About Me

There seems to be no area of our lives, whether public or private,that is not subject to the scrutiny of the 'Equality People' Yet, no one ever defines Equality. So, how will we know it when we see it? Is it definable? And are the principles of equality, however we define them, attainable?.Is the ever extending range of government regulation over our lives 'progress'Or,are we on the road to totalitarianism. Are we hindered or helped in our quest for rights and justice through membership of the E.U., U.N.,e.t.c. or, would a strengthening of our own Parliamentary Democracy serve us better. This Blog will comment on equality and related issues with the hope of making some small contribution to the debate. Feel free to post your opinions and share your thoughts and experiences. That way we can get a better idea of how we, the little people really feel about things. And,just maybe,we might even influence the debate!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Public Sector Worker's Strike 30th November

A million plus public sector workers are expected to take part in tomorrow's strike in protest at the Government's revised  pension plans. Should the expected numbers materialise there could be widespread disruption, closing thousand of schools, non emergency medical services being cancelled etc... I have mixed feelings about this on-going public sector pension battle. It strikes me as yet another example of how we have allowed ourselves to become completely dependent on the government for all our needs. We trust them to make provision for our total well-being  from the 'cradle to the grave'. Why do we keep doing  it.?  If you ask any one what they think of politicians and politics in general there is usually a negative, and sometimes downright aggressive response?.

By asking these politicians  to do so much we are giving them control,and, the more control they have, well-obviously-the more they will use it. The only result will be more disappointment and sense of  being disenfranchised. We need to stop allowing the Government to have so much influence over our lives. We can only do that by insisting on lower taxation, thereby freeing us up to make our own arrangements. And, if we don't like the terms and conditions we can move our hard earned money somewhere else.

However, that being said many of our current public sector workers have for years contributed to their pensions on certain understandings-they had a deal- which the Government is now trying to renege on. I can fully understand their feelings of being used, misled and robbed. It seems to me that the government should, at least for those workers who have put in twenty five years or more, honour its commitment. Everyone else should be given a refund on what they have paid in. In the future the government should stop providing  pensions and start to lower taxation. After all, if we don't allow them  to have so much of our money, they have less to abuse and misuse us with.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Magna Carta Bank Holiday 15 th June 2015

Eleanor Laing, Conservative MP for Epping Forest, has introduced a Private Members Bill (SO No 23 ) in a bid to make 15 June 2015 a bank holiday, to celebrate the 800th anniversary of  Magna Carta.You can read the full statement here . There is also an E petition calling for the same, along with making St George's day and Trafalgar day  public holidays.You can read it and if you wish, sign from here

I fully support this aim and I hope every one gets behind it to make it a success.The campaign might if we are lucky, stimulate a long overdue debate about the meaning of this document and what it means for modern times. Do the principles still guide justice? governance?. How many of us even know what those principles are or,  have even heard of Magna Carta.

It will be interesting to see how many MPs support the campaign to celebrate Magna Carta but who nevertheless, supported the Criminal Justice Act(2003) which came into force 2007. This act, amongst other things destroyed the principle of trial by jury, a major clause of Magna Carta. Trial by jury prevents the group who bring the prosecution i.e the state from deciding the soundness of the case against the defendant. Over in Northern Ireland the principle was eroded in the 1970s when dealing with terrorism. The Diplock Courts as they were known, were finally abolished in 2007.  However, special provisions for the province  were introduced to continue the practice of jury-less trials.

Another  major principle established by Magna Carta is that of the presumption of innocence. It defends against arbitrary power which  puts people in the position of having to prove innocence to annul a penalty rather than the state having to prove you guilty before they impose it. Do we still have this protection? The campaigning and research group Crime and Society Foundation  doesn't seem to think so. In its research on Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) introduced in 2003. . it found that;   "PNDs operate outside the traditional realms of criminal justice, thus bypassing key protections afforded to members of the public accused of an offence. As such,PNDs erode justice in the name of speedier punishment" You can read the report here

We can only hope that interesting times are ahead.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

All Quiet In The London Play Pen: this time!

At least ten thousand students converged on London today to demonstrate against any increase in student fees. They followed a strictly imposed route, with twenty or so being quickly evicted from Trafalgar Square where they had tried to set up a camp similar to the one set up outside St Paul's Cathedral  by the Occupy mob. The demonstrators tramped through the streets and let everyone know what they thought of university fees, bank bailouts and anything else that causes them to spit out the dummy. By dusk most had dispersed. Latest reports reckon on twenty arrests. No-one attacked, or had a fire extinguisher thrown at them from a great hight. And, as far as I am aware no windows smashed, no one urinated on a war memorial.Very civilised. What a pity it needed  four thousand police officers to ensure such civility. I'm sure there will be complaints soon about the restrictions imposed on the marchers. But children,listen and learn: if you cannot behave without supervision-

People who believe they have entitlements which others have to provide, instead of first and foremost, having obligations to look after themselves, coupled with a sense of gratitude for anything that is given to them by others, very often turn to violence when they get told no you can't, 'the bank's shut',the pot's empty. We saw it at the last student demonstration, we saw it across England in August. It's not, as many like to claim, caused by deprivation or unemployment.

 The release by the Office of National Statistics of figures on those  rioters show that 35% were reliant on benefits. Something the B.B.C. tried to make a big deal of,  while at the same time not even mentioning that the figures also clearly demonstrate that 65% of the rioters were not reliant on benefits. We also know from some of the individual court cases that many were employed. No, it is a culture of 'my rights' my entitlement' my desires must be satisfied'  which is at the root of many violent outbursts. The sooner we get back to a culture of knowing about, and feeling a sense of obligations the better.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Democracy, Accountability, Responsibility not Welcome Here;is this a Greek Tragedy?

Under pressure from all sides, including the German Chancellor Merkel and The French leader Sarkozy, the Greek Prime Minister, who announced a referendum on the new bail-out package for the country's debt is facing an ousting from government. What/who replaces his government has yet to be decided as the crisis is still unfolding.  A commentator on the B.B.C. echoed the sentiments of some political pundits and the financial markets that his going may bring some relief.  Relief from what. Oh nothing much, just a referendum for the Greek people. Well let's not allow anything like democracy stand in the way of a deal to satisfy the banks eh.
However, not having the referendum does not take away people's choice about the bail-out. There is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat. We have already seen how the bail-out deals have been received so far: riots, petrol bombs, strikes. Will it be any different with this one. I doubt it.  It could even get worse as the measures kick in. The Greeks have also been told to accept the bail-out or get out of the Euro.
What would a referendum have done anyway.? Well, two things as I see it.
1) To be given a choice, to be asked,  people are more likely to take a more mature approach to a situation.  To have accepted the deal they would be accepting responsibility for the measures that they will have to live with. This, which seems to have escaped the notice of the political elite is called democracy; Participation, consultation, accountability for all.
2) To reject the package, especially under the all or nothing stance would have made it clear that Greeks want out of the E.U.  If this is the case it needs to be faced, and now rather than later. Leaving the E.U. would not be, as some fear, a get out of  paying debt card.  This can still be negotiated, but with the Greeks having more of an input than simply following undemocratic diktats from Brussels, and the international, unelected banking system, and last but not least, China, -that bastion of freedom- whose leaders didn't think a referendum would be helpful-well they would say that wouldn't they.