Tuesday, November 28, 2006

UK government destroys the nation's health

Britain's health system is undergoing an unprecedented shake-up. The National Health Service (NHS) may have seen numerous reforms and attempts at restructuring since it was first established after the second world war in 1948 as a fully tax-funded service free at the point of use, but if you listen to health professionals up and down the country this time it is likely going to be stabbed to death. The government wants to get rid of a service which keeps costing money. According to Tony Blair "the only way the NHS is going to improve is to keep the money coming in, not to cut it back". More sensible people would argue that the whole idea of public services is to spend tax money in order to improve people's standard of living, but this is not how governments see it nowadays. With the exception of fighting wars abroad, where the question of who pays the bill is hardly ever asked, public services are all scrutinised by economic standards of yields and profits.

Between now and next Spring many hospitals have been asked to make impossible savings in order to make the budget look good. They responding by reducing their most expensive assets, professional doctors and consultants. Up to a fifth of hospital staff are being axed in a frenzy to make the figures look good, and those most senior and with the greatest experience are the first to go since they cost the most. Once being bled nearly to death like that it is highly unlikely that the NHS will every recover.

NHS euthanasia is the unimaginative answer of the government to the long-term suffering of the health service, and the health of the nation will be dealt a mortal blow. Those who can afford it will go private, those who cannot pay their way will have to put up with a substandard service: New Labour cares little about the underdog. And in order to withdraw vital treatment from the NHS the advocates of staff cuts and savings are doctoring the facts, claiming that the increase in costs were entirely due to an increase in the cost of equipment and medicines as well as poor local management. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real ailment the NHS suffers from is that, like everywhere else in modern Britain, real wealth and value are being sacrificed on the altar of high finance.

The ever rising tax contributions made by British citizens is not due to an increase in services provided in return, it is a levy to repay government borrowing through national and local debt. This debt, which came about by permitting banks to create new money into existence backed by government guarantees, is gradually becoming impossible to pay off, and since the Thatcher years both the Conservative and Labour governments have been selling off what remained of the nation's "family silver". With the exception of the finance and insurance companies in the City of London, the rest of the country had to contract. What really killed the NHS were the so-called public-private partnerships (PPP) and the private finance initiative (PFI) strongly opposed by the British Medical Association at the time. Instead of resourcing the health service, the government postponed problems by mortgaging it to private financers, gradually pushing the NHS into insurmountable debt. An article in the British Medical Journal back in 1999 gave a good overview of the looming consequences of this scheme of folly, today we are reaping the rewards.

Our government stopped being the servant of the people long ago and became the servant of the rich and powerful, the bankers and speculators whose power extends to creating and manipulating the money supply of most nations and make their citizens pay the price through ever-increasing taxation. Until we wrestle the control of our money supply back from them we will continue paying the price.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Saab going Muslim?

There seems to be some strange correlation between Scandinavian cars and religion. Volvo used to be the car of choice for Orthodox Jews, apparently because it had enough headroom to allow them keeping their hats on. Is Saab trying to become the car driven by upper class Muslims. In their latest advertising they feature a woman driving a convertible clad in a headscarf, or Chlamys, designed by city banker turned fashion designer Osman Yousefzada. The outfit wouldn't pass the test of Muslim orthodoxy since it leaves the chest bare whilst covering the head, but it presents as an attractive item of clothing the very piece of cloth liberal secularists are usually obsessed with and frightened of.

Osman Yousefzada hails from Afghanistan and entitled his first fashion collection "Kalashnikov". Maybe we need to warn John Reid that in his own subversive way he is fighting an Islamist Jihad against Western freedoms by making women to cover up as part of a desire to gain status in society. Saab calls the "ultimate convertible-driving scarf" a sexy attire sure to turn heads. Muslim women already know that heads are turned whenever they walk past, although usually with an expression of suspicion. Makes you wonder, will the French ban Swedish car imports next?

With a price tag of £150 attached, it might become as chique for Western women to drive around in an outfit that draws attention as would-be terrorists as it used to be for young men to wear prison clothing restyled as urban streetwear. Pity Jack Straw, he had it all wrong again.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Flying Imam Audio

Behind the scenes the Muslim political blog: "Mustaqim - Musings of a flying Imam" is being updated regularly to benefit its increasing readership. Recently a live feed to the latest Comments on alternative news site Mathaba have been added to the links in the right-hand column. Another feature is the availability of audio material also through the links section. This consists of a selection of past lectures and interviews given by Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher which are now both available on his publishing website as well as in full length on YouTube. If you like what you read on the blog, try and listen in as well. Video material will hopefully follow over time. Any suggestions on future features are welcome as is support in getting the message out: Use the RSS feed link to regularly receive new posts and ask other sites to include a link to the flying imam blog.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

MI5: Save the poodle!

As the meltdown of the neocon neo-fascist era is slowly beginning with the Republicans losing both Houses across the Atlantic, their British partner in crime is trying to divert attention by another desperate attempt to scare the British public into submission. The timing of the speech delivered by Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of the British intelligence service MI5, was probably no accident. Home secretary John Reid, who approved the speech beforehand, previously managed to pull off his own ridiculous story about the "very real" plot to blow up airliners by pulling the cork of liquid beverages, costing British Airways alone in excess of 100 million pounds as a result of ludicrous new "security" measures. The hawks this side of the Atlantic must be even more worried about the fallout of the Iraq and Afghan war disasters. When American politicians run for cover, like sacrificed ex-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld against whom a lawsuit for crimes against humanity is already pending in Germany, the accomplices of the bulldog Bush will not come to the rescue of the helpmates of British poodle Blair.

Britain's chief spy wants to make us believe that there is a real danger from extremist networks in the UK planning the unthinkable even as we speak. Justifying her huge increase in funding, Tony Blair endorsed her scare-mongering by stating that the threat would remain for at least another generation and that this was due to the radicalisation of Muslim youths. He forgot to add the words "Wollt Ihr den totalen Krieg?", but the tenor of recent government announcements against the Muslim menace is not far off the rabble-rousing speeches of Mr Goebbels.

Whilst all the leads on the alleged Forest Gate chemical bomb factory and the Heathrow fizzy drinks attack went cold, supporters of the official view could, of course, point to the recent conviction of Dhiren Barot, a Hindu convert to Islam, who was sentenced to forty years in Britain for what effectively amounted to thought-crime. However outrageous his fantasies of causing what the judge called unspeakable carnage were, they remain just that. He did not have the wherewithal to carry any of it out, and not as much as a matchbox was found in his possession. The conviction was only possible because he pleaded guilty to the crime of a terrorist plot.

Why would a young man described as intelligent by the judge plead guilty in a case lacking the evidence to convict him? The answer lies in the fact that he was also accused of planning attacks in the United States and the US were issuing demands for his extradition. Knowing that even in today's highly charged anti-Islamic climate it might be difficult to persuade a jury without producing any real evidence, British prosecutors increasingly rely on this new version of "plea bargaining": admit your guilt or face extradition to the US where you stand a good chance of joining death row without ever being allowed to argue your case.

Of course, it is difficult to fight an idea, and even more so an idea whose time has come. The corruption of the present day political elite is evident and their lies and deception do not endear them to their populace. The submission the Neocons achieved through scaremongering after orchestrating their own Pearl Harbour to justify the preventative attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq has worn off, as the recent polls in North America show, and less and less people believe the official 9/11 story. Too many war dead and injured have come home to haunt them, North Korea and Iran defy the US openly, and a movement lead by Venezuela is gaining momentum in South America calling for an end to US hegemony. The writing is clearly on the wall.

In their desperation MI5, the British thought police, and their US masters turn to criminalising even the most muted criticism. Having defined the threat as one of radicalisation of the youth, they have recently gone as far as labelling a rap artist group as evil Jihadists indoctrinating their young listeners. The lyrics of "Blakstone", remarkably mild in comparison to what used to come out of the Black American rap scene, have been the latest focus of anything-but-intelligent analysts trying to figure out why the Muslim youth are not in love with their government. Likewise, contributors to the film "The Road to Guantanamo" were harassed and questioned at UK airports.

Of course, it is difficult for the likes of Bush, Rumsfeld, Blair and Reid to see the error of their ways and attribute the mess they are in to their own doing. It is a lot easier to put the blame on those who are pointing out that these modern Emperors have no dress sense either.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Surveillance Britain

Many have been saying it for years, but now it is official: Britain has become a surveillance society. According to the government's information commissioner, Richard Thomas, there are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in total or 1 for every 14 for men, women and children living in the UK. In addition, people's movements are recorded every step of the way, store loyalty cards build a profile of their shopping habits and their increasingly electronic communications are regularly intercepted and monitored.

The commissioner even went as far as referring to the fascist era in Spain under Franco and the communist experience in Eastern Europe. This is quite unprecedented and might well get him moved sideways soon since the Labour government tends not to accept criticism graciously. However, maintaining large files about everybody and encouraging citizens to spy on each other, just like the British government is no doing, did not save those totalitarian governments from their eventual collapse.

The police, who are already above the law in today's Britain and have recently been given even more unprecedented powers of arrest and interference, would tell us that all this surveillance is needed to protect law-abiding citizens from crime. To hammer the point they would reiterate the imminent threat from international terrorism. All this, however, is a mute point intent on covering up the gradual descent from a democratic society into a police state.

The numerous speed cameras bringing in large sums of revenue for the police authorities have not reduced the number of fatalities on the roads which, instead, have been going up steadily. Although Britain has been labelled the most surveilled country in Europe by Dr David Murakami-Wood, one of the authors of the research on present-day surveillance in the UK, the country nonetheless has achieved the dubious fame of its youngsters being the most unruly in Europe, according to another report published at the same time. And all those cameras did not produce a single useful picture of the presence of the alleged rucksack bombers on July 7 in London, whilst the cameras on the blown up bus were malfunctioning.

In fact, camera equipment being unserviceable is a standard excuse proffered by the police in court whenever a defendant wants to rely on police vehicle cameras as evidence in his favour to disprove the police version of events. British courts always accept this excuse without further questioning and usually accept police evidence as superior to that of any other witnesses in spite of a whole array of miscarriages of justice and police corruption and fabrications having been unearthed over time. Likewise, courts tend to dismiss independent recordings by individuals, for example on their mobile phone cameras, as unreliable.

From being the servant of the people government has elevated itself to their master. As much as surveillance is intended to gather information about individuals, it is also used as a tool of intimidation: Big Brother is watching you. However, the heavy reliance on surveillance equally spells out the government's insecurity. Whilst constantly wanting to spread fear amongst the populace in order to obtain tighter control, it is really the government that fears its people. Britain is on the road of becoming a totalitarian state. Let's hope a British perestroika is not too far off.