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FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY’S INN? Three British judges have been sacked for viewing pornography on their court computers If you appear in court today, Charged with a beastly crime; You may well recognise the Judge, With whom you‘ll do your time! He could this time be sat upon, The dock side of the bench; As viewing porn’s caused quite a stir, And a judicial stench. We used to think
3 hours 1 min ago
Following the election of a hung Parliament in February’s election, Harold Wilson sought another mandate in October and won an overall majority with less than 40% of the vote.    THE SOCIALIST MANIFESTO THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN do not have a candidate in this area — but read on. Your understanding of, and agreement with the Socialist case, could ensure you an opportunity of
12 hours 3 min ago
If you follow the news you will have seen the headlines proclaiming that global poverty has been cut by half over the past couple of decades. Its sounds like brilliant, but it’s just not true. The statistics have been manipulated to make it seem as though our economic system is working for the majority of humanity when in fact it is not.  Economist David Woodward in an article published in
12 hours 3 min ago

The Labour Party, especially its left-wing, claims to stand for the workers’ interests and for socialism. Labour at one time claimed that socialism could be introduced gradually through a series of reforms using parliamentary means. In its early years many workers voted for Labour, believing that they could vote in socialism, but the experience of various Labour governments has brought disillusionment. Today no-one believes that Labour will establish a new and better political and economic system. Even Labour politicians themselves ask for votes with the promise that they will make capitalism work better than the Tories. Real power rests with the capitalist class and its state. All governments, Tory or Labour, represent this class. Tory and Labour work consistent as a team. We are all familiar with a certain police interrogation method; two policemen conduct the questioning, one bullying and brow-beating the suspect for a confession, and the second being friendly, suggesting it is in the suspect’s own best interest to admit his crime for his own good. This is just the way that Tory and Labour work together in capitalism’s service. Good cop - Bad cop.
Yet it has been a common refrain among the left for as long as we remember that “We have to keep Labour in because the Tories are worse.” The choice remains between austerity and austerity-lite. Is the Labour Party really the ‘lesser evil’ ? Or is it just a smokescreen to conceal that, yet again, this election will present us with no alternative?
Yes of course, there will be differences between a Labour and a Tory government, and the leaders’ debates will try to emphasise the important choices we face. But in reality none of those differences is sufficient to justify support for one over the others. If you are interested in furthering progressive politics and advancing the cause of serious social change, there is nothing to be gained. The exhausted ‘lesser evil’ argument can only do more damage to the prospects for creating a new politics of radical change in the circumstances of today. In the case of the Labour Party it has become increasingly more difficult for its supporters to justify their continued loyalty for a party that has abandoned its own social democratic traditions.
What remains of the left sticks to the ‘lesser evil’ mantra, although with nothing positive to say about Miliband they have to justify it by fantasising about just how evil David Cameron’s Tories really are. After every election the Labour Party let its supporters down. For sure, for those with a taste for nostalgic past, a Labour government did establish the NHS, welfare state and nationalised industries. It also imposed bitter austerity, fought dirty colonial wars, imprisoned strikers and supported the British nuclear weapons programme. Yet still the left clings to Labour. They forget that the Labour governments of 1974-1979 cut working-class living standards to meet the needs of British capitalism in the recession, slashing public spending and imposing a five per cent norm for pay rises at a time of rampant inflation and mass unemployment. The left still expounded the ‘lesser evil’ argument and turned job cuts and wage restraint into a way of ‘protecting’ the working population from the Tories. Hence did the left become complicit in Labour’s attacks – and in its own discrediting and defeat. The Labour Party proved pathetically inadequate to the challenge of Thatcher, failing to support key struggles – most notably the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85. Yet still the left dreams of ‘reviving’ Labourism, and tries to channel the widespread bitter anti-Toryism into support for the ‘lesser evil’. The left cheered Blair’s defeat of the hated Tories as if it was their own triumph. And what did they get for their trouble? Years of a Labour government that was marked by capitalist-friendly policies and ended with an economic crisis, more dirty wars abroad and the assault on civil liberties at home. Surely after all those years of humiliation and hurt, those who still think of themselves as progressives will have to face up to the truth about Labour? But no, still many of them cling to the tattered old banners of the ‘lesser evil’ in this coming election.
As another election looms the drumbeat for a Labour vote is growing louder on the Left-leaning blogs and in the offices of the trade union bosses. Labour politicians having comprehensively failed to defend the interests of workers when in power or even offer effective support when in opposition, these very same union officials want workers to do them a favour and vote for Labour. The spectre of 'lesser evil' politics rises once more on the horizon. We are warned that not voting for Labour will mean another five years of the Conservatives. You are invited not to remember what Labour did when it was in government because, apparently, it's going to be so much better this time round. Really?
 Labour apologists try to focus on the few issues where there are disagreements between the two parties, in an attempt to deceive people into believing that they are being offered a real choice by representative democracy.  The left avoid criticising Labour because that's what ‘lesser evil’ politics requires. Union leaders refrain from telling us is what Labour's core beliefs actually are because, if they were being honest, they'd have to confess that they are asking people to vote for anti-worker policies. On issues of foreign policy, both parties are willing allies of the US. Both parties count “Israel” as a very strong and "natural" ally, justifying US and Israeli aggression, explicitly or tacitly, whenever it occurs as we have seen over the last decades.
People now know that Labour is a capitalist party. If so-called ‘revolutionaries’ support Labour in election campaigns, even as a ‘lesser evil’ and despite all sorts of qualifications to their support, they are betraying the working class. This support amounts to an attempt to preserve, or re-establish, workers’ illusions that if only Labour had a more ‘left’ leadership things would be different. No party, however ‘left’ its leadership, can effect important changes to the capitalist system through parliamentary reforms. Today, to support Labour is to directly contradict the fundamental task of presenting the working class with a clear alternative to all pro-capitalist parties and to the whole system of capitalism. Through bitter experience the mass of workers has become cynical about any political claiming to support its interests. A mass party must be created which presents a clear alternative to the capitalist parties, and which is able to prove in consistent struggle that it really represents working peoples’ interests.

The problem of how to relate to the Labour Party has dogged the British left for more than a century. The left, which crucially never managed to establish any real political independence from Labourism and still supports Labour as the ‘lesser evil’. It seems that they are the last ones left alive with any illusions (or rather delusions) in the potential for Labour to change things for the better. Once there was a clash between competing visions of society today the ‘lesser evil’ case for Labour is based on little more than cynicism, negativity and demagoguery. If you are serious about wanting to change society, there is no reason to support Labour, and doing so can lead to nothing positive in post-electoral politics. The left’s acceptance that there is no alternative to Labour has over the years become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the defeat of Labourism meaning there is no sign of any alternative in politics today. The left bears a heavy responsibility for creating the situation they now bemoan. Eduard's Bernstein's so-called 'evolutionary road to socialism' has proved a dead end. Rosa Luxemburg was right all along.
Voting for the lesser evil, voting for a party and for candidates in whom you do not believe has self-destructive. When we go into the voting booth, stand before the ballot and lift the pencil and then vote for something in which we do not believe, we take responsibility for destroying a little piece of our integrity, of betraying our conscience. We give our backing to something we know is not good, not right, not the best path for our class. We violate ourselves, or permit ourselves to be violated by the lesser evil argument. Don't do it.
We may not have a party political alternative and there is truth in the idea that we need power in the formal political sense. A working peoples' political party—one made up of and fighting for working people—would make a huge difference. Why, you might ask, would we want a party? Wouldn't a party inevitably succumb to the corruption of political compromise and opportunism? Ours would have to be a party with a difference. Ours would have to be a socialist party prepared to reorganise the economy, to reshape society. Ours would have to be a party controlled by ordinary workers. Ours would be the party that takes power away from the 1% and gives economic and political power to the 99%. Could we build such a political party? We in the Socialist Party think we can. In any case, we have no other choice than to try.


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15 hours 6 min ago
Ethiopia—A generation ago, this African nation was a magnet for Western charity. Today, some of America’s richest deal makers are delivering something new: investment. KKR & Co., the New York-based private-equity firm, last summer bought control of a rose farm, Afriflora, for about $200 million, its first investment in Africa. Blackstone Group plans to build a $1.35 billion pipeline to bring gasoline to the capital, Addis Ababa. Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is backing a $2 billion geothermal power project.
Bob Geldof chairs 8 Miles LLP, a London-based private-equity firm that invests in Ethiopia. 8 Miles website states it “focuses on consumer-driven businesses and service providers with strong growth prospects. Typical sectors supported by the Fund include agribusiness, business and financial services, consumer goods and retail, energy and utilities, healthcare and pharmaceutical services, hospitality and real estate, telecom, media and technology, transport and logistics.”
“They don’t have to die in vast numbers before we pay attention,” Geldof recently said in an interview with the Wall St Journal. “The potential rewards in Africa are far greater than anywhere else.”In 2013 he stated “Africa is now a continent of extraordinary business and investment opportunity. Private equity is one way to support the enterprise and dynamism of the people of the continent and help provide the jobs and skills that are needed.”  
In February 8 Miles acquired a 42 percent stake in Orient Bank, a medium-sized Ugandan commercial bank. Last year it bought a stake in Ugandan agribusiness Biyinzika Poultry International Ltd. (BPIL) for an undisclosed amount. Other recent investments from Bob Geldof-backed 8 Miles include buying a 25 per cent stake in Egypt’s Eagle Chemicals Group.Geldof with the Wicked Witch
Gone are the days where philanthropic capitalism aka Bill Gates will save Africa. Today it is capitalism’s, tooth and claw, greed for profit which is the solution. And humanitarianism’s success will be measured in a nation’s GDP growth and its companies stock-market prices. Capitalism is now the only route out of poverty for Africa, not any system changes. Capitalism can only do good, it seems, according to Geldof. The global ruling class are only too correct in acclaiming Geldof to be worth of a sainthood, much less the knighthood he holds. Geldof is said to be a director of 12 companies. Geldof and his partners have taken £21 million in dividends in the past ten years from  Castaway Holdings which made the TV reality shows Survivor and  Celebrity Survivor. In 2001, he sold another firm, online travel site Deckchair.com, in a  deal that was said to be worth up to £9.2 million. He also charges as  much as £75,000 a time to give speeches on the international lecture circuit. His Kent mansion, Davington Priory, which  was bought in 1983, is said to be worth more than £4 million. Despite living in the UK since the Seventies, his non-dom status enables him  legitimately to avoid paying large sums of tax on overseas earnings  although he still has to pay tax in the usual way on his UK earnings.  Meanwhile, it was revealed that he has exploited off-shore companies  based in the British Virgin Islands to ensure his two homes here — the  mansion flat in Battersea, South London, and  his rambling country home in Faversham, Kent — are both exempt from stamp duty and inheritance tax. Richard  Murphy, founder of the Tax Justice Network, said: ‘As a non-dom, Bob  Geldof has lived in Britain for many years and is enjoying all the  benefits of living here.  ‘He says he wants to solve the problems of poverty, but you simply can’t  solve poverty in this world without the rich paying their taxes.’

 ‘Money is not an evil thing . . . it depends what you do with it. I’m  rich, I did well. I’m the chair of several companies. I like business.’- Geldof
21 hours 9 min ago