British Conservative decline, from Churchill to Serco today

This video from Britain says about itself:

Serco and the private companies running your country

26 August 2013

Serco has been labelled the “biggest company you’ve never heard of”. It’s a private company, holding a huge number of government contracts for public services — everything from nuclear weapons defences to out of hours doctors services. Serco is a UK company but has a global reach and chances are it’s running services near you.

Some sources:

Serco‘s UK website (for a list of what they do):

Hansard report on Cornwall out of hours doctor Service:…

Telegraph interview with CEO Chris Hyman:…

Serco bullying whistleblowers:……

Tagging fraud inquiry:……

Thameside prison criticism:……

Serco‘s Bradford school record:…

Prisoners in toilets:……

Some more things we couldn’t fit in:

Firing Gurkhas:

Self-harm rates in immigration centres:…

Hunger strikes in Yarl’s Wood immigration centre:

Boris Bike strike:…

A good round up article I just found:…

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Soames lowers the tone

Friday 19th September 2014

Solomon Hughes doubts whether that titan of the Establishment Winston Churchill would be impressed by the careers of his two grandsons

There are lots of important questions about “the Establishment” addressed by Owen Jones’s new book — how do they hold power? How do they exercise it? Can we stop them shaping society for their benefit?

But I’d like to ask one more question about the Establishment — how did they get so tacky?

In particular, how did the Churchill family, one of the most powerful tribes among the clans that rule us, get so trashy? They’ve gone from producing one of the most intelligent, flexible and forward-thinking members of the elite to a couple of cheesy hangers-on?

In 2002 Winston Churchill was voted “greatest Briton of all time”. Morning Star readers won’t have been hitting the buttons in that phone poll — Churchill was very much a member of the ruling classes.

He wanted to preserve the empire and stop the advance of working people. He was the colonial secretary who ordered the bombing of Iraqis and Kurds in 1919 and fought Gandhi’s campaign for Indian independence.

He was the home secretary who sent troops against striking miners in Tonypandy, Glamorgan, in 1911.

He was full of the bigotries of his class. But Churchill was also one of the more forward-thinking members of the Establishment.

He helped to set up the welfare state at the start of the 20th century and rejected appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s, when many of his class thought both moves were madness.

His promotion of welfare and opposition to Hitler may have stemmed from very different motives from those on the left, but this showed he was a flexible, intelligent, forceful member of his class.

Churchill’s grandsons have important positions in society. But “flexible,” “intelligent,” “forceful”? The words don’t really fit.

Nicholas and Rupert Soames look like an essay in the decline of the ruling class. The brothers are the most outstanding of Churchill’s relatives, but they stand out in the same way a clown would stand out in a church service.

Nicholas Soames was equerry to Prince Charles in the 1970s, the ultimate hangers-on job.

When Princess Di accused Charles of adultery in 1985 and said the royal household hated her — pretty accurate accusations — Soames went on telly to claim Di was suffering “mental illness.”

He became famous for a similarly ugly and backward approach to women after he became an MP in 1983.

In a 2005 book based on interviews with women MPs named him as the most sexist man in Parliament. They accused him of leading Tory MPs in trying to distract women speakers with insults and gestures, including a sleazy two-handed mime of cupping women’s breasts whenever a female MP had the floor.

Soames denied the charge, but not the sneering and snobbish “jokes” he made about male MPs. Frequently when John Prescott spoke in Parliament, Soames would shout out: “A gin and tonic please, Giovanni!”

This “joke” plays on the fact Prescott was once a ship’s steward. Ha ha, silly Prescott had a real job, instead of arranging to have a famous granddad, an Eton education and a medieval post helping Prince Charles put his trousers on.

Despite his advantages, Soames’s parliamentary career went nowhere. He was a junior agriculture and defence minister under John Major, but made little impact. So he decided to cash in instead.

Soames moonlights from his job as MP for Mid-Sussex by working for private security company Aegis Defence.

Aegis pays Soames £105k a year — more than he gets as an MP.

Founded by infamous mercenary Tim Spicer, Aegis made most of its money as one of the prime security contractors in Iraq.

Soames voted for the Iraq war and then went on to work for one of the companies that profited from the occupation. Soames is richer, but Iraq is poorer.

Leaving Iraq in the hands of private security firms like Aegis instead of a proper army reduced the country to the weak, collapsing state that cannot stand up to the jihadis from Isis.

Here is a sharp picture of the decline of the Establishment — Granddad Churchill was the celebrated wartime PM. Grandson Soames works for some mercenaries behind one of the worst military disasters of the century.

Nicholas’s brother Rupert Soames is also a director of a big privatisation firm. In 2013 Serco, a company which relies almost entirely on privatised public services for its £4 billion turnover, hit a snag.

The Ministry of Justice caught the firm cheating on its contract to electronically tag prisoners on remand.

Serco was charging for people it had never tagged. Serco paid back £68.5 million.

This was the largest and latest of a series of scandals. Serco’s contract to run out-of-hours GP services in Cornwall was marred by poor staffing and false information.

The firm was also accused of covering up abuse at its Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.

It needed a new boss to put a gap between the firm and the scandal, so Rupert Soames was hired as its new chief executive.

What better way to demonstrate that they are upright, fair, hard-working people than hiring the brother of a leading Tory MP?

How better to show that they want to do work they are good at, rather than relying on influence-peddling and Establishment links, than getting one of Churchill’s grandkids to front up the firm?

Like Nicholas, Rupert Soames has been offered all the advantages, despite unimpressive results.

After Eton he went to Worcester College, Oxford. Despite the high cost of his schooling, Soames ended up with a third-class degree.

Soames claims he did badly because he was too busy in the late ’70s working as a disc jockey at Annabel’s nightclub. Annabel’s is everything that is stinky about the British Establishment.

It was founded in 1963 as a playground for the rotten set around murdering aristo Lord Lucan as somewhere the fag ends of the aristocracy could party with eurotrash, ageing playboys and the like.

So there you have it — the ruling class starts with a Churchill and ends up with a part-time MP and a former DJ from a dodgy club running a firm of cheats.

TORY Party membership has slumped to such lows that it’s now outnumbered by hippos, chimps and beluga whales, Labour revealed yesterday. Speaking in Tory-free Manchester, shadow cabinet office minister Michael Dugher said the nasty party now has just 134,000 members: here.

Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals: here.

On 10 May 1946 Leiden University awarded Winston Churchill an Honorary Doctorate in Law.

British government boycotts Morning Star daily

Morning Star front page

By Roger Bagley in Parliament in London, England:

Exposed: Tories’ Whitehall ban on your paper

Thursday 01 November 2012

MPs protested against a spiteful Whitehall-wide ban on the Morning Star exposed today.

A parliamentary probe by Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth revealed that the blackout operates across government departments, despite the Star’s in-depth coverage of key issues.

The paper carries detailed reports on the rail industry and is the daily voice of the transport unions.

Mr Ashworth discovered that the Department for Transport subscribed to the Bookseller, Digital Camera magazine, Fishing News plus foreign papers Le Figaro and Die Welt.

But the department is boycotting the Morning Star.

The paper also carries in-depth reports from welfare rights campaigners.

But the Department for Work and Pensions does not buy a single copy.

This picture is repeated in Whitehall department after department, revealed in parliamentary answers obtained today by Leicester South MP Mr Ashworth.

The Treasury spent £41,753 on newspapers and periodicals in the past year, including Le Monde and Private Eye. But not a penny was spent on buying the Morning Star.

The International Development department buys the Church Times, The Jewish Chronicle, The Voice and the left-wing magazine Tribune. But not the Star.

The Justice Department spends out on the comic cuts Daily Star, but ignores the Morning Star.

The paper’s support base includes nine unions represented on its management committee: Unite, GMB, RMT, FBU, POA, Durham miners, NUM, CWU and Community.

Yet it is not wanted in Whitehall.

Today’s Tories are showing more contempt for the paper than their heroes Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher – they were both regular readers in order to find out what their enemies were saying.

Mr Ashworth commented: “I am amazed that departments take so many different newspapers, magazines and journals and yet none of them seem to take the Morning Star.

“Given that trade unions, campaign groups and charities write regularly for the paper, I would have thought that ministers would want to read what they are saying.”

Labour MP Ian Lavery, convener of the parliamentary Morning Star Readers and Supporters Group, condemned the failure of ministers and officials to read the paper “which represents hard-working, honest people.”

This demonstrated why the government was so out of touch, he said.

“The paper reports on a daily basis the struggles of ordinary people and the campaigns of trade unions, charity groups and others. It highlights what is happening on the ground in the real world.”

St Ives Lib Dem MP Andrew George said ministers and government departments needed to see a wide breadth of reporting and commentary.

He was surprised they were not reading the Morning Star, which “puts a view that you would not get anywhere else.”

He emphasised: “If the intention is to be well-informed of the breadth of perspective that exists, then it seems to me that the Morning Star is a must.”

Rail union RMT leader Bob Crow attacked “the pure and utter arrogance of these senior ministers and officials who stick their heads in the sand and ignore the voice of millions of people reported in the pages of the Morning Star.”

Churchill blamed for millions of deaths in Indian famine

Around three million died in the 1943 famine; lakhs perished on Calcutta’s streets (Photograph by Tarak Das)

From the (Conservative) Daily Telegraph in England:

Winston Churchill blamed for 1m deaths in India famine

Sir Winston Churchill may be one of Britain’s greatest wartime leaders, but in India he has been blamed for allowing more than a million people to die of starvation.

Dean Nelson in New Delhi

Published: 7:19PM BST 09 Sep 2010

According to a new book on the famine, Sir Winston ignored pleas for emergency food aid for millions in Bengal left to starve as their rice paddies were turned over to jute for sandbag production and supplies of rice from Burma stopped after Japanese occupation.

Between one and three million died of hunger in 1943.

Being Conservative, the Daily Telegraph apparently (like in its headline for this item) prefers the most conservative estimate number. Wikipedia says that the 1943 Bengal famine killed “around 3 million people”.

The wartime leader said Britain could not spare the ships to transport emergency supplies as the streets of Calcutta filled with emaciated villagers from the surrounding countryside, but author Madhusree Mukerjee has unearthed new documents which challenge his claim.

In her book, Churchill’s Secret War, she cites ministry records and personal papers which reveal ships carrying cereals from Australia were bypassed India on their way to the Mediterranean where supplies were already abundant.

“It wasn’t a question of Churchill being inept: sending relief to Bengal was raised repeatedly and he and his close associates thwarted every effort,” the author said.

“The United States and Australia offered to send help but couldn’t because the war cabinet was not willing to release ships. And when the US offered to send grain on its own ships, that offer was not followed up by the British,” she added.

The man-made famine and the contrast between the plight of starving Indians and well-fed British officers dining in the city’s many colonial clubs has been described as one of the darkest chapters in British rule on the Indian subcontinent.

Miss Mukerjee blames Churchill’s ‘racism’ for his refusal to intervene.

He derided Gandhi as a “half-naked holy man” and once said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.”

He was known to favour Islam over Hinduism.

“Winston’s racist hatred was due to his loving the empire in the way a jealous husband loves his trophy wife: he would rather destroy it than let it go,” said Miss Mukerjee.

WASHINGTON, Oct 25, 2010 (IPS) – A new book on the Indian famine of 1943, also known as the Bengal famine named after the specific region where it occurred, has squarely put the responsibility for the famine on then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: here.

Winston Churchill: From accusations of anti-Semitism to the blunt refusal that led to the deaths of millions: here.

Winston Churchill was a flawed figure “revolted by Gandhi in his loincloth and brown skin,” a top historian claimed last night as politicians rolled out sycophantic tributes to the wartime Tory premier: here.

5 of the worst atrocities carried out by the British Empire: here.

Mozambique: Govt Subsidizes Bread After Unrest: here.

Winston Churchill, colonialism, Jews, and immigrants

This music video is by Ms. DynamiteDy-na-mi-tee. One result of ‘coloured immigration’ to Britain, in spite of bigotry by Churchill and others.

Immigration in Italy: here.

Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister and otherwise influential in British empire politics in the first half of the twentieth century, is in many accounts depicted as a sort of saint.

Even Churchill’s critics will have to admit that, in times when many of Churchill’s Conservative party colleagues, the tendencies more interested in the British overseas empire than in continental Europe, ‘appeased‘ Hitler, Churchill did not.

Contrary to leading French politicians who became Hitler’s junior partners in the Vichy regime. Contrary to Rightist politicians in other European countries, and, eg, in Finland even Social Democratic leaders, who behaved similarly. Churchill in this was rather somewhat similar to his often foe, and 1941-1945 ally, Stalin, who might have surrendered with the Wehrmacht almost in Moscow and Leningrad, but did not.

However, like with Stalin, his opposition to the criminal Third Reich should not blind us to Churchill’s darker sides.

Churchill’s support for British colonialism led him to advocate using poison gas against Iraqi rebels against British colonial rule. His writings in the 1920s and the 1930s contain anti-Semitism.

And British weekly The Observer writes today:

Sir Winston Churchill expressed alarm about an influx of ‘coloured people’ in Fifties’ Britain and looked for a chance to restore punishment by flogging, newly released cabinet papers from the national archive reveal.

On 3 February 1954, under the agenda item ‘Coloured Workers’, Churchill is quoted, with abbreviations, by Cabinet Secretary Sir Norman Brook as saying: ‘Problems wh. will arise if many coloured people settle here. Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in UK? Attracted by Welfare State. Public opinion in UK won’t tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits.’

Clearly, another blemish on Churchill’s record. If he did not want ‘coloured people’ in Britain, then he should have considered that these people came to Britain because violent invading British soldiers had come to their countries first.

Winston Churchill’s shocking use of chemical weapons: here.

Appeasement of Hitler by 1930s British Conservatives: here.

Solzhenitsyn and the right: here.

Wartime talks between Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin were proving awkward until a drinking session lasting until 3am, newly released files show: here.

Anti-Semitism uncovered in Winston Churchill’s writings

Winston ChurchillFrom British daily The Independent:

Uncovered: Churchill’s warnings about the ‘Hebrew bloodsuckers’

Unpublished article from 1937 suggests ‘aloof’ Jews to blame for antagonism towards them

By Paul Bignell

Published: 11 March 2007

Winston Churchill suggested Jewish people were “partly responsible for the antagonism” that saw them branded “Hebrew bloodsuckers”, according to an article made public for the first time today.

The 1937 document, “How the Jews Can Combat Persecution”, was unearthed by Dr Richard Toye, a Cambridge University historian. Written three years before Churchill became Prime Minister, the article has apparently lain unnoticed in the Churchill archives at Cambridge since the early months of the Second World War.

The article argues that “the wickedness of the persecutors” was not the sole reason for the ill-treatment of Jews down the ages. Churchill criticised the “aloofness” of Jewish people from wider society and urged them to make the effort to integrate themselves.”

Dr Toye said: “I nearly fell off my chair when I found the article. It appears to have been overlooked. I think a lot of people thought that the file it was in only contained copies of articles that had already been published. It was certainly quite a shock to read some of these things and it is obviously at odds with the traditional idea we have of Churchill.” …

However, Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s biographer, says there is another reason for the anti-Semitic language: “Churchill had a ghostwriter who was a member of the Mosleyite party.

This article was the only serious subject the ghostwriter was asked to tackle, in which he went over the top in the use of his language.”

This ghostwriter was Adam Marshall Diston.

Why did Churchill employ a fascist as ghostwriter?

The “traditional idea we have of Churchill” was already at odds with earlier Churchill articles already known which contained anti-Semitism and racism and militarism.

It is interesting to compare the “moderate anti-Semitism” in this 1937 article with “moderate” Islamophobia of today, in aspects like “blaming the victim”.

Churchill in 1944, as seen by Trotskyist Ted Grant: here.

Britain: ‘Zinoviev letter’ forgery

Anti Labour 1924 cartoon from Punch

From British daily The Independent:

A British spy and close friend of Winston Churchill was deeply implicated in the Zinoviev Letter, the most notorious political forgery in British history.

The publication of a letter purporting to be from Soviet officials four days before the 1924 general election helped to sweep Ramsay MacDonald‘s government from power.

But the correspondence mobilising “sympathetic forces” in Labour was later found to be a fake.

Now a new official history, based on access to closed intelligence files, suggests the document was a “dirty tricks” operation by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), overseen by Major Desmond Morton.

Morton, a First World War hero whom Churchill befriended in the trenches, became an SIS officer on his recommendation and went on to become the war leader’s “spymaster”.

In the early years of the Second World War, he was a trusted fixer within the inner circle of Churchill’s bunker.

Aerial bombing from World War I to Iraq

From London daily The Morning Star:

Terror from on high

(Sunday 01 October 2006)

Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment by Beau Grosscup
(Zed Books, £15.99)

GEOFF SIMONS navigates his way through this compact history of aerial bombardment from the 20th century to the present day.

THIS is an ambitious attempt to chart the politics of strategic bombing from the start of the 20th century to the present day.

Since the text is less than 200 pages, the wars are handled with perfunctory haste and related topics such as race, class, gender and language are not granted much space.

Grosscup gives us many useful items, but he is occasionally careless.

He begins by dealing with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, before looping back into history.

It is interesting to learn that the British Admiralty ordered its first large bomber just 11 years after the Wright brothers’ 1903 flight.

The plane had a top speed of 72 miles per hour and carried six bombs.

Grosscup quotes Basil Liddell Hart, the British strategist who urged the dropping of gas bombs on cities, but he fails to mention the famous quotation from Winston Churchill in connection with the bombing of Iraqis and Kurds in the 1920s.

I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”

It is useful to be reminded of the gross prejudice that has always permeated the propaganda of powerful states – talking of African “niggers,” Korean “gooks,” Japanese “yellow monkeys” etc – of the patriarchal misogyny of warmongers and of how Establishment strategists have always been keen to bomb population centres.

One of the main merits of the book is the clear documentation of how civilians, mostly working people, have always been targeted.