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A weekend miscellany

In response to a recent request from Biscuit Barrel for more posts on bread and butter issues – here is a round up of some of the articles and which have caught my eye recently.

First, here’s something from Bob from Brockley’s own roundup, a powerful piece about blacklisting.

An ex-scaffolder, Mick Abbot, whose file stretches back to 1964, gave some idea of the shattering impact being blacklisted had on his life: “This nearly ruined my marriage and it meant that my children were on free meals at school….They have been watching me all these years and passing this information around, blighting my life over four decades.” Steve Kelly, an electrician, was fired by the building firm McAlpine and blacklisted after refusing to work on a moving platform without proper training. As a result, he “suffered severe financial strain, my wages were cut in half which caused immense stress paying bills and putting food on the table.

Over on Liberal Conspiracy Donald Campbell asks why more fuss isn’t being made about the Secret Courts Bill:

Lord Neuberger, who made these comments then, is now head of the UK Supreme Court. More recently, in a speech coinciding with the passage of the secret courts bill through the Lords, he emphasised that “our commitment to open justice…underpins the rule of law,” and warned that judgements in which reasons are not given – a situation which would result from secret courts – “are certainly not justice at all.

Yet it seems Lord Neuberger’s comments both then and now have either been ignored or forgotten by those in Westminster who support the Secret Courts Bill.

In the Sunday Mirror, Ed Miliband challenges David Cameron on the ‘bedroom tax’ issue. 

It was this newspaper’s expose which showed how in the city of Hull 4,700 tenants are being hit by the bedroom tax for having an extra room when there are only 73 smaller council properties they could move into even if they wanted to.

This long piece, ‘The Apartheid of Roma in Europe’ by Paul Polansky is well worth reading in full. Here are a couple of extracts:

I first came across such a blatant act that would fit the above definitions in a small town in southern Spain where I lived in the area for almost 30 years. The mayor of the village of Antas (Almeria) declared that no Gitano, no Gypsy, was allowed to buy or rent a property in his municipality.

As it turned out the Roma and Ashkali were kept on those lead-poisoned lands [in Kosovo] for the next 12 years with the UN claiming that nobody wanted Gypsies in their town. Hence the first-ever UN ghetto for Gypsies, at least for those who lived…for on these highly toxic lands every Roma and Ashkali child conceived was born with irreversible brain damage and usually ended up mentally retarded if they lived.

Babies born at the time of the MMR controversy are now in their teens – and particularly vulnerable to measles, now at an 18 year highAnd here is a link to a review of a vomit-inducing book on that topic.