May 252015


IT’S hardly news that British, US and Swiss banks have been rigging the foreign exchange markets and robbing their own business clients. Bears don’t use indoor toilets either, and the Pope isn’t a Scientologist.

The latest fines imposed on Barclays, RBS and the rest by the US Justice Department and Federal Reserve total $5.7 billion (£3.7bn) – but they represent no more than 6 per cent of the proceeds of their nefarious activities between 2007 and 2014.

Fiddling the international currency markets is not a victimless crime. Any person or organisation with financial assets could have lost out, not just those in the forex markets.

Yet nobody will receive any compensation. Continue reading »

May 252015

The European Convention of Human Rights was first established in 1953. Represented here as a legal document, with a judge’s gavel and illuminated with the Blue and Yellow colours of the EEC Flag. The European Court of Human Rights is based at Strasbourg, France. The European Convention on Human Rights, sometimes abbreviated to ECHR, is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. All Council of Europe member states are party to the Convention and new members are expected to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity. The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights. Any EEC person who feels his or her rights have been violated under the Convention by a state party can take a case to the Court.

The European Convention on Human Rights first founded in 1953

TORY plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) are disingenuous, dishonest and downright dangerous.

It is therefore good news that the Scottish National Party (SNP) is already sounding out potential rebels among the ranks of Tory MPs, who may defy the whips to defeat the Act.

Labour and the SNP can work together to head a cross-party alliance which sees off this particular menace.

It is already obvious that the Conservative Party has hardly thought through its own proposals and that reckless authoritarians such as Theresa May have alarmed traditionalists within its own ranks. Continue reading »

May 252015

David Cameron will face ministerial resignations and a large backbench rebellion if he pushes ahead with plans to dilute Britain’s obligations under the Convention on Human Rights, senior Conservatives have warned.

The former International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said he was “extremely sceptical” about proposals, due to be included in the Queen’s Speech this week, to restrict the power of the European Court to interpret British laws under the Convention.

“I have clear views about the importance of international justice, which we need to expand, and Britain pulling out of the European Court will send all the wrong signals on the British commitment to expanding human rights around the world,” Mr Mitchell said.

It comes as the SNP, which is now the third biggest party in Parliament, said it had begun sounding out lawyers on the Tory benches about uniting to defeat Mr Cameron’s plans.

The SNP home affairs spokeswoman, Joanna Cherry, said any move to repeal the Human Rights Act would be a “very retrograde step”. Continue reading »

May 252015

hunt_tristram Tristam Hunt says Labour needs to be the party of the “Aspirational”

We’ve heard a lot from prospective Labour leaders in the last few days about needing to be the party of aspiration. There have been many naysayers of this approach, Owen Jones chief among them. And I have to say I’m in agreement. You see, when you distil aspiration down you get a rather unpleasant residue. Aspiration, in the current political context, is essentially giving people an equal opportunity to be unequal. It’s Capitalism’s catchphrase.

Let me explain. Capitalism is an ideology that hinges on people’s marginal productivity, where the spoils of economic growth are endowed upon the exceptional and gifted. These deserving few are Capitalism’s winners because they produce wealth for the rest of us. An uplifting narrative, I think you’ll agree, but this ideology necessarily entails a more sinister underbelly. Marginal productivity cuts both ways, and those who do not produce are unproductive because they are feckless and work shy. These undeserving many are Capitalism’s losers, subservient to the trickling-down of wealth. Continue reading »

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