Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Well, Galloway has been suspended for 18 days from the House of Commons.

The Parliamentary Standards Committee has said what I have been saying for years - his corrruption was not of a personal nature (no matter how much he blusters that he's been "cleared" of taking a penny) - he took Iraqi oil money for a purpose that has furthered his political career.
57. Given the overall scale of the Mariam Appeal and Mr Galloway's acknowledgement that it was a political campaign, we do not accept his assertion that "the Mariam Appeal in no way supported my role as a Member".[107] On the question of non-registration, we agree with the Commissioner that, given Mr Galloway's central role in managing and directing the Mariam Appeal, he should have registered it and also all donations it received above the threshold.[108]
68. As we have demonstrated in this report, we agree with the Commissioner that there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Oil for Food Programme was used by the Iraqi government, with Mr Galloway's connivance, to fund the campaigning activities of the Mariam Appeal. In acting as he did, Mr Galloway breached the advocacy rule and damaged the reputation of the House. We believe he was complicit in the concealment of the true source of the funds for the Mariam Appeal. He was also in our view reckless in the terms of the authority he gave Mr Fawaz Zureikat to act in his name in relation to the Mariam Appeal. Further he was clearly irresponsible in refusing to enquire into the source of Mr Zureikat's substantial donations. His obligations to the House under the advocacy rule required nothing less, given the dependence of the Appeal at that point on those donations.
The monies Galloway has corruptly taken and profited from are his MP's salary, which he still has thanks to his profile generated through the Mariam Appeal.

I say without fear of contradiction: George Galloway is corrupt and corrupting of political institutions and public life - a pox on his leftist acolytes.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

The trial of Socrates

In a cerain tradition of writing on matters Hellenic:

We have scant evidence for what happened at the trial of Socrates - a few (partial) accounts and a general understanding of Athenian procedure - the accused was brought to debate their innocence - with no rules of evidence - before a jury of 500 on two occasions, the second of which could result in a majority verdict eitehr way. Rough, ready, democratic - but not very just.

After all, popular prejudice and faction could have a heavy part to play in that process - and the very act of bringing a charge could come from politically motivated opponents. Socrates was charged with corrupting youth and disbelief in the gods - i.e. thought crime.

It should be noted, though, that the crime only related to Athens, and he was, apparently, free to flee if he so chose (he didn't) but the principle of association rather than of universalist crime was at the heart - one way or another, Socrates would be expelled.

We, of course, do not know the evidence, nor do we know (fully) Socrates' politics. He, certainly, had made himself unpleasant, and probably had failed to curry favour - his political views we do know were dubious and suspect at teh time (even without knowing their content) and probably anti-democratic.

I'd suspect that nowadays a good union rep. would have made mincemat of the case - nowadays we expect formal warnings, informal attempts at resolution of problems, investigaitons and independent recommendations - we simply would not allow a recourse to the severiest mechanism to hand as a first recourse.

Socialists can hope that they would never vote for guilt by association nor thought crime - but really, before that comes sympathy and understanding that maybe a recourse to the rigours of law is itself unjust. Remember, the dreaded Star Chamber began as a positive mechanism to protect and assist the judicial process; but when it began to be aggressively deployed its nature changed. Systems are shaped as much by their uses and uses.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The solidarity is in the post

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

By Special Request

Well, I've been asked my opinion on the Digby Jones situation.

Lets recap. Blair appointed David Sainsbury to his government - gave him a peerage, and a DTI ministery in an area connected with his family business. At least, though, he had given millions, millions, to the Labour Party - so that deal was straightforwardly corrupt.

Brown appoints Jones. That is more interesting, is Brown giving way to the city, or is his absorbing and recuperatign Jones from a position of strength?

Either way, what it illustrates is the semi-Fuedal power of the Prime Minister, the power of office, and that the interests of the office and its holder are3 not necessailly co-terminus with the party.

For Joe Cit the position remains that we are in effective permanent opposition to any Prime Minister, the only choice is between one we reckon we may be able to induce to tack and change to our tune rather than someone else's.

In this story, we are the great clunking fist, and Brown is the natty little gnat who can dodge and weave to avoid a squishing. yes, he's given away some powers, but mostly powers that are inherent in the PM having a parliamentary majority - the chase is on!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Deutsche Zugarbeiter sollen streiken

First with the news as usual, much like here, it seems workers in Germany are getting a pay squeeze, and are doing something about it - read about today's train strike in Der Spiegel:
Rail unions Transnet and GDBA are calling for a 7 percent salary rise for about 134,000 employees. Deutsche Bahn has until now only offered two increases of 2 percent each, arguing that an excessive wage increase could put up to 9,000 jobs at risk. The strikes came after weekend talks between Deutsche Bahn and the two unions broke down.
I know whe we'rer striking we aren't winning, but solidarity demands some awareness: viel Gluck Gnossen!

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