24
Apr
18

Political crimes committed by the UK, by Maria Zakharova

And now I am asking everyone to fasten their belts. During a briefing on the OPCW report held for the international diplomatic community on April 13, UK Ambassador to Russia Laurie Bristow said that “the Russian state has a record in state-sponsored assassinations including in the UK.” It is not the first Russophobic statement made by a UK official, or, for that matter, not the first UK statement that is an offense to law, standards of decency or any morals. But it’s not the main point. Let’s put aside morals and the law and talk about something different. Maybe the UK Ambassador does not know his own country’s history, role and involvement in processes that took place in other countries over the past centuries. I don’t think Mr Bristow is to blame for absence of law in the UK. He probably just doesn’t know his country’s history. British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie wrote that the “trouble with the new Englishness is that their history happened overseas, so they don’t know what it means.” And so the island status that motivated Britain’s imperial story in the first place has helped them distance themselves from all aspects of that story. I think now is the time to fill this cognitive vacuum and tell the world something about Britain’s history and its international activities and their consequences. Let us talk about state contracts, assassinations and Britain’s reputation.

Let’s start with modern history. It is not a common subject, but Britain was one of the most ruthless metropolises in terms of the repressive actions it took in its colonies and dependent territories. On November 22, 2017, British journalist and writer Afua Hirsch wrote in The Guardian that “from the Norman conquest of Ireland in the 12th century, the English began imagining themselves as the new Romans, persuading themselves they were as duty-bound to civilise ‘backward’ tribes as they were destined to exploit their resources, land and labour.” The British see “Britain’s empire as a great moral achievement and its collapse as an act of casual generosity.”

This accepted view of Britain’s history completely overshadows some inconvenient facts. If the motive is what matters most of all, nobody wants to know the details. But today we will be speaking about details. The establishment of concentration camps in the Boer War that later inspired the Nazis’ death camps, the cultural annihilation of kingdoms and palaces from Ashanti to Beijing, British army massacres in Ireland and the devastation of Bengal, the industrial-scale exploitation of natural resources and the slave trade. These are only the most glaring facts.

The impact of colonial rule in India was extremely devastating. In 1930, American historian Will Durant published a book about the history and life in India, The Case for India.  His study of India brought him to the following conclusion: “The more I read the more I was filled with astonishment and indignation at the apparently conscious and deliberate bleeding of India by England throughout a hundred and fifty years. I began to feel that I had come upon the greatest crime in all history.”

Britain has left fault lines across the globe, which is most acutely felt in the South Asian subcontinent, where a single nation was forcibly split into two in 1947. Today each of these parts is overcoming the consequences of the British colonial “legacy” on its own. Member of Parliament, former UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, an astute statesman who once ran for UN Secretary-General and deservedly enjoys respect the world over has repeatedly stated that the British authorities suffer from “historical amnesia” as regards their imperial atrocities. One has to agree.  Speaking at Oxford on July 22, 2015, he said: “India’s share of the world economy when Britain arrived on its shores was 23 per cent. By the time the British left it was down to below four per cent. Why? Simply because India had been governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain’s rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India.”  According to Dr Tharoor, in fact, Britain’s industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialisation of India. Britain repeatedly provoked famine in India, which killed between 15 million and 29 million people. The best known famine was that in Bengal in 1943, when four million Indians died. You could think this to be just journalistic speculations. But no. Addressing Speaker’s Research Initiative on July 24, 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that the discourse by Dr Shashi Tharoor met the aspirations of his country’s citizens. I am saying this to you, Mr Bristow. 

In his book Inglorious Empire released in 2017, Dr Tharoor cited the atrocities of the British Empire, stating that the former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, should be regarded as one of the cruellest dictators of the 20th century. This is what Churchill said in a conversation with Secretary of State for India and Burma Leopold Amery: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” This is not what we are saying, nor are these our inventions. It’s a fact.

The Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin has a famous picture, “The Devil’s Wind.” This is not a symbolic comparison. The canvas shows a type of execution invented by the British to crush the 19th-century Sepoy Mutiny in India. A victim was tied to a gun with his back to the muzzle and blown to pieces by a gunshot. This was one of the most barbaric punishments in the history of civilisations aimed not so much at physical extermination or intimidation. Even without it, the British had so many infernal instruments of torture and execution that this option doesn’t seem so original and, honestly, was rather costly for the Brits. But from the religious and caste point of view this method of putting to death is absolutely unacceptable for Indians. Their bodies were blown to pieces and the dead were buried together regardless of caste, which is radically at variance with the Indian tradition.

Yet another episode of the same kind occurred in Amritsar, Punjab, on April 13, 1919, when 50 British troops under Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer fired their rifles without warning at pilgrims celebrating Baishakhi, the Punjabi harvest and New Year festival, at the centrally located Jallianwala Bagh public garden. The gathering was mostly made up of women and children. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these British subjects were acting on direct orders of the British authorities. According to the British government, 379 people were killed and over 1,000 wounded. The Indian National Congress said 1,000 people were killed and 1,500 wounded. Regrettably, millions of Indians were to fall victim to the acts committed by the British authorities, including mass executions by a firing squad, during at least several decades after these sad events. 

Africa has also suffered its share of British abuses. Some 13 million Africans have been removed from the continent as slaves. This has to do with Britain’s reputation and the UK Ambassador’s allegations regarding Russia. The number of Africans who died in that period is three or four times larger than the number of those who were removed from the continent. In other words, the overall number of victims runs into tens of millions of people. It is notable that English philosopher John Locke, who advanced the theory of civil society and whose works influenced those who wrote the US Constitution, was a major investor in Britain’s slave trade. It is a fact.

The British were among the first to invent concentration camps for civilians in the Boer War of 1899-1902. These camps were created for the civilians who were suspected of sympathising with the rebels or who could help them. The British torched their farms and fields and slaughtered their cattle. Women and children were separated from men. All this happened long before WWII. The men were taken to outlying regions or Britain’s other colonies, such as India or Ceylon.

When the world learned about this horrible invention of British military commander, Lord Kitchener, the British government published an official statement saying that the camps had been created to keep the peaceful population of the Boer Republics safe from harm’s way, and the camps were renamed “refugee camps.” This is remindful of the story of the White Helmets: take militants, extremists and terrorists, put white helmets on them with “Peace” written on these helmets, and then use them to stage provocations and present mobile phone footage of their crimes as evidence of the plight of the civilians who must be saved. Centuries have passed, yet nothing has changed. Prisoners are now called “guests of the Crown.” Overall, 200,000 people or half of the white Boer population was herded into the British camps, where about 30,000 of them died from disease and hunger.

There were British camps in Cyprus and in Palestine between the late 1930s and 1948, where Jewish refugees were sent and many of them were executed.

Another dark page from Britain’s history concerns the notorious Special Air Service (SAS) of the British Army, which have been used in over 30 local conflicts, mostly former British colonies, including Kenya and several South African countries.

In particular, about 50 former SAS servicemen were included in the Rhodesian regiment that was to play a key role in the coup staged during the transfer of power to the indigenous population of Rhodesia (renamed Zimbabwe).

Historians believe that Britain is the world’s leader when it comes to genocide, given the millions of innocent civilians that have been killed in British colonies.

According to different estimates, between 90 and 95 per cent of aborigines were exterminated during the colonisation of Australia. Indigenous Australians were not only killed but also used for experiments. The British deliberately infected them with various diseases, primarily pox.

The armed conflict between the British colonisers and the indigenous people of Tasmania known as the Black War all but exterminated Tasmanians in the early 19th century. Some British historians consider the war to have been a genocide. The British colonisers had official license to kill Tasmanians, with a bounty put on every person killed. That’s talking about an international reputation. They were poisoned, driven out into the dessert, where they died from hunger and thirst, they were hunted like wild animals. By 1835 about 200 of them survived. They were simply moved to neighbouring islands.

In the 1870s, on the orders of the British authorities, a genocide of Zulus was perpetrated in the Cape Colony and in 1954-1961 of the Kikuyu people in Kenya. In retaliation for the killing of 32 white settlers by the local rebels, the British authorities massacred 300,000 Kikuyus and sent 1.5 million to work camps. An account of these events is given in the book by Caroline Elkins titled The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya. The Western media are reluctant and embarrassed to talk about it, but the personal story of the former US President Barack Obama speaks volumes. We have read that his father was tortured by the British during the Kenya rebellion. Or is that story untrue?

Remembering the notorious Opium Wars would not come amiss. London was poisoning Chinese people with drugs for decades. Britain organised a supply of opium to China making fabulous profits. The operation also pursued the military-strategic aim of demoralising the Chinese army and people and depriving them of the will to resist. In a bid to save his country, the Chinese Emperor in 1839 launched a massive operation to confiscate and destroy opium stocks in Canton. London retaliated by unleashing the Opium Wars. China was defeated and had to sign a crippling peace with Britain.

“As long as China remains a nation of opium-smokers there is not the least reason to fear that she will become a military power of any importance, as the habit saps the energies and vitality of the nation.” This was how Richard Hurst, the British Consul in China, ended his speech to the Royal Opium Commission in 1895.   It was not until 1905 that the Chinese authorities managed to adopt and start implementing a programme to gradually ban opium.

And now for instances from recent history, when London was already vocal in upholding human rights calling itself a bastion of democracy and freedom.

We have already described the suffering inflicted on India. This is not our question, this is common sense. Think of the suffering inflicted by the British authorities in the Middle East. One needs hardly go to any length to argue that Britain seeking to retain as much influence as possible in the region as it saw the colonial system crumble, made some moves which created a deep rift between the Arabs and the Jews. One need not go into historical details, it is enough to open the world map and look at the borders in the region as they were redrawn by the British after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Nobody thought about borders as something more than lines drawn with a ruler. But it concerned lives of whole nations. As a result, tribes, ethnic and religious communities and peoples were divided. The world is still reaping the fruit of that policy in the Middle East today. Yet Britain is still very active on this issue.

One more interesting fact. According to the British national archives declassified in 2014, the British authorities made wide use of chemical weapons to put down the Arab rebellion in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq) in the spring of 1920. Winston Churchill as Britain’s Secretary of State for War supported “the use of gas against uncivilised tribes.” According to archives, Churchill ordered the use of thousands of mustard gas shells against the rebels. The anti-British rebellion in Iraq claimed between 6,000 and 10,000 lives, according to various sources, a negligible number from London’s point of view compared to other regions.

The Greeks, too, got their share of British brutality. In the spring of 1944, Britain crushed a revolt in the Greek army in Egypt. Many historians believe that the suppression of that revolt paved the way to and was a prelude to the British invasion of Greece in December 1944 and the Civil War of 1946-1949. Of the 30,000 Greek officers and men in the Middle East between 20,000 and 22,000 were imprisoned in British camps in Eritrea, Egypt, Sudan and Libya.

In the late 1960s and 1970s the British authorities evicted 1,500 indigenous people from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. At the United Nations, the British diplomats passed off the indigenous Ilua people as “contract workers.” The reason was the US wish to set up a military base on one of the islands. It was that simple.

Moreover, the whole archipelago was declared to be a marine reserve. In 2009, Wikileaks reported that the British government had backed the project to make sure that the continued attempts of deported islanders to return to their home island would fail. Ironically, the American military base on Diego Garcia Island was called Camp Justice. Sounds great. 

Here is another example from recent history. The secret service of the British Armed Forces intentionally falsified reports on military crimes committed between 2010 and 2013 so as to conceal information on killings of civilians in Afghanistan. Unarmed Afghan civilians, who were regarded as potential Taliban militants, were killed, not detained as per the reports, during raids on their homes.

Launched in 2014, the investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan committed in 2010-2013 was codenamed Operation Northmoor, with investigators establishing that the secret service in question had forged documents to shift the blame for killing unarmed civilians to the Afghan army. This is apropos international reputation, Mr British Ambassador. The investigators got hold of drone footage, the so-called Kill TV, which clearly shows that it was the British rather than their Afghan colleagues, who were firing at unarmed Afghans. According to The Times (July2, 2017), the UK Defence Ministry intended to conceal these war crimes from the media, because it believed that the publication of the investigation’s details could cause damage to national security, public confidence and collaboration with the allies. At the same time, the UK top army brass described the evidence of mass killings that had been discovered during the investigation as reliable, very serious and disastrous for the government. But no disaster ensued. The British authorities always have something to distract the attention of esteemed journalists.

On November 19, 2017, The Sunday Times published another story on SAS killings, specifically an admission by Major Chris Green, who testified to a SAS unit killing in cold blood three peaceful Afghans in the courtyard of their house at the village of Rahim, Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province. The civilians had no connections with the Taliban.

Now to Iraq. According to information from open sources, 326 criminal proceedings were instituted in connection with British military abuses during the Iraq war in 2003-2011, with charges brought against 1,500 persons and the compensations paid to the injured parties adding up to ₤20 million. It could be said that these are just isolated occurrences unrelated to the official state strategy. After all, there is always an investigation following any wrongdoing. Well, there are investigations, of course, and people get punished. But the British government, which sanctions all these things, never suffers any punishment and, what is most important, all of this keeps happening again and again, year after year, decade after decade, century after century.    

The media focused on an episode that happened in Basra in 2003, when the British military detained two Iraqis for an alleged killing of two British snipers. They were kept in prison without charge or trial for several years. They were charged with murder only in 2006. But Iraq’s Supreme Tribunal dropped the charges as unsubstantiated.

To minimise the number of lawsuits against the British military for crimes committed during military campaigns, the Tory annual conference in Birmingham held in October 2016 was presented with a government plan to grant British servicemen involved in conflicts abroad immunity from prosecution by the European Convention on Human Rights.    

Now let’s move on to espionage operations and pinpoint sabotage and subversive acts. From time immemorial, representatives of Great Britain have been avid fans of various kinds of covert operations and targeted subversive acts against specific individuals as a way to secure political benefits for Great Britain. This predisposition is richly represented in their art, things like the James Bond gold collection. This may sound ridiculous unless you know that the author of the series, Ian Fleming, had searched through the archives, so Agent 007 in fact has real prototypes. This anthology of crime, artfully described by writer and part-time naval intelligence officer Fleming is a light version for those who are not interested in historiography, who see archive work as boring or believe that materials there may have various interpretations and require additional checks.

Indeed, the Bondiana is a very symptomatic example of the British government’s love of such things. Fleming died in 1964, but what he described lives and thrives. New James Bond episodes are regularly released, as everyone is used to the superhero. Times change, the actors and sets change, but the idea remains unchanged – a British agent, in the service of the Kingdom, gets nothing less than  ‘license to kill.’ Once again I repeat, this is not a fictional invention, but a result of work with archival materials. What we see in the Bondiana is actually taking place under the cover of MI5 and MI6.

Thanks to the films, people have a basic understanding of the license to kill concept – a term denoting the permission granted by the official government or a state agency  to a secret agent who serves this authority to independently make a decision on the necessity and expediency of murder to achieve a certain goal. Once the mission is completed, the agent always returns to the base. We have seen that as well.

It is a pity that in normal life, to which we will now return, things are not so beautiful and dignified. Fleming did something brilliant: he took facts and packaged them beautifully. What we see is a very beautiful picture.

And now getting back to reality. The following historical episodes are not fiction, they are facts. Some of them are proven whereas others are highly likely hypotheses put forward by historians. But the key is that while as far back as a month and a half ago we did not use materials which are just hypotheses in official statements, with a helping hand from Theresa May who introduced the “highly likely” phrase to level an accusation of a most grave crime, why should we deny it to ourselves?

Scotland Yard historians also maintained the British authorities’ complicity in the murder of Grigory Rasputin. Michael Smith, a historian of the British intelligence, writes in his book SIX: A History of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service that at the height of World War I in 1916, the resident agent of the British intelligence in Petrograd heard rumours that Grigory Rasputin was trying to conclude a separate peace treaty with Germany through the Tsarina. This fact worried the British a great deal. Captain Oswald Raymer of MI6 was dispatched to Petrograd to get information about the talks from Rasputin and eliminate him, if necessary. According to Michael Smith, the third, security shot in Rasputin’s head (the “official” murderers’ testimony does not say anything about that) came from a 455 Webley, a British revolver, whereas the plotters’ memoirs indicate that Yusupov fired a pocket-size Browning and Purishkevich – a Savage pistol. The following is a striking admission from the declassified correspondence of British intelligence agents. A friend of Oswald Rayner’s wrote a letter to a British intelligence officer, John Scale, on December 24, 1916: “Although matters have not proceeded entirely to plan, our objective has been achieved … Rayner is attending to loose ends and will certainly contact you.” A number of historians are convinced that the message refers to Rasputin’s murder. In 2004, the BBC aired its documentary “Who Killed Rasputin?” According to British journalists, the “glory” and the plot of the murder belong to Great Britain, whereas the Russian conspirators were just the actors or the instruments.

By the way, there are similar versions regarding the murder of Russian Emperor Paul I, but I think this is a question to be addressed to historians.

Historians also write about the so-called Lockhart Conspiracy organised in 1918 by the heads of the diplomatic missions of Britain, France and the USA to Soviet Russia in order to overthrow the Bolsheviks. The conspiracy involved the chief of the British special mission, Robert Lockhart, French Ambassador Joseph Noulens, and US Ambassador David Francis.

Robert Lockhart tried to bribe the Latvian Riflemen who were guarding the Kremlin. You know the rest of the story. The Latvians were supposed to be sent to Vologda to join the British troops who would be landed in Arkhangelsk, so as to assist them in their advance. This is just a brief summary. You can read more on that.

In 2013, information was made public indicating that the MI6 intelligence service was the mastermind of the assassination (now we are moving to another continent) of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister the Congo.

A Labour member of the House of Lords said that Baroness Daphne Park of Monmouth had confessed to him a few months prior to her death in March 2010 that she had been behind the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, because she feared that the new democracy would forge an alliance with the Soviet Union.

In a letter to the London Review of Books, Lord Lea reported that Daphne Park made her confession as they were having a cup of tea. From 1959 to 1961, she was the consul and first secretary in Leopoldville, the capital of the Belgian Congo, which was renamed Kinshasa after the country gained independence. Lord Lea writes, “I mentioned the uproar surrounding Lumumba’s abduction and murder, and recalled the theory that MI6 might have had something to do with it. ‘We did,’ she replied, ‘I organised it.’”

As time went by, official London and its diplomatic missions continued to actively meddle in the domestic affairs of other states and to influence their political regimes. Suffice it to recall 20th century events when British secret services “took part” in staging a coup d’état in Iran in 1953. Since the early 20th century, British capital controlled the Iranian oil industry via a concession agreement that appropriated most of the country’s oil revenues. This situation provoked social and political tensions in Iran, which became more pronounced by the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1951, Mohammad Mossadegh was appointed Prime Minister of Iran and started implementing an independent foreign and domestic policy. His policies were mostly aimed at eliminating foreign monopolies operating in the country on highly unprofitable terms to the detriment of Iranian interests. A movement for the nationalisation of Iranian oilfields became the main symbol of Mossadegh’s independent policy. At that time, oil export revenues were allotted disproportionately in favour of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now called British Petroleum, with British government acting as its main shareholder. With the support of the Majlis (Parliament), Mossadegh passed a law on the nationalisation of the Iranian oil industry. This hit British interests hard. After that, official London launched subversive operations against the Iranian government, imposed an international embargo on Iranian petroleum products and thus caused a major economic crisis in Iran.

British diplomats working in Moscow are probably listening and recording all this. They will have to send their report to London today. I have done my best, and this statement is 17 pages long. I have one question: Are you proud of your history? Then you need to make a choice: either you advocate human rights, international law and democracy, or you are proud of what you did in the past and continue to do today.

In August 1953, the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service staged their joint Operation Ajax to overthrow the government of Mossadegh. A new Iranian government signed another agreement on establishing a consortium of US and British companies that obtained part of Iranian oil revenues and the right to develop oilfields in that country.

Although we were members of the Anti-Hitler Coalition, the UK’s behaviour during World War II can also hardly be called equivocal, due to a number of factors. Some historical episodes give rise to major questions about the essence of the UK’s policies on the international scene. This includes, for example, Rudolf Hess’ mysterious flight to the UK on the eve of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The history of every country has some unpleasant facts, for which future generations will have to pay the price and assume moral responsibility. But the British secret services have classified all the documents on this case for 100 years, and this deadline is being extended. During the Nuremberg Tribunal, Hess tried to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding his visit, but the British prosecutor, presiding over the court, promptly stopped the hearings. During the break, representatives of British secret services visited Hess, and he later started feigning amnesia. Under the court ruling, Hess was transferred to Spandau Prison to serve a life sentence but he died there under mysterious circumstances in August 1987, pending his possible release three months later. All relevant documents were classified. The situation remains unclear. Certain facts exist but the full circumstances remain classified.

Volume Five of Essays on the History of Russian Foreign Intelligence mentions another extremely curious episode of World War II. A joint British-US plan for a military attack against the Soviet Union was declassified in October 1998 and the relevant files of the UK’s National Archives were published. In all, ten German divisions, as well as 47 US and British divisions, were to have attacked the unsuspecting forces of the Soviet Union, then an ally of Washington and London. Intelligence officers received information about Allied military preparations, launched after the surrender of Germany. The plan’s codename, Operation Unthinkable, truly reflected its ambitious concept, which involved forcing Soviet Russia to submit to the will of the United States and the British Empire. But, after analysing the balance of forces and equipment, the new Allies decided that it would prove impossible to achieve a rapid limited success, and that they would be dragged into a protracted war against superior forces.

Another example of subversive operations can be found in Kim Philby’s book “My Silent War”, which contains some interesting evidence. In April 1951, London hosted a meeting of representatives of the British and US intelligence services regarding both countries’ use of Ukrainian nationalist organisations. Again, everything ties up.  By that time, the secret services had supported Stepan Bandera’s Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) for many years and used them to recruit agents and obtain intelligence on the USSR. Cooperation between OUN and the Intelligence Service grew steadily. In 1949 and 1950, several OUN saboteur squads were para-dropped to Ukraine. In the early hours of May 15, 1951, British secret services para-dropped three reconnaissance-saboteur squads. Everyone knows about the atrocities committed by Bandera’s supporters, including mass executions of civilians, hundreds of thousands of men and women, old people and children, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Yugoslavs, the Volhynia massacre, the murder of Polish professors, the Khatyn tragedy, punitive operations in Slovakia, Warsaw and Prague.

The British authorities actively recruited professional criminals during their subversive operations. Remember, they told us that Russia is a criminal state with which there should be no cooperation? But the British authorities cooperate nicely with criminals. We are not even talking about White Helmets and people recruited into this organisation who are supported all the same. Let’s talk about “mundane” things. In 1973, Her Majesty’s Government officially admitted that Kenneth Littlejohn and his brother Keith had robbed banks in the Republic of Ireland for over 12 months in order to discredit the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA). This amounts to classic tactics. Kenneth Littlejohn claims that he was instructed to kill Sean Mac Stíofáin, the former chief of staff of theIRA.

And here is another example: Howard Marx, an Oxford graduate who became a drug dealer, was recruited for the purpose of obtaining information about the IRA’s weapons supply chain. In return, the authorities promised not to prosecute him for drug-related crimes. These are isolated examples.

By the way, the British government is known to have created comfortable conditions in the UK for criminals from other countries. According to the UK Home Office’s information for a period between 2005 and 2012, there were over 700 war crime perpetrators living in Britain.

The British authorities also like to use prohibited methods for treating prisoners, especially when they need to get information from them. And, of course, nobody has called off the licence to kill.

A recent case in point is the story of Libyan field commander Abdelhakim Belhaj, who was arrested by US special services, after a tip-off from the British, in 2004. After his release in 2009, Belhaj accused London of organising his abduction and of taking part in his interrogation and torture. He has been fighting for a formal apology from the British government since 2011. He has brought the case against former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and several MI6 officers, including former Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Allen, whose correspondence with members of Libya’s special services was made public after Muammar Gaddafi’s overthrow. We also remember how Gaddafi was removed and that London applauded the execution of the head of a sovereign state.

In December 2013, the High Court of England and Wales concluded that Belhaj’s claims cannot be settled in the UK. In July 2016, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed its decision to release the MI6 officers involved in the case.

On January 17, 2016, the UK Supreme Court ruled that “claims that the rendition and torture of Abdelhakim Belhaj breached rights enshrined in the Magna Carta should be put before an English court.”

It was reported in February 2018 that the next hearing of this case would not be held sooner than 2019. While history is history, claims have been lodged and are being investigated. And the latest news: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office insists that the hearings be held behind closed doors for national security interests, which is another classical pretext.

In 2015, a non-fiction book titled The Third Bullet: The Political Background of the Assassination of Zoran Dindic (Djindjic) was published in Serbia. The authors blame the murder of the Serbian prime minister in 2003 on the British intelligence. They claim that the MI6 agent in Serbia, Anthony Monckton, who was connected with the alleged killers, the Zemun criminal clan, was also involved in this crime.

God knows in how many other such cases the UK government is involved. On March 21, 1985, a Soviet engineer working at the Indian nuclear power plant, Valentin Khitrichenko, was assassinated in New Delhi by members of an Afghan terrorist group. What makes us think that the UK special services were involved if Khitrichenko was killed by Afghan terrorists? Those who maintained contact with that group knew about the planned terrorist attack but did nothing to prevent it.

In conclusion, I will provide the “deadly list” of the prominent and talented people who died a strange death in the UK in the early 21st century.

November 2001: Vladimir Pasechnik, a Soviet microbiologist and former head of the Institute of Highly Pure Biochemical Preparations in Leningrad, dies in Salisbury, allegedly of a stroke. Pasechnik worked at a secret military chemical laboratory at Porton Down. You know about that laboratory at Porton Down. Well, he worked there. While on a trip to France in 1989, he asked for political asylum in the UK and subsequently told the British intelligence service about the alleged biological weapons programme in the Soviet Union.

July 2003: a UK authority on biological warfare David Kelly was found dead in Oxfordshire. The inquiry concluded that he had committed suicide. I would like to remind you that David Kelly criticised the Tony Blair government and claimed that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on falsified data. A decade later, the UK government admitted that the data was indeed falsified.

2003: Lawyer Stephen Moss died of a sudden heart attack. He was hired by Boris Berezovsky and his partner Badri Patarkatsishvili to sell the assets of their Devonia investment company.

2004: Dr Paul Norman, who succeeded David Kelly at the Porton Down laboratory, died in an air crash in Devon. He was a leading chemical and biological weapons expert in the UK.

March 2004: Lawyer Stephen Curtis died in a helicopter crash near Bournemouth Airport. The UK media allege that he feared for his life. Several weeks before his death, he allegedly told his friend, “If anything happens to me in the next few weeks, it will not be an accident.” According to the media, Curtis was the managing director of Menatep Group and a lawyer of Boris Berezovsky and Nikolai Glushkov. He was also an independent witness at the hearing of their lawsuit against Forbes in the UK Supreme Court.

Some deaths I will not even mention. Let’s just list the major cases. In November 2006, former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, Alexander Litvinenko, died in London. I will not go into details, everything is top secret. In January 2007, one of Yukos founders, Yury Golubev, died in London. In February 2008, Badri Patarkatsishvili died of a heart attack in his mansion in Leatherhead, Surrey. In August 2010, former employee of the Government Communications Headquarters (electronic intelligence) Gareth Williams died under suspicious circumstances. He was found dead in a sports bag zipped from the outside. Investigators concluded that his death was an accident (allegedly, he got into the bag himself, zipped it and could not get out). Why are you laughing? This is not funny. This is the official data from the British investigation report.

In April 2012, Richard Holmes, who had worked at a secret military chemical lab in Porton Down, died in Salisbury. The investigation determined that one month before his death, Holmes quit his job for unknown reasons. Forensics found that he died of a stroke. However, his colleagues claimed the scientist had been in great physical shape and had no health problems. Perhaps it has something to do with Porton Down. Maybe it is the toxic environment.

In November 2012, Russian financier Alexander Perepilichny died in Weybridge, Surrey. This case is also very mysterious. In December 2012, millionaire and real estate tycoon Robert Curtis died in London. According to the investigation, he jumped in front of a train. In March 2013, Boris Berezovsky died in Ascot. There is nothing to comment on here. Nobody has established what exactly happened there to this day. In December 2014, a close friend of Berezovsky, businessman Scot Young, died in London after he fell out of the fourth floor window. It does happen that people sometimes fall out of the fourth floor windows but it was not the only such death at the time.

In 2016, prominent British scientist and radioactive substance expert Matthew Puncher died in Oxfordshire. He had been a key expert on the Alexander Litvinenko death probe. His death was ruled suicide. Law enforcement agencies promptly closed the case.

I want to say that this smear campaign that the British government is waging against Russia is Britain’s stock in trade. This is talking about the reputation at the international scene. And boy, they are constantly talking about our reputation! I gave you a short list. There are volumes written about what the British government and those who report to it have been doing around the world over centuries, including the 20th and the 21st century. This is nothing new for the people who are aware of this. But the point is that many people are not aware.

Spanish historian Julian Juderias described the British establishment’s habit of badmouthing its competitors since the 16th century very well. He gave a definition to this act by the British government (“Black Legend” is a special term used to mean smear campaign by Britain): “The environment created by the fantastic stories about our homeland that have seen the light of publicity in all countries, the grotesque descriptions that have always been made of the character of Spaniards as individuals and collectively, the denial or at least the systematic ignorance of all that is favourable and beautiful in the various manifestations of culture and art, the accusations that in every era have been flung against Spain” “which are based on depictions of events that are exaggerated, misinterpreted or indeed entirely false, and finally the claim found in books that at first sight seem respectable and truthful, which is repeatedly reproduced, commentated upon and magnified in the foreign press, that our fatherland should be seen as a lamentable exception among the group of European nations.” Once again, this was written by a Spanish historian about the purpose of Black Legend.

But enough of poetry, let’s move on to facts. Speaking about the motives suggested by London in the Skripal case and considering the long-standing policy conducted against us by British Ambassador in Russia Laurie Bristow, it is highly likely that the provocation against the Russian nationals in Salisbury was to the advantage of and perhaps even organised by the British secret services to compromise Russia and its political leadership. Historically, Britain has practiced this on a regular basis. This measure fits in with the general anti-Russian course of the conservative government seeking to demonise our country.

The UK’s national security strategy and Prime Minister Theresa May’s banquet speech late last year indicate the same.

The outright refusal to cooperate with Russia in the Salisbury poisoning investigation, London’s violation of its obligations under the Consular Convention, avoidance of cooperation with the OPCW and concealing source documents essential for an objective investigation are quite illustrative of this

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26
Jan
18

Ch4 to the rescue

Jordan Peterson debates with Cathy Newman

No wonder it went viral. It’s the best video I’ve seen so far this year. Thank you CH4, There was talk of taking it down with the idea it was damaging Cathy, but we have seen plenty of behaviour like this on all the main channels and we have plenty of material on Cathy, to see she is not a reporter, she has an ideology firmly implanted and it’s rare to see anyone gain a gotcha moment.
23
Nov
17

productivity

With much talk about productivity here is a week in the life of a External wall Insulator in the South West, 2017.

There is a house to insulate in Bristol, front and back only as it’s a terrace, so not many metres. The materials should be there already. On the Monday morning bright and early the gang of three set off for Bristol. It’s a seventy three mile journey, door to door. They are all on a labour only contract, with a price for the total job. On arrival the material can be seen on the properties driveway, but none of it is covered, so the bags of render are all soaked after a weekend of rain. As on all jobs, one of the first things a Plasterer will look for is water. They find the rear entrance up a cat mess ridden overgrown lane, and on inspection they notice there is no water tap. Next door either way, have no tap either. They bang on the door front and back but the house is empty. One has found a Fire Hydrant connection at the far end of the cul-de-sac. They phoned a line manager at home, as it’s only eight fifteen, to warn him of the situation. He checks they have tried the door and the neighbours. His last suggestion is a local Petrol station, apparently they all have outside taps. With only two buckets to hand, one would need to be on a constant water run, they shelved that idea as ludicrous. On his arrival in the office he promised to send a van up the Motorway, with a Hydrant key and tap, but it would get there too late for that day, so they set off home, after earning nothing and using 150 miles worth of fuel.

Day two, on arrival the key can be seen on top of the material. They dig out the Hydrant box, the chamber is solid with road grit. The key they had been given didn’t fit, it was too big. They phoned the office, moaned about losing two days and spending money on fuel. The boss agrees to pay them a day rate for all days that they are delayed, where it’s not their fault.

Day three, they bring their own key from home and a resident van driver had left another one to try. Oddly the van driver could have checked he’s, and phoned in to say he’s didn’t fit. On checking, theirs didn’t fit either. They phoned in again to give the boss the bad news. Go to a different house tomorrow, he says, leave that one for now.

Day four, they arrive at the new address, the Scaffolder’s are just finishing. On giving it the once over, they notice the Scaffold doesn’t reach the party line between the two properties by a metre. They mention this as the Scaffolder writes out the Scaffolding tag and slips it on a tube. Apparently he’d said to the boss, £300 wasn’t enough for the houses on that street as they where longer than normal front and back. The boss had told him there was only £300 on the book for Scaffold, take it or leave it. Sliding the ladder onto his shoulder he chucked it onto the lorry. They asked as to where their ladder was, considering for a moment that it might be on the rear for safety as many get stolen.  Apparently, leaving one, would have took the bill to £360, so he wasn’t leaving one. They phoned the office, the boss was livid, he’d ticked the box on his Spread sheet, Started, so he could plan on getting paid four days later, I’ll get him to drop one off, he says. After waiting for three hours they assumed Scaffolder was having none of it. They phone in to say they are leaving site. There’s no ladder. The boss says he’s got a nice little job they can do for him, on Friday.

Day five, they wander up to Bristol again, to another postcode. It’s just a coat over, keep it tight back he says as there is only four bags of material. On arrival, the front elevation is pebble dash and the mortar is letting go of the stones, really it needs taking off, back to the blockwork. The four bags is looking slim. As they climb the Scaffold they see the resident on the phone, down below in the lounge in a Housecoat (who wears a Housecoat?). As he’s facing them, they assume he’s ranting about them, he was. He was arguing with the Salesman who had been in his house two days earlier, he’d definitely said they would take it all off before rendering. By now the four bags had been mixed and applied, even mortar that had dropped on the floor had been saved and applied. For such a knobbly wall, six bags would have been tight. At no time did the householder speak to them, so they cleared up and left, twenty metres at £5 a metre, minus 750+ miles of fuel.

On pay day the boss made no mention of his agreement to pay waiting time, they had wondered how he could have paid it, as there is only money in the pot for fitting the Insulation, nothing else. He also failed to mention that he hadn’t been paid for the recoat on the Pebbledash, the resident refused, it wasn’t thick enough and they had left the stone on. It was with some luck that they had been paid for it.

The Insulated render industry has been invaded by chancers, charlatans, blagger’s, call them what you want, from the coal face and up through management. Lots saw the Green Deal as a bandwagon apart from those doing the work. The boss who they had been working for, previously owned a sweet shop locally before jumping into the render game. Within a week most of the kids at three schools had been off with the shits. On the big jars of sweets lining the shelves, you could read with a magnifying glass the warning about diarrhoea. Within a few weeks the shop closed down, I did laugh.

Only the other day I saw the old boss sporting a full unkempt beard, a disguise probably, as running up accounts to the max at local suppliers before closing your business, is seriously frowned upon in these parts. The productivity of those three men had kept his company afloat, he never understood how unproductive rendering from the bottom up could be, the country as a whole will be better off without him at the helm of anything bar a razor blade.

A different gang of three, a different week and a different county, Cornwall.

One hundred and four miles door to door, requiring an early start. If you’ve never been to Cornwall you’ve missed out. If you’ve made it over the border you’ll have noticed the shortage of roads in the middle, if you know anything about maps you’ll quickly notice a lot of the inner roads are not major roads. Travel off the main drag needs to be kept to a minimum if possible. You will get used to the regular Post Code Satnav scenario, the Satnav says you’ve arrived but the house is nowhere to be seen, it’s actually above you, up that donkey track, or your on top of an hill and its down through that Bramble track that your vehicle won’t fit down. The other extreme is it’s in the middle of a fifteen house terrace, carved into a mountain and built out of the stone, no rear access, everything has to go through the house, can’t have your van outside the house as it’s Duchy land, and it’s not allowed, there’s a car park on top of the mountain. The workers wonder how their boss gets such shit jobs. This house is to be insulated inside so as not to disfigure the stone work. The resident makes it clear from the start that they weren’t expecting this intrusion before Christmas, they certainly won’t want the mess.

Day one, after speaking to the irate resident, they retire to the van and consume their lunchbox, as Ten O’clock sneaks up on them with no sign of any materials. They phone in, it’s coming by a big National carrier. The boss phones back, they’ve spoken to the driver, he’s close by, expect arrival, shortly. Lunchtime arrives, there’s not much left to eat. They phone in again, the boss phones back, it’s close by. They look out of the window at the weather battered cars that had their own tyre impressions in the tarmac. No lorry, nothing. They phone in, the boss phones back, they don’t know where it is, they’ve lost contact with the driver. They wander down to the house, it’s lashing down, no materials there. At two thirty they set of home.

Day two, they announce their arrival to the resident, and at Nine O’clock they phone in. Nothing changed, they reckon they still have no contact with the driver, so at two thirty they set off home.

Day three, they do exactly the same again, they are leaving their own impressions in the Tarmac now. The boss phones to say it’s been delivered. Where though, it’s not in the car park, or on the Terrace. At Two Thirty they set of home.

Day four, by chance they speak to a different boss, your where he asks, you shouldn’t be there until January, but the materials been delivered somewhere, what, who told you to go there? apologies to the resident and come home, I’ll work something out for you, for tomorrow.

Day five, the boss never phoned back until Nine O’clock and that was to say sorry and see them on Monday, luckily they hadn’t set off. Four hundred miles of fuel with no monies earned and Productivity nowhere to be seen.

 

21
Jul
17

The road to Grenfell

There are many routes, this is my route.

In 1938,  Liberalism was on the wane and some people thought a new direction was needed for the world. A conference was set up in Paris called The Walter Lippmann Colloquium, it’s aim was to  construct a new Liberalism as a rejection to Socialism and Laissez-Fare Liberalism. Twenty six men of like minds attended. They where reading Lippmann’s book, An Enquiry into the Principles of the Good Society. The term Neo Liberalism (free market capitalism), was first thought of by Alexander Rustow at this meeting. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism. I first learnt of it in 1973 in my GCSE History lesson, where the Socialist teacher in his hand knitted oversize jumper painted a grim picture of what was to come.

This Right wing Ideological fringe movement would be classed as obscure for many, until the arrival of Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and even then I don’t remember it being mentioned, as they would prefer it if  could be sneaked in, bit by bit, hoping its too late by the time you’ve noticed. Heath had started the attack on Unions some time before Thatcher’s arrival and her 84/85 Miners strike. The result a message to us all and a resurgence of the power of capital, over labour.

Callaghan had ditched Keynesian economics in 1976. Howe in 81 had 364 economists telling him his budget was all wrong, it was to bury Keynesian economics for ever. The removal of exchange controls meant travellers no longer had a £50 foreign travel limit. For business it was the free movement of money and investments abroad. But this also is part of the Neo Liberalism way of thinking. Small state and less regulation. Banks did well with high interest rates, but the workers didn’t, with high fuel costs and a rise in National Insurance, increases in Tobacco and Alcohol duties. It was the first Austerity budget I had known.

Personally it was the first attack on my wages. Men in suites stood around with clipboards watching people work, timing, recording. In the months that followed my prices went down. Things got Privatised Nationally. Add in the higher taxes and national insurance and a lot of us buggered off to Germany and beyond. I was on the Legoland Windsor project at the time, and it’s one of the only jobs I’ve left without finishing, such was the rush to get out. I’d realised the present order was not natural, but rather that it is new, that came from somewhere, and that it was designed by particular people with particular interests, like Alexander Rustow.  It felt like Management had secretly  been to night school and learnt a new meaner method.

It was the end of Society as we had previously known it, but they are not finished yet. Devised by people it can be undone by people, I hope.

.Com

The floatation of many company’s was another assault on the workers wages. Where does the money come from for the Shareholders dividend, and the new H&S department and the new HR department, it can only come out of the workers wages as the boss isn’t going to pay it out of his profit.

It tickles me to see Blair telling us we should stay in the single market and the Customs union for he is a Neoliberal as well. Seeing him wearing a Kippah reminded me of the string of Jewish names that are attached to this way of thinking, not forgetting the list of Billionaires, some Jewish, as it’s money that’s really in charge now.

They have a wish to remove Capitalism away from Government and a vote. Free of all constraints and controls. Free labour would be ideal, but they are settling for free movement at the moment. Anything that can be, is to be monetised.

The Wiki says:

Neoliberalism (neo-liberalism)[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, unrestricted free trade,[3] and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society.[11] These market-based ideas and the policies they inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which lasted from 1945 to 1980.

That’s where we are, if we look out of the window.

We’ve seen the effects of economic liberalism, Enron and the 2008 crash to name but two. If we look at Chile in 1980, Neoliberal  James McGill Buchanan helped the Pinochet dictatorship write a new constitution, which, partly through the clever devices Buchanan proposed, has proved impossible to reverse entirely. Amid the torture and killings, he advised the government to extend programmes of privatisation, austerity, monetary restraint, deregulation and the destruction of trade unions: a package that helped trigger economic collapse in 1982. In 1986 James Buchanan was awarded the Nobel memorial prize for economics. Mrs Thatcher had Pinochet as a personal friend.

Privatisation has seen a none stop selling off of assets, you can be riding your bike now and told you can’t, it’s private land and there are rules you follow or don’t go that way again, you might even be fined.

Fiscal Austerity has seen an ever increasing drop in all aspects of life, especially in the care given by the Government to those less off in society. The NHS wasn’t safe under Labour and it’s even less safe now, as America is waiting to own it.

If you look back to 1938 (the year my mother was born) and beyond you’ll find the property supremacist John C Calhoun, who argued in the first half of the 19th century that freedom consists of the absolute right to use your property (including your slaves) however you may wish; any institution that impinges on this right is an agent of oppression, exploiting men of property on behalf of the undeserving masses. I’ve met bosses with the same mentality.

Deregulation has spread far and wide. There’s been a De Regulation for money and for control systems. Do you remember Trading Standards? did you ever read Which Cladding? obviously Kensington Council didn’t. Trading Standards could have stopped Grenfell if they hadn’t been told to let up and let the manufacturer’s check their own products. If local Councils still had their own Clerk of Works, he would have stopped Grenfell. If the local Council had sent a Fire Officer, they would have stopped Grenfell. If Grenfell had a warden, more lives would have been saved.

Un restricted free trade and free movement, the two go together.

Thatcher stopped the Better Home initiative which Grenfell would have been brought up to date in the 90’s under. Free movement saw the demise of the Industrial Process that used to insulate the blocks like Grenfell. Firstly, cheap unskilled labour was used by management to lower wages, secondly, they expected you to be happy with it, eventually all their trained workers left. Most left the Industry, never to return, hence the skills shortage across the land, and Bovis the house builders £7 million pot, put aside for snagging this year.  I haven’t stopped laughing about that. The quality the untrained could muster, you or anyone with the money wouldn’t pay for. Eventually the clients and local councils didn’t want anymore doing to that quality level and looked for something else, and picked Rain Screen as the new method.

As seven out of the ten company’s connected with the project where for the cladding side, pinning the blame will be difficult. Who would a quarter of Million pounds be a saving for, is a smaller list.

What you can’t see is the windows where moved from their original spot outwards, to aid light ingress as the cladding was at least 150mm deep. The fire proofing around the new window position will be under scrutiny along with the system makeup in the internal corners where the fire first travelled at speed vertically. You will hear much about the cavity fire stops, they survived the blaze, they are still there, they are on the floor pads in the final picture, just above the windows in an horizontal line. Where are the fire breaks in the flammable cladding, the cavity breaks stop against the back of the outer  cladding, under heat, they don’t make it to the outer edge,  can you see any in the extremely flammable cladding? no as there aren’t any. Molten Aluminium windows give us some idea of the temperatures involved. The temperatures reached in property’s is even higher than previous, with the invent of Lithium battery’s for phones and pads. Down in the right hand corner fourth square in on the second level you can see the colour of the FR5000 Insulation, which didn’t burn with the cladding, more it was turned to carbon by the flat fires that followed. If the fire hadn’t made it inside, the Insulation would still be there as the burning cladding had passed it quite quickly.

 

There is a chance more deaths on a large scale will have happened before we hear the final news on Grenfell. Is there a reason for the circle of Mosques that encircle London? imagine them as a boundary. Londonium will end there, and if your not the right colour or of the correct wealth you won’t be allowed to live there. It will be a fully privatised area of well kept lawns, homes and not a spot of litter or riffraff. In essence, it is a class war of the global rich against the rest of humanity. Its purpose is to destroy the gains made by working people since the 40’s, to increase the rate of exploitation and profit, and to redistribute wealth from labour to capital.  So they will build you a new house or block of flats but the developer will decide on the affordable figure, so none of Grenfell’s residents could afford the rent.

As James Buchanan managed to write a manifesto for Chile, then I’m going to write a manifesto for the world. I’ve tested it on a multi millionaire, it went down like a lead balloon, so I reckon with a little bit of fine tuning it will be good to go.

21
Jun
17

It’s hot

In 1976, and for some years afterwards, manual workers on Construction sites, would be in various states of undress. Bricklayers in swimming trunks, would be as brown as a Moroccan in three days, on his back at least. All those indoors doing manual tasks  like plaster boarding, Plastering, Artexing and Carpentry, would also be in various states of undress.

On one site I’d made my way past the overweight bricklayer in his trunks, glistening in his tanning oil and in to the shade of a nearby house. In the lounge a radio, too loud for clarity, was drowned out by the singing dryliner, in his cut down jeans shorts. His wallet pocket hanging down below the jagged edge, his skin as white as a sheet, from dust and a lack of sun.

Upstairs, Radio three, two female Artexers, one in a floral dress, hanging loose in the parts that weren’t stuck to her massive frame by sweat, Artex dust clinging to the hairs sprouting from her chin. The other all slim to the point of being thin, was in a bikini. Much like the Dryliner, both where as white as a sheet, highlighted by the redness of ones bikini. Her sweat had soaked her arse crack. Now there will be a piece by Mozart said the radio, I scurried off downstairs. “What did you make of the Lesbians”? shouts the Dryliner. I’d not given that a thought.

Move on to today.

Anyone mixing powders like Artexers, Plasterers and Bricklayers will have to have one member clean shaven, checked on, every day, no excuse. A mask has to fit well enough to survive a smell box test. Health wise this is a winner. Silica sand is bad for us.

Shorts and Bikini’s are not allowed outside or inside. Outside is partly due to damage from the sun, you must protect yourself, it’s dangerous. Hardhats, Gloves, Steel toecap boots and a Hi-Vis vest, to be worn at all times, all these items are a sackable offence if removed, even if your working on a bathroom ceiling on a two bed. This is pathetic tick box H&S, gone mad.

09
Jun
17

2017 Election

Welcome to this meeting, I’m in the chair, if we can get on with it as time is rather tight.

Agenda today is how do we stop the Brexit idea.

Initialy, we need to cancel out the old peoples vote, any ideas from either side?

From the right?

We could have a Dementia tax.

Yes that sounds good, how about if they can loose their houses? Yes, that would get rid of a few voters, what about getting rid of the winter fuel allowance? oh yes, that’s a winner, put that down, cancel the triple lock, yes put that down. We could keep Teresa out of the media, perhaps get her to pop up outside the odd house who wouldn’t vote for her, ever, yes and keep her debating down to the minimum. And just for the Conservative youth we could keep their Social Media occurrences to a minimum.  She needs a slogan that will put people off, Strong and Supple, no, no Strong and stable, yes, yes, ha, ha, ha.

Yes, Yes that’s a good start, how about the left? we need to increase their vote, enough to remove their majority.

Anyone on the left?

Well how about the youth?, they are an untapped reserve.

Yes, but how can we tempt them out of bed.

We could make everything free and lift the minimum wage, secondary education for them and add in some free things for the elderly to bring them over, like free hospital parking and a guarantee to keep the triple lock. We could take over Social Media with Owen and get Momentum to bus in extras for Labours meetings so they look massive as a contrast to the Conservatives single house.

Fantastic, we will have to deliver some costing’s to cover it. We could get Abbott and Thornbury to fluff a few figures, so it doesn’t look too contrived.

Well lets see how it goes, thank you all for attending.

Meeting closed.

22
Mar
17

Productivity

Barclays Bank, The Guardian, The Times and FT.com amongst others have covered it recently, it’s even been discussed in the Houses of Parliament and on the news. Here’s a snippet from the Guardians Phillip Inman, “There are generally two ways to improve productivity. One is the purchase of better machinery. The second involves a new process, which allows a worker to increase the speed or quality of what they are doing. Quality matters as much as quantity when firms can charge more for higher-grade goods.”

Having worked in Germany there is a bigger use of tools as men are dearer than tools. Here in the UK tools are more expensive than the workers. In Construction, for the Plastering trade there has been improvements in the tools, in the quest to shrink the skills needed to get it flat. There hasn’t been a pay rise after 1979/80 and if we take account of the effects of Privatisation and .com then the money in your pocket has been under constant attack since that year. Increasing speed started in Thatcher’s years, it had too, the family needed food. Firstly the Time and Motion book was re-written and the prices shrunk, then they had privatisation to pay for, and Privatisation to suffer as it hasn’t made anything cheaper. Lately they have had cheap immigrant labour that bosses have used to drop wages across the country. In my trade ten untrained men on £30 a day with food and lodgings have been doing the work of two fully trained men, but the quality levels reached wouldn’t have been paid for years ago. When a boss looks at the spread sheet and says “you need to speed up, these immigrants are faster” get another job. Your arms can only go so fast with a wet product and you will eventually wear out joints and Tendons.

Laughing I saw the latest House builders quality issues with one company putting aside 7 million in the hope that’s enough to put right all the problems. Imagine standing in your new house and asking the representative “is it really ready” and then proceed to note all the problems you can see just from where your standing. Self auditing is partly to blame, and management. News today, workers are retiring without a pension, really, I wonder why.

Real life, Devon this week.

A team turned up on site to unload materials for the system and start the job on a Subcontract basis. The materials didn’t turn up until Tuesday, even though it said Monday on the order, so no monies earned. On Tuesday the materials turned up without a forklift, 3.8 ton of materials. It says Forklift on the sheet as EU rules say it’s too heavy for handballing. After unloading and stacking they notice one key starter item is missing to be delivered on Friday, a ranting phone call to the system suppliers brought that forwards to Wednesday, no monies earned. Wednesday 10.00am the starter track arrives and they start work. After a few hours they realise the tradesman in front is way behind as he’s running the job as well. Wednesday afternoon they release a man from their team to speed him up. As work progressed they had noticed a problem, the scaffold wasn’t suitable for their install method. Who was it designed for? the Roofers. What is the Roofer doing on a scaffold? he climbs up it and accesses the roof and often its where he stores materials, especially on the top deck. To make sure he doesn’t fall down the 100mm inner gap a handrail has been installed around the internal, which blocks access for 2.4×1.2 metre sheets, limited monies earned. Thursday spray paint the trims that will be on show for the shocked client and generally sort out the system, what goes where etc, limited monies earned, but they have materials on the wall at last. Friday a system surveyor turns up on site, he says there should be a membrane on top of the other trades work to act has a barrier, “it’s not written down in the specification, not on your web portal, how where they to know?, “take it all off, install membrane, refit, not sure why it’s not in the specification” Surveyor says he’ll make a note. No monies earned.

Friday, foul weather but it’s all systems go. The Site manager, bald as a coot, has many long scars and scabs on his head, as the scaffold height is at 5ft 9” anyone over 5ft 5” isn’t wearing a helmet, the manager is visibly about 5ft 8/9”. As the team leave the ground floor and start floor one much swearing takes place, much banging of hammers and banging of heads, they can’t get past the 100mm gap and can’t feed past the inner handrail. Limited monies earned and an extra dinner had to be consumed. Over the weekend the scaffold is going to be altered and put back up at 6ft 6”.  How long have people regularly been seen at 6ft or above, anytime after the 1950’s, I shall blame meat and protein eating, after the wars ended munch, munch.

Now where in amongst all that would faster workers have altered productivity? Are the workers not working as fast as they can? all those on a metre price especially. Plastering along with other dusty trades have just been slowed slightly by the forced clean shaven rule and a Facefit mask, to be worn at all times, the clean shaven rule is rigidly enforced, any bum fluff and your sent home.

A team roll up onto a private house on an estate to install an Insulated render system. Day one unload materials and clear garden rubbish so they can access the scaffold. They note there is no outside tap, no water, and the occupant is at work. They phone the office, can you use a standpipe they ask, yes they had sourced a fire Hydrant close by on the street, one will be delivered to site tomorrow, No monies earned and a 120 mile round trip with fuel costs. Day two, 10:00am and the standpipe is delivered. Over an hour spent opening and cleaning out the hydrant, it’s an old one and the new pipe doesn’t fit. A local controller offers to bring water from a local garage, the team laugh at him, they need a constant supply and lots of it. Would the garage be ok with this? An adapter is promised for the day after, no monies earned and more fuel costs. Day three adapter arrives, it doesn’t fit, the team go home and source their own, no monies earned and fuel costs and adapter costs added.

Day four it’s all systems go. Time to earn some money. The firm refuse to pay a previously agreed waiting time payment. Where did that project go wrong? The initial survey/management should have noticed the house had no tap, the local controller could have cleaned out the hydrant and sorted a tap before they arrived. Workers need better protection from robbing bosses. Water is still a necessity for Plastering and has been for years. It’s the first thing a Plasterer looks for, seconded by access. Often the boss might think you are 9ft high or have really long arms.

Construction has seen a marked increase in bosses who don’t know what the job is , Geography teachers, Woodwork teachers, History teachers, Opticians, and Ex Council managers to name a few.

“Oh this looks interesting, never seen it before, easy is it?”, “who are you?”, “the system Auditor”.

News this week, Suicides amongst Construction workers is at an all time high, could this be the thought of having to increase productivity, again?, I’m guessing £7:20 an hour is partly responsible along with wage theft and crowds of management with no idea, slowing up their jobs and affecting their money, having to cancel their pensions and working conditions similar to a passage from Animal Farm,  never mind all those saying they need to speed up. “Where’s the toilet”, “under the bosses arse”, “where’s that”?, “about two miles away, go down here turn left, then right, follow it on until the second right, first left, then cut through a field, you will see his office in the distance, make sure you wear your hi-vis vest and helmet, all the way”, “what, even in the field?” Willmott Dixon management wear Pink hi-vis vests, just to add to the ambience.

Productivity could be improved by running, except running whilst your bursting is a recipe for a disaster, hence the smelly carrier bags of fouled jeans left in peoples gardens on a big job in Plymouth and Bristol last year, and those odd looking fellows back at work in the wrong size Primark trousers. How about centralised toilets or mobile ones?

There was no mention of management in the Guardian or the Times, or Barclays piece on the subject.




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