Tag Archives: David Cameron

Monday Matters Barry White & Johnny Cash 12 Sept 2016

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On this edition of Monday Matters broadcast on 106.9 SFM.

On the day that former Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he was quitting as an MP – we will hear what he has to say and the reasons why. We will also hear Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction to the news.

The featured artist is Barry White celebrates his birthday on Sep 12, 1944. Jason plays 4 songs including taking requests from listeners.

The Palace of Westminster is due for a critical £7bn refurbishment. Darren McCaffrey went to the house to find out more.

Litter currently costs Britain £1bn per year and Jason’s guest tonight has set up a smart phone app which lets users report sights of litter directly to their council to clear it up. Danny Lucas developed the Littergram app over a year ago and as well as chatting about how it works – we also hear how Facebook is trying to force Littergram to change its name.

On the 12 Sept 2003 Johnny Cash died and we have music & interviews from his life.

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Krishnan Guru-Murthy sticks the sword in

Sir Craig Oliver was the Communications Director for former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who has recently written a book about their failed attempt to win the referendum.  Channel four news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy compared his knighthood to those that have gone before, including Sir Winston Churchill, Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh and ask how his Knighthood compared to his – a reward for failure?  It’s nice to see someone squirm!!

 

Dodgy Dave is OUT – Teflon Theresa is IN

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Former PM David Cameron

I do feel for David Cameron.  A month ago he was the PM who was quietly confident that he would win the referendum and would be at this point reshuffling his cabinet and getting on with his ‘economic plan’.

However, we now have a new Prime Minister and a new cabinet.  Gordon Brown declared his first cabinet as a ‘government of all the talents’.   With Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary and Nigel Hunt left in place to fire harpoons at the NHS – I think it’s safe to call this a government with some of the talents.

I’m still not sure if it is an act of pure genius putting Boris in charge of Britain’s diplomacy with the world or an act of pure insanity. But whatever happens Boris won’t be boring.  I’m not even sure if he will be in the job all that long.   He has to work alongside eurosceptic MP David Davis whose ego dwarfs the EU, but who has been given Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – working alongside brexiteer and other ego-phile Liam Fox, the new Secretary of State for International Trade.  These three will find it hard agreeing to seating arrangements around a table – never mind the intricate policy and political details of how we leave the EU.  Fun times ahead.

I understand why Theresa want’s to keep Jeremy Hunt in place.  His nose and hands are already bloodied with his back sore and scarred with the numerous whippings and fist fights he’s had with the NHS.  The Government seem to be determined to push through a new contract on Junior Doctors.  Why get a new minister’s hands bloodied and bruised – better to let Jeremy slug away in Health and then get rid of him when all the damage is done – bringing in a clean pair of hands to try and smooth things over later.

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Boris Johnson reaching out…

Another day – another brutal murder

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Jo’s husband tweet this picture – how he wants his wife to be remembered

Words cannot express the pain and anger that many British people feel at the killing of a UK MP, in broad daylight, on 16 June 2016, on the streets of the small Yorkshire village of Birstall; death snatching the life of one of our most promising Member of Parliament – Jo Cox.

So far all we know is that her attacker was in his 50s, described as a loner who may have mental health issues – but on the latter point we still do not know.

It says a lot about our view of parliament and our politicians that few people outside of her constituency or parliament would have been aware of just how promising and respected Jo was.  She was only in parliament for 18 months – yet managed to punch through not only on political issues but also across the political divide.   Unlike some politicians who would argue over the direction of a worm – just because they couldn’t bear to agree, Jo was different and would work with anyone of whatever persuasion if they shared her views on the various humanitarian causes she championed.

But let’s be clear – Jo wasn’t just an MP – she was a daughter, a wife and mother of two children whom she loved more than anything.  In an emotional yet considered response, after his wife was pronounced dead – Jo’s husband Brendan said: “Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo”.

We still do not know the cause – however, speaking at the scene of her death the leader of the labour party Jeremy Corbyn alluded to a possible answer when he said “She was taken from us in an act of hatred, in a vile act that has killed her.  It’s an attack on democracy, what happened yesterday. It’s the well of hatred that killed her “.  One assumes that the Prime Minister has been given constant updates by those holding the killer and may have passed on some information to Mr Corbyn.

If you want to know who Jo was and the type of platform that she was forging her way on – just listen to her maiden speech in the House of Commons in 2015.

 

I was on facebook when the news of Jo’s shooting started to break – responding to someone who had written a post on the EU referendum and how they only way to regain our country and stop immigration was to vote to leave.  My critical response to this including lamenting the idea that it is the EU that makes us undemocratic – when we have nearly 900 unelected Peers in the House of Lords with the power to change, delay and black legislation and whom cost the taxpayer about £21 million per year and that we should sort out the deckchairs on our own beach before looking over the water and blaming a messy beach abroad for our troubles.

I also touched on how the focus on immigration and EU bureaucrats let our own MPs and parliament off the hook – and was pretty scathing about our MPs.  Then as news started to roll in that not only had Jo been shot, but had succumbed to her injuries, I decided I could not hit the reply button.  It just didn’t feel right to be having a go at politicians when one had just been murdered on a British street in a small British village.  Maybe me and the British public have been too harsh on our MPs – the majority of whom, are not that different to us and who come within the communities we ourselves live.

I saved a copy of what I have written and I’m now not sure if I will ever respond to Mr Angry about Immigration – because, actually, I don’t want to get caught up in the tit for tat nasty – blown out of all proportion debate that we have had so far.  I will write something – but maybe I will be that bit more respectful to those who govern us – and maybe we all should.  I note that because the killer is white, with links to the far right – no mention of the words “terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’ has been made- yet, it is hard not to imagine if the killers skin colour had of been different – the headlines and news bulletins would be flooded with words trying to link this to some muslim extremist group either here or abroad – like what happened when the soldier Lee Rigby was murdered by a man who had mental health issues – who happened to be muslim.  Maybe we in the media need to also learn to just watch our language and how we present the news to the public.

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Dailymail headline screaming “yet another lorry load of migrants”

If all the public hear from the news that they consume and by certain political groups that we are “awash” with immigrants and that we are ‘full’ ‘cannot cope’ our shores are ‘flooded’ and our politicians are inept and unable to control the ‘flow of immigration’ – then maybe, just maybe, it lights the torch paper in people making them angry which then leads to some, who do not have the full control of their mental state, to see themselves as champions for Britain.  Whist taking the life of a wife and leaving to children without a mother.

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Dailymail clarification – tucked within the pages of the DailyHate

 

Monday Matters EU Referendum Show 22 February 2016

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On Monday Matters for the 22nd February, it’s been announced that the EU referendum will be held on Thursday June 23rd. But apparently, we Brits are 60 times more likely to talk about reality TV with our friends than discuss the merits of the EU.

The prime minister presented his case for Britain to stay in the EU today in the commons. Well have more on that later. Yesterday Boris Johnson said he’d campaign for Britain to leave the EU – we will hear his statement after 9pm.

George Harrison who would have been 73 years old this week, as it was he died of cancer on November 29th 2001 – aged 58.

STOP! Paying for MPs to get Pissed – let’s spend it on the#NHS

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#isupportjuniordoctors

Nothing insenses me more than when a group of experts are bullied into agreeing to something which they know is wrong by a government desparate to make good on a shoddy election promise – on paper rather than practice.

And so today we have a strike by junior doctors who are worried that the terms and conditions they thought they had signed up to when they started their careers – is being ripped up and replaced with a new contract which, in its heart, is about doing more with less, for less.

Having squeezed all the juice from the apple – Mr Hunt and David Cameron are now attempting to squeeze juice from the remaining pips! And it is an utter disgrace.

I have used the NHS alot lately and so understand that it is climbersome, slow and at its best when dealing with life or death emergencies. The rest of us – form an orderly and long queue please.

So, I am all for new ideas and reforms. But they must be sensible and reasoned and funded properly.

Watch Jeremy Hunt squirm as he listens to letters from junior doctors
Watch Jeremy Hunt squirm as he listens to letters from junior doctors

 

This is NOT what we are getting from Jeremy Hunt. His proposals are designed to spread what is currently done over 5 days over 7. Let me tell you – the NHS in some parts is struggling with 5 days – never mind 7.  WE MUST NOT make Doctors pay the price of over funded and bad management of NHS boards.

I am not saying I don’t disagree with the Conservative aspiration of a fully functioning 7 day health system. It is inevitable.

However, where I am very angry with Jermey Hunt is that he is trying to impose this new way of working – without fully resourcing the other bits required to make the new term and conditions feasible and the aspiration achievable.

On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday 7th February Mr Hunt refused to say that Doctors were not responsible for the 11,000 deaths which are supposedly down to the “weekend effect”.

This made me so angry and the reason is – because it is a total LIE. 11,000 people are NOT dying because everyone packs up at 5pm on a Friday evening in the NHS. In fact, it would appear that Wednesay stands accused of being statistically the worst day to be in hospital. Do we avoid getting hit by a Larry on Wednesay the?

The truth is – you find trends in any data which may not accurately reflect the situation – certainly not to allow you to then base a concrete finding upon eg: if we look at those who died on Wednesay – you might find a majortiy white, male, under 6ft, with blonde hair and green eyes. However if you fit that description- and get hit by a car – you are not MORE likely to survive because it’s Tuesday! It will depend on a variety of other factors directly relating to that incident.

But Jeremy Hunt and the Government are trying to skew the statistics to create fear and get the public on their side. That is shameful and unforgivable.

When I think about how much MPs earn and the fact that as well as everything else the tax payer funds them for – just remember – at any point – MPs are getting pissed in the House Of Commons bar – or some other little function and you are subsiding it or paying wholly for it.

Instead of paying for MPs to get pissed – why isn’t that money used to get more Doctors, Nurses and other NHS specialists?

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“Electoral corruption” – did the Tories lie about spending?

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Channel 4 News journalist Michael Crick in Rochester & Strood

Oh dear – has the Tory party been “creative” with their accounting?  Maybe they asked Google to fill out their expenses?

Channel 4 news journalist Michael Crick obtained hundreds of Conservative party receipts which where accumulated during local by-elections – but do not appear to have been officially registered, as is required by law, to ensure political parties do not spend more than a legal limit which is set at £100,000.

The phrase “electoral corruption” is used in Michael Crick’s investigation into undeclared party expenditure and the police may have to be called in to investigate!

You would think that after Conservative leader David Cameron appointed Sir Eric Pickles as his anti-corruption tsar to “stamp out corruption and restore public confidence” in politicians, the Tory party would be a bit more careful about how they do their own accounting?

As Michael Crick said in his investigation- did the Conservative Party show “contempt for the law”?

A Very Tory Christmas

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I love this picture of Prime Minister David Cameron – it really works on so many levels – in that – he could actually play this part in cartoon form!!!

The picture appeared in the Herald Scotland – under the headline “A very Tory Christmas: welfare rules leaving vulnerable families destitute over holidays” – so not a great story -but I do like the artistic impression this gives off.

Syria: The Complexities Of Bombing

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We are in the middle of a heated debate in the UK as to whether we should or should not use our armed forces to bomb Syria.  Whether we do or wether we do not will be decided by a vote of our MPs on Wednesday.

Let’s be clear.  If Paris had been London – the discourse would be very different and it is important that we take this opportunity to be thankful that we make such decisions with a cool head and not as a reaction to horrific events.  That said – we need to realise the real dangers we face as British citizens – like the horrors that we saw on a beach in Tunisia – or that of in France.  The Russian flight that was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai desert could well of been a British flight.  Wether we like it or not – we are targets – wether or not we bomb in Syria.

There are those who are totally opposed to bombing.  I understand their concerns.  However, the truth is that bombing HAS worked.  It decimated their high command; helped halt their advance and in many cases pushed them back;  spreads fear and dread throughout the ranks of Daesh who worry that every time they step outside or jump into a vehicle – they could be killed or maimed.  That in turn helps disrupt their mobility and ability to hold gatherings outside of their strong hold and if they need to communicate over long distances – they take a chance with their lives or use technology which can be intercepted and used against them.

 

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Bombing Has Limitations

That said, bombing has limitations.  We know already that there is a complex network of tunnels and command centres placed underneath the houses and hospitals of innocent Syrian people.  The extremists use these dug outs knowing that if and when they get bombed – they survive but the innocent men, women and children above ground die; their deaths then captured and edited into slick horror videos distributed to easily suggestible men and women around the world who do not comprehend the context of how they actually died.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is not just whether we should bomb Syria.  Whether we do or do not will not make much of a difference. This fact we know. We also know Daesh will be defeated in Syria and Iraq.  Maybe not next week, next month or next year. But they will.  And we know this because – they are a death cult. They are only interested in death.  And before they die they want to ensure they subjugate, kill, terrorise  and torture anyone under their control. This is not something desired by the masses – no matter how deep rooted they are to a religion.  Daesh has limited appeal.

 

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Even the use of the word “defeat” is a simplification.  Like defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan!

So, when we say “defeat” what we actually mean is turn them from a group which controls large swathes of a country and its population – into a small group of bandits and guerrillas who still hold the same ideology but terrorise on a much smaller scale and are dealt with at a local level before eventually being replaced with some other ideology and becoming a footnote in history.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is: What do you think Syria will look like in 1, 3 & 5 years time and what do you base this on?  (as apposed to what do you want it to look like). What is our end game?   When Daesh is defeated – what could fill the vacuum?  Who are they? What are their aims? How far are you prepared to go militarily – understanding that bombing has its limits?  Weapons? Training? Our soldiers?

The West is adamantly opposed to Russian backed President Bashar al-Assad – yet backs the free Syrian army – which is adamantly apposed by Russia and President Bashar al-Assad.  In order to root out Daesh we may need to work with Russia and Assad – how do we feel about this?  Will  we need to adjust our policy to Assad – what about the thousands and millions killed or made refugees by his Government – what are our “lines to take” when answering their questions?  Can we feasibly have two opposing policies operating at one time?  With Assad – but against? With Russia, but against?

 

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Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about the Paris attacks in the House of Commons (PA) – flanked by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

And when Daesh are finally sent scurrying off into the desert – who will replace them?  Do we know? Do we think we know? Have we post-Daesh plans?  What do we do if Assad tries to reclaim control of the country? If we commit to side fully with the free Syrian army and this group of 70,000 militants ready to rout out Daesh from places such as Raqqa – what happens if they are then bombed by Assad or Russia?  What if we find ourselves backing an army which finds itself fighting against Assad and Russia.  Where are the lines drawn? When do we STOP?

So, whether we bomb or do not bomb Syria will probably turn out to be of less importance than wether we are or are not prepared for the end of Daesh control in the region and whether we finally find the stomach to square up to President Putin – when he tries to exert control in the region.

Let us not forget the lessons from history.

 

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife leaving the town hall in Sarajevo moments before they were assassinated – which in part, led to the start of WW1.

 

 

 

 

I’m not fighting for Uber – it’s the principle of choice

Uber taxi

I hate being told what to do.  It stems from being a child and constantly being told to “stop poking that” or “don’t lick that, it’s dirty”.  And rather than maturing my way out of it – it is something that has stuck with me.

Which is why I was pleased that the High Court in London ruled today that app-hailing taxi Uber isn’t breaking the law in the way it meters and charges for journeys.  Ok – to be fair – I don’t know what rules were supposedly broken – just that the case was brought by the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and London Private Hire Car Association who claimed that Uber was circumventing the law in regards to how fares were calculated.

Boris Johnson Exempt uber black cabs

The truth is.  I really don’t care about metering technicalities and no amount of “uber did this” and “uber did that” – stories will dent the fundamental truth. I want the choice to accept or decline either a black cab service, mini-cab or an Uber service.

I have had many happy and prolonged arguments with cabbies and their supporters on twitter who proclaim to know “the truth” about Uber. And I’m happy to live in a place where our arguments can rage on in the cybersphere. And on. And, sometimes, on.  I’m happy to live in a place where they are free to call David Cameron and Boris Johnson all sorts of names – unkindly as they might be.

For, what is the point of living in a democracy if we can’t speak our mind, slag off our politicians and get into arguments over which taxi service is best.  However, that is different from saying – you CAN’T use this service – or I want to deny you this service – because I don’t like it and it competes with mine.  That is what the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and London Private Hire Car Association are trying to do.  Deny people, like me, the right of choice.

Say No To Uber

This is not a fight for Uber.  This is about the freedom of choice.  There will be other players who come into this market.  It is about the right of the little people to choose how they spend the limited money that they earn in an expensive capital city.

And the issue I have with the black cab brigade is that they don’t want to get rid of Uber because they provide a bad service and are bringing down standards.  But because they are doing a good job, raising standards and taking away their customers.

Black cabs drivers are not only on the wrong side of the argument – they are attacking the wrong people – their customers.  Because I am their customer too.  Yet they try and shout me down and end up make comments about my mother’s performance in bed.  If the comments about my mother were true – she’d earn so much extra kudos from me.  But alas, I doubt they are – considering how these days she struggles to finish off a paragraph of the book she is reading – never mind anything else.

I was told by one cabbie on twitter that I should “educate” myself to what Uber were doing – he then presented some articles about Uber cashing on on people’s travel misery – or screwing a Londoner out of £227 for a journey.

Uber scare stories

Let us not forget that the travel misery was caused by a TFL strike – so the misery of a few Uber customers was nothing compared to the misery of millions at the hands of Transport For London strikers.

And as for research. Well guess what.  My research comes first hand – from using both black cabs and Uber.  In my experience so far: Uber drivers have been great and it’s a little bit like having a personal chauffeur.  There is only one example of a time I was grateful to a black cab driver.  It happened in Edinburgh – I was drunk, lost and freezing cold in minus temperatures.  This cabbie gave me a lift home and didn’t accept a fare.  That was in 1996.  Since then, the only examples have been either just satisfactory or negative.

I once complained to Westminster council about a cab driver who was spouting sexist and homophobic views and the result was… nothing.  I queried with a black cab driver why he was using a particular route – straight into heavy traffic (I used to run a lot through London – so knew the routes) – to be shouted down & told that “if you don’t like it – you can fuck off out ma cab”. One black cab driver presumed to keep my change – and was very arsey when I asked for it back.  A black cab driver once left me stranded on the A4.  I stopped a black cab one cold and rainy night to be told- “I ain’t going that route – try someone else”.   I ask one for directions once – “Is it for a fare? Nah, well bugger ooof’ – ask someone else”.ban Uber

However, I do not for one moment pretend that ALL black cab drivers are rude or aggressive – most are nice and helpful.  Having said that – being told to “fuck, piss or bugger off” by a black cabbie is something that one begins to cherish on London’s streets.  It is one of the few times that someone will tell you exactly what they are thinking – and directly to your face. And if you should engage a black cabbie with a question on a subject they know something or nothing about….they will talk at you until journey’s end.

But, the final reason I have found myself getting into arguments in defence of this new technology is that the anti-Uber mob want to eradicate them from London.  That is their final position.  For people like me – (and I guess Uber – who I don’t speak for) – I don’t want to see an end to black cabs in London – or to be limited to only having Uber as the taxi service of London!  All I ask is to continue to have the choice available to me – which includes hailing black cabs – if and when I choose (and there is one available).  If Uber launched a campaign to get rid of black cabs from London – trust me, I and the whole of London would be arguing just as defensively and loudly in support of black cabs, as I do for Uber.

Because, it’s not about Uber – it’s about the choice that comes through the harnessing new technologies.

I am at least sensitive enough to this issue to realise that what many black cab drivers fear is that they are being squeezed out of the market by unfair competition and over regulation. My point here ties into the attacking of the wrong people.  Don’t shout Londoner’s down.  Encourage them to lobby TFL for less regulation and the ability to also use new technologies.  “Use it or lose it” – make us want to jump into a black cab – because we want to…not have to.  Cabbies are proud, rightly, of “the knowledge” – but as a consumer, I have to tell you – I don’t care whether it’s an iPhone or “the knowledge” that gets me to my destination – I just want to get there in comfort, safety and cheaply (or not depending on the time of month).

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TfL is consulting on 25 proposals for private hire companies – several of which could seriously affect Uber and which are deliberately designed to curb their business by introducing draconian measures.  It really is outrageous that in 2015 – a company like TfL – whose Directors are all on 6 figure salaries and who get driven around by chauffeurs – can deny the rest of us the ability to pick who takes us from A to B.  They want to consider rules which will make us wait 5 minutes on a cold winters’ night – for no reason – what-so-ever and also rules to stop the showing of nearby vehicles to passengers.  Again, for what reason could these 6 figure salaried bosses have for putting in these conditions – whilst they are swanning past in their TfL funded Mercedes chauffeur driven car?  It is for one reason and one reason alone – because they are out of touch.

Uber v Taxi

It is important that these measure are not allowed to be brought in – because although Uber might be the first – they are not the only competitor in this market & you just need look to China where there are a number of these start up companies – who are undercutting Uber and creating even more choice in the cities in which they operate.  This is may be the true fear.

Some of the new rules that TfL are considering 

1. Operators “must provide booking confirmation details to the passenger at least five minutes prior to the journey” [Uber matches passengers with the nearest riders, meaning they are picked up in, on average, three minutes]

2. Companies “must not show vehicles being available for immediate hire either visibly or virtually via an app” [Uber’s key feature is a map of available drivers in the area around the passenger]

3. Operators “must offer a facility to pre-book up to seven days in advance” [This option that would create major headaches for Uber, since it does not allow passengers to pre-book rides]

4. Drivers may only work for one operator at a time [many Uber drivers are part-time workers whose main employer is a traditional minicab firm]

5. There should be controls “on ridesharing in public vehicles” [Uber’s chief executive Travis Kalanick has said he wants to bring the UberPool service to London, which allows several customers to share a car and drive down the cost each person pays]

You can find and respond to the review by clicking on the link below

The TfL Private Hire Regulations Review