Politics : News and views about politics (or what Bush has left of it).
Updated: 7/6/07; 12:06:12 pm.


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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Guardian: "The NHS is on the brink of collapse and cannot be saved unless Gordon Brown intervenes when he becomes prime minister to give doctors the authority to organise a recovery, the leader of Britain's 33,000 hospital consultants will claim today.

Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, will tell Mr Brown: 'Political meddling has brought the NHS to its knees. Unshackle the profession, give us back the health service, and we will rebuild it. Fail to do so and you will rightly be condemned for destroying the best piece of social capital the country has ever had.'

Dr Fielden will blame the Department of Health for cutting services too aggressively last autumn, when ministers panicked about the possibility of another deficit."

Health care is in shambles, but the health industry is doing fine.
12:00:47 PM    

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

TimesOnline: "Israel's parliament is to debate a draft law today that could lead to a consumer boycott of all British goods.
The proposed Bill is aimed at punishing Britain for recent threats from its largest trade union and UCU, the university lecturers' union, to boycott Israel for occupying Palestinian land. The prospect of a boycott has prompted concern among the Israeli public. Leading commentators denounced the moves as anti-Semitic. Now a group of politicians has promised a harsh response, calling for Israel to begin its own boycott against Britain.
Others want the musical Mama Mia! cancelled. The British production is due to open in Tel Aviv this month."
10:51:49 AM    

Friday, May 18, 2007

BBC: "About 2,500 post offices - a fifth of those left in the UK - are to close by 2009, the government has confirmed."

Privatization and deregulation are ruining public services all over Europe.
10:56:14 AM    

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Guardian: "Palestinians detained by Israeli security forces are routinely tortured and ill-treated, according to a new report published by Israeli human rights groups yesterday. The ill-treatment, which includes beatings, sensory deprivation, back-bending, back-stretching and other forms of physical abuse, contravenes international law and Israeli law, the report says."
10:24:39 AM    

Monday, May 7, 2007

Indymedia: "100 participants of a peaceful bicycle demonstration that was part of the bicycle caravan against the G8 were arrested in Utrecht yesterday in a planned and violent police action for not driving on the bicycle path. They were kept in arrest under adverse circumstances - overcrowded cells, insufficient oxygen supply, without food - long into the night, their bicycles confiscated. Four people are still under arrest today, among them at least two members of the bicycle caravan Gr8chaoskaravaan; one arrestee is being threatened with deportation and one is to remain arrested for two weeks for failing to pay a fine. None of the four remaining arrestees has had contact to a lawyer so far and it is not know where they are being held. Another caravan member was released but had his passport confiscated by the Foreigners Police. The caravan info office protested against the criminalisation of protest actions ahead of the G8 summit and calls for solidarity actions until everyone is out. Preparations for solidarity actions are currently taking place."
10:55:11 AM    

Friday, April 20, 2007

JapanTimes: "One of the leading voices against nuclear proliferation was silenced Wednesday when Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito died from gunshot wounds. He was 61.
It is part of the job of political leaders in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two cities to have had an atomic bomb dropped on them, to oppose nuclear weapons. Ito had a particularly high profile as mayor and was widely respected."

There is at present a militaristic trend in Japanese politics and one wonders who is behind this heinous attack. The yakuza are not just a criminal organisation, but are part and parcel of the economical and political system, they are not a secret organisation.

BBC: "Japan's lower house of parliament has approved guidelines to amend the country's post-war pacifist constitution for the first time."
11:00:04 AM    

Thursday, April 19, 2007

YNetNews: "Documentary shows Israel worst place for Holocaust survivors to live throughout Western world. Hundreds protest outside Knesset, demand goverment help survivors with financial difficulties."

Haaretz: "The cynicism inherent in the attitude of the institutions of the Jewish state to Holocaust survivors is not a revelation to those born and living among them. We grew up with the yawning gap between the presentation of the State of Israel as the place of the Jewish people's rebirth and the void that exists for every Holocaust survivor and his family.

Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred."
10:24:31 AM    

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Scotsman: "Lie-detector technology is being piloted by the government in a fresh attempt to crack down on benefit cheats, John Hutton, the Works and Pensions Secretary, announced yesterday."
The British government judges other people's character by it's own.
11:15:11 AM    

Friday, April 6, 2007

I have been waiting for more than ten days now for an envelope from England. The same mailing was received in the US, India, Japan and Australia several days ago. And it's just normal mail that goes through the letter box. I live close to Schiphol where airmail is received from Britain and could easily be sluiced to our until now properly functioning TNT (our former Royal Dutch mail service). Mail from England under 50 grams is indeed delivered by TNT within 2 to 3 days.
But anything over 50 grams is delivered 'as much as possible' by the Royal Mail (Britain) subsidiary in Holland: RM Netherlands (what do they do in case they deem it 'not possible'?). So this kind of mail (including parcels) is transported from Schiphol to RM's sorting centre at The Hague. That's about 45 km away from Schiphol/Amsterdam. Then the fun starts. Where our good old TNT has a large infrastructure and thousands of postmen, RM has ... well I don't really know. Delivery seeems to be outsourced to FlexiPartner. On their picture I can see six postmen already. I hope they have more of these brave boys who are going to conquer the Netherlands.

So how do they get my mail back all those 45 km to Amsterdam? Well, they do that very, very slowly or not al all (click the ad away).

What is the cause of all this? It's privatisation.
Privatisation, deregulation or liberation are just other words for chaos.
SupplyDemandChain: "The European express and parcels industry is set to undergo drastic transition as globalization, deregulation of the postal sector, the wave of mergers and alliances, and booming trade and e-commerce work to transform the industry, according to a report just published by independent market analyst Datamonitor."

All over Europe postal services were partially and will soon be completely liberalised. This means that soon also airmail letters under 50 grams will receive the RM Netherlands treatment.
Liberalisation means that the monopolies of Royal Mail companies all over Europe will disappear and any nut with a rickety minivan can start his own mail service. All these little mail firms will be able to provide very cheap services as they don't have the costly infrastructure and personnel larger companies have. But wait a minute, cheap? How can they deliver cheap if they have to take a letter from England arriving at Schiphol, first to The Hague, then back again to one address in Amsterdam they have great difficulty in finding, and which would cost them more than the one PoundSterling they would receive for the job. But there is a way out: you don't deliver the letter at all or you outsource delivery to a few students, OAPs or foreigners, who could take the letter with them when they happen to visit relatives in the neighbourhood of the delivery address.

So what happens is that due to this competition our good old TNT will have to lay off 6 to 7 thousand postmen. The same happens in Britain.

I have never seen such a splendid example of waste, downgrading and workforce destruction.
TNT will be allowed to offer its services in England and Royal Mail will be able to work in Holland. They will have to reduce their own workforce and service due to this competition and the void will be filled up by unreliable small firms. Result: an overall downshift in service and efficiency. After a few years many of those firms will have disappeared or merged into bigger companies. And each of these companies will need their own sorting centre, their own delivery fleet and workforce. So instead of one man delivering your post, you will get several of them, and everything will be delivered later than usual (if you are so lucky to receive your mail). Not really efficient. After some decades there will be a mail monopoly again.
11:45:06 AM    

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Guardian: "The government was last night investigating possible links between the discovery of H5N1 avian bird flu at a Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Suffolk and recent outbreaks of the disease in Hungary."

It has always surprised me that in cases of catastrophe or serious trouble the media crews are often the first to arrive on the premises.
In the case of birdflu it is really outrageous. Television crews are flocking to the area, tv helicopters are hovering above the site of the culling. And straight from there they will move their vehicles to places that are not infected, not yet. The media have no qualms in increasing the danger of spreading the virus. Do we really want to see pictures of the area and the culling? No, we don't!
10:45:08 AM    

Guardian: "A group of prominent British Jews will today declare independence from the country's Jewish establishment, arguing that it puts support for Israel above the human rights of Palestinians.

Independent Jewish Voices will publish an open letter on the Guardian's Comment is Free website calling for a freer debate about the Middle East within the Jewish community. Among the more than 130 signatories are Stephen Fry, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh, Jenny Diski and Nicole Farhi, as well as leading academics such as Eric Hobsbawm and Susie Orbach."

Brian Klug: "As the situation in the Middle East deteriorates yearly, more and more Jews watch with dismay from afar. Dismay turns to anguish when innocent civilians - Palestinians and Israelis - suffer injury and death because of the continuing conflict. Anguish turns to outrage when the human rights of a population under occupation are repeatedly violated in the name of the Jewish people."
10:31:34 AM    

© Copyright 2007 Hetty Litjens.

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