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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Left of Centre UK's LiveJournal:

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Friday, June 30th, 2006
10:06 am
Blair is really running scared - it is time he went if he cannot take criticism. Does he really think that reading the Indie makes one an enemy of the state? - Must go buy a copy now, and read it outside Downing Street!

In other news, Cameron's Tories are still not electable, even in their own heartlands, it seems.

Might it not be too much to expect that the Greens will now take off in a big way?
Sunday, June 25th, 2006
8:22 am
England v. Sweden
No, we are not talking football this time. I am just reading an article that compares the UK with Sweden

The first surprise, for anyone who has swallowed the stories about our unrivalled economic dynamism, is that, in terms of gross domestic product, Sweden has done as well as we have. In 2002 its GDP per capita was $27,310, and the UK’s was $26,240. This is no blip. In only seven years between 1960 and 2001 did Sweden’s per capita GDP fall behind the United Kingdom’s.(7)

More info under the LJ cut...
Read more...Collapse )

I wonder what sort of critique, if any, those on the right can mount to this article. it is noteworthy that the Economist does not publish the details , but the UN does. Interesting.
Full details here.

Friday, June 23rd, 2006
11:07 am
Ok, it is immoral to use weapons of mass destruction. Having said that, China has nukes, and ambitions that may lead them into conflict with Taiwan and other states.

We in Britain have, for many years, had an unarmed police force. Sadly, the increasing use of firearms by desperate criminals, forced the police to arm themselves. By the same logic, it would appear that stable democratic nations like us need to arm ourselves, to protect ourseves against military dictators who may not be so reluctant to get their own way by foul means. It would also be folly to run down our conventional military capabilities. I have long maintained that scrapping the patrol ship Endurance sent the wrong signal to Galtieri regarding our intentions to safeguard the Falklands, and no one has cited any evidence to the coontrary whatsoever.

War is not the best way to settle a problem, but it may become neccessary once diplomacy fails. Althoughthe fact remains that no one is likely to attack the UK at present, the emergence of China (armed with ICBMs) is a long term threat that we should guard against.

The argument is raised that our own nuclear weapons programme is dependent on American assistance to such an extent that it is not independent - we are open to pressure from Washington if we wish to keep or use it.

That being the case, if the French have nuclear capability, is there not a case for developing an Anglo French nuclear programme to distance ourselves from america, and strengthen ties with our European partners? I assume that the French developed their nuclear programme independently of the Americans, if you know different, please cite your sources.
Thursday, June 15th, 2006
12:49 pm
I just wanted to flag this one up -


it talks about the way that most of our food in the UK comes from abroad, and raises other issues too.
Did you know that we imported 1500 tonnes of potatoes from germany in 2004 - and exported the same amount back?


I mean, thing of the costs in fuel, packaging, and other resources. surely we should be aiming for agricultural self sufficiency.

The thing about this website though is that you can join the group and make an impact for a saner and safer world. it isn't that we can ignore economic realities, but by understanding what goes on , we can exert pressure to bring about benificial change.

My thanks to ringbark for the link.
Friday, June 9th, 2006
9:09 am
Redistribute wealth' says Cameron.
First he says 'Vote Blue, go Green', then he says that the quality of life is more important than making money. Now he is saying that he wants to 'redistribute wealth'.

This is amazing.It has been suggested that the Tories may not like Cameron, but it is him or Oblivion. So now that Blair has dragged the labour party so far to the right that he passed thatcher on the way, it should not be a surprise if a Tory goes some way to opposing him from the comparitive left.

All the same, this announcement does seem remarkable. anything that gets die hard tory bigots chocking on their cornfalkes is good news, but if Cameron keeps this up, we may actually see the politcal compass site move Cameron into the same turf as the Greens.

I wonder what that coild portend in the next election. To me, it still makes sense to vote Green. it is Green pressure that drives the political agenda, and without it, we are still unsure of Cameron's personal convictions. However, the New Tories are definitely hotting up the battle that New Labour will have to face.
Wednesday, May 24th, 2006
12:44 pm
Owing to my involvement in the Green Party, I have neglected this space somewhat of late.
however, I am not a 'True Believer', in the sense of backing my country/political party/ whatever, right or wrong.

The Greens have argued for renewables over nuclear fission as a replacement for fossil fuels.
The argument is that nuclear power is unsafe to run, and the end products are unsafe to store. Green paece take that line as well, and I can see the logic.

However, a disscussion opened up in uk_politics has thrown up some interesting observations on the use of nuclear power and also nuclear weapons.

Can it be argued that we should persist with nuclear power as a mid term solution, and that we should also continue with the trident programme, or should we be striving to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether, together with the nuclear power stations?
Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
3:20 pm
Carnival of Socialism
X-posted across leftist communities.

The Carnival of Socialists is begun! This Blog Carnival will highlight a few of the best examples of Socialist blog construction each fortnight.

Link to http://community.livejournal.com/crnvl_socialism/
or http://xanga.com/carnivalofsocialism/

For more information, visit sites on our blogroll or email camusfan@msn.com.


Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
1:52 pm
Now that it's spring, you may want to get your placards written up and go and join the protest march of your choice - once it stops snowing, of course!

But what is going on locally, and what is this 'peak oil' business all about anyway? if you want to know about environmental politics, or are clued up already and want to meet activists in your area, why not pop along to

Its the new Green Party community on LJ. Did you know that there are already over 8,000 members of the green party in England and Wales already, with over 1200 in the London area? There are also two green MEPs from the UK in the European Parliament, as well as one Green Peer in the House of Lords. Greens are also represented in two seats in the Greater London Assembly.

In the time between now and the next election, Greens intend to put forward an agenda including transport, education, housing, and many other issues, from an environmental perspective. We are more concerned about giving a real say to local people at local level, than trying to cozy up to the multinational corporations whose bottom line is profit driven, and are accountable only to their shareholders.

So - Welcome to the party!
X - posted everywhere.
Monday, May 2nd, 2005
3:55 pm
Did any of you see the UKIP party political broadcast the other evening, the one with the giant octopus (meant to represent the EEC apparently) terrorising London and sitting on top of the Houses of Parliament, with its tentacles spread? Weird octopus and very anatomically incorrect, with its mouth on the side and full of savage teeth, but that was not the funniest thing.
The whole thing looked and sounded as if it had been put together by Monty Python or The Goodies, if you can remember the one with the giant kitten pushing over the GPO Tower. Bits of it also looked as if the local primary school had been let loose with a video camera and had roped the teachers in as extras.
As for the message, as far as I could gather they seemed to be anti lots of things, but I never quite found out what they were for, so a bit of a problem there. UKIP person after UKIP person was put in front of the camera (after the octopus bit), each with an individual thing they were against and all of which could be linked back to belonging to Europe.
I'm all for democracy but there are times when you know it is wasted on some people. I know we still need to waste it on them but surely the idea is to vote for something, not against everything.
Tuesday, April 19th, 2005
3:43 pm
Having lived in London for many years I recently had an idea regarding accommodation and its
cost within Central London.

Local Authorities are bound to offer council accommodation to people born or resident within
their boundaries. In London this means that City workers have to travel to and from work often
covering long distances whilst council houses and other accommodations actually close to the
city are offered to others who by chance were raised there.

Why is there no system to offer these people better housing in well planned communities outside
of the City, for example in Kent or Essex?

That way Key Workers could live and work closer to where they need to. This would reduce the burden on
the transport system and, I believe, make the lives of all better. It would also save money in real terms over the long term.

What do you think?
Friday, April 8th, 2005
9:03 am
The Tube, as Londeners call the underground railway network that spans the capital, is currently a shambles.
It has been sold off, but sold of piecemeal. there is endless bickering over who should take responsibilty every time something goes wrong. Maintainance often over runs, and the system has been run down after years of neglect.

I do recall that the main line railways and the tube network both started life as private concerns, however, it is the way that they have been maaged since that causes me concern.
personally, I feel that the government should aim for a fully intergrated and efficient public transport system, regardless of how it is owned. we put too much emphasis on building roads, when railways, busses and trams would be more efficient in terms of environmental costs as well as getting people to work.
In London recently, the latest move has been to open up a ferry service on the Thames, not to get people across, but to use the river as an alternative highway, carrying commuters to work.

I would be interested in hearing other people's comments on Transport issues.
Thursday, April 7th, 2005
10:56 pm
Many of you here will be members of other communities as well as this one. I think it good to go to places where you can listen to and learn from an opposing point of view.

I have to say though , that i note a disturbing trend in the new uk based political communities. it seems that anyone can click and join a liberal/ left wing community, whereas the conservative ommunities vet members first. not only that, but one conservative community is allowing ad hominem attacks and personally insulting language to be used.

I call upon all persons in this community not only to uphold the highest standards of personal conduct in dabate and discussion here, but also to uphold our standards of decency and propriety in other communities too. One community in particular, I am sad to say, needs it!

Let us therefore be resolved to complain to the mods in any community whenever we see insults of a personal nature beng hurled at anyone from either side of the fence. Let us attack the idea presented if we must, and not the one presenting it. If we expect higher standards of those in office, we must set the same standards for ourselves.
Wednesday, April 6th, 2005
9:34 pm
Election fever grips Britain...
Well, maybe not. I was confused on who to vote for - call me old fashioned, but I did intend to. The problem was that the Sun - famous for being The One Wot Won It, can't make up it's mind. One may view this as a positive indication that Rupert Murdoch is asking his readers to think for themselves (it will be a novel experience for some, no doubt!) yet on the other hand, it could indicate that both parties are really as bad as each other and even a bigoted, reactionary right wing rag like the Sun cannot decide which is more deserving of the neo-con/facist vote.Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, March 30th, 2005
12:09 pm
Ask, and you shall recieve, it is said.
The guvvermint has put out the figures! We now know thatThere are 1.1 million people in Britain between the ages of 16 and 24 who are Not inEmployment, Education or Training. These are known as 'NEET's for short.
22% of female neets between the ages of 16 and 18 are mothers, compared to 1% of non neets.
Male nnets are 20 times more likely to commit a criminal offence than non neets the same age.

And what does the government propose to do about these people? to "put an end to unemployment and dead end jobs". Yeah, right!

The fact is that our society cannot function without 'dead end jobs'. If you have a high IQ, you may get into a job that is varied, exciting and has prospects, but the fact is that most work is humdrum, boring and even unpleasant. That is what work is, people - get used to it. men have done this sort of thing for generations as a matter of duty, and now a generation of kids brought up on TV are seeing the reality of the world as it is and not liking it. They expect to be footballers or filmstars when they grow up, and think that a job in Sainsburys is well beneath them.
Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, March 24th, 2005
10:14 am
Johann Hari, writing in 'The Independent' yesterday, makes the point that in Switzerland, burglary rates have been halved since the Swiss authorities started prescribing heroin to registered addicts.
I am inclined to check, these days, as every thing needs verification, and even the Indie sometimes has got it wrong.

However, if this is correct - and I strongly suspect it may be - then surely we should re-think our policy on drug abuse. The fact is that prohibition did no one any favours except Al Capone and his ilk. It is also obvious that drugs are a part of everyday culture in britain today. A smart, new place opened in London recently called Chinawhite. Maybe people don't know that that is a brand of cocaine available on the black market, but I suspect that if they called it 'Moroccan Black', no one would give a damn, except to say that pot was sooo sixties, whereas Cocaine is more 'now, cool and happening'. Read more...Collapse )
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005
8:45 am
News to me, anyway, folks!
The Green Party in the UK is trying hard to shrug off the 'hippy tree hugger' image by going for issues like transport and defence.
Defence? Yup. The Greens are against the scrapping of The king's Own Border Regiment, based in Cumbria.
here's the link, from the Greens website.
Any thoughts on this, or the Greens as a party?
Xposted in my LJ
Monday, March 21st, 2005
6:02 pm
Michael Howard on the Human Rights Act
"'I've got my rights' seems to have become a two fingers up to authority."


Current Mood: amused
Sunday, March 20th, 2005
11:18 pm
Saturday, March 19th, 2005
6:57 am
There was a mention of this subject in livejournal_uk, but the discussion never really got off the ground, so a brief proposition...

ASBOs are corrosive of our libertarian society since the arbitrary use of the legislation from region to region, indeed town to town, criminalises individuals for otherwise lawful behaviour.
Also use of the powers are disproportionately directed against the underclasses, further marginalising those members of society for whom efforts should be made to embrace, in particular youths all of whom are villified in the media these days are vulnerable to this.

Current Mood: curious
Friday, March 18th, 2005
8:26 am
The Budget.
"It's a bribe" we are told. Ok, so Gordon isn't going to rock the boat just before an election, but would the tories do any better?
I remember the Barber budget (Yes I really am that old, sad to say...) and remember thinking that it was a good budget for the well off.
More and more these days, there are not two classes, but three classes in our society. There are the wealthy, the workers and those on state benefits.

The trouble with the mega rich is that if you threaten to tax them "until the pips squeek", they simply move offshore. They thus get an awful lot out of the system and put back as little as poss.
Those on State benefits are recently in the news again. A family is in the headlines because this couple has had eight kids and dad can get more on benefits than he can by working.

Now, these kids do have the benefit of both parents living with them. there is no suggestion that any are on drugs or involved in petty crime. however, I do think that having children and expecting the rest of us to provide is irresponsible.
The tabloids love all this stuff of course, but how widespread is it? how many people are doing this nationally? how many single mothers live in England and Wales and have several kids by several fathers in order to get a council house and never need a job? A few? A few hundred thousand? 95% of them?
Where can I get statistics on this kind of thing?
X posted from my LJ.
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