Recent Articles

‘Chavs’ and the assault on the working class: A review

by Carl Packman     June 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

‘Chav’ is that rare beast, denoting a section in society which almost nobody would want to touch with a bargepole, but yet, or so according to Owen Jones, has a well-defined target, at least as far as the mainstream media is concerned, as the newly consumerised working classes – and even in some cases the lower class made good.

Though, rather than being a category worthy of collected denunciation, ‘chav-bashing’ is a concerted campaign against the working class itself.

The fact that many working class people would choose not to identify with the term is important in the way it has been used by many middle class people and self-appointed ‘neo-snobs’.
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Could the BMA seriously disrupt Lansley’s plans for the NHS?

by Carl Packman     March 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

This morning the FT reports that Andrew Lansley has opened the door to further concessions on the NHS bill, as Libdem members “rejected his sweeping reform plans”.

Already a bad day for the UK health minister. Then at around 11.45am, 15 March, the British Medical Association (BMA) “voted to call upon Andrew Lansley to withdraw the bill” adding that “any willing provider will hurt the provision of healthcare in the NHS in favour of private industry“.
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Libya and its oil: reason enough not to interfere?

by Carl Packman     March 13, 2011 at 10:00 am

One thing supporters of liberal intervention in 2003 did, as part of their campaign to convince the left they were right, was try and forget that it was a US neo-con Christian with a history in oil deals taking forces into Iraq.

For them, it didn’t matter who was going to take out Saddam Hussein, just as long as somebody did; their left wing credentials, they supposed, were still intact. Unfortunately for them they were wrong. So should there be similar concerns about Libya?
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Why even Conservatives should support Stella Creasy this Thursday

by Carl Packman     February 1, 2011 at 11:30 am

This Thursday a motion from Stella Creasy MP and Justin Tomlinson MP will be moved in the House of Commons calling for Government to give regulators the power to cap the total cost for credit.

In brief, the consumer credit (regulation and advice) bill seeks to integrate credit services with the post office network, impose a levy on consumer credit agencies to fund debt counselling and advice services, and give councils greater powers to regulate the amount of credit agencies in their local area.
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Support the UCL Occupation

by Carl Packman     November 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm

The wry protest songs, satirical posters and occasional smiles on the faces of students involved in the occupation of UCL, Jeremy Bentham room, does not take away from the fact that the room is a place of constant work, intense planning, sporadic meetings and tweeting (something which Channel 4 have now congratulated the occupiers on).

One moment there is an English Literature lecturer admitting his flaws as a protestor and his dislike of filmic depictions of Maoists, and then even before you have time to put on a second jumper in the bitter cold, a group has formulated to discuss the next way of attracting media attention and capturing the hearts and minds of the public. continue reading… »

Coalition should be cautious about today’s GDP growth figures

by Carl Packman     October 26, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Today’s GDP growth figures act as a Rorschach test; the coalition government and its supporters see growth at 0.8% in the third quarter of 2010, and growth for the last six months at 2%. What the opposition will see is a drop of 0.4% when between April and June growth was positioned at 1.2%.

Since growth was forecasted far lower than expected, many – such as Vince Cable, who was said to have a big smile on his face this morning, probably because it will make for easy smoke and mirrors. ‘Look we can cut and grow, it’s easy.’
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Pics from protest for Sakineh Ashtiani

by Carl Packman     September 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

In the Islamic Republic of Iran 150 people have been put to death by stoning in the last 31 years, according to Farshad Hosseini. Yesterday, a cohort of activists set up a stall in Trafalgar Square to protest the decision to execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani at the hands of the Iranian judiciary – and to show their opposition to stonings full stop.

Stoning is not only inhumane, but is apparently disapproved of OFFICIALLY in Iran. Before his death in 2006, the then Minister of Justice and spokesman for the Judiciary, Mr. Jamal Karimi-Rad, became the first Iranian judicial authority to comment in reaction to the Stop Stoning Forever campaign – formed of various women’s rights organisations to see stoning as a form of punishment for adultery in Iran abolished.

He denied that stoning took place in Iran, brushing aside examples where judge’s have sentenced it, often with little in the way of evidence.

Mr Jamal Karimi-Rad’s comments did demonstrate then an official disapproval of stoning, however flimsy it was, consistent with the ban on stoning ordered by the Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, in December 2002.

It beggars belief. The thing that could knock some sense into Ahmadinejad’s regime in Iran is that the execution case is making Iran look bad – not that justice is being perverted in such a foul way. But, of course, for Ashtiani’s family, this reason is better than none.











Castro criticising Ahmedinijad – has political balance been restored?

by Carl Packman     September 9, 2010 at 11:20 am

The world has turned upside down, at least that was what we thought. Tony Blair and George Bush were liberal heroes in the Middle East while some on the left back home were doing their best to excuse Islamic fanaticism as a response to imperialism.

More sense was being spoken by Sarkozy on the economy than many of our left-leaning economist MPs.

And while radicals such as Hugo Chavez and that Scottish hottie George Galloway were cuddling up to an Iranian president so seemingly nonchalant that a woman in his country could be stoned to death for a crime, proof of which would not fool a duck on acid, one wondered whether the world would soon burn up and implode.

But, behold, some sense has been restored.
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Cameron will fail in reviving Conservatism

by Carl Packman     August 15, 2010 at 3:55 pm

American columnists speak at the moment of conservative “epistemic closure” to describe the debasing of modern conservatism’s glorious legacy, first used in this context by libertarian writer and Economist blogger Julian Sanchez as short-hand for “ideological intolerance and misinformation”.

The idea is to show that conservatism has hit a wall and is appealing to low, base politics of xenophobia or ad hominem attack, as opposed to its rich, great tradition.

British conservatism has had a fair deal of “epistemic closure” in recent years also, and it’s something for the left to consider when we vent our criticisms on the right wing.
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How the Mail and Telegraph undermined children with special needs

by Carl Packman     August 14, 2010 at 10:22 pm

On July 22nd I wrote a small blog entry on my website about a dodgy article in the Daily Mail about children with special educational needs.

In my entry I asked: “[a]t what point do we suppose the Daily Mail not only dislikes the inclusion of young people with special educational needs in schools, but doesn’t think special educational needs exist outside of the 2% once designated before the Warnock report of 1978.”

Of course the article in the Mail doesn’t explicitly say there is no such things as Special Needs because in doing this, not only would they be wrong (this shouldn’t phase them too much), they’d open up the grounds for a whole campaign and would alienate a large amount of people (even if those people are Mail readers).
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