Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Diane Abbott: Nationalise to end Rail Chaos


It would cost nothing to bring back train operations into public hands. The Government would have two options: either it would not renew the franchises when they expire or, as the companies got into financial difficulties, they could be taken over. Additionally private-sector train operators receive a huge direct subsidy from the Government.

This is just subsidising their profits. It would be cheaper and in the public interest to operate the trains directly. The current mess doesn’t serve the general public, the taxpayer or the rail commuter. The Labour Party that I would lead would start listening to the public for the first time in a long time. On the railways, as on other issues, I would introduce policies that made sense instead of running scared of big-money interests.


You can read the whole of Labour leadership hopeful Diane Abbott’s great Sunday Express article here. What a disgrace that none of the other candidates supports renationalisation.

PS: If there's anyone out there who is still not convinced about renationalising the railways, please read this.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Temper, temper: Nick Clegg shows the pressure


This piece of mine appears in the First Post.

Neil Clark: If you think the Lib Dem leader is struggling now, just wait for next month’s party conference.

Nothing fails like success; nothing is so defeated as yesterday's triumphant cause. The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Phyllis McGinley wasn't writing about Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats when she penned those lines - but they sum up perfectly what has happened to Britain's third party and its leader since its breakthrough election 'success' in May.

Then the champagne corks were popping, as the Liberals entered a peacetime British government for the first time since the 1930s. Three months on and it's a very different story.


You can read the whole of the article here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010

Overdose- the Pride of Hungary- makes it 14 wins out of 14.


video:eartotheground121

A very happy ‘St Istvan-Nap’ to all Hungarian readers.

To celebrate- here’s last Sunday’s brilliant win number 14 (from 14 races ) of the Hungarian wonder horse Overdose.

If ‘Dozi’ hadn’t been off for fifteen months with a serious foot injury and had made it over to the UK this week, I’m sure he’d have won today's Nunthorpe Stakes at York-won by the 100-1 outsider Sole Power.

Let‘s hope though that he can make it to Paris in October for the Prix de l‘Abbaye and turn one of sport’s worst ‘wrong’ endings- the 2008 running of the race, of which he was the moral victor- into a happy one.

Go, Dozi go!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fabio Capello: Bad Sportsman of the Year


Have you ever seen the losing manager of a football match having to chase down the tunnel to get a handshake from the winning manager?

Well it happened last night at Wembley as England-(or rather Steven Gerrard) beat Hungary 2-1.

The incident for me highlighted not only the beautiful manners of Hungarians- Hungary is a country where formalities such as handshakes and greeting people properly still matters an awful lot(as indeed it still does in much of central and eastern Europe)- but also the terrible manners of England’s extremely arrogant coach.

The sooner England bring in either Harry Redknapp or Roy Hodgson- two managers who are not only more accomplished coaches than Capello, but who also know how to behave-the better.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Why Washington hates Hugo Chavez


Washington hates Chavez because he's raised living standards for the poor. (and because he won't bow to the giant corporations) That's why he's pilloried in the media, because his socialist model of democracy doesn't jive with America's slash and burn-style of capitalism. Chavez has enacted land and oil industry reform, improved education and provided universal healthcare. He's introduced job training, subsidies to single mothers, drug prevention programs, and assistance for recovering addicts. Venezuelans are more educated than ever before. Illiteracy has been wiped out.

Chavez's policies have reduced ignorance, poverty, and injustice. The list goes on and on. Venezuelans are more engaged in the political process than anytime in the nation's history. That scares Washington. US elites don't want well-informed, empowered people participating in the political process. They believe that task should be left to the venal politicians chosen by corporate bosses and top-hat banksters. That's why Chavez has to go. He's given people hope for a better life.


You can read the whole of Mike Whitney's brilliant piece over at Counterpunch.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Laissez-faire Britain loses another brick in the wall



This article of mine appears in the First Post:

Non! Neil Clark bemoans the imminent sale of International Power to a French state owned group

Just over 30 years ago, Britain's infrastructure, its public transport and its leading manufacturing industries were all in the hands of the British state. Who could have predicted that three decades later, much of our economy would be in the hands of the governments of other European countries?

You can read the whole article here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

John Pilger: Tony Blair must be arrested



Tony Blair must be prosecuted, not indulged like Peter Mandelson. Both have produced self-serving memoirs for which they have been paid fortunes; Blair's, which have earned him a £4.6m advance, will appear next month.

Now consider the Proceeds of Crime Act. Blair conspired in and executed an unprovoked war of aggression against a defenceless country, of a kind the Nuremberg judges in 1946 described as the "paramount war crime". This has caused, according to scholarly studies, the deaths of more than a million people, a figure that exceeds the Fordham University estimate of deaths in the Rwandan genocide.


You can read the whole of John Pilger’s brilliant New Statesman piece on why Blair must stand trial, here. It also appears here on the excellent US site antiwar.com
(At antiwar.com, don't miss also this excellent, but very disturbing piece by Philip Giraldi on the next war the neocons have got lined up for us- I particularly recommend all US readers to take a look).

Going back to Blair, the 'Arrest Blair' website offers a reward to people attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of the former British PM, for crimes against peace. Full details here.

ps:
Let’s just hope that when Blair is finally in the dock, he doesn’t come up against a judge like Judge Griffith-Jones.'Started an illegal war which led to the deaths of 1m people'? 'Took part in the illegal bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well?'
Well, you have a rather respectable background and you're not a lower-class yobbo so I'll only give you three months in jail.'

UPDATE: More on Tony’s money-making activities in today’s Daily Mail.

Tony Blair will cash in on his experience as Prime Minister by flogging a special edition of his memoirs at a wallet-busting £150.

The red cloth-bound, slip-cased publication of A Journey resembles a Bible or hymn book and bears the signature of the former PM, who was often compared to a vicar for his preachy tone.

The globe-trotting politician has now decided to charge an inflated price for the tome, despite reaping a £4.6 million advance from his publishers Random House.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Open Wide for Public Service Destruction



This column of mine appears in the Morning Star.

Neil Clark: Open wide for Public Service Destruction
Examining the coalition government's plans to carry on the backdoor firesale of our assets



July 6 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Welsh socialist Aneurin Bevan, the father of the NHS.


Just six days after the anniversary, Tory Health Minister Andrew Lansley (above) announced radical government plans which, if carried out, will mark the end of Bevan's great, humane creation in all but name.


The extent of the reforms, which allow all hospitals to leave public ownership as well as scrapping primary health care trusts and the revenue cap on private patients, shocked many political observers. They were a clear breach of Lansley's own pre-election pledge not to introduce any major structural reform of the NHS.


But those who appreciate that the "progressive" Con-Dem government bats for capital and not for the ordinary British people would not have been surprised in the least.


In January, the Daily Telegraph revealed that Lansley, then shadow health secretary, had received £21,000 for the running of his private office from private equity tycoon John Nash, chairman of Care UK and several other health companies.


In company documents Nash, who also gave the Tories £60,000 in September 2009, enthused over "recent policy statements by the opposition Conservative Party in the UK which have substantially strengthened their commitment to more open market reform to allow new providers of NHS services and for greater freedom for patients to choose their GP and hospital provider."

Monday, August 02, 2010

What the 'Big Society' is really all about



Peter Wilby writes in the New Statesman:

Cameron's speech refers to the "big society" ensuring we "don't always turn to officials, local authorities or central government". He doesn't want to stop us turning to business. On the contrary, Cameron wants to connect "private capital to investment in social projects". That, I suspect, is what the "big society" is really all about. Parents may decide to start a school, but they will soon find it's best to bring in private money and hire private management if it is to get off the ground and survive as a ­going concern. Several private companies, most earning millions from outsourced public projects, are already offering their services. Some openly admit that they aim to create branded chains of schools which they will largely control even if they do not legally own them.

Remember what happened to those classic 19th-century self-help institutions, the building societies. Thanks to Tory legislation in the 1980s, their owners - the customers - were bribed to "demutualise" and sell out to commercial banks. For "big society", read big bonanza for big business.


Not so long ago, Britain did have a 'Big Society'. Where there were thriving communities and people were kind to one another. But that was before big business and 'market forces' took over every aspect of our lives.