by the Sykes–Picot Agreement during World War I.

On 13 October 2006, the group announced the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq, which claimed authority over the Iraqi governorates of BaghdadAnbarDiyalaKirkukSalah al-DinNineveh, and parts of Babil.[82] Following the 2013 expansion of the group into Syria and the announcement of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the number of wilayah provinces which it claimed increased to 16. In addition to the seven Iraqi wilayah, the Syrian divisions, largely lying along existing provincial boundaries, are Al BarakahAl KheirAr-RaqqahAl BadiyaHalabIdlibHamaDamascus and the Coast.

In Syria, ISIS’s seat of power is in Ar-Raqqah Governorate. Top ISIS leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, are known to have visited its provincial capital, Ar-Raqqah.

After significant setbacks for the group during the latter stages of the coalition forces‘ presence in Iraq, by late 2012 it was thought to have renewed its strength and more than doubled the number of its members to about 2,500, and since its formation in April 2013, ISIS has grown rapidly in strength and influence in Iraq and Syria. Analysts have underlined the deliberate inflammation of sectarian conflict between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis during the Iraq War by various Sunni and Shiite actors as the root cause of ISIS’s rise. The post-invasion policies of the international coalition forces have also been cited as a factor, with Fanar Haddad, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore‘s Middle East Institute, blaming the coalition forces during the Iraq War for “enshrining identity politics as the key marker of Iraqi  politics”.

ISIS’s violence is directed particularly against Shia Muslims and indigenous SyriacArameanAssyrian and Armenian Christians. In June 2014, The Economist reported that “ISIS may have up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000–5,000 in Syria, including perhaps 3,000 foreigners; nearly a thousand are reported to hail from Chechnya and perhaps 500 or so more from FranceBritain and elsewhere in Europe”. Chechen fighter Abu Omar al-Shishani, for example, was made commander of the northern sector of ISIS in Syria in 2013.

By 2014, ISIS was increasingly being viewed as a militia rather than a terrorist group.  As major Iraqi cities fell to al-Baghdadi’s cohorts in June, Jessica Lewis, an expert on ISIS at the Institute for the Study of War, described ISIS as “not a terrorism problem anymore”, but rather “an army on the move in Iraq and Syria, and they are taking terrain. They have shadow governments in and around Baghdad, and they have an aspirational goal to govern. I don’t know whether they want to control Baghdad, or if they want to destroy the functions of the Iraqi state, but either way the outcome will be disastrous for Iraq.” Lewis, who was a US Army intelligence officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, has called ISIS “an advanced military leadership”. She said, “They have incredible command and control and they have a sophisticated reporting mechanism from the field that can relay tactics and directives up and down the line. They are well-financed, and they have big sources of manpower, not just the foreign fighters, but also prisoner escapees.”

ISIS’s annual reports reveal a metrics-driven military command, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which is “a strong indication of a unified, coherent leadership structure that commands from the top down”.  Middle East Forum‘s Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi said, “They are highly skilled in urban guerrilla warfare while the new Iraqi Army simply lacks tactical competence.” Seasoned observers point to systemic corruption within the Iraq Army, it being little more than a system of patronage, and have attributed to this its spectacular collapse as ISIS and its allies took over large swaths of Iraq in June 2014.

Hillary Clinton stated: “The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad—there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle—the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”

During the Iraq War, the US Armed Forces had never faced an organized militant force as effective.[citation needed] Douglas Ollivant, a former Army Cavalry officer who later handled Iraq for the White House National Security Council, said, “They were great terrorists. They made great car bombs. But they were lousy line infantry, and if you got them in a firefight, they’d die. They have now repaired that deficiency.” Like other analysts, Ollivant credits the civil war in Syria for their striking improvement in battlefield ability since the Iraq War: “You fight Hizballah for a couple of years, and you either die or you get a lot better. And these guys just got a lot better.” Another major weapon in ISIS’s tactical armoury is control of rivers, dams, and water installations.

ISIS runs a soft-power program, which includes social services, religious lectures and da’wah—proselytizing—to local populations. It also performs civil tasks such as repairing roads and maintaining the electricity supply.

The group is also known for its effective use of propaganda. In November 2006, shortly after the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq, the group established the al-Furqan Institute for Media Production, which produced CDs, DVDs, posters, pamphlets, and web-related propaganda products. ISIS’s main media outlet is the I’tisaam Media Foundation, which was formed in March 2013 and distributes through the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF). In 2014, ISIS established the Al Hayat Media Center, which targets a Western audience and produces material in English, German, Russian and French. In 2014 it also launched the Ajnad Media Foundation, which releases jihadist audio chants.

ISIS’s use of social media has been described by one expert as “probably more sophisticated than [that of] most US companies”. It regularly takes advantage of social media, particularly Twitter, to distribute its message by organizing hashtag campaigns, encouraging Tweets on popular hashtags, and utilizing software applications that enable ISIS propaganda to be distributed to its supporters’ accounts. Another comment is that “ISIS puts more emphasis on social media than other jihadi groups. They have a very coordinated social media presence.” Although ISIS’s social media feeds on Twitter are regularly shut down, it frequently recreates them, maintaining a strong online presence. The group has attempted to branch out into alternate social media sites, such as Quitter, Friendica and Diaspora; Quitter and Friendica, however, almost immediately removed ISIS’s presence from their sites.

A study of 200 documents—personal letters, expense reports and membership rosters captured from Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq was carried out by the RAND Corporation in 2014. It found that from 2005 until 2010, outside donations amounted to only 5% of the group’s operating budgets, with the rest being raised within Iraq. In the time-period studied, cells were required to send up to 20% of the income generated from kidnapping, extortion rackets and other activities to the next level of the group’s leadership. Higher-ranking commanders would then redistribute the funds to provincial or local cells that were in difficulties or needed money to conduct attacks. The records show that the Islamic State of Iraq was dependent on members from Mosul for cash, which the leadership used to provide additional funds to struggling militants in Diyala, Salahuddin and Baghdad.

In mid-2014, Iraqi intelligence extracted information from an ISIS operative which revealed that the organization had assets worth US$2 billion, making it the richest jihadist group in the world. About three quarters of this sum is said to be represented by assets seized after the group captured Mosul in June 2014; this includes possibly up to US$429 million looted from Mosul’s central bank, along with additional millions and a large quantity of gold bullion stolen from a number of other banks in Mosul. However, doubt was later cast on whether ISIS was able to retrieve anywhere near that sum from the central bank, and even on whether the bank robberies had actually occurred.

ISIS has routinely practised extortion, by demanding money from truck drivers and threatening to blow up businesses, for example. Robbing banks and gold shops has been another source of income.  The group is widely reported as receiving funding from private donors in the Gulf states, and both Iran and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS, although there is reportedly no evidence that this is the case.

The group is also believed to receive considerable funds from its operations in Eastern Syria, where it has commandeered oilfields and engages in smuggling out raw materials and archaeological artifacts. ISIS also generates revenue from producing crude oil and selling electric power in northern Syria. Some of this electricity is reportedly sold back to the Syrian government.

Since 2012, ISIS has produced annual reports giving numerical information on its operations, somewhat in the style of corporate reports, seemingly in a bid to encourage potential donors.

Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (abrreviated JTJ or shortened to Tawhid and JihadTawhid wal-Jihad, sometimes Tawhid al-Jihad,Al Tawhid or Tawhid) was started in about 2000 by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and a combination of foreigners and local Islamistsympathizers. Al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian Salafi who had traveled to Afghanistan to fight in the Soviet-Afghan War, but he arrived after the departure of the Soviet troops and soon returned to his homeland. He eventually returned to Afghanistan, running an Islamic militant training camp near Herat.

Al-Zarqawi started the network with the intention of overthrowing the Kingdom of Jordan, which he considered to be un-Islamic according to the four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. For this purpose he developed numerous contacts and affiliates in several countries. Although it has not been verified, his network may have been involved in the late 1999 plot to bomb the Millennium celebrations in the United States and Jordan. However, al-Zarqawi’s operatives were responsible for the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Jordan in 2002.

Following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zarqawi moved westward into Iraq, where he reportedly received medical treatment in Baghdad for an injured leg. It is believed that he developed extensive ties in Iraq with Ansar al-Islam (“Partisans of Islam”), a Kurdish Islamic militant group based in the extreme northeast of the country. Ansar allegedly had ties to Iraqi Intelligence;Saddam Hussein‘s motivation would have been to use Ansar as a surrogate force to repress secular Kurds fighting for the independence of Kurdistan. In January 2003, Ansar’s founder Mullah Krekar denied any connection with Saddam’s government.

The consensus of intelligence officials has since been that there were no links whatsoever between al-Zarqawi and Saddam, and that Saddam viewed Ansar al-Islam “as a threat to the regime” and his intelligence officials were spying on the group. The 2006 Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq concluded: “Postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward al-Zarqawi.”According to Michael Weiss, Ansar entered Iraqi Kurdistan through Iran as part of Iran’s covert attempts to destabilize Saddam’s government.

Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, JTJ developed into an expanding militant network for the purpose of resisting the coalition occupation forces and their Iraqi allies. It included some of the remnants of Ansar al-Islam and a growing number of foreign fighters. Many foreign fighters arriving in Iraq were initially not associated with the group, but once they were in the country they became dependent on al-Zarqawi’s local contacts.

Goals and tactics

The stated goals of JTJ were: (i) to force a withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq; (ii) to topple the Iraqi interim government; (iii) to assassinate collaborators with the occupation regime; (iv) to remove the Shia population and defeat its militias because of its death-squad activities; and (v) to establish subsequently a pure Islamic state.

JTJ differed considerably from the other early Iraqi insurgent groups in its tactics. Rather than using only conventional weapons and guerrilla tactics in ambushes against the US and coalition forces, it relied heavily on suicide bombings, often using car bombs. It targeted a wide variety of groups, especially the Iraqi Security Forces and those facilitating the occupation. Groups of workers who have been targeted by JTJ include Iraqi interim officials, Iraqi Shia and Kurdish political and religious figures, the country’s Shia Muslim civilians, foreign civilian contractors, and United Nations and humanitarian workers. Al-Zarqawi’s militants are also known to have used a wide variety of other tactics, including targeted kidnappings, the planting of improvised explosive devices, and mortar attacks. Beginning in late June 2004, JTJ implemented urban guerrilla-style attacks using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. They also gained worldwide notoriety for beheading Iraqi and foreign hostages and distributing video recordings of these acts on the Internet.

 Activities

 JTJ claimed credit for a number of attacks that targeted Iraqi forces and infrastructure, such as the October 2004 ambush and killing of 49 armed Iraqi National Guard recruits, and for a series of attacks on humanitarian aid agencies such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It conducted numerous attacks against US military personnel throughout 2004, and audacious suicide attacks inside the high-security Green Zoneperimeter in Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi’s men reputedly succeeded in assassinating several leading Iraqi politicians of the early post-Saddam era, and their bomb attack on the United Nations Mission’s headquarters in Iraq led the UN country team to relocate to Jordan and continue their work remotely.

The group took either direct responsibility or the blame for many of the early Iraqi insurgent attacks, including the series of high-profile bombings in August 2003, which killed 17 people at the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, 23 people, including the chief of the United Nations Mission to Iraq Sérgio Vieira de Melloat the UN headquarters in Baghdad,  and at least 86 people, including Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, in the Imam Ali Mosque bombing in Najaf.[172] Included here is the November truck bombing, which killed 27 people, mostly Italian paramilitary policemen, at the Italian base in Nasiriyah.

The attacks connected with the group in 2004 include the series of bombings in Baghdad and Karbala which killed 178 people during the holy Day of Ashura in March; the failed plot in April to explode chemical bombs in Amman, Jordan, which was said to have been financed by al-Zarqawi’s network; a series of suicide boat bombings of the oil pumping stations in the Persian Gulf in April, for which al-Zarqawi took responsibility in a statement published by the Muntada al-Ansar Islamist website; the Maycar bomb assassination of Iraqi Governing Council president Ezzedine Salim at the entrance to the Green Zone in Baghdad; the June suicide car bombing in Baghdad which killed 35 civilians; and the September car bomb which killed 47 police recruits and civilians on Haifa Street in Baghdad.

 Foreign civilian hostages abducted by the group in 2004 include: Americans Nick Berg,Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley; Turks Durmus Kumdereli, Aytullah Gezmen and Murat Yuce; South Korean Kim Sun-il; Bulgarians Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov; and BritonKenneth Bigley. Most of them were beheaded using knives. Al-Zarqawi personally beheaded Berg and Armstrong, but Yuce was shot dead by al-Masri and Gezmen was released after “repenting”.

 

 

Ceasefire Israel vs Hamas will it last the test of time


 

Many are beginning to think that the ceasefire has no chance of ending with the continuing firing on both sides of the boarders. As usual both sides pays no heed,
agreements after agreements always breaks down at the last minute all because of a stumbling block as one side wants an end of siege and the other side want Hamas to disarm their rockets both claiming they have a right to defend themselves.

So far the ceasefire between Israelis and Hamas is holding for now somehow many are wondering will it last, only time will tell if it last. It’s been alleged that UK arms licences Israel will be suspended only if there is fresh violence in Gaza. UK has identified 12 licences for components which could be used in equipment in Gaza by Israel. It’s further alleged that it will suspend them in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.

Under the current climate I think this coalition will not follow it through as they are paying lip service just to show brinkmanship and keeping both the Conservatives back, front benches, and Labour from revolting against David Cameron which may change the course of the leadership of the Conservatives as Boris Johnson tries to find a safe Conservative Parliamentary seat .

Intriguingly world leaders call Hamas a terrorist organisation and they will not recognize them because of Hamas constitution which was in place from 1987. I have to stress from the very beginning that I have no affiliations to Hamas. I do however have vested interest with Palestine from the moment I visited the country with a trade union delegation and  long to revisit the places with my children to show them what I witnessed whilst I was there and for them to take their children’s children there to see what life was like under the occupation.

Recently a friend informed me about an article to which I recalled reading but did not connect the dots together by Alaa Tartir, program director Al-Shab
aka the Palestinian policy Network it begins with:

I came across the post-war recovery experts, their international consultancy firms, an international aid industry, and the donor community are ramping up for another Gaza reconstruction exercise. Another war, and another salvage effort for the besieged coastal strip. An international donors’ conference, a carbon copy of the 2009 Sharm El-Sheikh donor conference, is due to take place in Norway this September. There seems little doubt that conference participants will pledge another $5 billion (which may or may not be paid), in an effort that seems destined only to cover up the failure of the international community to stop the destruction before it started.

The donor conference does present an opportunity, however, to forge a new paradigm of aid politics. As a first step, Hamas must be invited to attend this round. Exclusion would only lead to repeated mistakes. It is time to re-evaluate the decision to exclude the party.

In the aftermath of the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, international donors rejected a democratically elected Hamas. By doing so they undermined the very governance reforms that they had paid to implement. Worse, they entrenched the intra-Palestinian divide between Fatah and Hamas. And they contributed to the years-long impasse in the peace process and to the deteriorating living conditions of Palestinians. Reconstructing Gaza has the potential to be a bold political move that would enable donors to reverse the mistakes they made in the past.

There are four strong reasons to include Hamas in the reconstruction process. First, it is time to acknowledge the major transformations that the party has undergone over the past decades. The Hamas of 2014 is dramatically different from the party of 1987 that penned a charter calling for the de facto rejection of Israel. In 2006, Hamas acknowledged the Oslo Peace Accords by participating in parliamentary elections. Hamas Chairman Khaled Mash’al has accepted a Palestinian state on the 1967 boarders. The charter is obsolete. It is about time that the US media starts focusing on the Hamas of today, an organization with reasonable demands, such as lifting the siege on Gaza.

Second, before entrusting reconstruction funds to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, donors need to be reminded of its eroding legitimacy, including the fact that it is un-elected. Donors must work with the local government as well as secure a long-term impact by lifting the siege on Gaza. This does not entail recognizing Hamas as a legitimate government, but is rather a recognition that Hamas’s popularity and public legitimacy has increased in the aftermath of the war on Gaza. Yes Hamas has, like Fatah, committed human rights violations and practised corruption; it is equally responsible, alongside Fatah, for the intra-Palestinian divide. Parallel demands must be made for public accountability. But this should be dealt with as a separate matter from the reconstruction of Gaza. Given Hamas’ political standing, is it not about time to ask donors, and the US in particular, when they will engage directly?

slientdemoThird, the donor community must engage with the right actors. It is not enough to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor as Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinsonargued. Rather, it is time “to do business” with Hamas, and to focus efforts on the interests of Palestinians. Hamas, more than anyone else, knows what Gaza needs today, and has the infrastructure to make sure the needs of Gazans are met.

Fourth, it is more than time to end the donors’ traditional preference for including Israel in reconstruction planning and discussions. Israel pockets a large portion of funds bound for Palestinians, and clearly targets Palestinian infrastructure and capacity for development, not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank. It is more than time to pay attention to the findings of a recent Independent Commission for Human Rights report that unless donors “hold Israel accountable, [Israeli] actions will continue and your funds will go to repair the damages. Ironically, Israel will end up receiving over 30% of all funds that you bring for recovery and humanitarian assistance” because of their control over goods and services.

If donors don’t want to keep pouring their aid dollars into a bottomless pit while letting Israel get away with repeated assaults, they must hold Israel accountable. It is beyond ludicrous to invite the besieger that has repeatedly destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure beyond any conceivable notion of “self-defense” to the planning table with the besieged.

The explicit and direct inclusion of Hamas in the international donors’ conference in Norway next month is key to an effective reconstruction process. Next month donors must choose between sustaining the status quo or taking bold and necessary steps for change. Respect for the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza and beyond dictates bold change over the status quo.

here are some of my  suggested actions that people may wise to do by signing various petitions:

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-rt-hon-philip-hammond-mp-send-rfa-argus-hospital-ship-to-gaza

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/demand-a-total-uk-embargo-on-arms-to-israel?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1407712384

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/murder_made_in_britain_loc/?bpeNWbb&v=43825