Blog Archives

Senior British politicians: learn from India’s prime minister

corporate lobbyistsThe Delhi durbar – like Britain’s Westminster Court and the Congress in Washington – has long witnessed government ministers and bureaucrats feted by entrepreneurs, executives and well-paid lobbyists.

Both have been “lubricated by lavish parties hosted by loquacious power brokers” as the FT’s Amy Kazmin puts it – frequented by cabinet ministers and the city’s financial and commercial elite.

narendra modi (2)She reports, “Mr Modi has discouraged his cabinet ministers, and other influential BJP members, from excessive socialising in the capital, lest they be seen as too cosy with special interests”.

Ministers have been told they should receive entrepreneurs and corporate executives in their offices rather than the lobbies or dining rooms of five-star hotels.

Business people have received the message that they shouldn’t come to Delhi to petition personally or argue their cases with officials; they should merely email their problems – and that they can rest assured of a timely response.

cameron lobbying

Making government more responsive to all – rather than simply to those with the right connections – would mean a dramatic change in the working style of British and Indian politicians and civil service.

Ms Kazmin adds that ministers have carried out spot inspections at 9am to see whether staff – at all levels – are turning up on time, and there is talk of biometric scanners and disciplinary action for habitual latecomers.

Further lessons for the British government from the new man in Delhi are the expressions of a practical concern for poorer people – their food security, access to water and sanitation and also for the environment – a very cautious approach to those lobbying to increase the genetic engineering of crops.

Gaza 2: poor international coverage of worldwide demonstrations against Israel’s actions – 34 sites searched

 But handsome coverage by Israel’s i24, banned in Israel

i24 logoA find! i24News, based in Jaffa and broadcast worldwide in English, French, and Arabic, is not available in Israel by Hot’s cable network or by satellite broadcaster DBS Satellite Services (1998) Ltd. The protests were covered well, see more here. Despite its apparently objective stance, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has refused a request by owner Patrick Drahi – a ‘Franco-Israeli’ telecommunications tycoon – to allow i24 News to be broadcast in Israel.

The Washington Times headlined news of a French demonstration – but only emphasising violence during the protests in Paris. There was no mention of US and actions elsewhere.

But Iran’s Press TV directed us to one of America’s protests: “More than a thousand pro-Palestinian protesters have taken to the streets in the US Colorado state capital of Denver to condemn Israel’s ongoing onslaught against the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators gathered on Saturday at the Colorado State Capitol building, calling for an end to the Israeli attacks on the besieged coastal enclave. The gathering was followed by a march through Denver, during which the protesters held protest signs and Palestinian flags and chanted, “free, free Palestine, the occupation is a crime.”

Though Colorado’s Newsday covered Gaza’s plight admirably it remained strangely silent about the demonstrations in its own state.

New Zealand’s Scoop covered events in Gaza at length but did not refer to any demonstrations.

Times of India: appeared to cover the Kashmir demonstrations because of police killing of a demonstrator.

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News carried a full account of the demos and a strong condemnation by Turkish leaders: “Turkish leaders have strongly condemned an Israeli ground operation into Gaza that has killed scores of civilians, declaring the Israeli administration – in another article – as a “threat to international peace . . .

turkey gaza demo“Israel advised its citizens on July 19 not to travel to Turkey, citing “the public mood” after heated protests there against Israel’s ground offensive into Gaza. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Israelis should “avoid non-essential visits” to Turkey – once Israel’s closest regional ally – or be especially vigilant and steer clear of anti-Israel demonstrations”.

Constructive moves by sensible Switzerland

 swiss gaza demo

Swiss Info, after reporting on Gaza at length and covering the Zurich demo, announced that the Swiss foreign ministry is holding exploratory talks for an international conference on the respect of humanitarian law in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities. The ministry confirmed it had received a letter from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, urging Switzerland, as a depository state of the Geneva Conventions, to convene a meeting of the signatory states.

Assisted Dying 5: Is government colluding with industry to ensure that maximum profit is extracted from the cradle to the grave?

Are frail or elderly Britons kept alive, against their will, to boost industry profits?

Like most people polled in Britain, BBC Online reports that Anna Soubry, newly appointed Under-Secretary of State for Health, thinks that the law needs to “evolve” to allow people to die at home – self-assisted dying not medical euthanasia.

Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, who was also appointed as a health minister in the reshuffle, said there was a case “for looking at reform”: “I certainly think that we should debate it.”

Is beneficial reform being delayed due to the corporate lobbying of the huge and influential ‘health’ industry which needs the frail & elderly – and their families – to live and pay as long as possible?

Assisted dying and/or euthanasia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Columbia and three American states: Oregon, Washington, and Montana.

This corporate political nexus pervades every corner and stage of our lives

Evidence of this is regularly published on this website. The most recent example reported today is the thousands of pounds donations from a major shareholder in America’s Domino’s Pizza company given to Education Secretary Michael Gove’s constituency party. Channel 4’s Dispatches identified a disturbing new trend for fast food chains like Domino’s to open premises close to schools.

Time for change!






Tony Nicklinson is now at peace; how many more people will be forced to suffer?

Tried and tested

Assisted-suicide and/or euthanasia is legal in Columbia, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and three American states: Oregon, Washington, and Montana.

Tony Nicklinson, who was paralysed from the neck down following a stroke in 2005, died peacefully today of natural causes.

He wanted the right to die yet was unable to take his own life or take a cocktail of lethal drugs prepared for him.

High Court judges ruled the issue was for Parliament to decide; knowing that, why did they admit the case?

Mr Nicklinson said he was “devastated” by the decision – in an article he wrote for the BBC, he had described his life as “a living nightmare”.

Tony Nicklinson and so many others could have been spared physical and mental torment.