Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Read the rest of this entry »


A personal announcement on same-sex marriage

Wedding rings 2

Dear friends and readers,

Thankyou for your support and sympathy in this difficult time for Katie and I.

As you may already know, New Zealand’s parliament passed historic legislation this evening to legalise same-sex marriage; an act that cultural commentators have warned will irreparably destroy the institution of heterosexual marriage.

Katie and I have been in a loving, fulfilling relationship for seven years now – four of them as a married couple – but as of 11pm NZST we each experienced a sudden loss of interest, attraction and even basic human empathy with regard to one another.

We are therefore separating as of today, with a view to finding new partners of our own respective genders in order to comply with the spirit and letter of the law.

Since such marriages are reportedly intrinsically unsatisfying and inauthentic, my only consolation is that they are also poor environments for raising children due to their ‘party’ lifestyle and copious consumption of hard drugs.

Thankyou again for your kind words and support.

[In case it’s not abundantly clear, I’m kidding. Why not go read a serious critique though, courtesy of the Queer Avengers’ Beyond Marriage blog.]

SQUASH speaks out: how anti-squatting laws saw Daniel Gauntlett freeze to death

Above: Hove & Portslade MP Mike Weatherley, who told MPs the overlap between homelessness and squatting was a “myth”.

Following on from yesterday’s interview with the creator of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, I’ve continued to try and get a response out of Tory MP Mike Weatherley, who authored the piece of legislation that made it a crime for Daniel and others to enter an otherwise unoccupied house. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet: a brief interview

Image by Aran Chandaran used under a Creative Commons license.

Some stories enrage you because there shouldn’t have to be anything more to say; no National Debate or serious frowny faces on Question Time. The HIV-positive asylum seeker and her 10-month-old child who starved to death in a Westminster flat last March. The teenager who set himself on fire in a council office in December after they refused to find him a home.

And now there’s 35-year-old homeless man Daniel Gauntlett, who died of hypothermia in Aylesford last week on the porch of an empty bungalow that he could not enter without facing arrest and a criminal record.

You can read the Kent Messenger’s original story by Chris Hunter here — but spreading equally quickly through Twitter, Facebook and the like is the savage fury of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, an anonymous website launched within days of the report that directly links Gauntlett’s death to the legislation authored by Tory MP Mike Weatherley and passed into law last year that criminalised any act of squatting in a residential property, derelict or not. Read the rest of this entry »

The Royal Bank of Scot-free: Retracing the Libor scam

image via Ian Fraser.

[First published in The Morning Star, 09/02/13]

RBS chief Stephen Hester wore an especially frowny face this week to admit his bank’s role in the biggest scandal since the financial crisis itself.

Years of wholesale manipulation of the Libor rate had put a gloss on an otherwise collapsing economy, lured investors into risky financial products under false pretences and had gone on to fudge the figures of trillions of pounds’ worth of consumer loans and contracts worldwide, with the resulting sleight of hand driving businesses into bankruptcy and families from their homes.

But worst of all, it made them look bad.

There is no room in RBS or in our industry for that kind of wrongdoing,” he told reporters, adding without a trace of irony that “we won’t be the only bank with these findings of course.”

Indeed they won’t: Barclays and UBS have already been stung for their own part in the affair, while more than a dozen other banks across Europe, Japan and the US are also under investigation.

So what exactly did they do? Read the rest of this entry »

Taking Flak: Labour’s toxic bid to ban anti-war protests

[DISCLAIMER: This post is personal opinion and protected free expression which in no way indicates the views of my employer. TRIGGER WARNING: Racist hate speech quoted below.]

So the latest Blue Labour scheme is apparently to make speaking ill of soldiering a hate crime.

That’s not an exaggeration of any sort, I swear. Take it from their defence shadow Jim Murphy:

“We must protect those who protect our nation.

“It is unacceptable some service people face abuse.

“This is an important part of a wider campaign to prevent discrimination against our heroes.

“They serve us, we should protect them.”

The problem with this should be obvious – obvious enough that Murphy cannot possibly see it as anything more than a calculated half-step in the dizzying tap routine of the Reactionary Radical Centre. “Let’s see, whose safety is genuinely threatened by prevailing societal attitudes? People with disabilities, people with alternative sexual and gender identities … and people who get paid to directly threaten other peoples’ safety.” Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria’s Libyan Link: how British arms sales cost British lives

Above: Labour PM Tony Blair pictured with esteemed trading partner and equally-reviled war criminal Moammar Gaddafi.

[First published in The Morning Star, 26/01/13]

When news broke late last week that three British nationals were among dozens of hostages killed in a disastrous firefight between Algerian soldiers and Islamic terrorists, David Cameron was unequivocal.

Whatever people said about the Algerian government’s pointed refusal to negotiate or their unilateral decision to attack the besieged BP-owned compound was irrelevant, the PM insisted.

“I would just say that the responsibility for these deaths lies squarely with the terrorists who launched a vicious and cowardly attack.”

But within days reports surfaced that the fighters had arrived fresh from the Libyan border, with uniforms, bombs, rockets and guns all bought from the former stockpiles of the deposed Gaddafi regime.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton confirmed the reports on Wednesday, telling Congress there was “no doubt that the Algerian terrorists had weapons from Libya”.

And if that wasn’t enough, the plot’s mastermind Mokhtar Belmokhtar said as much himself in an interview with the Mauritanian news agency ANI in 2011.

“We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” he said, referring to the loose regional alliance Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

“As for our benefitting from the weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

So while Belmokhtar’s men pulled the triggers, the guns they wielded against Paul Morgan and Kenneth Whiteside and Garry Barlow and dozens of other Brits were a consequence of Britain’s own foreign policy — its complicity not only in the “liberation” of those weapons in 2011’s civil war, but the sale of them to Moammar Gaddafi’s regime to begin with. Read the rest of this entry »