Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Save the NHS from corporate profiteers!

You can sign the 38 Degrees petition to Save the NHS here. Already they’ve got over 240,000 signatures- help them pass the 300,000 mark! And once you've signed, ask a friend to sign too.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Japan strikes back- at the world’s richest horse race

This piece of mine appears in the First Post.

Neil Clark: Japanese one-two makes for an emotional Dubai World Cup – but no one should be surprised.

Even the most imaginative Hollywood scriptwriter would have struggled to come up with the story which unfolded at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai this weekend.

Just over two weeks on from the earthquake and tsunami which devastated Japan and have left around 20,000 people either dead or missing, two Japanese horses - with their jockeys wearing black armbands to honour the dead - finished first and second in the world's richest horse-race, the $10m Dubai World Cup.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life in ConDem Britain: No money for public services, but money for war

The Mole reports:

The Daily Telegraph has calculated that patrolling the no-fly zone is costing Britain about £3.2 million a day, before a weapon is fired. At that rate, the no-fly zone has cost British taxpayers £17 million so far.

The opening of the assault with 112 Tomahawk missiles which thudded into targets at the weekend, each costing around £500,000, burned up another £56 million.

Did you see George Osborne interviewed on Breakfast tv this morning? On being asked why the government was cutting the winter fuel allowances for pensioners, he came out with the old neoliberal claptrap about there being no money left in the kitty and that tough decisions on spending had to be made.

A decent interviewer would surely have asked him ‘what about the money for bombing Libya, George?'

On the subject of Libya, great pieces today by the Guardian's Seumas Milne, on why there is nothing moral about NATO's intervention, and Sasha Cockburn, in the First Post.

Cockburn writes:
The war on Libya now being waged by the US, Britain and France must surely rank as one of the stupidest martial enterprises, smaller in scale to be sure, since Napoleon took it into his head to invade Russia in 1812.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What happens if police join the protestors?

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: David Cameron is taking a huge gamble by alienating the police

Let's fast forward to October 2011. British troops are bogged down in Libya. Unemployment is edging towards three million. The price of petrol and basic foodstuffs continues to rise. Anger against the coalition's austerity measures is spilling over into widespread strikes and street demonstrations, of the sort we witnessed in Greece last year.

A huge crowd makes its way towards Downing Street. Only this time, the police, instead of barring the way of the protestors, join in with them.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya: Beware the lies of March

This piece of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

It's March, the sun is shining and spring is just around the corner. Oh, and Britain is bombing a foreign country again. If you've got a distinct feeling of deja vu about what's been going on this weekend, then it's hardly surprising.

In this very week in 1999 Britain took a leading role in the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

And on this very day in 2003, Britain took a leading role in the bombing – and invasion – of Iraq.

And now we're at it again in Libya.

You can read the whole article here.
UPDATE: In case you haven't read it yet, there's a great piece by Andrew Murray, of the Stop the War Coalition in today's Guardian.

Under Cameron the state is big enough for a war, but too small to keep our local libraries open......
The Economist last week ran editorials demanding the shrinking of the state across the world and urging military intervention in Libya. The calibration of a state big enough to impose its military will on the Middle East but too small to keep the local library open is a study in the contradictions of neoconservatism worth pondering as David Cameron brings the "big society" to Benghazi with a bang.
You can read the whole of the piece here.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Stop the War Statement on Libya intervention

A new war has been declared in the Middle East. With the bloody and failing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan still in place, the USA, Britain and France are now committed to an escalating armed intervention in Libya.

The imposition of a “no-fly zone”, air attacks on Libyan defences and Gaddaffi’s troops, and naval bombardments will not bring peace to Libya nor a resolution to the conflict there.
They will, however, cost more civilian lives and they will set Britain and the world on an escalator of military intervention which risks ending up with an occupation of at least part of Libya. .....

While few people are admirers of the Gaadaffi regime, the experience of Iraq underlines the dangerous futility of trying to impose “regime change” from without......

Attacking Libya and sponsoring the Gulf oligarchies’ invasion of Bahrain to prop up the threatened monarchy there – under the noses of the US fifth fleet - are of a piece. They represent a concerted effort by the western powers to first control and then bring to a halt the Arab revolutions, leaving the essentials of imperial power in the Middle East in place.

You can read the whole of the Stop the War statement here.
UPDATE: Stop the War have called an Emergency 'Hands Off Libya' protest for this afternoon (Sunday) from 3-4pm outside Downing Street. If you live in London and are free this afternoon, do try and get along to lend your support. More details here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unemployment is Cameron's Big Test

This article of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: Will Dave prove to be the son of Thatcher or the heir to Macmillan? Jobless crisis is the test

Britain isn't working. New figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the number of Britons out of work rose by 27,000 in the three months to the end of January to 2.53 million, the highest number of unemployed since 1994. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 rose by 0.8 per cent to a new record of 20.6 per cent.

Not that we should be so surprised at the figures: Conservative-led governments and high levels of unemployment tend to go hand in hand.

You can read the whole of the piece here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Six of the best for Ireland at Cheltenham Festival.

Well, two days in and what a great Cheltenham Festival it’s been so far for Irish-trained runners. Three winners yesterday, including the brilliant Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle- and a further SIX winners out of seven today.

I was on Sizing Europe and What a Charm- if you backed all six then I‘m sure you’re on a plane to Barbados by now.

What was it that some people were saying about the Irish being in for a poor Festival this year…….And it's not even St Patrick's Day yet.

Hope you're enjoying the action from Prestbury Park and have managed to back a few winners.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spineless Arsenal need Brian Clough treatment

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: What Arsene Wenger could learn from Old Big ‘Ead about winning trophies.

........The Gunners delight us with their flowing football and skilful approach play, and are the team that all neutrals love to watch. But, infuriatingly for their supporters, they seem incapable of landing silverware. What can Wenger do to remedy the situation?

The answer: learn from a manager who did have the winning habit - the late, great Brian Clough.

You can read the whole article here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don't privatise our libraries

This piece of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: The government's cuts threaten the future of much-loved public libraries. But we should be wary of its zeal for privatisation too.

"Save our libraries" has been one of the slogans of 2011, as local residents fight to preserve much-loved community assets against the government's cutbacks.
But there's another threat hanging over Britain's public library service: that of privatisation. The idea of privatised libraries would have been unthinkable in the mixed economy and genuinely progressive 1960s and 70s, but it shows how far down the road marked "neo-liberal extremism" we have travelled since 1979, that they're now very much on the agenda.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

David Cameron: Warmonger

The Mole reports:

Tory MPs are alarmed at the behaviour of the Brotherly Leader and Guide, David Cameron. He is still making warlike noises over Colonel Gaddafi - despite Nato and the UN making it clear they don't want to go to war over Libya.

At the start of a summit in Brussels today, Nato general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen said there was no intention to intervene and certainly not without a UN Security Council resolution. And Russia and China are very clear that they will veto any attempt at the UN by America or Britain to try to bring about regime change by military action in Libya.

And yet Cameron continues to bang the war drum.....,

Despite deep misgivings in Washington, Cameron and President Obama discussed intervention in a transatlantic conference call on Monday afternoon.
You can read the whole of the Mole's report here.
The fact that Dave is more gung-ho on Libya than President Obama, the UN and the NATO general secretary should come as no surprise. As I wrote here, soon after he became Tory leader, Dave is no moderate.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

100 Years of International Women's Day

Kate Rintoul writes in the Morning Star:

Today sees the celebration of the 100th International Women's Day (IWD), a movement started by the Socialist Party in America - who'd have thought it - when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York demanding better working conditions and voting rights, and officially went global in 1911.

International Women's Day takes various forms in some countries, mostly in the East and former socialist states it is marked by a national holiday, celebrated much like Mothers' Day with men and children giving small gifts and flowers to the women in their lives.

While International Women's Day should be a day of celebration of women's achievements and positive attributes, it must also be one that identifies the continuing inequality and obstacles women face in far-off places and close to home.

Britain’s ‘Special Representative for International Trade and Investment’, the billionaire paedophile and Robert Maxwell’s daughter

Have a read of this and this for a modern immorality tale of the global elite.

Remember, we’re supposed to tug our forelocks to these people.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

New tragedy at Newbury: did it need to happen?

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: Death of Eric's Charm suggests some horses are being asked to go on racing for too long

Three weeks ago, Newbury racecourse made the news headlines when two horses, Marching Song and Fenix Two, were electrocuted by an underground cable in a freak accident in the paddock.

Yesterday, there were more tears at the Berkshire track as one of Britain's most popular racehorses, the veteran Eric's Charm, was destroyed after breaking a leg in a handicap chase. An hour later, the up-and-coming hurdler Karky Schultz also met his end after a crashing fall.

You can read the whole of the article here.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Coalition parties routed in Barnsley by-election

Well, they’ve only been in power for nine months, and already the public have had enough of them. Big Society anyone?

The other interesting thing about last night’s vote is the turnout of just 36.5%. Has there ever been a time when voters have been so unenthusiastic about the main options on the table?
PS Latest news from Bankocracy Britain.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Britain should not lecture Libyans on democracy

This piece of mine appears in today's First Post.

Neil Clark: Libya has better role models to follow than Britain’s mix of feudalism and oligarchy.

Is there anything more nauseating about Britain's political elite than the way they promote their country as a shining example of modern democracy that other less "enlightened" nations ought to follow?

The latest to advise others to take their lead from the UK is former Tory prime minister Sir John Major, speaking on the Today programme. Major thinks that Britain, with its "long democratic tradition" and "civil aptitude" can "advise and help a great deal" with the "resurrection of civil democracies" in Libya.

But are we really the model democracy that Libya should try to emulate if and when the people rid themselves of Muammar Gaddafi?

You can read the whole article here.