Friday, 30 June 2017

A hard Brexit it is then

As news emerged last night that Jeremy Corbyn had sacked MPs from his Labour front bench who supported an amendment to the Queen's speech which would have kept the UK in the Single Market and the Customs Union it finally confirmed that there isnt a cigarette paper between the positions of the British PM Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on brexit are both committed to ending 'free movement' and to leaving the single market and the customs union. Yes the likes of Keir Starmer and John McDonnell - and even Jezza himself - have spoken of 'access to the single market on the best possible terms' but that is exactly what Theresa May and the Tory Brexit Secretary David Davis have been saying for months.

The fact of the matter is if you want to have access to the single market on the 'best possible terms' and a trouble free customs arrangement with the EU you wont get any better terms than the terms which come with staying in the single market and the customs union. Yes people in the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU last year but you can stay in both the single market or the customs union and not be a member of the EU - Norway is a good example of this. But what's extraordinary and so very disappointing about the UK Labour leadership's support for a hard brexit is that it means both the main parties at Westminster now have a position on brexit which is harder even than the position of the official Leave campaign during the EU referendum last year and others who campaigned for brexit.

For parts of the UK like Wales the hard brexit which both the tories and labour are now officially supporting will be a disaster. Two thirds of welsh exports are with the single market area and tens of thousands of jobs in Wales are reliant on this trade. And for some industries in Wales - like agriculture - 90 percent of its exports are to the single market. Clearly you dont have to be a havard economist to work out the loss of this trade or the imposition of tariffs and customs charges will be catastrophic and hit an already fragile welsh economy very hard.

I applaud the 49 Labour MPS, the 12 Lib Dem MPs, the 4 Plaid Cymru MPs the 34 SNP MPs the one Independent MP and the one Green MP for supporting the amendment.

Oh and those xenophobes who for some unfathomable reason want to leave the European Convention on Human Rights as well ought to remember that the long running campaign for justice for the families of the Hillsborough disaster wouldn't have succeeded without the aid of article 2 of the ECHR

Thursday, 29 June 2017

They can't cover things up like they used to

Anyone who knows me would be aware of my misgivings about social media, in particular the way it has enabled far right and neo nazi groups groups to disseminate their hate and bigotry to a new and alas sometimes gullible audience. But i think it's fair to say if we'd had things like facebook and twitter when hillsborough occured then senior polcemen and the tory media would never have been able to get away with the disgusting lies they told about liverpool supporters in the days after the disaster. And it certainly wouldnt have taken almost 30 years for those at the center of the disaster to face justice in a court

The Grenfell Tower fire was horrific and i sincerely hope charges for corporate manslaughter will follow but thanks to social media it is now much harder for officialdom and politicians to cover things up than it used to be.So if kensington borough's tory council and Theresa May's Tory government thought they could micro manage the disaster and drip feed the public with information they have been thankfully proved wrong. It was said that the one positive thing that came about after hillsborough was that football supporters were no longer treated like scum - the one positive thing that will hopefully come about after grenfell tower is that social housing tenants will no longer be treated like scum.

Good Friday Agreement put at risk

Two months ago an episode of the bbc current affairs programme Panorama looked at a certain Frederick Scappaticci or ‘stakeknife’ as he was known to some. Scappaticci was a key figure in the IRA’s so called ‘nutting squad’ and responsible for its internal security. A large part of his role involved interrogating suspected informers and sometimes – on Scappatticci’s say so – these suspected informers would be executed and dumped on roadsides or buried in unmarked graves. Just over a decade ago it was revealed Scappaticci had been a british agent for decades and been allowed to carry on his his grim role within the IRA so long as he passed information on to his british handlers about IRA operations and personnel. Worse still it’s now believed Scappaticci used his role as interrogator in chief in the IRA to target committed republicans for execution at the behest of british army intelligence.

But Scappaticci was far from being the only operative acting on the instruction of british intelligence during ‘the troubles’. Brian nelson was a british agent in the loyalist UDA, more than that he helped supply loyalist death squads with weapons and was involved in numerous killings of republicans and nationalists – among them the murder of the republican solicitor and civil rights activist pat finucane

Only a madman or the most viscious sectarian would want to see a return to the days when reports of bullet ridden bodies found on roadsides was routine in the north and the british state was running deaths squads there. But in her desperation to keep her discredited and rejected government on life support Theresa May risks seriously undermining the good friday agreement as a result of the grubby deal she has struck with the deeply sectarian DUP (a DUP which did their best to block the implimentation of the good friday agreement we should remember).

For those who missed it the Panorama programme on Scappaticci can be seen here

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Grenfell Tower and the politics of Social Class

It's a fair bet that had Grenfell Tower been a luxury block of a flats - like one of those that are plentiful in the borough of Kensington - the catastrophic events of the last 36 hours wouldn't have happened. Fire and smoke alarms would have worked, sprinklers would have been installed, lifts would have been operational, there'd be more fire escapes and a type of plastic cladding known to be a fire risk wouldn't have been used on the building's exterior - a cladding scheme carried out incidentally because some of Kensington's more affluent residents had apparently been complaining the tower block was an 'eyesore'.

Certainly it's an indisputable fact that the politics of social class and social inequality runs through this entire horrific episode. Grenfell tower housed mainly poor people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds - people who are largely ignored and marginalised in contemporary British society - and you can't help but get the feeling the Tory local authority and the 'arms length' body the council had created to run the tower block just couldn't be bothered to listen to the concerns of all those poor people about the building's safety

Over the last few hours there has been speculation on social media that the fire may have been deliberately started, as part of a warped scheme to drive poor people out of one of the wealthiest boroughs in the british isles. And while such claims are probably the result of understandable anger and grief fueled by what local people feel has been years of neglect by local and national government it will nevertheless be interesting to see if Grenfell Tower's tenants are allowed to return to the block when it is refurbished - or will they be 'dispersed' to londons outer boroughs or even further afield like tens of other poor londoners have been in recent years? 

While the following links are a good illustration i think of the utter disregard many members of Theresa May's tory UK government takes to matters like ensuring properties are safe for the tenants who live in them.

And when considering what happened in Kensington it's also important to understand the overall context within which it has occurred ie successive British governments have been trashing and undermining council and social housing for decades. So when Thatcher initiated the so called 'right to buy' hundreds of thousands of council homes were bought at knock down prices but weren't replaced because local authorities were forbidden to spend the capital receipts generated to build new properties. And the Blair and Brown Labour governments continued this assault on public housing - bribing and bullying local authorities to hive off their housing stocks to so called 'arms length' companies.So with council housing and tenants viewed with such obvious disdain by successive British governments is it really any wonder the views and safety concerns of the tenants of Grenfell Tower were dismissed so readily by the block's management company and Kensington borough council?

Worth noting the devolved government's in Scotland and Wales have to their credit abolished 'right to buy' in their respective countries, and also very pleasing to note the Welsh Government has insisted that new properties built in Wales must have built in sprinkler systems

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The British state has worked with radical Islamists for decades

A couple of years ago a book came out which certain people in the upper echelons of the British establishment hoped would never see the light of day. It was called 'Secret Affairs: Britain's collusion with Radical Islam' and its author was the historian and journalist Mark Curtis.

In the book Mark Curtis reveals the covert history of British collusion with radical Islamic terrorist groups, and shows that this relationship goes back decades. He shows how UK governments connived with radical islamist groups to control oil resources and overthrow governments in the middle east. He shows that beginning even as far back as the 1920s British governments and the Civil Service exploited Islam and Islamic fundamentalism for its own political and strategic purposes - from the establishment of the Saudi kingdom; to the support of the hardline Muslim Brotherhood during Nasser's rule in Egypt; to the active support of terrorists in the Mujahedin (including Bin Laden) during the Afghan-Russian war; to the support of KLA and other terrorists during the Bosnian and Kosovan wars. Even after the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks, Britain continued to harbour known terrorists on its shores, giving them a safe-haven from international prosecutors.

And chillingly, in view of the terrible recent events in Manchester and London, Curtis writes in one chapter "For years, violent Islamist groups were allowed to settle in Britain, using the country as a base to carry out attacks abroad. This was tolerated in the belief that they would not bomb the country where they lived and that, as long as they are here, the security service would be able to infiltrate them. At the same time mosque after mosque was taken over through intimidation by the fundamentalists. Police and others in authority refused pleas from moderate Muslims with the excuse that they did not want to interfere". It's appalling that successive British governments and their ntelligence services should have entered into such an 'arrangement' with extreme islamists, and it's very hard not to see the awful consequences of this irresponsible and frankly criminal policy in the recent atrocities in Manchester and London.

And staying with the theme of links to radical Islam which elements of the British establishment would rather people didn't know about it was no surprise this week to see that Theresa May's government is refusing to publish a report - commissioned by her predecessor David Cameron - which is said to reveal clear evidence that extreme jihadists in the UK are being funded directly from Saudi Arabia

Of course that the British state should have been found to have collaborated with terrorist groups in order to serve its own twisted objectives would not come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about the British state's murky history on the island of Ireland. As thanks to the likes of former British intelligence operatives like Colin Wallace and Fred Holroyd, and the excellent research of Anne Cadwallader of the Pat Finucane center, we know that loyalist terror groups in the north of Ireland were in large part armed and directed by British army intelligence and that infamous loyalist killers like the UDA's Brian Nelson was in fact a British agent

Saturday, 3 June 2017

"How i learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb"

Movie buffs might know the title for this post is taken from the famous 1964 Stanley Kubrick film - Dr Strangelove, a brilliant satire on the 'cold war' and its hideous nuclear arms race. I was reminded of this film while watching the Question Time debate last night with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, as to judge from the way Corbyn was harangued over his understandable reluctance to ever launch a nuclear missile there seemed to be a few members of the audience who positively adored nuclear weaopns - and who clearly couldnt wait to use them!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Theresa May has serious questions to answer on Manchester and Libya

I'm sure most of us are still coming to terms with the horrific bomb attack on Monday night on a concert in Manchester attended by thousands of young people. Quite a few people i've spoken to since have been scratching their heads wondering why somebody would target an event where many of those in attendance werent even adults. Well now we have learned of the bomber's links to ISIS it seems the actions of Salman Abedi makes sense (if murdering dozens of people can ever make sense). The medieval homicides of ISIS specialise in so called 'soft targets' and in recent years weddings, funerals and youth rallies have all been ripped apart by blasts from suicide bombers operating on behalf of this most beastly organisation. Course - and as i pointed out here after the Westminster bridge attack  - we have messrs George Bush and Tony Blair to thank in large part for the emergence of ISIS.

But amid the understandable and widespread horror generated by Monday's appalling events what mustn't be overlooked is that the attack also represented a massive failure of intelligence on the part of the british security services and Theresa May's government. Theresa May might be revelling in her seeming new role as an army general, putting thousands of troops on the UK's streets at the stroke of a pen.But her government and the UK's intelligence services have serious questions to answer with regards to the awful events of monday night.

In the last 24 hours we've learned that the suicide bomber Salman Abedi was known to the intelligence services to be an ISIS supporter - he even flew an ISIS flag outside his home. And we've also learned that numerous sources within the local muslim community had passed on concerns to the authorities about Abedi's interest in hardline jihadist ideology - in one example revealed on Newsnight last night a community worker passed on information that Abedi had expressed interest in being a suicide bomber.

Now if such a person undertook a 3 week trip to a country like libya (ISIS controlled one of its major cities as recently as december) you would think this would have warranted some scruitiny by the security services and the UK home office. A known ISIS sympathiser goes to a country whch has been a hotbed of ISIS activity to visit a family which includes a brother who is a member of ISIS. All of this would have sent some alarm bells ringing in MI6 MI5 and at the home office surely? Not a bit of it. Abedi returns to the UK and is neither interviewed at the airport upon his return nor was he monitored on his return to his home in Manchester.

The fact of the matter is if Abedi had been given the scrutiny he certainly merited those people he murdered on monday night would almost certainly still be alive. Such criminal negligence on the part of the May Government and the UK's security services cannot be allowed to go unchallenged, and while it's understandable such questions wouldnt have been asked in the immediate aftermath of monday's atrocity it's vital that May is pressed on this matter in what remains of the UK's general election campaign. Remember on such matters the buck stops with her. As British PM she sees all the intelligence, she knows who's on the 'watched list' and as PM she is ultimately accountable for the actions of the security services.

Speaking of Libya something occured in a british court a couple of weeks ago that in its own way is probably as baffling as the security service's failure to monitor Abedi.Two weeks ago the prosecution of the principal suspect in the 1984 killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher - Saleh Ibrahim Mabrouk - was dropped 'on grounds of national security'. In layman's terms what happened was the British government refused to release the evidence it held on Mabrouk so forcing the collapse of the case against him.This was an absolutely astonishing development and it reminded me of the case of the irish republican informer Denis Donaldson a decade ago. Charges against Donaldson you may remember were dropped when it was revealed he had been spying on irish republicans for the british security services for decades. You dont have to be einstein then to work out why the UK government might want to protect Mabrouk ie was it protecting an asset? It's certainly all very odd.

But what we do know for sure is that in the space of two weeks Theresa May's government has intervened to protect the chief suspect in an infamous and unsolved killing and overseen one of the most massive failures of intelligence of recent times - a failure which cost 22 lives. Let's hope she is made to answer for such deleterious actions - and her pandering to the kipper vote over brexit - on June 8th.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Welsh economy will be on the dinner table this Xmas

I'm not sure who exactly it was who said 'the bigger the lie the more people will believe it' - it might have been Hitler or it might have been his chief propagandist Goebbels. But whichever prominent Nazi first spoke that infamous line what it amounted to was a boast by figures associated with the far right that it was very easy to deceive the masses with very big lies. And we only have to look to two seminal political events which took place last year - Trump's victory in the US and the brexit vote in the UK - to see that this ugly boast seems to be as effective now as it was all those decades ago. Now i could probably fill up this entire post listing the lies leave campaigners told during the referendum campaign - the most prominent and obvious among them being the lie that a vote to leave the EU would mean an extra 350 million pound a week would go to the NHS.

But another significant lie occured when the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage visited Wales during the campaign and stated that if there was a vote to leave the EU then the substantial EU funds Wales receives would be replaced by funds from Westminster. However courtesy of the Tory manifesto we now know this was another blatant lie. It is now clear that if the tories win the UK general election (as alas still looks likely) then Wales will have to bid for funds alongside the rest of the UK - funds that it used to get directly from the EU. And as with any bidding process of course there can be no certainty any welsh 'bid' for these funds would even be successful.

I've written previously on this blog of Wales heavy reliance on the EU for both funds and trade, and i make no apologies for likening the vote in Wales to leave the EU to 'turkey's voting for Christmas' Certainly what isn't in any doubt is that the Welsh economy is more dependent on the single market for its well being than any other part of the UK

Now with almost a year having elapsed since the vote took place the debate around the EU - driven by a hysterical anti european right wing British media - seems to have moved on from not just leaving the EU but walking away from its single market and customs union too. So in the general election currently taking place in the UK neither of the two largest parties - conservative and labour - will keep the UK in the single market or the customs union. Yes Labour has spoken of wanting access to the single market 'on the best possible terms' but unless you retain membership of the single market and the customs union it's difficult to see what such a promise would mean in practice? EU negotiators have made clear that if the UK wants to retain its current tariff free access to the single market it will have to accept the free movement of people but Labour has already ruled this out. So the current tariff free access companies and industries enjoy with EU member states will be off the agenda.

And what all this means in practice is that we are in the middle of a UK general election in which the two parties who have any chance of winning the election have a position on the EU which is even more exteme than many in the leave campaign held during last year's referendum (remember people like the aforementioned Johnson and Farage told us during the campaign that even if the UK left the EU it could still enjoy Norway's status and be a member of the EEA).

If youre someone who cares about Wales and the health of the Welsh economy then it cannot be emphasied often enough that the UK leaving the single market will be disastrous for Wales. 200,000 jobs in Wales are reliant on the single market and two thirds of all welsh exports are to the single market area. Particularly hard hit will be agriculture, still a very important industry in wales. For example a massive 92 percent of welsh beef and lamb exports are to the EU single market. So it really is no exaggeration to describe the EU single market as a lifeline for the Welsh economy. And as much as i want to see her majesty Theresa May and the party of the British ruling class defeated on June 8th it still has to be said that we face a state of affairs that whether its Theresa May or Jezza in number 10 next month Wales is set to lose that economic lifeline that is single market.

In the long term then it seems clear that the only hope for Wales future economic prospects is to follow Scotland in leaving the very unequal 'union' that is the UK and join the European Union.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The next cyber attack could mean Armageddon

The cyber attack which paralysed the NHS in large parts of England and Scotland (Wales was thankfully untouched) and which infected scores of organisations and governmental agencies around the world was appalling. It forced the cancellation of scores of operations and the closure of doctors surgeries, saw ambulances diverted and resulted in the theft of confidential patient information. Let's just hope no one has lost their life as a result of this cowardly and criminal action

Course it's impact on the UK NHS could have been less serious but for cuts by the tory government to the NHS's security budget, and the tories and Phillip hammond are rightly being challenged to account for this ( lets hope public awareness of such cuts impacts on the tory poll figures).

But as awful as this attack has undeniably been it's very frightening and very sobering to realise that there is real potential for cyber attackers to wreak far more terrible havoc than anything we've seen over the last couple of days, as these recent headlines randomly plucked off google illustrate.

These headlines, and the shocking events of the last few days, are a grim reminder of the serious dangers posed by both nuclear weapons and nuclear power to life on earth and why anti nuclear campaigners shouldnt let up in our efforts to rid the world of both. Put simply the growing level of sophistication and cunning shown by cyber attackers shows they have the capacity to hack into countries nuclear weapons arsenals and into the computers of nuclear power stations.

It's over 3 decades since the movie Wargames popularised the notion of nuclear missiles being launched as a result of computer hacking - the subsequent advent of the internet together with our growing reliance on it makes such a terrifying possibility more real than ever.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A defeat for racists, xenophobes (and brexiteers)

The most progressive US politician of modern times - Bernie Sanders - called it right last night when he reacted to the result of the French Presidential election by tweeting "Congratulations to the people of France who today, by an overwhelming vote, rejected racism and xenophobia".

Make no mistake if the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen had won last night her victory would have been celebrated by the hard right and racists everywhere. As despite her carefully crafted efforts in recent years to distance herself and her party from its unambiguous neo fascist past Le Pen let her mask slip during the presidential campaign on numerous occassions. Most notably wth her efforts to downplay Vichy France's role in the extermination of France's Jews, her promise to withdraw free healthcare and free education from child immigrants and to outlaw same sex marriages and her proposal to halt all immigration to france and to deport hundreds of thousands of people. Certainly the prospect of the power of the French state in the hands of someone like Le Pen is a truly appalling prospect.

And this is why the Greek socialist economist and Syriza luminary Yanis Varoufakis lost no time in taking to task those muddle headed fools on the french left who were going to abstain in the presidential run off between LePen and Macron. Like myself Varoufakis is no admirer of neoliberalism and globalisation - he saw its effects on Greece - but by the same token he rightly observes that when it comes down to a choice between a leader of an avowedly neo fascist party and a centrist like Emmanuel Macron the choice should not be too difficult for anyone holding remotely progressive views

Le Pen's defeat also represents a huge blow to the long term project of neo fascists and the hard right of destroying the EU. A few months ago british brexiteers were all over social media telling us the EU was now 'doomed' and salivating at the prospect of Geert Wilders winning in the Netherlands and Le Pen in France - two politicians whose hatred for immigrants and muslims is matched only by their hatred for the EU. Well now the long held dream of many british brexiteers - and their Alt Right fellow travellers - of the EU falling apart is in tatters.Their chief standard bearer Marine Le Pen was crushed yesterday by an opponent who is an enthusiastic supporter of the EU. And when Le Pen and Wilders German counterparts are routed in this Autumn's elections in Germany the much hyped 'death of the EU' will be seen to have been 'greatly exaggerated' (to paraphrase Mark Twain). 
When Donald Trump won the US presidential election last november (courtesy of a last minute intevention by the FBI) Marine Le Pen was exultant, gleefully tweeting 'their world is crumbling'. Well after the events in France, the Netherlands and the likely events in Germany this Autumn perhaps it is the world of the anti EU hard right which is starting to 'crumble'? (brexiteers take note).

And that such people understand the significance of the defeat they suffered in France yesterday can be seen in the vitriol the likes of Nigel Farage and Katie 'gunboat' Hopkins directed at Emmanuel Macron (and his wife) last night Given Nigel Farage's characteristically crass invocation of the second world war perhaps someone should inform the bigoted dolt that it's Marine Le Pen who is the apologist for Vichy France.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The 51st State

I did chuckle when i saw that earlier this week Theresa May took time out from hiding from the public in a scottish forest to put out this statement It appears there are fears in tory circles that 'russian hackers' might try to interfere in the UK general election on the direction of the dastardly Vladimir Putin. In reality we should take such claims with a pinch of salt and see them for what they - part of a carefully crafted strategy to build up public hostility to Russia as part of a deliberately engineered new 'cold war'. And there may also be an element here of Theresa May getting her excuses in early so to speak ie if the result of the general election doesnt turn out as she hoped she can blame those pesky russians. And yesterday she emerged from her bunker to add EU politicians to her list of evil 'foreign powers' intent upon hijacking the general election for their own insidious ends

But the irony of statements like this from Theresa May is that there is of course one foreign power whose intelligence services have been interfering in domestic UK politics for decades (and with the full approval of successive british government ). Namely the US and its intelligence service the CIA. The journal of parapolitics - Lobster magazine - has written extensively of CIA involvement in UK domestic politics over the decades

The US even has its own intelligence gathering listening post in Yorkshire at Menwith Hill Here intelligence from across europe is picked up and passed directly to the CIA and the White House, where it is then decided if this intelligence should be passed on to their UK counterparts. Despite what the likes of  Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and other stooges of US intel tell us there is nothing remotely 'special' about this relationship, indeed it's a wholly unequal one (as take note any post brexit US/UK trade deal will certainly be). It is not for nothing that over time the UK has earned the somewhat unflattering sobriquet around the world of being the '51st State'.

Needless to say the CIA and its assets in the british state will do all they can to ensure the continuation of this 'relationship', and as we have seen down the years with the treatment metered out to the likes of Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway any politician who challenges the so called special relationship can expect to be the subject of a sustained campaign of character assassination at the very least, and in the cases of Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone literal assassination it would seem.

A few years back the investigative journalist Duncan Campbell wrote in the newstatesman magazine of  a plan by british intelligence operatives to assassinate Tony Benn. While it was recently revealed that Ken Livingstone was targeted for assassination on at least two occassions

Both plots to assassinate Livingstone involved using the murderous services of Ulster loyalists, and thanks to the integrity of the likes of Colin Wallace and Fred Holroyd and the excellent research of Anne Cadwallader of the Pat Finucane center we now know that loyalist groups were in large part armed and directed by british army intelligence. So we may take it as read that the british intelligence services would have at the very least been cognisant of the plots to assassinate Ken Livingstone (and may even have had a hands on role in such plots - the loyalist killer Michael Stone has certainly hinted at as much). 

And by the same token those of us who support Scottish and Welsh independence should be under no illusions that these same intelligence services will do all they can to maintain the unity of the British state and to sabotage and undermine efforts to bring about independence for Scotland and Wales. And that in this they would receive the full support of their counterparts in US intelligence, as the CIA would certainly not relish seeing the break up of its puppet British state. Particularly as there is no certainty an independent Wales or Scotland would wish to be members of Nato. Indeed i would very much hope an independent Wales and an independent Scotland would follow Ireland's lead and opt for non aligned status, and that the only time we would ever see a welsh army deployed overseas would be in a peace keeping role for the UN.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Wales is turning Blue

No people in Wales arent re-enacting the old celtic warrior practice of covering their bodies with a blue dye before battle and there hasn't been a sudden surge in sales of porn movies in Wales either (well not so far as i'm aware of anyway).The title of this post in fact refers to a yougov opinion poll published yesterday which showed the Conservatives gaining ten seats in Wales in the forthcoming UK general election and winning over half Wales constituencies on June 8th To put this into perspective the conservatives havent won the most seats in Wales since the rotten borough days of the mid 19th century. Indeed as recently as 1997 they didnt have a single MP in Wales. Now if this poll proves accurate the Conservatives will have more MPs in Wales than all the other parties put together. 

Some commentators - notably the welsh political pundit Daran Hill - have previously pointed out how in recent times Wales has politicaly speaking become more like England than Scotland. So in the 2015 UK general election while the tories were wiped out in Scotland in Wales they won 11 seats and in last year's EU referendum while Scotland voted emphatically to remain people in Wales voted to leave by a similar proportion to those in England. And this recent political trajectory seems to have gathered even greater speed with yesterday's shock poll. Amazingly the part of the UK which has most to lose from a hard brexit - two thirds of welsh exports are to the EU single market - is seeing the greatest swing anywhere in the UK to a Tory party and Tory leader now seemingly committed to the hardest of brexits.

For people like myself immersed in Wales radical and left leaning political traditions this poll makes particularly disappointing reading. Clearly too many people in Wales seem to have forgotten what a British tory government at Westminster did to the welsh economy in the 1980s. Furthermore this poll raises serious doubts that Wales will follow Scotland and begin to plot its own independent course any time soon. Indeed polls like this give rise to very real fears that Wales is more likely to morph into 'WalesShire' than become the independent socialist republic people like myself hope to see it become.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Blame the Welsh air

Well i've lived in Wales all my life and there are a number of things about this little country i've always felt a sense of pride about - among them our beautiful scenery, our tradition of radical progressive politics and our air! As there's no question that as air goes the welsh air is probably up there with the best you'll find anywhere in the world. And up until yesterday i would have had no hesitation in urging anyone to visit Wales and inhale as much of it as their lungs can hold. However after yesterday's shock news i'm no longer so sure of this, as it was apparently while 'walking in wales' in the splendid environs of Cader Idris in Snowdonia and enjoying the welsh mountain air that Theresa May made up her mind to call a snap general election for June 8th

Now as things stand and if all the current polling evidence is to be believed the tories are on course to win a majority on June 8th that will make the 1997 british general election result look like a cliffhanger. Thanks to a combination of blairite sabotage and Jezza's incompetence Labour are in complete disarray and at the same time the tories have managed to hoover up most of ukip's support by adopting a hardest possible stance on brexit. And the early indicators are the fact that Theresa May has repeatedly misled people about not going for an early general election hasnt dented May's 'popularity' by one iota

But what will a tory majority of 150 - 200 on June 8th mean? It will mean a hard right tory government with a massive majority at Westminster being able to pursue a neo thatcherite agenda unencumberd by any progressive laws approved by the EU parliament, eu laws which have given workers rights and which have protected the environment. As the likes of Nigel Lawson gleefully stated soon after the vote to leave on June 23rd 'brexit means being able to finish what Thatcher started'

On the upside a tory majority at Westminster of 150 + will hopefully concentrate a few waivering minds in Scotland ahead of a second independence referendum and result in Scotland departing the 'union' and escaping the awful clutches of the right wing 'John Bull' madhouse that post brexit blighty looks set to become. Alas the prospects for Wales are not so positive. As unless there's a sudden sea change in welsh public opinion Wales faces that grim future 'naked under an acid rain' the socialist historian Gwyn Alf Williams warned us about back in 1983.

My immediate reaction folowing the vote in Wales to leave the EU on June 23rd was that Turkeys do indeed vote for Christmas, and nothing that has happened since then has changed that view.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Countdown to World War 3?

In the early hours of this morning (UK time) the US military on the instruction of Donald Trump launched dozens of tommahawk missiles from one of its navy destroyers at an airfield in Syria.The Trump administration stated the missile attack on Syria was in response to the recent events in Idlib province which saw dozens of people die in a attack where it appears chemical weapons were used. And while its not clear yet who was behind the alleged use of chemical weapons in Idlib the Trump administration (along with it's puppet.... er i mean ally in Westminster) has already unilaterally decided it was the work of the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.

There are some very important things which need to be said here. First off the US actions have no basis in (but then when has the US ever worried about violating international law when it suits it?).Trump didn't even consult or seek the approval of the US congress, as US law compels a US president to do under the War Powers act. Secondly when looking for responsibility for the terrible events in Idlib its worth remembering investigations of a similarly awful attack involving chemical weapons in Syria in 2013 were inconclusive - it could have been the Syrian military or it could have been one of the multitude of 'rebel' groups using chemical weapons supplied by their backers in Saudi Arabia. Inspectors for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons reported in January 2015 that it had destroyed all of Syria's stockpiles of chemical weapons In contrast it's known that ISIS affiliates in Syria have stockpiles of chemical weapons, and they used these on occasions - most recently in Aleppo last September.

Even the UN has confirmed there were no Syrian military aircraft in the skies over Idlib at the time these events happened. While claims by so called 'rebel' groups of Syrian government involvement should be treated with some caution - some of the rebel groups fighting the Syrian government have links to ISIS and they have also been heavily infiltrated by jihadist groups like the al nusrah front and al qaeda. So the fact of the matter is without a proper investigation by UN investigators we still cant be certain who was behind the attack in Idlib. But it's an irony that the Syrian airbase destroyed in this morning's US missile strikes has been serving as a key airfield in the Syrian government's ongoing battle against the medieval homicides of ISIS.

Finally only a couple of weeks ago US airstrikes were responsible for the deaths of over 200 civilian in airstrikes in Mosul - a war crime which should also be investigated surely?

Throughout his presidential campaign Trump said if elected the US wouldn't be getting involved in conflicts in the middle east - this morning's actions clearly fly in the face of these campaign promises. But then such a turnabout is entirely in keeping with Trump and his history. Completely contradicting his previous statements is an inherent part of Trump's highly unstable character - that and the fact he's a compulsive liar of course.

Those misguided and ill informed folk cheering on Trump's illegal actions today might want to reflect on the fact this is a someone who has in the recent past repeatedly stated he couldn't see anything wrong with using nuclear weapons So as part of his suddenly created policy of removing the Syrian government will he now nuke Syria - and along with it the many Russian personnel there - with all the horrific consequences that would bring not just for the region but the rest of the world too? Certainly nothing can be ruled out with a pathological megalomaniac like Trump that's for sure. Hey maybe those religious minded people who were ridiculed during the US presidential campaign for warning that Trump is the anti Christ and that he will find a way to initiate a nuclear holocaust will be proved right after all?

Update : Russia has announced that as a consequence of Trump's actions it has withdrawn from the 2015 Memorandum of understanding it established with the US in 2015 The Memorandum includes general safety protocols for US and Russian aircrews to follow in the middle east to minimise the chances of the two nations accidentaly coming into conflict with each other, such as maintaining professional airmanship, as well as specific provisions to avoid collision and unwanted conflict such as the use of specific communication frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground.

So the possibilities of direct conflict between Russian and US forces in Syria have now moved an ominous step nearer. While it has been pointed out to me that Donald Trump owns a building at 666 Fifth Avenue ....nuff said

Friday, 31 March 2017

Brexit and a Medieval Psychopath

So the British government is set to employ powers created by Henry Vlll as part of the process of brexit

Er hang on a moment weren't we repeatedly told by leavers during the referendum campaign that the EU was undemocratic and unaccountable to the people and so people in the UK should vote leave to 'take back control'. Just how using powers created by a 16th century absolute monarch is taking back control i'm not sure. Furthermore the monarch in question wasn't the cuddly comical 'Henery' Herman's Hermits sang about in their dreadful 1960s song - Henry Vlll was a mass murdering tyrant! He authorised the killing of tens of thousands of people he disagreed with during his bloody tyrannical reign and engineered the torture and execution of some of his wives just to get rid of them. Indeed when it came to beheading, burning and boiling people Henry Vlll could have taught ISIS a thing or two. Oh and he annexed Wales with the 1536 Act of Union, effectively making it a part of England and introducing laws which tried to exterminate the welsh language.

It's bad enough this clueless British government have invoked powers created by an unaccountable monarch as part of their so called 'great repeal bill' but in 'Henery' the Eigth they could not a have a chosen a more repulsive figure from British history.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

More terrible consequences of a disastrous invasion

Well there's only one story today and that story is the awful events in London yesterday. Must say i've never seen so many people who haven't been in a church in years and who wouldn't know one end of the bible from the other sending 'prayers' - well you'll get no such hypocritical bunkum from me. I'm deeply saddened that 4 people lost their lives in london yesterday but i wont be invoking the support of any supernatural entities as a result of it.

Sad but entirely predictable to see however that british far right groups - and their fellow travellers in ukip - are already seizing on the event and trying to use it for their own repugnant agenda,and this is despite the fact we don't yet know the identity of the suspect or what his motives were.

One thing i will say is that if it should turn out the attacker was linked to a group like ISIS or influenced by them we need to remember that ISIS emerged from a split in Al Qaeda in Iraq, and that Al Qaeda in Iraq itself emerged from the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 - an invasion which resulted in the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis.The fact is if there had been no invasion of Iraq there would be no ISIS murdering people today, and if we care about all the victims of ISIS we should never allow those who backed the disastrous invasion to forget this

Update: So called 'Islamic State' have indeed claimed responsibility for yesterday's attack in London. Meanwhile over 200 Iraqi civilians died today as a result of US airstrikes in Mosul

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Here's hoping Scotland 'Takes back control'

The phrase 'take back control' will no doubt be reasonably familiar to people - even if it's not remembered fondly by some of us. It was a key slogan of the leave campaign in last years referendum on EU membership. And though i was on the opposing side in that campaign i certainly wouldn't try to deny the effectiveness of that slogan in garnering support for the leave side.I'm not sure if it was the somewhat sinister Dominic Cummings or former Taxpayer Alliance luminary Matthew Elliott who dreamt the slogan up but as political slogans go it's surely got to be up there with Saatchi's infamous 1979 'labour isnt working' poster for simplicity and impact. It's not easy to encapsulate an entire political movement's aim in just 3 simple words but that's what 'take back control' did (the fact it was all bollox and the last thing many of those involved in the leave campaign wanted was ordinary people having more 'control' over their everyday lives is alas now neither here nor there).

Wouldn't it be a delicious irony however if the Yes campaign in the forthcoming indie referendum in Scotland pinched the leavers slogan for themselves and asked the scottish people to 'take back control' when Theresa May permits the people of Scotland to decide their own future. It would mean a slogan created with the express aim of enabling Britannia to 'rule the waves' again would be being used to help consign the very same 'Great Britain' to the dustbin of history. Think without the Cross of St Andrew emblazoned on it the flag so beloved by Tories and british neo fascists alike - the union jack - would be rendered redundant overnight (mind you my country Wales has never been represented on it anyway). And it would surely mean the last Night of the proms - with all its 'pomp and circumstance' - would have to be cancelled as the Proms groupies would have nothing to wave.

I'm not sure the people who have masterminded the surge in support for Scottish self government in recent times need any advice from people like me incidentally but it's fun to speculate all the same.

But what we do already know is that there wont be a repeat of the 2014 'Better Together' campaign, which successfully hoodwinked enough people in Scotland into voting NO three years ago. It seems that the bitter divisions which have since opened up between the respective parties in the intervening years has made working together to thwart those pesky scot nats this time round an impossibility

Obviously from the standpoint of those of us hoping for a yes vote this time the fact the opposition will be fragmented and disorganised can only be a good thing. And it's also likely to mean that anyone hoping for a repeat of the kind of dramatic late interventions we saw in 2014 is likely to be disappointed. Unless maybe messrs Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Ian Duncan Smith could stand in for Cameron, Clegg and Miliband? (remember them). Given that Farage, Johnson and Smith are held in utter contempt by most people in Scotland lets hope they do. I'm not sure who could double up for the 'son of the manse' aka Gordon Brown next time but i understand UKIP financier Arron Banks has some time on his hands

But what's been most staggering about Nicola Sturgeon's Monday morning announcement is the wider impact it's had. The first consequence was that Theresa May had to cancel plans to begin the process of brexit this week. But perhaps of even more significance has been the impact the announcement has had in Wales and the north of Ireland Already this week there have been two calls from leading figures in Sinn Fein for a referendum on Irish reunification. Only a few years ago a referendum on uniting Ireland would have seemed a pipe dream but now - as a consequence of brexit - it's being widely discussed and taken seriously across the 6 counties.

And in Wales too this week there have been calls for a 'national conversation' about independence. But such calls haven't come from the obvious candidates - like the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood - they have even come from someone like the respected and labour leaning welsh journalist Martin Shipton And during a radio programme on BBC Wales on Monday the host - well known Broadcaster Jason Mohammed - commented his show had never received so many texts from listeners saying it was now time for Wales to consider Independence. It's clear then from the events of this week that the Brexit vote last June has unleashed a genie - a genie which the British state can't control and which shows no sign of going back in its bottle. And it would again surely be a delicious irony if a campaign - the leave campaign - which was seemingly all about restoring Britain's past 'imperial glories' and ruling the world's seas could well end up leading to the break up of dear old blighty.

Speaking of 'Rule Britannia' i'll conclude with a performance from the aforementioned and now gravely endangered 'Last Night of the Proms. All i will say is that if watching vommit inducing stuff like this doesn't convince a majority of people in Scotland to vote yes next time round then i dont know what will.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Charities involved in deportations

One night last week while walking through my locality in south wales i was somewhat surprised to see an 'Immigration Compliance and Enforcement' van parked along the street (see pic). I was a bit taken aback as i've never seen one of these vehicles in the area before, but a report recently released by Corporate Watch may help explain what it was doing there

The report reveals the extent to which local authorities, employers, landlords and - quite shockingly - charities for the homeless are working with the UK home office and Immigration Services to get people deported. St Mungo's are one of the homelessness charities reported to be passing information about homeless people to the Home Office, information which has resulted in their removal from the UK. While outreach teams from St Mungo's and another charity 'Change, Grow, Live' are carrying out 'joint patrols' with Immigration enforcement squads. A recently disclosed document from St Mungo’s entitled 'Enforcement policy for EU and non-EU nationals' states that if the rough sleepers are deemed to have no right to remain in the UK and do not agree to return home voluntarily “these individuals details will be passed onto the ICE (Immigration Compliance and Enforcement) by the outreach team”.

Civil liberty campaigners have understandably been horrified by these revelations and have accused the UK government of adopting a 'border on every street' policy. Martha Spurrier director of Liberty commented “Using homeless charities to spy on the homeless is a new low, even for a government bent on bringing border controls into every corner of our lives.Turning unaccountable citizens into immigration officers can only lead to racial profiling, discrimination and alienation, raising tensions in already divided communities".

Corporate Watch is rightly calling on workers with homelessness charities to stop acting as an arm of the UK immigration services and to stop passing on information about rough sleepers to the Home Office. And later this morning from 10am there will be an online protest in the form of a twitter and email 'storm' against homelessness charities that are cooperating with the Home Office on forced removals. For more details of the online protest and how to participate visit this link

And given the reported difficulties EU nationals are apparently going to face to remain in the UK following Brexit - like filling in forms nearly 100 pages long - Van's like the one pictured above are likely to become a common feature on UK streets 

Monday, 6 March 2017

Ricky Tomlinson's claims should be taken seriously

In truth no one should be surprised by Ricky Tomlinson's claim last week that the broadcaster Richard Whiteley was an asset of british intelligence,and that Whiteley was part of the british state's campaign against striking building workers in the early 1970s. A wave of industrial action on building sites prompted by the terrible wage levels and the appalling and dangerous working conditions people employed in the building industry faced. Whiteley presented a documentary - Red Under the Bed - broadcast at the height of the trial against the striking building workers which was subsequently found to have been produced and financed by British intelligence

In relation to Whiteley it's worth noting the intelligence services have always placed great store on infiltrating and controlling the mass media. Documents which surfaced following the collapse of BCCI in 1991 revealed that nearly 100 british journalists were working for british intelligence while the earlier investigations of the Church committee in the US revealed that hundreds of journalists and broadcaster's were on the CIA's payroll. And for decades a secret department at the BBC and controlled by MI5 vetted people applying for jobs with the corporation

Doubtless most people will be unfamiliar with the events of the early 1970s and which would result in Ricky Tomlinson's imprisonment but in a speech (see video below) which he recently gave to the 'Those Who Are Spied Upon' conference Ricky illustrated the trumped up nature of the 'case' against him and fellow strikers like Des Warren. And he highlighted the extent of collusion between the british government, employers in the building industry and british intelligence during the building workers strikes of the period.Collusion between government, employers and the intelligence services which would be repeated during the 1980s miners strike and which we can be sure has continued

Of course companies involved in the building industry - like McAlpine's and Balfour Beatty - have always been prominent supporters of the Conservative party and also helped fund the infamous Economic League, a shadowy right wing organisation which drew up blacklists of people with so called 'subversive' ie left wing views - blacklists which over the decades have resulted in tens of thousands of people losing their jobs or being denied employment.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

”The sun still shines.”

I've written previously here on the perilous and even frightening times we live in  To recap in the last few months we've seen a UK exit from the EU as a result of a campaign based largely on lies, xenophobia and a nascent and ugly British chauvinism. We've seen a President elected in America on a platform based almost entirely on lies, xenophobia and promises that on times have bordered on fascism (promises we are now seeing in action And we are presently seeing the prospect in France and the Netherlands of the election of politicians from parties whose past leader called the holocaust "a mere detail of history" and whose current leader describes people from north africa as "scum" So all in all this a very trying time for those of us with a world view based on tolerance, compassion and a commitment to social and economic justice.

But however grim things might appear at present we should take care not to despair - these forces of darkness wont always be in the ascendant. And as always happens with neo fascist movements their mask will slip and their full hideousness will be revealed, and we can be sure they will then be held to account for the violence, hatred and fear they have encouraged and spread. As an incredibly brave young woman - executed 74 years ago today by arguably the cruellest political regime in human history - reminded us as she went to her death "Sonne scheint noch" (The sun still shines).

Friday, 10 February 2017

Today's 'Alt Right' are the Old Far Right

This week Channel 4 news screened a report on the British Alt Right - the kindred spirits of America's infamous 'Alt Right' ie white supremacists and other assorted neo fascists who flock to internet sites like Breitbart and who salivate at the hateful rantings of the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos In one sense the channel 4 report was revealing because it showed british devotees of the Alt Right openly expressing admiration for Hitler's Mein Kampf and their adherence to a form of politics which emphasis the primacy of skin colour above all else.You would have thought that these 'wunderkinds' might have been savvy enough to realise that openly expressing admiration for a racist mass murderer like Hitler or promoting an ideology based on racial identity on a major british news programme isn't the best way to build popular support.

But in another sense there wasn't anything in Channel Four's report (uploaded below) we havent seen or heard before. Substitute 'Judaism' for 'Islam' and 'master race' for 'white civilisation' and these foot soldiers of the British Alt Right are saying exactly what the Nazis used to say in the 1930s and what the neo nazi british national front were saying in the 1970s and 1980s. In other words today's Alt Right are Nazis pure and simple, and they should be treated accordingly.

UPDATE : The Anti Fascist organisation Hope not Hate has unearthed more details on the links between US white supremacists and the Alt Right in the UK

Thursday, 9 February 2017

A ray of light amid the gloom

Well they say every cloud has a silver lining and as disastrous as the vote to leave the EU may prove to be for many parts of the UK - my home country Wales included - one welcome consequence of Brexit is the threat it may pose to the proposed Wylfa B nuclear reactor on Anglesey. I looked at the reasons we should be very concerned about plans for new nuclear power stations on Anglesey and at Hinkley point in an earlier post :

But on Tuesday BBC Wales reported "Plans to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey will face big challenges if the UK leaves a European nuclear cooperation institution due to Brexit, according to an expert. Prof Dr Glyn O. Phillips said leaving Euratom would make it difficult to get staff for projects like Wylfa Newydd. The UK will leave the body if the bill to trigger Article 50 to start the process of leaving the EU is approved. Prof Phillips, winner of international science awards, said that withdrawal from Euratom "will be destructive to any nuclear work in the UK" as European resources have been centralised at Cern in Geneva, Switzerland."

"They are trying to build a centre now in Manchester, to bring some kind of training but, in the end, all our researchers go back and forth to Cern," he said in an interview with BBC Cymru Fyw."If that link is cut and we can't keep the connection, then I can't see how we could ever produce the workforce that is vital to maintain the new power stations that they are talking about."He said training is "crucially important" to staff the next generation of plants, and that doing so is dependent on "working with other people"."I don't see cutting ourselves off through Brexit bringing any new jobs. It just means that you cannot use other people's resources."

Now as well as highlighting the problems brexit might pose for Wylfa B Prof Williams comments are also important for another reason in that if the proposed nuclear reactor is so dependent on a workforce from EU member states to function it raises serious doubts made by backers of nuclear power that Wylfa B would bring a 'jobs bonanza to the area'. Indeed it's looking increasingly as if the promises of local jobs in north wales made by the UK energy department and Wylfa B's parent company Hitachi are about as genuine as the promises made by the leave campaign during the EU referendum. Hitachi of course also gave assurances about radiation levels at their Fukushima designed plant not being dangerous

On Saturday 11 March 2017 a conference entitled 'Green Nuclear-Free Wales, A United Welsh Front against Nuclear Power' will be taking place at the National Library, Aberystwyth. Further details can be found here

And sticking with the theme of bogus promises i notice that as i type this piece the Bill to invoke Article 50 has passed through the Westminister Parliament without a single amendment being accepted by the May government. Now after the referendum result and the resignation of David Cameron Theresa May and her new foreign secretary (boris johnson) and her new brexit secretary (david davis) made great play of saying they would protect the rights of EU nationals in the UK and incorporate EU directives on workers rights and environmental protection measures into british law following Brexit. Yet this week when they've had the opportunity to make such promises concrete they have ensured tory MPs have voted down all such amendments guaranteeing these things.

Course the likes of Theresa May, Boris Johnson and David Davis will still say these promises will be implemented after brexit, but given they ensured these amendments were voted down on the day they disgracefully dumped the 'Dubs scheme' i think we are entitled to be highly skeptical of these promises being fullfilled

And without any of these amendments being successful what we have in essence been left with is a hard brexit. A Brexit which takes us out of the single market and the customs union. A brexit which doesn't guarantee the rights of a single EU national living in the UK. A Brexit which offers no guarantee that EU directed employment rights and measures to protect the environment or even EU food standards will be incorporated into British law once the UK has departed the EU.

And despite the claims of the hard right now firmly in charge of the British Tory government there is simply no evidence to support their insistence that a rock hard brexit is what 17 and a half million people voted for on June 23rd. The only people advocating this sort of brexit during the referendum campaign were the Kippers and neo fascist groups like Britain First.The names of the 122 MPs who took a stand against this hardest possible of Brexits can be found here

Monday, 6 February 2017

Right wing bigots and Online trolling

I've written previously of my concerns about some aspects of social media, such as the way right wing and neo fascist forces are using social media to disseminate fake news ie tell lies and also the fact social media seems to bring out the worst in some people I publish here a worrying example of this disturbing trend in a recent screenshot from Facebook sent to me by a friend.

Now i've no idea who Veronica Jones is, other than i understand she lives somewhere in the UK and frequents the facebook pages of news outlets like The Mirror and The Mail. And while she obviously wont find herself being shortlisted for the Booker prize any time soon in reading the torrent of hatred and bigotry in her post you do have to have serious concerns about the mentality of an individual like this. And the worrying thing is Veronica Jones vile comment isn't an isolated example of the abuse you can find yourself subject to from some people for having the temerity to challenge their right wing and racist views. Anyone who has challenged UKIP members or Brexit supporters or Donald Trump enthusiasts online will tell you that there are plenty of people like 'Veronica Jones' out there.

And i was given a very stark reminder of this myself last week in the shape of a certain 'Sarah Svensson'. Sarah Svensson is a UKIP member based in South Wales who distinguishes herself by posting links to various facebook groups promoting the hate mongering of Milo Yiannopoulos and the 'Alt Right' website so beloved by white supremacists Breitbart Recently however Svensson plumbed new depths with remarks she made about the Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.

As some readers might know last year Leanne was the victim of vile online attacks, attacks which included threats to rape her and calls for her to be shot Now given such horrific experiences Leanne quite understandably adopts a zero tolerance approach to online trolls and blocks such people from commenting on her facebook page.You might have thought then the appalling threats Leanne has suffered would have prompted UKIP members to moderate their vitriolic attacks on her somewhat - not a bit of it. When i reminded Sarah Svennson of the horrific abuse Leanne has suffered at the hands of online trolls, and pointed out she that she is perfectly entitled to take measures to protect herself from further harassment - such as blocking the worst offenders - Svensson responded with a remark so thoughtless and callous as to almost defy belief.

Saying Leanne should "stay off the frontline where it's safer to dodge the bullets" a few months after somebody was prosecuted for publicly calling for her to be shot must surely rank as among the most insensitive comments to appear on social media, and i think illustrates all too graphically what i've said previously about social media bringing out the worst in some people. Even more disturbingly however the comments i have highlighted in this post perhaps shows us what those like Sarah Svensson and Veronica Jones - and other right wing bigots like them - are really thinking.

P.S. since drafting this piece i've been informed - ironically by a supporter of Ukip - that 'Sarah Svensson' is a fake facebook profile. Her real identity is however known to me and i can confirm she is a prominent Ukip member in south wales. I hope she will have the decency to reveal her true identity before it is done for her.