The warning signs are there for everyone else to see

“For a party that prides itself on the economy, the Tories have a shocking record of running it. Our economy has the slowest growth in the G7. We have got greater regional inequality than almost any other developed nation. Food banks now do the job of Government in providing for families—families that are more often than not in work.

Government could start solving this crisis by providing solutions, like closing tax-avoidance loopholes or creating a windfall tax for energy companies. But instead, we get endless bills paying lip service to a manufactured culture war. The priority isn’t the economy. It seems to be things like protecting freedom of speech, and yet the Tories are the ones who banned schools in England from using sources that are not overtly pro-capitalist. They are cracking down on freedom of assembly and protest. They are privatising Channel 4, when the Culture Secretary didn’t even know that Channel 4 receives no public money, so the argument is not financial. And as the Member for Rhondda touched upon earlier on, when we consider, that the Culture Secretary was a key focus of a Channel 4 documentary once about the influence that Christian fundamentalism has on UK politics, it becomes even more concerning that this decision is political and it’s personal. It is not professional.

But most terrifying of all, however, is that the Government literally wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act. And that begs the question: for whom do they think rights have gone too far? Do you know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs? We have witnessed Windrush. Our economic strategy is to open our doors to the rest of the world when we need their hard work and then chuck them out 50 years later without a word’s notice. We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that this plan costs more than it will ever save.

This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists. We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and time again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.

And over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. And I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity. When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. And you may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It doesn’t happen like that. It happens subtly. It happens when we see the Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, we see the concentration of power whilst avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, that will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people, the normalisation of human cruelty. Now I don’t know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not.”
Mhairi Black

I advise everyone to get it: UK Covid patients tell of regrets over refusing jab

“The side-effects are mild … Listen to doctors who work in intensive care, because we are heartbroken every day and don’t want you to end up here.” Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden wants people to come off the fence and get the jab.
www.theguardian.com

Fitness enthusiast John Eyres, 42, who refused to get vaccinated, has died of COVID-19. His twin sister, Jenny McCann, is publicising her loss to “drive people to get a vaccine”. #getvaccinatednow

Boeing employees mocked FAA and clowns who designed 737 Max

“This airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys,” one Boeing employee wrote, before the 737 Max accidents JT610 and ET302 killed 346 people. “I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year,” regrets another. Natalie Kitroeff reports on what Boeing employees were really thinking about the 737 Max.
nytimes.com

Mark Zuckerberg should spend $45 billion on undoing Facebook’s damage to democracies

“It is now possible to live in a virtual reality where Trump’s lies are acclaimed as the hidden truth that the mainstream media have concealed from the masses.” Anne Applebaum wants to bring reality back into the public debate.
www.washingtonpost.com

Our students were right to walk out

“Rights go hand in hand with responsibilities; you have the right to fart in [sic] public lift, it doesn’t mean you should exercise it.“ Ali Milani is proud to be representing Brunel students who respectfully showed their discontent with rightwing columnist Katie Hopkins’ views.
brunelstudents.com

Can we afford to ignore what Katie Hopkins says about migrants drowning in the Med?

“So while we ought noisily to challenge her incitement to hatred and violence against the most vulnerable groups in society and to condemn the fact that major media outlets are providing her with the microphone to do this, we also need to organise for a different kind of politics in which those escaping war and poverty are welcomed and not left to drown in the seas that surround us.“ Des Freedman regards Katie Hopkins as merely a sideshow in an age of neoliberal politicians protecting uninhibited cross-border flow of capital while barring people fleeing poverty and persecution and refusing to help them when they vanish into the sea.
www.opendemocracy.net

Europas Schuld

“Natürlich kann Europa nicht jeden Krieg verhindern und jeden gescheiterten Staat aufbauen. Doch Europa muss für instabile und Not leidende Staaten bei Weitem mehr tun als bisher. Ansonsten darf es sich nicht wundern, wenn deren verzweifelte Bewohner in Richtung Hoffnung aufbrechen—und sich weder von Meeren noch von Zäunen aufhalten lassen.” Markus Becker sieht eine klare Mitverantwortung Europas für das Flüchtlingsdrama. Pflichtlektüre.
www.spiegel.de

David Cameron used swarm instead of plague in case it implied that God had sent the migrants

“There has to be something wrong with a world where the best employment option for a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa isn’t being a farmer in sub-Saharan Africa, but crossing the Mediterranean on a punctured lilo, only to spend days dangling under a lorry so that he can end up selling lollipops in a nightclub toilet. Our indifference is staggering.”
Frankie Boyle
www.theguardian.com

Meet Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat, the Turkish couple who spent their wedding day feeding 4,000 Syrian refugees.

David Simon on why he created The Wire¹

“Collective responsibilty without personal freedom or without personal liberty is tyranny, it’s totalitarianism. Conversely, personal freedom and personal liberty without a collective responsibility where we have a shared sense that you are part of society and that you owe it to society to participate fully and to seek utilitarian solutions to society’s problems—that’s just selfish. That’s just bad citizenship. That’s a recipe for a second rate society. [sic]” David Simon speaking at the Observer Ideas festival 2014 in London.
www.theguardian.com

1. “Despite only receiving average ratings and never winning major television awards, The Wire has been described by many critics as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time.”

Robin Cook is dead

Robin Cook, one of few political figures to command my lasting respect, has suddenly died on August 6, 2005. If you are only ever going to read one personal statement made to the House of Commons, read Robin Cooks’s resignation speech from 17 March, 2003.