Arriva’s Romanian Scapegoats

This mini-rant first appeared on our Facebook page

One of the ‘trending topics’ on Facebook is that an applicant for a job driving buses for Arriva was refused an interview because he’s not Romanian.

Arriva Dart / Pointer on Burton on Trent route 3B, February 2011 by Dan Sellers.

If you’ve noticed this story superficially, it’s generally portrayed as Brits being treated as second class citizens in their own country, preference given to the foreigners, etc. You can predict who’s selling this version – the usual suspects such as the Daily Mail, Express, Breitbart and so on.

But when you look deeper into the story, it seems that Arriva have been overcharging the immigrant drivers for the housing they’ve arranged, with 7 people living together in a 3 bedroom house. Between the 7 of them, they were paying £700 a week for a 3-bedroom house, back to an agency that Arriva had arranged a deal with.

Foreign workers are not the enemy. Exploitative bosses are.

Further reading: Bus drivers in Hemel are ‘living in cramped conditions and can’t speak basic English’


The Fight Against Climate Change

This post first appeared on our Facebook page.

  • For the past 150 years, global temperatures for the previous 12 months have been recorded at the end of each month (Jan-Dec; Feb-Jan, etc.)
  • September 1997–August 1998 was the hottest 12-month period on record at the time, in part because of El Nino.
  • It’s now in 60th place.
  • Sep97-Aug98 has been surpassed by yearlong periods in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
  • Many of those years weren’t even aided by El Niño events; unassisted global warming made them hotter than Sep97-Aug98.
  • Despite stating his aim to have “the greenest government ever” in practice David Cameron’s government diverted funding away from renewables and towards fracking – an industry as under-developed and inefficient as any renewable industry.
  • On July 13, 2016 Theresa May, the new PM, abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
  • Responsibility for tackling climate change will probably now fall to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, headed by Angela Leadsom. According to Leadsom, in May 2015 she wasn’t sure if climate change was real. (Though by October 2015 she was “completely persuaded.”)
  • Global temperatures have been steadily rising above the average 1880-1899 baseline. In 2015 the overall rise was above 1°C for the first time. In 2016, the rise is predicted to be around 1.3°C.

2016 GISTEMP LOTI mean anomaly prediction (climate change)

A Few Simple Questions for the Labour NEC (12/07/2016)

This first appeared on the Facebook page.

A few simple questions for the ‪#‎LabourNEC‬.

* Why was the motion to prevent members who’ve been with the party less than six months not on the agenda?
* Did the proposer of the motion deliberately wait until Corbyn and allies had left the room before proposing it?
* Has whoever brought the motion looked into the legal implications of taking £4.5m in members’ fees in the last week, then denying those members a vote on the leadership – one of the advertised features of membership?
* Why is an exception to be made for those who can afford a £25 fee?
* Is this exception deliberate, to encourage the ‘right type’ of member?
* If so, is this motion an acknowledgment that, contrary to centrist propaganda, Corbyn is the candidate more likely to appeal to the desperate and poor?

Please share this, and answer any questions (politely and with evidence) if you can.

Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and the Labour Party

A version of this post first appeared on the Facebook page.

Racial politics are complex, and it’s nearly impossible to discuss racially charged issues without causing offence, even when both the speaker and listener are both open-minded and acting in good faith. When we get into using terminology that means different things to different people, and which have evolved over time, there’s an increased possibility for misunderstanding and deliberate misuse of terms.

Continue reading “Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and the Labour Party”

Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum

This first appeared on the Facebook page

There’s still two months until we vote, but the EU Referendum has been an absolute mess. Rather than a broad, fact-based debate about the role we play in the European Union, we’ve had personality politics and childish insults.

This weekend Boris Johnson has claimed that the American president’s Kenyan ancestry motivates a hatred for Britain, and followed it up by calling Obama ‘weird’. This isn’t so much the pot calling the kettle black as the pot calling the dinner-plate black.
Johnson is not alone in his indifference for facts.
Dominic Cummings, apparently notorious for his previous role at the Department for Education is now the campaign director of Vote Leave. When testifying before a House of Commons select committee he said that “I don’t think it’s Vote Leave’s job to provide figures”.
When told that “Vote Leave quotes numerous figures on its website … most of them misleading or inaccurate”, Cummings responded that: “Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies.”

Continue reading “Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum”

Why it Matters that Cameron is the Heir to Blairmore

David Cameron is likely to remain as Prime Minister, in the short-term at least. However he is engulfed in controversy over his father’s tax avoidance past and his own unwillingness to explain his own role in the business. The company set up Ian Cameron, is named Blairmore Holdings – slightly amusing given that David Cameron once described himself as ‘the heir to Blair’.

Most people will agree, as a moral principle, that a child shouldn’t be held responsible for the sins of their parents. It’s just about the one decent argument that has been brought up in David Cameron’s defence during the Panama tax dodging scandal. We try to be reasonable people and, as much as we don’t like David Cameron, there is an argument there. Partially.
To start with, it’s likely that when Ian Cameron made the decision to move from working as a stockbroker in 1982, the 16-year-old David had no chance to prevent it.
We would have liked to think that, as he grew older and became interested in politics and came to understand the way that tax avoidance deprives the state of resources, David would confront his father over the issue. (As a teenager David Cameron worked as a researcher for the MP Tim Rathbone; seemed to have played no part in university politics; then went from university straight to working in the Conservative Research Department.) However, it’s understandable that risking a family rift may have been something that young David Cameron was unwilling to do.

Continue reading “Why it Matters that Cameron is the Heir to Blairmore”