This video from England is called Collared Doves in Our Garden – August 2012.
Today, a collared dove on my balcony.
A bit later, a magpie on my balcony.
This June 2016 video from Britain is called For The Last 1,000 Years, The Same Families Have Owned Most Of England.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Friday, 19 April 2019
THIS YEAR an estimated 4,677 people a night are sleeping rough on the streets of Britain, a figure that has increased for the past seven consecutive years. In 2017, nearly 600 rough sleepers died on the streets of England and Wales up from 482 the year before.
The housing and homeless charity Shelter estimates that there were 320,000 homeless adults and children living in temporary accommodation, hostels or sleeping rough at the start of 2018, a figure that Shelter admits could be a gross underestimation of the true extent of homelessness.
These appalling figures are the direct result of the Tories’ vicious attacks on the working class, the systematic destruction of council housing with entire estates bulldozed to make way for luxury flats that are then left empty and treated as ‘financial assets’, land banks for the filthy rich.
At the same time, the Tory policy of Universal Credit has cut housing benefits and heaped misery and poverty on millions of working class families which, along with massive rent increases in the private sector, has made evictions commonplace.
While the working class has been savaged, driven into insanitary bed and breakfasts, at the mercy of slum landlords or forced onto the streets, the ruling class is wallowing in the luxury of land wealth.
The extent of their land wealth has been revealed in a recent book ‘Who Owns England?’ by Guy Shrubsole which shows that about 250,000 landowners control over half the country. Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population!
Shrubsole writes that land ownership concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite has not changed for centuries: ‘A few thousand dukes, baronets and country squires own far more land than all of middle England put together. Land ownership in England is astonishingly unequal, heavily concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite.’
While the old aristocracy and gentry account for 30% of land ownership, they are outdone by giant corporations, oligarchs and city bankers who own 35%. People who own their homes account for a miserly 5% of total land ownership.
With the giant, and mainly off-shore, corporations owning 18%, Shrubsole estimates that ‘a handful of newly moneyed industrialists, oligarchs and City bankers’ own about 17%.
While the old aristocracy stole the land from the peasants and small farmers through land enclosures hundreds of years ago, the corporations, oligarchs and bankers are ‘stealing’ land courtesy of Tory privatisation that stretches back to the days of Margaret Thatcher.
Since Thatcher and the Tories started a mass privatisation programme of every publicly owned asset, 10% of Britain’s publicly owned land has been sold to private companies.
70% of the land owned by the NHS for hospitals and medical purposes has been sold – local authorities have been selling off parks, playing fields, community centres, libraries, youth clubs and any other land they own in order to balance the books in the face of Tory austerity cuts to their budgets.
Entire blocks of council housing have been sold for the privateers to make billions out of what is publicly owned land while academy schools have flogged off school playing fields to bolster the profits of the academy chains that take over not just schools but ownership of the land they stand on.
The working class can no longer tolerate being driven back to conditions of poverty and homelessness last seen in Victorian times by a ruling class that makes its profits from their misery.
The only way to put an end to homelessness and the obscenity of a tiny ruling class claiming to ‘own’ the country is to put an end to this weak Tory government by bringing it down through industrial action and bringing in a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will expropriate the bankers, corporations and oligarchs, abolish the aristocracy and take back all the land stolen from the working class and use it to build affordable homes for all and provide for all the social amenities that publicly owned and controlled land will make available for everyone.
Figures produced by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFA) show that life expectancy has fallen by around six months in England and Wales: here.
This video from England says about itself:
Liverpool fans sing anti Thatcher song at Sunderland. Sept. 15th 2012.
Liverpool fans make their feelings known in the wake of the Hillsborough “real truth” report.
By Thomas Scripps in Britain:
UK: Trial begins of police commander in 1989 Hillsborough football disaster
17 January 2019
The prosecution began its case against David Duckenfield and Graham Mackrell on Tuesday, for charges relating to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans following the disaster at Hillsborough football stadium in Sheffield, on April 15, 1989.
Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police match commander in charge of policing the stadium on that day and faces 95 counts of gross negligence manslaughter. Mackrell was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s designated safety officer at the time and is charged with contravening the stadium’s safety certificate and a health and safety offence.
Retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster, and police solicitor Peter Metcalf, are due to stand trial later in the year for acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice.
The Hillsborough families have worked for decades to achieve justice for their loved ones. The trial of Duckenfield and Mackrell, who will now be properly cross-examined, is a welcome landmark in their campaign.
Addressing Preston Crown Court, Richard Matthews QC outlined the prosecution’s case against Duckenfield. In addition to failures to plan for the crowds beforehand, he said, “Sadly, there were also many collective and individual failures to intervene effectively once the disaster unfolded.” Duckenfield failed to declare a major incident or use emergency measures to help those in danger. “Nor did he make any attempt to even monitor what was occurring, let alone avert the tragedy.” He also failed to provide “emergency medical attention, particularly attempts at resuscitation” in a timely fashion.
Duckenfield, the court was told, had “ultimate responsibility” for the police operation. “It is the prosecution’s case that David Duckenfield’s failures to discharge this personal responsibility were extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives.”
Mackrell, Matthews said, “[E]ffectively shrugged off all responsibility” for arrangements for admission to the ground and the drawing-up of contingency plans—“important aspects of the role he had taken on as safety officer.” By “agreeing to, or at the very least turning a blind eye to” the fact the fact that the club had failed to agree methods of entry to the stadium with police, he is alleged to have breached the conditions of the club’s safety certificate.
More than 20 family members of those killed at Hillsborough sat in the public gallery and other relatives watched from Liverpool via a video link.
What the events at Preston Crown Court highlight above all is the immense scale of the state cover-up carried out over the Hillsborough events—presided over by successive Conservative and Labour governments alike. It has taken fully 30 years of tireless campaigning, at great personal cost to those involved, in the face of vicious media lies and government opposition, for the bereaved families to see anyone finally held to account for the worst sporting disaster in British history.
The government and the press initially responded to the deaths caused by actions of various institutions of the state by blaming a “tanked-up mob” of Liverpool fans and lauding the actions of “brave cops.” The first official report, carried out by Lord Justice Taylor in 1989, was forced to admit some of the truth, pointing to police mismanagement of the event and criticising South Yorkshire police for blaming Liverpool supporters instead of accepting responsibility themselves. However, no one was charged or even disciplined as a result of these findings. An inquest ruled that the 96 deaths were “accidental.”
In 1997, due to mounting pressure, the incoming Labour government ordered the scrutiny of new evidence, which had been brought to light by campaigners and documentary makers in the previous eight years. It emerged that South Yorkshire police changed 164 officers’ accounts of the disaster before sending them to the Taylor inquiry. Prime Minister Tony Blair refused to call a new public inquiry, however, writing “What is the point?” Blair’s Home Secretary Jack Straw claimed that nothing significant had been added by the new evidence.
It took more than a decade’s campaigning and protests by the families and their supporters for the Labour government to finally establish the Hillsborough Independent Panel (HIP), in 2009. The HIP published a report in 2012 which demolished the official police narrative and established that it was not the fans who were responsible for the deaths but the police and the authorities. Then Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to order a criminal inquiry. Now, six years later, and nearly 30 years after the event itself, the first trials of those involved have begun.
This is despite all the evidence and materials for a prosecution of the real criminals being available within the first days and weeks after the disaster. The tortured process leading to the first trials is entirely the result of the state’s efforts to deceive and delay the Hillsborough campaigners’ pursuit of the truth and justice—a deliberate strategy to render a proper accounting for the disaster impossible.
So long has the fight for justice taken that many individuals involved in the events that led to the deaths and their cover-up—including the filthy slander campaign against Liverpool fans which followed it—have died without ever facing investigation or being asked to testify.
Chief amongst these is former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Her government defended the officials at Hillsborough to the hilt and supported the right-wing media and Tory MPs in smearing Liverpool supporters. The leading role was played by Irvine Patnick, then MP for Sheffield Hallam, who contributed to the Sun newspaper’s disgusting lies about the behavior of Liverpool fans—published under the now infamous headline, “ The Truth.” Patnick died in 2012, still holding a knighthood.
Peter Wright, chief constable of South Yorkshire police at the time of Hillsborough, came under suspicion for diverting blame from members of the police but died in 2011. Stefan Popper, the coroner who oversaw the original and thoroughly discredited inquest into events at the stadium, died in 2016. Bernard Murray, the ground commander and Duckenfield’s immediate subordinate on the day, is also deceased.
The passing of time has also made it increasingly difficult to prosecute still-living suspects. Sir Norman Bettison, former chief constable of West Yorkshire Police, is a case in point. He was originally charged alongside the other five defendants, in his case, for lying about his part in South Yorkshire police’s response to the tragedy and about his views on the role fans played in it. But the prosecution was forced to drop proceedings against Bettison when a key witness died and the evidence of two other witnesses changed.
As it stands, just five people—aged between 68 and 80 and having since retired from their positions of responsibility—are standing or due to stand trial. Duckenfield himself is 74 years old, having been retired for almost three decades on a full index linked pension of £23,000 a year.
The lesson of these events is that the ruling class will not allow its representatives to be held to account for the crimes they inflict upon the working class and will fight tooth and nail to prevent justice from prevailing. This is especially significant considering their response to the Grenfell Tower fire, where a similar cover-up operation is underway. This is despite the ongoing struggle by local residents, who angrily denounced the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council in the immediate aftermath of the fire and insisted that the fight for justice for the victims of social murder at Grenfell not end up going down the same path as Hillsborough.
However, the fact is that the Grenfell public inquiry being held under Sir Martin Moore-Bick is designed to be a whitewash. From day one, it was specifically barred from discussing issues of a “social, economic and political nature” and “limited to the cause [of the fire], how it spread, and preventing a future blaze.” The first phase of the inquiry took nearly 18 months to complete. The next phase has been delayed until at least 2020. This was confirmed by Moore-Bick at the very end of the first phase of the inquiry in December, at the same time as the Metropolitan Police confirmed its investigation is expected to “take years” to complete.
The author recommends:
Second phase of Grenfell inquiry delayed for a year
[14 December 2018]
This 7 November 2018 video from England says about itself:
First-winter male Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) at Meols, Wirral, UK, on 7th November 2018. Filmed with a Nikon CoolPix P900.
This East European and Asian species is rare in Britain.
This 13 December 2018 video from England says about itself:
Saving UK Cirl Buntings from Extinction
Cirl buntings were on the edge of UK extinction in 1989, with only 118 pairs located in South Devon. But by working with farmers to restore their habitat, the once small Devon population boomed.
In 2006 the RSPB, in partnership with National Trust, Natural England, Paignton Zoo and The Zoological Society of London, launched an ambitious project to establish a second population on the Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall. Meet the Devon cirl bunting chicks who moved to Cornwall to birth a new population.
This 10 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:
Why French Protestors Have 70% Approval From Citizens
From the World Socialist Web Site in England:
UK workers, young people defend Yellow Vest protests in France: “I only wish that we could do it here as well!”
By our reporters
11 December 2018
Ibrahim is a local authority worker who lives in London. He spoke to WSWS reporters at Ladbroke Grove tube station. He had watched a news report on the protests in France and was appalled by the police behaviour towards school children who were forced to kneel on the ground handcuffed.
“Many of these children joined in solidarity with the yellow vest protesters because they are living through and experiencing the hardship and struggle of their parents. The politicians in charge don’t care about the working class. Look at the Brexit deal, nobody knows what they are doing.
“Solidarity of workers from around the world uniting together is the only way forward. At the end of the day, it’s the working people that make everything and keep society running.”
Ladbroke Grove is a short distance from Grenfell Tower, where 72 residents died in an inferno in June 2017. Ibrahim said, “It doesn’t matter what political party is in power, they are all sabotaging social housing. The Grenfell fire disaster is an example of this. All they are interested in is gentrification and profit.”
WSWS reporters spoke to shoppers on the precinct in Birkenhead in the northwest of England—one of the poorest areas of the country and where shipyard workers recently took strike action against the threat of 241 redundancies at Cammell Laird.
Mick, who once worked at Cammell Laird said, with a fisted salute, “Solidarity to the French workers. I agree with what you are doing, I only wish that we could do it here as well!”
Asked her opinion on the French protests, housewife Marie said, “Anyone who’s making a stand has got to be supported. There needs to be a revolution. People need to come together in France. The bosses are raking it in and are doing nothing for their staff. The system is failing.”
Colleen, whose grandson is an apprentice at the shipyards, said, “My message for French protesters is, don’t give up. You are very brave, up against the military might of the government. Everyone in power is oppressing and abusing. Our young people are being prevented from going to universities—and knowledge is power. They are starving our young, old, vulnerable, disabled and sick.”
Paul is self-employed and said, ‘‘I would like to give solidarity to every worker in every walk of life, in any country. At the end of the day it is the governments just trying to rob them.”
Dan is from Romania and worked at the nearby Vauxhall auto plant, but was made redundant. Vauxhall workers walked out on strike to protests plans for hundreds of redundancies on the same day that the Cammell Laird workers struck. He said of the French protesters, “I am very sorry about the workers, we live the same thing, but in a different country. We are going to end up in the same situation.”
Sue supported the French protests as, “Everyone is going to be struggling. Look at the homelessness here, it shouldn’t be allowed.”
Gayle said, “Well I just think that no matter where you come from that everyone should stick together to keep their jobs. We’ve all got mouths to feed, whatever race you are and whatever colour you are.”
Outside Manchester Metropolitan University, students and university workers expressed their solidarity with French protesters.
Leon said, “I was never taken with [French president Emmanuel] Macron, an ex-banker. It’s good that the people of France took the fight into their own hands. … If the people can’t hold the government to account, who can? I hope the youth of Paris are not too harshly treated.
“It’s a shame that there is a rise of right-wing populism
This racism should not be called ‘populism’.
in France, Greece—it all stems from [former Labour Party Prime Minister Tony] Blair. I think the concept of an international socialist party, an army of socialists, would be beneficial to anyone trying to ignite protest.”
Rukia, 20, a sociology student, expressed dismay at the police violence against the demonstrators. “How far are they willing to go to keep people quiet? The police have been very ruthless in handling the protests in France, which should be a legitimate expression of democracy. It is their right to protest as citizens.
“I heard that the protests were infiltrated by so-called extremists. However, it seems like more of a scapegoat to steer attention away from the initial cause of the protests. The wrong people are being overtaxed.”
Rukia agreed with the policy of open borders advanced by the World Socialist Web Site, saying, “I went to Calais. It was enlightening being able to speak to refugees, but upsetting. What they are being put through to get somewhere safe!”
University caterer John told the WSWS why he thought people were taking to the streets in France. “Revolution is a development because people can’t take any more. People are tired of the way the system has been running. They are challenging the minds of politicians who are very comfortable. Only a small percentage benefit and there is a growing divide between rich and poor.
“We call it democracy, but when you look at democracy in the west there are gaps. They are raising taxes [in France] but the people are not consulted. Things are changing very fast. There’s going to be a police state in Europe.”
Michael is a cleaner on the railways in Sheffield. He said, “I’ve seen on TV that the Yellow Vests and others are on strike. Macron is trying to privatise everything. He’s not in favour of the workers. Ever since Macron came in, everybody protests because he is working for the rich class. He’s not for those who are labouring, those who are poor.
“The working class, irrespective of skin colour or the gender, is the same. They need to fight for their rights. Their great grandparents fought for those rights and now Macron is coming to wipe everything. It’s not fair. They should continue until they get what they want.”
Tom works as a pensions’ administrator for Capita, the large private business which has benefited from services in the National Health Service, local government and education being privatised and outsourced. He said, “I am in support of the social grievances and demands of the protestors in France. I agree that Macron is the president of the rich. He is like another Tony Blair.
“I have read articles about the Yellow Vests, but you do not get an independent perspective on the police violence against the protesters. I think it is being whitewashed from the perspective of the ruling elites. You don’t see what students or ordinary people are going through.
“Since the 2008 financial crash with the austerity measures being introduced everywhere, there has been rising social inequality, particularly throughout Europe.”
On the rise of the far right internationally, he said, “I see this as a bellwether on the health of capitalism. This is happening across Europe and here in the UK. It is not working for ordinary people is it?”
In Bradford, WSWS reporters spoke to Abdul, who is originally from Kenya and works as a chef. “I think the protests are good. It’s about fuel and the working-class must work to be able to live. I work in Leeds. I’m on £7.20 an hour. I can be spending £2 just to travel there on fuel. That means I can’t live. That means I could be sleeping on the street.
“My cousin works in Belgium. The fuel’s gone up there. It’s affecting working class people. Protests are happening in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and it will happen here as well. The situation in Britain is not good.”
He concluded, “A point before I go—I like socialism.”
This video from England says about itself:
Louise Kelly talks about South East Bittern conservation, and how we’ve successfully bought bitterns back to RSPB Dungeness, Kent, and encouraged them to breed at RSPB Brading Marshes, Isle of Wight for the first time in history! Find out how you can come and hear bitterns boom in springtime for yourself!