Monday, April 30, 2007
More on poverty
Some 40% of people from ethnic minority backgrounds are living in poverty, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said.
The figure is twice as high as it is for white people, and rises to 65% for those of Bangladeshi origin, it says.
Pah, what's their problem...some are struggling with the fees for Eton.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The 'nouveau poor'
When I was a boy, almost everyone we knew lived in a large house in the country or in the better parts of London. I am not claiming for a moment that we were especially grand – just perfectly well-off. But back then Battersea and Clapham were entirely off our radar, Stockwell another country, and Brixton, Peckham and Streatham simply unheard of. Now, with a few exceptions among those who are notably rich or successful, the next generation of the same families I grew up with is living in just these areas.
Then take private education. The number of people in my parents’ circle who sent their children to state schools could be counted on the fingers of one hand, and were regarded as unfortunate, odd or even subversive. A generation later, however, a considerable proportion of my friends have opted for state schools for their children, in almost all cases for financial reasons.
If this is not downward mobility on a broad scale, then what is?
Consider a successful journalist friend of mine who went to St Paul’s girls’ school and then to Cambridge. At the same time as putting her and various others through private schools, her father, a surgeon, was able to provide a house in Chiswick and a weekend cottage in Wiltshire with ponies and all the trimmings. Every winter they went skiing and summers saw them in France or Italy.
But a generation on, even though my friend and her husband – both professionals like their parents – earn the considerable joint salary of £140,000 a year, the bourgeois ease of their youth seems unthinkable. In spite of their undisputed professional status and more-than-respectable earnings, they are downwardly mobile.
So how much does a married couple with three children need to live the sort of life that reasonably well-off professionals of my parents’ generation took for granted? The property alone – a house in the country and perhaps a flat in London – will cost a minimum of £3m. Then the school fees will be £75,000 a year plus extras; after which food, clothes, cars, the odd holiday and all the rest will add another £50,000 at the very least.
Even if you own the bricks and mortar outright, as everyone in my parents’ generation did, that implies a pretax income of at least £200,000. Throw in a mortgage and a margin for error, and you’d better be on . . . what, a third of a million a year? And this, mind you, to live comfortably, no more.
A popular member of White’s, the St James’s club to which many of the old landowners belong, knows plenty of well-educated professionals who have fallen by the wayside. “First, they can’t afford to eat out,” he told me, “then they pull their children out of [fee-paying] school, and you just stop seeing them.” Brian Gill, a London-based debt counsellor, told me: “The poverty line is definitely creeping upwards.”
I somehow suspect many would happily cope with this sort of 'poverty'.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Strange people on the blogosphere .
"harriet harman in stockings"
Friday, April 27, 2007
Ruth Kelly backs Hazel Blears for Deputy
A deal between Meacher and McDonnell ??
Gordon Brown’s chances of facing a left-wing leadership challenge rose last night after it emerged that his two declared challengers are pooling resources to try to gain enough support to enter the contest.
John McDonnell, a backbencher, and Michael Meacher, a former Environment Minister, are preparing to announce a deal that would mean that the candidate with less support drops out, backing the other.
Has Meacher finally come to his senses and put his ego aside and returned to Planet Reality ?
From most reports, rather than his ever changing figures for MPs backing him, it does look like McDonnell has the best chance of getting on the ballot.
McDonnell has the most consistent principled voting history and has put in the work on the ground to build a campaign built on policies and not on personalities. Meacher on the other hand is not credible with the left.
Meacher though is still faffing over a deal:
But last night The Times discovered there are tensions between the two candidates, with Mr McDonnell saying that a deal had been struck but Mr Meacher saying the details still had to be worked out.
Mr McDonnell said: “For the last three months we have been trying to get Michael Meacher to sit down and say that whoever has the highest number of MPs goes forward. Yesterday we sat him down and he agreed to that. But we’ve been here before and we hope he adheres to the deal.”
By contrast, Mr Meacher said that there was still some way to go before the final details were ironed out. “We are moving towards what I hope will be an agreement. I think it’s jumping the gun to say there is an agreement at the moment though. I do think we will reach an agreement along those lines. The important thing is there is a single centre-left candidate.”
What is he playing at ?? He does not appear to have the backing of MPs and he does not have the grassroots support, in the Party and TUs, that McDonnell has started to build. The left does not need this sort of bickering. Meacher...neither of you will win, but a united campaign , already started by McDonnell, could reinvigorate the left in the Party. If you keep on like this the words that spring to mind include left/piss up and brewery.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Ted Heath was gay ...shock horror!!
A senior gay Conservative claimed yesterday that Sir Edward Heath propositioned men for sex in the 1950s.
Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Assembly, claimed that the former Prime Minister curbed his behaviour after he was warned that it would harm his career.
"It was certainly not a secret that he was an old queen. I have been told that he was warned about his behaviour and then stopped.”
Many rumours have circulated over the years about bachelor boy Ted.
It seemed likely he was, whether he cottaged or not.
The old school Tories have spluttered into their G&Ts as though the New Cameronism did not exist.
Interestingly they do not get their story straight, so to speak:
One senior Tory and friend of his described the claim as “extraordinary”. Robert Key, MP for Salisbury and Sir Edward’s Parliamentary private secretary between 1984 and 1986, said that far from being gay he had close relationships with unnamed women.
“I was aware that he had very close friendships and relationships with a number of women,” he said. “I never thought that he had a predalic-tion for men. To say that someone who was that politically astute would risk it all is quite an extraordinary claim.”
Lord Carrington, who served as Sir Edward’s Defence Secretary, said simply: “What a load of nonsense.”
Lord Rees-Mogg, a former editor of The Times who regarded Sir Edward as a friendly political acquaintance, said he believed that Sir Edward was celibate. “I knew Ted in the Fifties and I ran into him all of the time. He always left on me the impression that he had no active sexual life at all,” he said.
“He had no coterie of young men. I knew several Conservative homosexuals at the time and they gossiped about anyone who was gay or might be gay. They never said that Ted was gay but did say that he was not interested at all.”
So he had women friends, he was celibate , he just wasn't interested ...but h,e was certainly not gay!
Though interestingly Key almost agrees, saying he was politically astute and would not have risked his career.
Back in the 50's sex between two men was still illegal, in the 70's no serious politician would come out as gay . Pre legalisation many gay men would cottage or go to secret clubs, there were very few options. Many would be celibate , others went for controversial 'treatment' (still offered by some religious groups).
Heath may have been gay , he may have cottaged or been celibate to avoid any risk.
Interestingly though the Tories still see this as something to deny .
The situation is better today, but even so I'm sure having an out lesbian or gay politician is some way off. The family friendly image is still sold, whether that's via WebCameron or Brown trying to be a bit more cuddly. We still have an Equalities Minister who is part of a sect that believes being gay, that is 'practising' , is wrong and sinful. We have religious groups that want to discriminate on the basis of who someone loves.
If Heath was gay , it highlights the sadness and discrimination that meant many had to live their lives as a secret. Some still do.
Update: Now in the comments box someone has nit picked that the Church does not think being gay is sinful, only the sexual act. Ok, I stand corrected, I did the post in a hurry .
So presumably someone can be gay but not have relationships which are sexual, not 'practice', suppress their sexuality and emotions, not be able to form short or long terms relationships. There are still people brought up in religious homes feeling bad about their sexuality, that it is wrong . They are disowned if they live as a lesbian or gay person. They feel guilt and hate themselves.
So the distinction about whether being gay or the sexual act is the sin to me is a nicety that involves people living a lie or suppressing their supposed 'sinful' acts. But hey I'm just an atheist that believes people should love or have sex with whoever they want (as long as its consenting and between adults).
Monday, April 23, 2007
Boris Yeltsin dies
Just seen that Boris Yeltsin, Russian President from 91-99, has died .In light of this, perhaps the left can take this opportunity to have a break from arguing about Iraq and rehash one of its old debates ,the nature of the Soviet Union.
Sort of a retro leftie debate, one of the 'classics'...
Sunday, April 22, 2007
The McDonnell campaign and the future of the Labour Left
Miliband has finally come out and stated he will not stand and will back Brown.
Brown's team has been chasing MPs to see who will back and not back him, putting on the pressure I expect. The team have named senior MPs who have not said they will back him, not really in keeping with Brown's earlier statement that he would welcome a contest.
Its close for McDonnell, if Meacher stands it is highly likely neither will get the required votes to get on the ballot. It seems unlikely now that any Blairite will stand . Clarke may stand but is not guaranteed of enough support.
Brown believes he should 'inherit' the title of PM and Labour Leader, all because he stood aside many years ago and apparently made a pact with Blair. The two may have come to that arrangement, but it is still the Party that should decide. Over the years the tension between Blair and Brown has simmered away. Brown desperately wanting Blair to step down and seeing it delayed and delayed, yet not quite putting in the knife .
Whilst I back McDonnell and would love him to be leader, that ain't gonna happen. What is likely is that Brown will become leader without a challenge. Labour could well lose the next election, and no I don't want this as I still believe the Tories are worse. There are many in Blair's camp who will chip away at Brown, attacking him on a personal level.They will not be given power and will have lost influence ,so they will have nothing to lose. Already the leaks and briefings have given the media and Cameron plenty of ammunition .
Brown will not bring a change of direction,he was an architect of New labour. He cannot distance himself from the policies and will continue much as before. He is likely to inherit the fall out of the loans scandal and defeats in the May elections. The public may fall for the New Tory charms of Cameron, more camera friendly on his bike . Of course its surface and underneath its still the old Tories,but they have though learnt and presentation will be a factor.
Brown is likely to lose. Miliband may wish he had stood. Yes if he did stand and then lost he would have been in the wilderness as far as Brown was concerned,but sometimes there is only one window of opportunity. This is not to be read as support for Miliband, I'm just trying to assess the situation. Brown lost his nerve all those years back and is now likely to inherit the dying days of a Labour Government. Miliband may or may not become leader if Brown loses, but if he does he will inherit a divided Party that could spend many years again in opposition.If labour loses there will be many in the Party unaccustomed to life without power and influence.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Hazel Blears sexy ??
I usually have a look at some of the searches that bring people to Stroppyblog.
Today I found someone doing a Google search with the words 'Hazel Blears sexy'.
Now I'm not judgemental in these matters . I had no problem with leftie men having a thing about nuns and guns(see comments in link).
But Hazel Blears ??
Even on a motorbike she is hardly Marianne Faithfull.
Someone explain this weirdness .
Posting, guitars and slippers...
Not posted much the last week. A mixture of being busy and a bit of bloggers block.
Hopefully will be back to my usual arsey self soon.
Oh and I'm planning to learn how to play the electric guitar, hence pic of Courtney. Need to get a guitar and one of those DVD thingies to teach myself.
Then I may get a drum kit to really piss off my neighbours :-)
Ah, the delights of thinking I'm still 18 . Well in my head I am. I have never quite mastered the art of getting older in my head .
I plan to grow old as disgracefully as possible . No slippers and cocoa for me.
I hate slippers ...
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The case for socialist feminism
Labels: socialist feminism
Sunday, April 15, 2007
My idea of fun ...
Nope. Traipse up to London to sit in a grotty pub in Kings Cross with sad leftie men!!
Sad, sad, sad.
It was a small select group. Tami couldn't make it as she was in the US, John A in Guernsey, others busy or not well . Or perhaps they had a life.
I potter in from the bright sunshine, push my shades back on my head and peer round looking for some sad lefties. Sitting there with their pints are Volty, Kit and Mike. Where is Denham ??
Apparently he was doing something political in Brum and was going to try to make it later. Sadly I think he was waylaid by some whiskies in a bar and never made it. As the night wore on we became quite drunk and unmanageable without our leader. More of that later.
Dave rung to ask where we were and asked if Denham was there. I had to assure him he would be there later to get him to come along.
Whilst normal people were enjoying the sun, we hit the spirits (do not give Volty rum ).
I sat there wondering why my idea of fun was sitting with these strange leftie men getting very pissed.
Mixed in with the politics was the gossip. Hmm, you think women spend their time talking about who they would or not shag and people's clothes, well let me tell you so do leftie men. Without naming names here, let me give a flavour of the drink fuelled conversations round the table.One included a vote as to , and I quote, 'who round this table would bugger ****'. We discussed how some men on the left needed to get out more , have a shower , dress better and would be less gripey if they got laid. Of course the last one was dependent on showers and getting out more. There was discussion of who set the bar for the ugliest man on the left.
There was some talk of Trotporn and Volty kissed and told about how he dressed up in blue spandex most nights. I don't think blue is his colour.
I do think the left has more than its share of weird men .
After the meal we all piled into a black cab back to Stokie. Now when I get in a cab at midnight I usually avoid political discussions with cabbies. I don't want to risk being chucked out or argued with all the way home . Ah but we were in a boisterous mood. We sat back in our seats, and then we heard Galloway on Talk Radio. Turn it up we shouted. That was it. The cabbie asked if we liked him. No , and we all explained why. The cabbie wanted to shoot most politicians , was anti the war but did support our 'boys'.
They are all as bad as each other said the cabbie, what can you do he asked ? At which point we explained we were in the Labour Party , fighting New labour and went on to tell the cabbie about John McDonnell. 'Drunkensadleftieweirdmen4John' was formed, we explained his polices and encouraged said cabbie to join a union. He had actually heard of John!
Back at Osler's people were still in what can only be called a boisterous mood. Tomatoes were eaten and bedsheets worn over the head. At this point the idea of the night train back to Brighton seemed appealing . Dave said it was more peaceful when his two young daughters rampaged around. As a precaution he moved his beloved guitars out of harms way.
Eventually we all passed out and peace descended on chez Osler.
Next morning everyone crawled from their pits. Volty said he should not be allowed to drink rum. He described his temples as feeling like there were two squirrels drilling into them and he was looking out through mist. Tea was drunk, shoes retrieved and off they went on their travels.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Nuns with guns and Trotporn...
Will has down a post about nuns and priests having a bit of a scuffle in Cyprus. Seems to have involved stabbings.
He has put up a pic (copied here), that certain lefties might quite like. For those who don't know what I'm going on about, check out the comments here. There are 'specialist' sites apparently .I was tempted to put up a pic from one of them to cause maximum offence, but they were very work unsafe ;-)
Does seem to be sites for every, ahem, speciality. Little while back some commentators suggested this blog did its own 'Stroppyporn'. I have no idea why :-)
I was having a conversation with a grumpy old ex Trot, who shall remain nameless, as to whether there is a market for 'Trotporn'.
We wondered if there were any Trotporn sites or phone lines.
Sad Trot men could ring up and discuss whether the Soviet Union really was degenerate or state capitalist. The woman can talk 'Trot' and pretend she is wearing a donkey jacket. Theory as foreplay? Naked paper sellers perhaps? Bit difficult to know where to pin the badges.
What about the magazines or DVDs? Of course being the left they would need to cater to each grouplet , can't be getting turned on by a woman reading another groups paper .
Oh and for the puritan section of the left perhaps just a bit of ankle flashing should do the trick.
Well its one way to raise money for the cause comrades...
Bloggers piss up and Mr Denham
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Badly behaved blogs and a code of conduct
I feel uncomfortable about a group of people deciding on a code of conduct for the rest of us to sign up to. Blogs are very different from the printed media. Yes many are amateurish, so what. That's good. Anyone can set one up. Well anyone that can access the Internet and I am aware that does mean many cannot . Even given the restrictions it is still more accessible and democratic than the mainstream media.
I don't like to delete or ban commentators . I have only done it once and that was a guy who put up lots of very long comments that made very little sense . They were crude and abusive and suggested that myself and Louise should be raped or end up like the women working as prostitutes in Ipswich who were murdered. It included sick comments about my mother who had just died.They consisted mainly of crude sexual, homophobic and sexist abuse. They started insulting other posters and they are clogged up the debate in the comments boxes. If this happened again I would delete .
Part of the problem, he added, was the "net-head" culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and "anti-establishment" attitudes.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Drink and bloggers .
Come along and find out.
All leftie bloggies welcome .
(Bloggies are not just people with blogs, but those who comment and hang around on leftie blogs. Sad people who need to get out more basically!)
Back soon with some posts...
More posts soon.
I'm still recovering from a cold and much too much alcohol over the weekend ;-)
No lectures from any puritans please.
pic of Courtney . This time with her clothes on. A gal after my own heart ...
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Gripe, gripe, gripe...
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Haloscan has banned me !!
It comes up with :
Argh. Will has come up with some suggestions , but nope , not working. He has now gone out. I didn't think he went out.
Anyone else any ideas what I need to do ??
Iraq and gay executions
Post over at IRAQI LGBT :
“Iraqi lesbians and gays continue to be subjected a systematic reign of terror by Shia death squads. The government of Iraq refuses to crack down on the killers or to take any action to protect its gay citizens. It is a regime that is dominated by Shia fanatics and homophobes,” according to Ali Hili, the coordinator of the human rights group Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender).
“Supporters of the fundamentalist Sadr and Badr militias boast that they are cleansing Iraq of what they call ‘sexual perverts’. They are open about terrorising gay Iraqis to make them flee the country and murdering those who fail to leave. Their goal is a queer-free,pro-homophobic Iraq. They are dragging our country back to the dark ages,” said the London-based Mr Hili, who is also Middle East spokesperson for the gay human rights group, OutRage!
“Some members of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government are linked to the anti-gay death squads. They are the political representatives of the Muqtada al-Sadr movement and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Both these parties have militias, respectively the Mahdi army and the Badr brigades, who are responsible for the execution-style killing of lesbian and gay Iraqis – and the murder of many other Iraqis, including Sunni Muslims,trade unionists, unveiled women, journalists and men wearing shorts,jeans or western-style haircuts.
“The murder of gay Iraqis has the support of highly influential religious leaders, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. He issued a fatwa in late 2005, calling for the execution of gay people in the‘most severe way possible’. After international protests, he removed the fatwa from his website, but the fatwa itself has not been rescinded. It remains in force and is the spiritual sanction for the death squads to murder gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people,”said Mr Hili.
There are a number of examples given in the post of people killed and their pictures. Pop over and read about them.
Trouble is both the pro and anti war left show very little interest in the murder of gay people, which appears to be carried out by both the police and military and the so called resistance that some like to applaud . Excuses are made for the reactionary elements on both sides .More info on IRAQI LBGT . There is an appeal for money to support the work in Iraq:
Ali Hili is making an appeal for donations to fund the work of Iraqi LGBT:“Iraqi LGBT needs donations to help gay people in Iraq who are fleeing the death squads. We need money for safe houses, food, electricity,security protection and clothing - and to help pay the phone bills of members of the Iraqi LGBT group. They are sending us information about the homophobic killings, at great risk to their own lives.
“Many of the people we are helping had nothing but the clothes on their backs, when they fled the attacks by fundamentalist militias.
“We are also paying for medication for members who are HIV positive.Otherwise, they will not get treatment. If it is discovered that they have HIV, they will surely be killed,” said Mr Hili.
Oh and why not link to the blog as well .
Picture : Men suspected of being gay were gunned down on 20 March 2006 in the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
Keef : "I snorted my dad's ashes, and they went down well "
Sunday, April 01, 2007
The Phelps family
Tonight on BBC 2 at 9pm there is a programme called Louis Theroux: The Most Hated Family in America .
I'm not a great fan of Theroux , but he does seem to get people to open up . He has spent three weeks with this family. I think three seconds and violence would have erupted on my part.
They make Paddy the Puritan look almost reasonable. Did I just say Paddy and reasonable ,well it is all relative and he is still a fuckwit.
I can see myself getting very abusive towards the TV tonight. I will try to sit through all of it, but seriously these people are fucked up bigots with no humanity.
Why...well here are some quotes from a BBC report :
They call themselves the most hated family in the US and they picket funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.
(Note to the SWP,StWC, Respect and Paddy ,they are not anti imperialist , do not make alliances with them. I'm waiting for Paddy to comment on this. - SB)
The Phelps family pickets mourners across the country, to mark what it describes as God's revenge on the US for tolerating homosexuality.
Their actions are in the name of the Westboro Baptist Church, which numbers 71 and is headed by "Gramps", preacher Fred Phelps.
Louis Theroux: They're well known because of these pickets which they've been doing for at least 15 years now. The pickets weren't always of soldiers' funerals, but it got more extreme as it went on. Originally it started as pickets of places where gay people congregated - a local park becoming a cruising area which they objected to, and then when Aids came along they said it was punishment for homosexuality and they began picketing Gay Pride parades and marches and also then the funerals of people who died of Aids. And they didn't originally use offensive words like "fag". They would say "homosexuality", but then it just escalated.
I am loathe to link to their homepage , delightfully titled "God hates fags",but do check it out.Here are some quotes:
Welcome to the Westboro Baptist Church homepage. This page is dedicated to preaching the Gospel truth about the soul-damning, nation-destroying notion that "It is OK to be gay.
The only lawful sexual connection is the marriage bed. All other sex activity is whoremongery and adultery, which will damn the soul forever in Hell. Heb. 13:4. Decadent, depraved, degenerate and debauched America, having bought the lie that It's OK to be gay, has thereby changed the truth of God into a lie, and now worships and serves the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen! Rom. 1:25. But the Word of God abides. Better to be a eunuch if the will of God be so, and make sure of Heaven. Mat. 19:12. Better to be blind or lame, than to be cast into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. Mk. 9:43-48. Abstain, you fools.
I look forward to meeting my fellow decadent depraved whoremongers .
They have the words up there of one of their catchy little songs . I can't cut and paste as its PDF, but check it out , one for the ipod.
Trust me, it may be April 1st, but this is not made up.
(Some pics from their website from their funeral pickets).