Yellow Vests – Not All What They Seem

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Media throughout the world have been broadcasting their own versions of les Gilets jaunes protest marches in France over the last two months. I’ve not seen one that hasn’t focused on the violence and damage to property inflicted during these protests.

Please note, I wrote ‘during’, not, ‘by the protesters’. ‘Les Gilets jaunes’ are ordinary French people doing that which the citizens of many other countries should be copying: making their voices heard by a government no longer doing its job of representing the people – all the people, not just the top, wealthy, one percent of society.

Unfortunately, as is so frequently the case, these protests are infiltrated by ultra-right anarchists hijacking peaceful protests and committing violence and mayhem on the streets of French towns. These thugs camouflage themselves by wearing similar yellow hi-visibility vests as the genuine protesters. That way they can move among them more easily without being noticed.

Compare the image above with the one below. Peaceful protesters, like those in the top image, have no need to hide their identity. Only thugs out to cause mayhem cover their faces, like the anonymous criminal below:

Then, of course, there are the copycat brigade. Unable to think of any emblem to identify their own particular bee-in-the-bonnet, they’ll steal someone else’s…

…no, this is not a bunch of wayward Frenchies desperate to be British, it’s British ‘yellow vest’ protesters causing mayhem outside the UK parliament. Hands up anyone who can spot one intelligent face among them. Don’t think for a moment these people are siding with the French movement, who disavow any affiliation with them. They’re the Brexiteer brigade using violent protest to try and ensure they get their own way over the handling of Brexit.

This guy, on the right…

…is James Goddard, one of the rabble leaders. Facebook has just taken down his page. The right-wing rag, “Voice of Europe” is loving every minute:

Activist James Goddard, who is part of the movement and targeted Westminster Bridge, just yards away from the British Parliament told Politicalite: “This is just the start.”

“We wanna see people out on the streets challenging the political class.” “We’re gonna bring cities to a standstill, We all need to start doing this”

“There’s no funding, there’s no leader or political affiliation, this is real people taking action, without the help of people who are high up.”[1]

There’s no funding, says Goddard, except his private PayPal account:

FB have silenced me & I now have journos outside my mums house, all for approaching a politician about her views! I rely on the support of REAL people to carry on doing what we’re doing, if you would like to support me the link is here:

Ooops, sorry James, it looks like Facebook’s not the only one you’ve fallen out with…

From Goddard’s Twitter feed

…no Learjet yet, then.

The Guardian today (OPINION: Gaby Hinsliff) reveals the disgusting antics of these anarchists outside parliament, as they harass politicians and pro-remain [in Europe] journalists:

This is thuggishness, pure and simple. There’s no other way of characterising the ugly scenes unfolding outside parliament, where prominent remainer MPs, journalists and activists now run a daily gauntlet of intimidation.
It was painful to watch an unbelievably composed Anna Soubry battle her way into her office through a crowd of protesters chanting “scum” and calling her a Nazi. Soubry is as resilient as they come and she kept her dignity, but she looked so horribly vulnerable in this situation crackling with barely repressed violence. It is even harder to see police officers stand by and do nothing as a handful of men in hi-vis costume hold public debate hostage by screeching abuse at pro-remain MPs, journalists and anyone else they recognise from the telly. (I say anyone; there’s a wearily familiar pattern emerging, and it’s that women, people of colour and other minorities get it worst. Sky TV’s Kay Burley tweeted that she now needs personal security just to get on and off College Green, where broadcasters have been conducting live interviews with MPs for decades without this kind of interruption. The anti-Brexit campaigner Femi Oluwole and my colleague Owen Jones have also been targeted.) [2]

I’m all in favour of people rising in protest at the unfairness of their society. It’s not just happening in France, but elsewhere in Europe, particularly in eastern nations like Hungary[3] and Poland[4] where ultra right-wing parties have commandeered power. Sadly, it’s not happening in one country that needs it more than most – the USA.

Unless ordinary folk make a stand against tyranny it will spread, as it is already doing, across the globe. It’s not just ultra right-wing governments that must be curbed, but less extreme regimes like that of Emmanuel Macron in France, and Theresa May in the UK. Pandering to the wealthy at the expense of the poor should never be tolerated in the 21st century.

Those who use others to gain some political advantage, the anarchists infiltrating Les Gilet jaunes of France and the latest fascist element in the UK, need bringing to heel and dealt with severely by a fair and honest legal system. It’s not their rights they fight for, but to replace true democratic government with anarchy.

[1] “It begins: British yellow vests announce second London protest” Voice of Europe, December 15th 2018

[2] “Mob politics is the hateful new norm – it must be resisted at all costs” Guardian, January 8th 2019

[3] “Hungary’s opposition plans more protests after ‘slave law’ passes” Guardian, December 18th 2018

[4] “”Yellow vests” began protests in Poland” Front News International, December 12th 2018

Christopher Grayling – The Ultimate Incompetent Politician?

Who is this man?

His name is Christopher Grayling. He’s a British Tory Member of Parliament and presently Theresa May’s Secretary of State for Transport. (The title used to be “Minister of Transport”, but Secretary of State sounds grander – it isn’t).

Grayling has served in, or maybe ‘cocked-up’ would be more accurate, a number of ministerial positions, most notable that of Lord Chancellor. Grayling had not one wit of knowledge or qualification to hold this position. The weak-chinned and pathetic apology for a prime minister, David Cameron, put him there. It has always been the prerogative of a senior member of the legal profession to hold the Office, and Grayling was the first non-lawyer in 440 years to do so. He was also the first Lord Chancellor to cause the first ever strike in British history by barristers and solicitors, over his draconian cuts to legal aid payments for the poor.

“Most judges, lawyers, probation staff, prison officers, victims, court staff and people denied access to justice believe that you have been the worst Lord Chancellor since Lord Shaftesbury in 1673,” Chris Grayling was told by his Labour shadow Sadiq Khan, as they faced each other in the Commons for the last time before the election.

Okay, you can expect criticism from someone from the opposition party in Parliament, but how about a leading Queen’s Council, Lord Pannick:

Lord Chancellor Grayling, […] in the words of one QC, Lord Pannick, is “notable only for his attempts to restrict judicial review and human rights, his failure to protect the judiciary against criticism from his colleagues; and the reduction of legal aid to a bare minimum”.[1]

Prior to this debacle, Grayling was the Minister for Works and Pensions. This put him in charge of all the jobcentres in the country. To cut costs he threw 100,000* jobcentre workers out of their employment, then proceeded to castigate the unemployed and cut benefits in an effort to force people with long term disabilities back to work.

(*This figure from Wikipedia cannot be verified, but it was certainly many thousands).

While Lord Chancellor, he banned prisoners from having books on the grounds they may contain drugs. Between 2012 and 2015 he cut the numbers of prison officers from 23,000 to 18,000 causing the Justice Select Committee, an oversight committee comprised of MPs from various parties, to conclude:

.. “it is not possible to avoid the conclusion” that changes in policy, including efficiency savings and staffing shortages, “have made a significant contribution to the deterioration in safety”…The MPs’ year-long inquiry into prisons concludes “it is not possible to avoid the conclusion” that changes in policy, including efficiency savings and staffing shortages, “have made a significant contribution to the deterioration in safety”.

The MPs warn that there is a “very real danger of unmanageable growth” in the prison population, which at more than 85,000 is already at record levels, unless there are significant changes in both the current “tough rhetoric” and policy on sentencing. [2]

For all his ‘good works’, Theresa May made him Secretary of State for Transport, and in the run up to Christmas 2018 Gatwick Airport was forced to close over three days due to drones near the runways. Surely, one would assume, an incident worthy of the attention of Britain’s Secretary of State for Transport?

On December 23rd, The Daily Telegraph published the headline:

DfT [Department for Transport] accused of delaying crack RAF team from taking on Gatwick drone.

According to Wikipedia (somebody had obviously paid the extortionate fees demanded by this Tory rag, to read the Telegraph article):

…Grayling had ignored “numerous warnings” about the threat posed by drones, halting draft legislation due for publication in early 2019 thereby allowing civil servants to be diverted to Brexit related tasks. According to the Daily Telegraph, the RAF offered the assistance of a specialist anti-drone team almost immediately but Grayling’s department – which would have had to pay for the service – was reluctant to accept.[3]

Graylings latest coup de grace comes today via a headline from the Guardian newspaper:

Grayling defends giving Brexit ferry contract to company with no ships.

In an effort to dilute the serious effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the UK government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds, 13.8 million of which the esteemed Secretary of State for Transport has handed over to a cross-channel ferry company to increase capacity and get trucks across the English Channel more quickly.

The only drawback to this fine scheme is that the company concerned has no ships.

The local Conservative councillor Paul Messenger was the first to raise concern in public about awarding such a lucrative contract to a firm with no prior experience. “It has no ships and no trading history so how can due diligence be done?” he told the BBC.

He said the company had not moved “a single truck in their entire history … I don’t understand the logic of that”.[4]

It seems unlikely that anyone else does either – except, of course, Secretary of State for Transport The Right Honorable (can you believe that!) Christopher Grayling, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May who gave him the job, and a number of other ‘Oxbridge’ spew-outs calling themselves ‘right honorables’, and pretending to know how to run a country when in truth they’d be incapable of running a child’s electric train set.

Ineptitude: the hallmark of Britain’s politicians today, with Christopher Grayling at the forefront.

[1] “Chris Grayling the worst Lord Chancellor for 342 years? No, worse” The Independent, 17th March 2015

[2] “UK justice minister ‘complacent’ over 38% rise in prison deaths, say MPs” The Guardian, 18th March 2015

[4] “Grayling defends giving Brexit ferry contract to company with no ships” The Guardian, 2nd January 2019

[3] “Wikipedia, Chris Grayling.

Big Fish Grow Fat From Eating Smaller Fish…

…but what happens when the small fish are all gone?

ANSWER: the big fish begin eating each other, until only one huge monster is left. They call it “MONOPOLY”.

The name is aptly derived from two Ancient Greek words: mónos, meaning “alone, only, sole, or single”, and POLY, from ‘polus’, meaning “many, or much.” The ‘single’ engulfs the ‘many’.

It’s obviously a very bad idea for fish, so why does society not do more to prevent it happening in business? “Ah,” I hear you cry, “but we have the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.”

“And when,” is my response, “did you last hear from them?”

Sparrow Chat has been web-hosted for many years by a company called, ‘IX Web Hosting’, but they’ve recently been taken over by ‘Site5’, who, in turn, are owned by an international conglomerate called EIG (Endurance International Group). EIG has been called ‘the world’s largest web-hosting company you’ve probably never heard of.’ It’s one of those vile monsters that has grown huge by engulfing smaller companies, often at the expense of employees who end up unemployed, and customers who face ever-rising fees.

To date EIG has hoovered up over eighty web-hosting and tech companies.

The concept was to roll up small ISPs into one large national ISP and achieve economies of scale. Endurance is acquiring hosting companies domestically and internationally…the company made four buys in 2014. The largest was a $109.8 million cash and stock deal for the web presence business of Directi from Indian-based Directi Web Technologies. Directi provides services in various countries, including India, the U.S., Turkey, China, Russia and Indonesia.

In March 2015, the company announced an investment in Netherlands-based technology startup AppMachine, acquiring 40% of the company.

In August 2015, EIG announced the acquisition of Site5 and Verio Web Hosting from NTT. It is estimated that EIG gained 86,000+ new subscribers through these acquisitions.

In November 2015, the company acquired Constant Contact, and days later laid off 15% of their workforce.
Also in November 2015, EIG acquired the assets of Ecommerce, LLC for $28 million. This acquisition included a total of 72,000 subscribers from three different hosting brands: IX Web Hosting, Cloud by IX, and Host Excellence.[1]

It’s yet another tale of hedge funds and investment bankers sweeping up small companies to make themselves even richer. It stinks and Sparrow Chat will not be a part of any money-making game where the majority are impoverished so a few can grow obscenely wealthy. It’s a common practice these days and one accepted by a society rapidly losing all moral fibre in the rush for greed-fuelled riches.

I’m happy to report that EIG is about to lose one customer. Over the the next few days/weeks Sparrow Chat will be moving to a new webhost – ‘A2 Hosting’.[2]

A2 is an independent and founder-owned company, which categorically states it is not part of EIG, or any other of the monsters out there lurking in the deep, murky, waters of corporate takeover.

Hopefully, ‘A2 Hostings’ will survive that way for a long time. If not, Sparrow Chat may have to move on again.

[1] “Wikipedia, Endurance International Group

[2] “A2 Hosting”