No option off the table

Hague has apparently said that “no option is off the table” if Syria “refuses to negotiate”.

They did this with Yugoslavia too. Come to a conference and agree to what we want or we’ll invade / bomb you into smithereens.

And just so they know that we (here at The New Observer) aren’t completely dumb – all this talk of lifting the EU arms embargo on supplying the armed opposition in Syria. The UK is already arming the opposition. The UK is sending armoured vehicles and body armour. That isn’t for defensive purposes. That is so the armed groups can carry out raids.  And no doubt the UK is acting in concert with its Middle Eastern allies as they did in Libya allowing the latter to supply the actual weapons. (Qatar supplied weapons to the Libyan opposition).

Once again; the responsible course of action and the one the British regime should be taking is to promote the UN peace process on Syria. We should be urging all sides to negotiate unconditionally. And not sending “non-lethal” arms in.

Update 24 May

Hague is reported today by Reuters as saying:

We do think it is important ahead of any negotiations … for the Assad regime to understand that the pressure on it will intensify in the absence of successful negotiations


That is clear then. “Successful negotiations” means presumably an outcome favoured by the West. Assad has about as much choice as a voter in a Western ‘democracy’. Â The illusion of choice.


Update 27 May

Hague is reported by RT as saying:

It is important to show that we are prepared to amend our arms embargo that the [President Bashar] Assad regime gets a clear signal that it has to negotiate seriously


This is another favoured trick. We get a resolution passed on the basis that we need a “credible threat”, as if it were simply a negotiating tool. Then, as soon as we’ve got it, we use it. Similar tricks were used to get resolutions passed on Iraq.


Update 27 May

It looks like the EU arms embargo on sending arms to the opposition in Syria has not been renewed and thus ends.

So; William Hague is triumphant that British tax revenue can now be used to send weapons to the opposition in Syria. The same opposition who has repeatedly refused to accept the UN Geneva accord as a basis for talks. The same opposition which kidnaps UN soldiers, murders prisoners in cold blood and is linked to car bombings.

The global corporate ‘Western’ Â state must want to get rid of an ally of Iran really really badly for them to want to arm people like this.




The Panoptican is alive and well

Check out the image on this article. The one towards the bottom of the page by Lucy Nicholson, with the steel cages arranged in a semi-circle. The ideal Panoptican. With a cage they can be observed from all sides as well. Totally visible. Washed in surveillance.

The Wikipedia article on the Panoptican (which was developed by Bentham) quotes Bentham as saying:

a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.




Bread and Circuses

I’ve heard about a new web site which will offer patients / customers the opportunity to rank their local hospital. The web site appears to be if not funded by then at least endorsed by central government:


This could be said to be an example of market madness. Does anyone seriously think that having a surgeon sweating over his ‘Health Adviser’ ranking as he performs a heart by-pass operation is really going to help ‘patient safety’?

Certainly it would be possible for people with the right kind of knowledge and experience to review clinical figures and spot problem areas. This can and should happen behind the scenes. Turning it into a public auction won’t make anyone any safer, probably less, for the reason given above. (It puts people under pressure just when they don’t need it).

So; what is striking about this is the way the political class are engineering a populist ‘customer-focussed’, public participation charade. Why might they be doing that?

1. Conditioning the public to accept that everything has to be driven by market operations. Driving out any last vestiges of ideas about social provision of social goods. The

The Pupil Premium and Oxfordshire County Council

The ‘pupil premium’ is a fund created by the government which is distributed via local authorities to schools. It is linked to the number of disadvantaged students in each local authority area and is supposed to be used to give these students an ‘extra’ boost. It is specifically linked to numbers of young people in care or receiving free schools meals.

It was heralded by the leader of the Liberal Democrat party as a major initiative for social inclusion. Nick Clegg said:

Get this right and we make good on education’s progressive promise. To give every child the chance to go as far as their abilities and effort can carry them

How is it being used in Oxfordshire? Extra lessons or provisions for these disadvantaged groups? The equivalent of private tuition that other young people enjoy? No. In Oxfordshire what they are doing is taking these disadvantaged young people out of classes such as art and P.E and giving them extra lessons in maths and English instead. (I know this because I applied for a job on the programme and was told this by one of the programme managers). The point of this is obvious: to increase the figures in the various league tables and SATS scores etc. Art and P.E are not scored for national measures. English and maths are.

So. A policy sold by a politician as a major initiative for ‘equality’ and social justice is being implemented in a wholly cynical way by Oxfordshire County Council to boost some league tables. To make the Council look good. Nick Clegg has said that the policy would be monitored to check that local authorities were implementing it properly. Clearly they are not checking or Nick Clegg regards this kind of manipulation of the figures as an acceptable use.

Many young people who do not do so well at school will tell you that the only lessons they enjoy are P.E and art or music. (Mostly just P.E). So, Oxfordshire is taking these young people out of the one lesson they enjoy, making sure that their experience of school is totally unsatisfactory. And doing this in order to boost school performance figures. Central government appears to be conniving.

In addition this of course makes it clear to everyone in the school who are the young people in care / on free school meals, thus working to promote division rather than inclusion.

This is a typical example of manipulation for outcomes. This is what local authorities and government do with your money. They spend it on making themselves look relevant. With no thought of what is really good for people.


Regime change – a few thoughts about power in the light of Syria

So. Cameron is considering arming the opposition in Syria. This would be a logical sequitor to the breach and abuse of UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 on Libya by France and the UK.

The purpose of these interventions is to get in with what they think will be the new regime. So that they can ‘do business’ with the new regime. The opposition in Libya spelled this out during their uprising; whoever armed them would come to the top of the queue for oil and weapons deals.

It is nothing to do with ‘democracy’. Britain works with undemocratic regimes all over the world all the time.

It is nothing to do with humanitarian reasons. Britain did nothing to stop the genocide in Rwanda for example. Many of the non-democratic regimes with whom Britain does business have appalling human rights records.

The motive is to develop and support markets for UK corporate business, especially oil and arms. The ‘personal motive’ for politicians is that they get kick-backs from these corporations in the form of directorships etc. when they leave office.

There is no popular call for the UK to send arms to the gangs in Syria whose human rights abuses are well-documented.

How do politicians get away with it? With this transition from being democratically elected by the people to represent the interests of the people to representing the interests of a small nucleus of power and capital, and their own personal interests? Part of the answer is that they lie to the people that these interventions are about democracy and humanitarian reasons (or protecting the people from non-existent threats). Some in the population believe them. The large media companies are owned and controlled by people who have links to these centres of power. They broadcast the lies. There is a campaign of disinformation.

The underlying problem is that most human beings when they see power have the craven reaction that they align themselves with it.

The long-term solution is not revolution. In a revolution the majority of people cravenly align themselves with whoever looks like they are going to seize power. Power just changes face. The long-term solution is to cure human beings of their lust for material power and their craven willingness to allow themselves to be subject to power. Is this possible?

Arguably the lust for material power is a feature of the species. It is what has allowed us to become top animal. Now; it is the biggest danger to the human species and all life on earth. Again, the question; can human beings consciously and deliberately transcend the lust for material power and their willingness to be subject to it?