Tube strikes: holding London to ransom or important stand against contract bulldozing? Discuss.

Now that we’ve had a few days to let the dust settle, what are your views on the Tube strike last Thursday? Was it just a greedy ransom demand by overpaid Tube drivers or were there legitimate contract concerns?

As always, respect other views and keep it clean.


The Healthy Debate: Terrorism only exists because oppression exists – discuss.

Following on from Sean Hannity’s debate regarding the Gaza crisis, this Friday’s Healthy Debate puts forward the idea that terrorism only exists because oppression exists. Hannity demanded a yes or no answer to his question of whether Hamas is a terrorist organisation from Yousef Munnayer. But is it really that simple? Can terrorism exist without oppression and which is the greater evil?

As always, respect other views and keep it clean.

The Healthy Debate – Third World Britain

We have a new plan! Hurrah! Let’s make people on long term unemployment work for their benefit. Good plan! Stop this whole something for nothing culture. This sense of entitlement. This lazy cancer in society.

Soon those claiming the dole will be picking up litter and cooking meals for the elderly to qualify for their benefit. They’ll feel more empowered and gain pride in their place in society.

Also it will be a huge saving as they will replace those being paid to do the jobs already.

Ah! Right, hang on a sec. Anyone else spot the flaw in this plan?

As Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown would say: ‘If my calculations are correct, when this plan is enacted you’re going to see some serious shit!’

So, the Chancellor’s master plan will see unemployment figures rise and then those joining the dole queues will be forced to do the jobs they were already doing for less money! Great plan!

Following on from other Osborne policies such as the Bedroom Tax, this is yet another squeeze on the less well off. On the flip side he has already lowered the top rate of income tax from 50% to 45% on earnings over £150,000, in order to give top earners a tax break.

This government is trying to nurture growth, but it’s not the kind of growth most people want to see. They’re nurturing the growth of the gap between rich and poor in the UK.

When a gap this size is exposed in third world countries, our media tend to sneer and scoff at the corruption and hopelessness of the situation. Our politicians rant about forcing change in the regime, probably to deflect attention away from their own failings. The rest of us make useless gestures. We shake our heads and tut and then get on with our own lives, safe in the knowledge that any sort of action or revolution won’t affect us. And for that we should be ashamed.

This is different though. This is on our doorstep. This is in our country. We are creating a third world nation right here in the UK and it’s time we stopped. Or the riots of 2011 will seem like a tea party.

Political own goals – Di Canio & Thatcher

There’s always a danger of going full circle. You start life dribbling and helpless and that’s how you end it. You travel far enough west, you’ll end up in the east. And if you keep moving further left there’s a danger you’ll end up on the right.

In the last fortnight we’ve seen two very public examples of this manifest themselves in stark relief.

Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager brought a wave of criticism for both man and club from many quarters, some of which made rabid dogs look meek. Calls for action have ranged from boycotting the club to revoking the appointment, with many other pitchfork and flaming torch options in between!

David Miliband’s decision to resign his post as vice-chairman in light of Di Canio’s ‘past political statements’ was a particularly curious incident, considering his position as MP means he has to work with people from across the political spectrum including far right groups. I can’t help feeling Mr Miliband has missed an opportunity here. It’s a politician’s job to try to sway opinion and garner support for a set of ideals and policies. Choosing to work with Di Canio could have presented him with more than just the challenge of avoiding relegation.

As a liberal ‘live and let live’ type I don’t like Di Canio and what he stands for, or has stood for in the past, depending on which version of the story is to be believed. But surely denying him his right of expression and free speech is demonstrating the very fascist tendencies that he is accused of supporting.

Fascism, racism and other ugly ideologies exist and have always existed in one guise or another. Banning them and hoping they go away won’t solve the problem. In fact, history has taught us that banning something only increases the following and popularity.

The correct course of action is not to prevent him airing his views, but to challenge them and to trust in the public’s common sense to see sense!

Just when I was thinking supporters of the left could not demonstrate more right wing tendencies than with the Di Canio incident, Margaret Thatcher dies. And I’ll say here and now, I’m glad she’s dead. I’m glad in the same way that I’m glad Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Ronald Reagan and so many others are dead. And I’ll be as glad when both George Bushes (father and son) are dead, as well as Tony Blair. In fact there’s a very long list and as well as being glad when they’re all dead, the one regret I will have in all instances is that it did not happen sooner… before they committed all their terrible atrocities.

However, Thatcher’s death is not a cause for celebration. It doesn’t matter how much damage she did or how much pain and suffering she caused, there were people who loved her too. They are in pain now and celebrating the pain of others is wrong. It is the kind of gloating trait more associated with the right wing, which the left abhors. It’s not an attractive quality and I’m pretty sure that many will regret their stance in time to come. There is another reason for not celebrating Thatcher’s death – she was a spent force. The damage was already done. A friend of mine, Cath Bore, said it best on Facebook when she put forward the idea that we should only celebrate the end of Thatcherism, not Thatcher herself. Her legacy will have a lasting effect for a long time to come and her death won’t change that.

Also, when the dust settles the Tories and others on the right will have a field day. They know that only the shell of Thatcher died on Monday and that the real Iron Lady died a long time ago. They will use the left’s own goal celebrations to win points. I fear those celebrations may have been premature and that the ghost of the wicked witch will prove to be as powerful as the woman herself.

Make no mistake, Thatcherism is alive and well and running 21st Century Britain.