Blog Archives

Media 88: mainstream silent as the Church of England fails to bless the bomb

Survivors of the Nagasaki bomb walk through the destruction as fire rages in the background.

The third clause in the Bishop of Chelmsford’s motion at the General Synod Debate on the UN Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons:

(c) commit the Church of England to work with its Anglican Communion and ecumenical partners in addressing the regional and international security concerns which drive nations to possess and seek nuclear weapons and to work towards achieving a genuine peace through their elimination.

It was passed 260 for, 26 against, 21 abstentions.

The first six pages of an online search found no reference to this decision in any member of the mainstream media (MSM) secular press. Only one entry – from the Defence Journal – recorded the event.

Will MSM cloak today’s Anglican news with silence?

Political damage is being done by social media’s highlighting of the austerity-excused trials and deprivations of the poorest and most disabled. Today it has been announced that the church is now reaching out ‘primarily to people under 40-years-of-age who have no current connection with a church’ – on pioneering café-style premises in in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates.

Threatening? If the basic tenets of Christianity are taken to heart, enormous damage will be done to the sales of:

  • armaments,
  • pornography
  • illegal drugs,
  • junk food,
  • many TV programmes,
  • gambling offers
  • and some sections of the film industry.

And the legal profession’s earnings will slump.

President and former General Eisenhower would have approved of the Synod’s decision. He said : “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together” (farewell address)

 

 

 

o

 

Advertisements

British politicians: stop shouting adjectives, banging drums and dropping bombs (Jenkins) and exert unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement (Corbyn)

Paul Ingram, executive director of BASIC*, commented on Simon Jenkins’ statement quoted in today’s article on another website:

“It is a war crime to disable, maim or poison a victim by chemical or biological means, yet it is permissible to blow them to bits. Dropping chlorine evokes howls of horror. Dropping bunker busters does not. Cluster munitions, the most horrible of delayed action weapons, remain in the arsenals of NATO armies”.

Paul (left) wrote: “Fair enough, and of course I agree that the war mongering these last two days, particularly by the BBC, is shocking indeed. But to equate CW with other munitions is to miss the point that they are expressly illegal, and we have to be building up stronger humanitarian law piece by piece and defending strongly those pieces already in place”.

The editor replied: “Yes, I think Jenkins could have made a valid point just by referring to conventional bombs”. After checking on the illegality of cluster bombs she asked Paul, “Did US ever sign this?”

He replied, “No, I don’t think the US is a signatory. It certainly hasn’t ratified” and continued:

“I was on Russia Today yesterday saying that the best response for the Russians now would be to strengthen their call for a UN Security Council meeting and present all the evidence they have that the chemical weapons attack was not a Syrian air force one … or to come up with further evidence for their current explanation.

“The worst aspect of the cruise missile attack was the way it by-passed the UN Security Council and was illegal and is a major step in the direction of unilateralism and flagrant use of force.

“There are plenty of conspiracy theories going around, but the consequences are that Russia will no longer tolerate US aircraft over Syria and will strengthen the S300-400 systems that appear to have shot a majority of the 59 cruise missiles out of the sky.

“… and I see that Russia is sending its own missile destroyer into the Med today”.

 

 

Will parliament stand firm again?

*The British American Security Information Council (BASIC) works to address security challenges by building confidence in a shared, sustainable security agenda. We work in both nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states, with a specific expert focus on the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East.

 

 

 

‘Corbyn’s key political positions are in actual fact supported by a majority of the British public’

media lens header 2
David Edwards of Media Lens responds to a Guardian article by Polly Toynbee in which she suggests that voting for Jeremy Corbyn would amount to a ‘betrayal’ of the electorate by quoting Ian Sinclair’s argument that in fact it is Toynbee, not Corbyn, who is out of touch with public opinion.

Sinclair noted that Corbyn supports a publicly run NHS, a position supported by 84 per cent of the public, according to a November 2013 YouGov poll.  In addition:

  • ‘He supports the nationalisation of the railways, a position backed by 66 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He supports the nationalisation of the energy companies, a position supported by 68 percent of the public, including a majority of Conservative voters, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He believes the Royal Mail should be publicly owned, a position supported by 67 percent of the public, according to the same poll.
  • ‘He supports rent controls, a position supported by 60% of the public, including 42% of Conservatives, according to an April 2015 YouGov poll.
  • ‘He opposes the retention of Trident nuclear weapons, a position John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, notes is supported by a “smallish plurality” in “the majority of polls”.
  • ‘He strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War, which was also opposed by the more than one million people who marched through London on 15 February 2003.
  • ‘He has long pushed for the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, a position favoured by 82 per cent of the public, according to a May 2014 YouGov poll.’

Thus: ‘Corbyn’s key political positions are in actual fact supported by a majority of the British public.’

Edwards ends: “Like Blair and the rest of the establishment, the Guardian and other corporate media claim their motivation is to preserve Labour’s electability, rather than to attack any and all politics that stray off the ‘centrist’, ‘modernising’ path.

“In reality, it could hardly be more obvious that this collection of profit-seeking, corporate enterprises – grandly and laughably proclaiming themselves ‘the free press’ – is opposing a threat to their private and class interests”.

 

The Socialist Labour Party

The last smaller party featured on this site, Mebyon Kernow, is described as being ‘progressive left of centre”. This description could also be applied to the Socialist Labour Party, the fourth anti-austerity party.

18On Radio 4 recently the writer heard an impressive interview with Ken Capstick, treasurer of the SLP, former Vice-President Yorkshire NUM, Guardian panel for Comment is Free and NUJ member. Ken said the party was anti-austerity and wanted to see a transfer of wealth back into the hands of ordinary working people and away from the richest people in this land:

“We’re fed up to the back teeth of the poorest people in this land having to bear the brunt of this economic crisis that they did not create. They are not the perpetrators of this crisis, but they are being made the victims of it and the richest people in this land have been supported by this coalition government – they are being saved from their own actions. No-one has faced any prosecutions as a result of what the bankers did in 2007-8 that brought this economy to the very brink of disaster”.

The writer looked for more information and welcomed the SLP’s advocacy of economic localism.

SLP WM and Wales

The Socialist Labour Party increased its share of the vote from 1.2% in 2007 to 2.4% in Wales, 2011, giving the SLP the biggest percentage gain of the total votes cast in the election. It outperformed other small left-wing parties as well as the BNP. The SLP also received more votes than the Green Party in two of the five regions of Wales. It has also performed well over the years in Scotland, gaining 14.2% of the votes cast in Glasgow North East in the 2005 general election.

Download SLP Manifesto 2015 pdf .

Values and policies highlights – to read all sections in alphabetical order, click here.

slp header

The party’s policies do not seek to cut public expenditure and imposing further misery on working people but to make those responsible pay for the crimes they have inflicted.

We have witnessed the banking system collapse resulting in the government handing over billions of pounds to help the banks and the bankers responsible for the collapse and the austerity which adversely affected millions of people throughout the United Kingdom.

No loans or grants have been made available to help people pay off their mortgages or debts. Instead the money has been used to increase the massive salaries and bonuses of the bankers responsible for the crisis and help international shareholders continue to have a slice of the cake.

They have witnessed the government nationalise the collapsed East Coast railway and use taxpayer’s money to completely refurbish and upgrade the system only to then sell off the nationalised rail system – owned by Britain’s taxpayers – to Branson’s Virgin Company. This is just one example of how capitalism operates . . .

The Socialist Labour Party wants to see the end of capitalism, a system which has caused unemployment, zero-hours contracts (better known as modern slavery), homelessness, cuts and the privatisation of our health and social care systems, education and pensions’ resulting for the first time since the 1930s in food banks being established throughout the entire nation.

The only way which Britain can rid itself of the austerity caused by the capitalist system, its banks and financial institutions is for the British people to own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange, a policy which would take Britain’s economic and political control out of the hands of these corrupt oligarchs and place that ownership and control of our nation’s future in the hands of all its citizens.

It requires the removal of the small elite who control Britain’s economy, employment, health service, education system, pensions and social care systems. The mad obsession with the production of nuclear and conventional weapons of war, designed to destroy life, should be replaced by a commitment to save and improve the quality of life for people everywhere.

The SLP demands Britain’s immediate withdrawal from the European Union and NATO, organisations which continue to threaten, not only our economic well being, but our very lives as demonstrated by NATO’s intervention and occupation in wars in the Middle-East.

The Socialist Labour Party wants to see a world free from war, free from want and free from oppression. It wants the right to the freedom of assembly, speech and association. It wants a world which promotes and protects the environment and the earth’s resources, not just for human beings but for all other forms of life.

It wants to see a Socialist world. SLP members want to see the dreams and aspirations of all those who fought for rights and freedoms become reality; a world where leaders are answerable to the people as a whole. These demands are not excessive; they are most moderate. They only want the earth!

Corporate-political alliance: “the British Establishment can be a thoroughly unpleasant bunch when cornered”

Steve Beauchampe writes – as the British establishment attempts to bludgeon Scottish voters into submission:

“Right now they feel cornered, horrified, terrified, panicking that the sureties of power and control that they have held for several centuries, and which they complacently expected to hold on to after the referendum on Scottish independence, might be less certain than they believed . . . several arms of government, supported by their pro-Unionist cheerleaders in the media, financial sector and business world, rapidly up the ante by threatening the Scots with all manner of grief if they dare to break with Britain”

A Sassenach conspiracy? Robert Peston reports:

“For what its worth, some bankers have seen the invisible hand of 10 Downing Street corralling these bankers to make announcements that have been embarrassing for Alex Salmond and those campaigning for independence.

” ‘There was someone in Number 10 trying to get the banks to co-ordinate on this’ a senior banker told me. But Downing Street says this isn’t true”.

scotland cartoon

    Defending oil and nuclear weapons via ‘Project Fear’?

Lockheed Martin, BNFL, Serco consortium & defence ministers seriously ‘limited disclosure’ of risk and damage to nuclear warhead site

Lecture venue: Birmingham and Midlands Institute 23rd June – 7pm

Lecture venue: Birmingham and Midlands Institute 23rd June – 7pm

Some online reading was prompted by the news that Chris Crean, regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth, is to give the Diana Stableforth Memorial Lecture on 23rd June. Its title is THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

One story held the attention:

Six years ago at the Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Burghfield in Berkshire, which is run for the Ministry of Defence by a private company, AWE-ML, a consortium of Lockheed Martin, BNFL and Serco, floods disabled key radiation alarm systems.

Parts of the factory came “within 2 to 3 hours” of being overwhelmed and this could have led to the release of potentially radioactive contaminated water and of a radioactive cloud that would require the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the surrounding area.

AWE floods 07

According to documents released to the Nuclear Information Service under the Freedom of Information Act, most of the buildings in the key nuclear assembly area were inundated. Serious management problems at AWE were revealed: staff struggled to contact senior managers as the waters rose and those who attempted to defend buildings were overcome by the volume of water. Radioactive material was still being recovered from one building nearly three weeks after the flood.

Failure rewarded

After previous floods at Burghfield in 1999 and 2000, a programme of nine separate flood remediation measures had been ordered. Seven years later, none had been completed. On three, no action had been taken, two had dropped off the radar, listed as “status unknown” and the remaining four are described as “partially implemented”.

No heads rolled.

Secret state: ministers and companies

  • No site emergency was declared in spite of the severity of the flood, and the Environment Agency’s Nuclear Regulation Group was not told of the extent of the flood damage for 48 hours.
  • Defence ministers told MPs there had been only “minor disruption”, though all live nuclear work on warheads stopped for nine months.
  • Details of the extent of the flooding were kept from the public and local authorities: the documents noting that “it was a prudent step to limit disclosure of information surrounding the degree of impact suffered – particularly at Burghfield.”

Can this political corporate alliance, which has withheld such information from the public, the regulatory authority, local government and more junior members of parliament, be trusted to run such dangerous installations?

Budget: spend on people not Trident

Will George Osborne be slashing budgets across the board, while spending on nuclear weapons continues?

cnduk graphic

What kind of country do we want to be?

One that helps the sick and elderly, or one that threatens indiscriminate killing of men, women and children?

£100 billion could be better spent if invested in building affordable homes, employing nurses or providing apprenticeships.

On Budget Day 19th March from 6pm many groups will come to Downing Street to tell the government that they should focus on people – not Trident!

Get involved via Facebook and if you can’t make it to London, find your local Budget Day action at the People’s Assembly website.