Pyramid Comment

This journal takes an alternative view on current affairs and other subjects. The approach is likely to be contentious and is arguably speculative. The content of any article is also a reminder of the status of those affairs at that date. All comments have been disabled. Any and all unsolicited or unauthorised links are absolutely disavowed.

Monday, May 31, 2010

John Prescott And House Of Lord(itup)s

Smoke Screens And The House Of Lords
Grace And Favour Lifestyle Continues
Two Jags or Two Jabs Prescott?
Prescott Apologises

"I don't want to be a member of the

I will not accept it."

No comment

Plane Crashes

Over the history of commercial flight there have been many air disasters that have involved a great loss of life and over the last 60 years statistics reveal that many of these were as a result of some sort of pilot error. Mechanical failure was followed by weather. In the last 12 years (1998 - 2010) there have been 73 disasters:

1998 4, 1999 2, 2000 7, 2001 4, 2002 10, 2003 7, 2004 2
2005 9, 2006 5, 2007 6, 2008 6, 2009 8, 2010 3

The 100 worst aviation disasters in terms of the descending number of fatalities since 1956 (30th June, Grand Canyon: 128 fatalities) are listed in the Table below, but as a mode of travel this remains proportionately hugely safer when compared to traffic collision. An aircraft that crashes generally has a higher relative number of deaths per incident that a fatal car crash. Coach crashes are reported, but a car crash is relegated to the inconsequential unless a multiple pile-up happens.

1 2907* 09/11/2001 New York City, New York American /United Airlines B767 / B767
2 583 03/27/1977 Tenerife, Canary Islands Pan Am / KLM B747 / B747
3 520 08/12/1985 Mt. Osutaka, Japan Japan Air Lines B747
4 349 11/12/1996 New Delhi, India Saudi / Kazastan B747 / Il76
5 346 03/03/1974 Bois d' Ermenonville, France Turkish Airlines DC10
6 329 06/23/1985 Atlantic Ocean West of Ireland Air India B747
7 301 08/19/1980 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Airlines L1011
8 290 07/03/1988 Persian Gulf Iran Air A300
9 275 02/19/2003 Shahdad, Iran Islamic Revolution's Guards Co. Il-76MD
10 273 05/25/1979 Chicago, Illinois American Airlines DC10
11 270 12/21/1988 Lockerbie, Scotland Pan American World Airways B747
12 269 09/01/1983 Sakhalin Island, Russia Korean Airlines B747
13 265 11/12/2001 Belle Harbor, Queens, New York American Airlines A300  
14 264 04/26/1994 Komaki, Japan China Airlines A300
15 261 07/11/1991 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Nationair/charter Nigeria AW DC8
16 257 11/28/1979 Mt. Erebus, Antarctica Air New Zealand DC10
17 256 12/12/1985 Gander, Newfoundland, Canada Arrow Airways DC8
18 234 09/26/1997 Buah Nabar, Indonesia Garuda Indonesia Airlines A300
19 230 07/17/1996 Off East Moriches, New York Trans World Airlines B747
20 229 09/02/1998 Off Nova Scotia, Canada Swissair MD11
21 228 06/01/2009 Atlantic Ocean Air France A330
- 228 08/06/1997 Agana, Guam Korean Airlines B747
23 227 01/08/1996 Kinshasa, Zaire African Air AN32
24 225 05/25/2002 Off Penghu, Taiwan China Airlines B747
25 223 05/26/1991 Ban Nong Rong, Thailand Lauda Air B767
26 217 10/31/1999 Off Nantucket, Massachusetts EgyptAir B767
27 213 01/01/1978 Off Bandra, Maharashtra, India Air India B747
28 203 02/16/1998 Taipei, Taiwan China Airlines A300
29 200 07/10/1985 Uchuduk, Uzbekistan, USSR Aeroflot TU154
30 199 07/17/2007 Sao Paulo, Brazil TAM Brazil A320
31 191 12/04/1974 Maskeliya, Sri Lanka Martinair Holland DC8
32 189 09/11/2001 Arlington, Virginia American Airlines B757
- 189 02/06/1996 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Alas Nacionales (Birgenair) B757
34 188 08/03/1975 Immouzer, Morocco Aila Royal Jordanian Airlines B707
35 183 05/09/1987 Warsaw, Poland Polskie Linie Lotnicze IL62  
 - 183 11/15/1978 Katunavake, Sir Lanka  Loftleidir DC8
37 181 11/27/1983 Madrid, Spain Avanca B747
38 180 12/01/1981 Mt. San Pietro, Corsica, France Index Adria Avioproment MD80
39 178 10/11/1994 Omsk, Russia Aeroflot TU154
 -  178 08/11/1979 Dneprodzerzhinsk, USSR Aeroflot / Aeroflot TU134/TU134
41  176 06/07/1989 Paramaribo, Surinam Surinam Airways DC8
 -  176 09/10/1976 Gaj, Hrvatska, Yugoslavia Index Adria Avio / BA DC9 /Trident
 -  176 01/22/1973 Kano, Nigeria Aila Royal Jordanian Airlines B707
44 174 10/13/1972 Krasnaya Polyana, USSR Aeroflot IL62
45 171 09/19/1989 Bilma, Niger Union des Trans. Aeriens DC10
 -  171 09/03/1989 Havana, Cuba Cubana IL62M
47 170 08/22/2006 Donetsk, Ukraine Pulkovo Airlines  Tu-154M
48 169 01/30/2000 Off Abidjan, Ivory Coast Kenya Airways A310-304
49 168 07/15/2009 Qazvin, Iran Caspian Airlines Tu-154M
50 167 09/28/1992 Bhadagon, Katmandu, Nepal Pakistan Inter. Airlines A300
- 167 03/31/1986 Maravatio, Mexico Mexicana B727
52 166 07/07/1980 Nar Alma-Ata, Kasakastan, USSR Aeroflot TU154B
53 163 07/30/1971 Morioko, Japan All Nippon / Japanese AF B727 / F86F
54 160 08/16/2005 La Cucharita, Venezuela West Carribean Airlines MD-82
- 160 12/20/1995 Buga, Columbia American Airlines B757
 -  160 06/06/1994 Xi'an, China China Northwest Airlines TU154M
57 159 11/28/1987 Mauritius, Indian Ocean South Africian Airways B747
58 158 05/22/2010 Mangalore, India Air India Express B737
59 157 12/22/1992 Tripoli, Libya Libya Arab Airlines / Lib AF B727
60 156 08/16/1987 Romulus, Michigan Northwest Airlines MD82
- 156 08/14/1972 KKönigs Wusterhausen, E. Germany Interflug IL62
- 156 11/26/1979 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Pakistan Inter. Airlines B707
63 155 12/03/1972 Tenerife, Canary Islands Spantax Convair 990  
- 155 04/04/1975 Siagon, Vietnam U.S. Air Force C-5 Gallaxy
65 154 03/16/1969 Maracaibo, Venezuela Venezolana Inter. de Av. DC9
- 154 09/19/1976 Karatepe Mountains, Turkey Turkish Airlines B727
- 154 09/29/2006 Sao Felix do Araguaia,Brazil Gol Airlines B-737
68 153 07/09/1982 Kenner, Louisiana Pan American World Airways B727
- 153 08/20/2008 Madrid, Spain Spanair MD-82
70 152 06/30/2009 Mitsamiouli, Comoros Yemenia A310
71 149 05/04/2002 Kano, Nigeria EAS Airlines BAC-111
72 148 02/19/1985 Mt. Oiz, Spain Iberia Airlines B727
- 148 01/03/2004 Off Sharm el Sheikh-Ophira, Egypt Flash Air B737  
74 146 04/25/1980 Tenerife, Canary Islands Dan Air B727
75 145 07/04/2001 Irkutsk, Russia Vladivostokavia TU154  
76 144 02/08/1989 Santa Maria, Azores Independent Air Inc B707
- 144 09/25/1978 San Diego, California Pacific Southwest/Private B727 /C172
78 143 11/07/1996 Lagos, Nigeria Aviation Devel. Corp. B727
- 143 03/17/1988 Cucuta, Colombia Avianca B727
- 143 08/23/2000 Off Manama, Behrain Gulf Air A320
- 143 09/05/2005 Medan, Indonesia Mandala Airlines B737
82 141 08/29/1996 Spitsbergen, Norway Vnokovo Airlines TU154
- 141 12/18/1995 Kahengula, Angola Trans Service Airlift L188C
- 141 11/24/1992 Liutang, Guangxi, China China Southern Airlines B737
85 140 12/25/2003 Cotonou, Benin UTA B727
86 137 06/08/1982 Near Pacatuba, Brazil VASP B727
87 135 08/02/1985 Ft. Worth-Dallas, Texas Delta Air Lines L1011 5
88 134 12/16/1960 Staten Island/Brooklyn, New York United Air Lines / TWA DC8 / L1049
89 133 02/04/1966 Tokyo Bay, Japan All Nippon Airways B727
 -  133 02/08/1993 Tehran, Iran Iran Air / Air Force TU154M
91 132 09/08/1994 Aliquippa, Pennsylvania USAir B737  
- 132 05/19/1993 Medellin, Colombia SAM B727
 -  132 06/28/1982 Southern Belarus, USSR Aeroflot YAK42
94 131 11/19/1977 Funchal, Is. of Madeira, Portugal TAP B727
- 131 04/19/2000 Samal Island, Philippines Air Philippines B737
96 130 10/02/1990 Kuwait City, Kuwait Iraqi Airways IL76
 -  130 11/08/1983 Lubango, Huila, Angola TAAG Angola Airlines B737
- 130 11/16/1967 Near Sverdlovsk, Russia Aeroflot IL62
- 130 06/03/1962 Villeneuve-le-Roi, France Air France B707
100 128 04/15/2002 Buscan, South Korea Air China B767  
- 128 10/02/1990 Guangzhou, China Xiamen / China SW B737 / B757
- 128 01/21/1980 Elburz Mountains, Iran Iran National Airlines B727
- 128 06/30/1956 Grand Canyon, Arizona United Airlines / TWA DC7 / L1049
 - 128 07/09/2006 Irkutsk, Russia Sibir (S7) A310

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Marxism And The Labour Party

Marxism Today
Marxism and the World Today
Marxism Today - Ten Theses
The Communist Manifesto
Marxism (Classical)
The Communist Party

"If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of the people in defeating imperialism and its running dogs."

"Revolutionary Forces of the World Unite, Fight Against Imperialist Aggression!" (November 1948), Selected Works,  Vol. IV, p. 284.

  • Classical Marxism refers to the theory expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and is often used to distinguish between the accepted interpretation of Classical Marxism and "what Marx believed". Shortly before he died in 1883, Marx wrote a letter to the French workers' leader Jules Guesde and to his own son-in-law Paul Lafargue, both of whom claimed to represent Marxist principles, in which he accused them of "revolutionary phrase-mongering" and denying the value of reformist struggles. Essentially: "If that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist". Hal Draper (American Marx scholar) remarked:
"there are few thinkers in modern history whose
thought has been so badly misrepresented by
Marxists and anti-Marxists, alike."

Hijacking an ideology to suit
a different purpose

Marxism (Orthodox)

  • The version of Marxism which emerged after the death of Karl Marx was known as Orthodox Marxism and is the term used to describe the official philosophy of the Second International up to the First World War and of the Third International thereafter. The ethos of Orthodox Marxism is to simplify, codify and organise Marxist thought, clearing up any perceived ambiguities and contradictions.
Political practice or theory based on an interpretation of the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels can be classified as Marxism and it is a theoretical-practical framework based on the analysis of "the conflicts between the powerful and the subjugated".

As political and economic scenarios continue to descend and fester, it becomes more obvious that capitalism just illustrates that wealth creation doesn't exist. That wealth isn't created, but taken. The building of wealth is simply moving from the possession of the one to another: Redistribution. Technically, theft by appropriation. The widening of the division between those with and those without. Those with acquire more at the expense of those who 'lose' it: Winners And Losers. Any acquired 'wealth' is simply taken and it's been happening for centuries. The building of any personal wealth doesn't create, but simply moves 'ownership'.

Blair To Cameron: The Transfer Of A Legacy
Gordon Brown And Marxism
    Ralph Miliband (father)

    Sibling rivalry is argued as being divisive in the contest for the Labour party leadership, but it can be considered as doubling the chances of a Miliband winning the contest. Paternal influence is likely to be significant in ideological thinking and so a possible Marxist influence cannot be ignored. The Labour Party appears to be a better place for this ideology to exist than in any other party or government. However, Marxism does not have an exclusive home.

    Dr Gordon Brown - PhD thesis is entitled:

    The Labour Party and Political Change
    in Scotland 1918–29

    A post doc thesis could be entitled:

    The Labour Party and Political Change
    in England 1997-2010

    The Unions are major sponsors of the Labour party with the rank and file membership assumed to support the ideological ethos, but it is possible that such support is weaker than imagined. The workers have little say in the 'running' of the union that is supposed to represent them, just like the allegorical novel Animal Farm. The connection of Marxism and unions in the UK is a very real (potential) future problem.

    Social Class: Harriet Harman (Official Profile)
    The Ups and Downs of Harman and 'Social Class'

    Marxism is a mixture of political philosophy, economic and sociological view based upon a materialist interpretation of history. A Marxist analysis of capitalism, a theory of social change and an atheist view of human liberation derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Three primary (alleged) aspects of Marxism:

    • The struggle between social classes: the productive capacity of society is the foundation of society and as this capacity increases over time the social relations of production and class relations evolve through this struggle of the classes. It passes through definite stages: primitive communism, slavery, feudalism and capitalism. The legal, political, ideological and other aspects (art etc) of society are derived from the relations of production as is the consciousness of the individuals of which the society is composed.
    • The critique of capitalism: Marx argued that in a capitalist society, an economic minority (the bourgeoisie) dominate and exploit the majority working class (proletariat) and he argued that capitalism is exploitative. Specifically the way in which unpaid labour (surplus value) is extracted from the working class (the labour theory of value), extending and critiquing the work of earlier political economists on value. He argued that while the production process is socialised, ownership remains in the hands of the bourgeoisie. This forms the fundamental contradiction of the capitalist society. Without the elimination of the shackle of private ownership as the means of production, human society is unable to achieve further development.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Union Motivation

    The motives behind the strike called by the unions in the BA dispute are difficult to fathom, but the dated struggle between the capitalist employer and the 'workers' is strongly intimated. Yet, the modern-day lackey seems unaware of the deeper implications. The timing is fortuitous if not planned with knowledge of a general election. In the event, the unions did not get the Labour government that they fund, but the action simply escalates instead. The interests of members are claimed to be the priority, but actions conflict with this alleged aim. Considered against an expected loss of £100s millions due to a downturn in passenger bookings, higher costs and 'industrial action' taken by the employees on the advice or instruction of the union leaders, the workers 'betters' don't pay the wages, but only take members' dues. It's somewhat cynical to be in receipt of a large salary + expenses package paid for out of members subscriptions who are being urged to strike and in so doing simply cripple themselves. The imagined move forwards to improve the interests of BA employees is non-existent.

      On the face of it it seems lunacy to take industrial action to reacquire the favourable working practices lost by taking industrial action in the first place. This is simply digging the hole deeper and there can never be a way out by 'digging'. To suggest it is spiteful or vengeful of the employer to inflict 'punishment' for such action is absurd, when the workers themselves spitefully intended damage. The madness is the self-harming they have done and continue to do. The 'workers' cannot have imagined that the business wouldn't suffer. The hole gets deeper. And deeper. The supplicants haven't realised that the Labour saviour is no longer 'in charge'.

    The members of these unions presumably still pay their dues if and when they become unemployed as a result of union advice. The union leaders don't jeopardise their employment as they are not employed by the industries with which they are in conflict. The members are the pawns and the union leaders appear to see themselves as the power players in a chess game. This has all the 'marxings' of an ideological struggle simply using the workers as the fodder. The industry will be destroyed and in times of workers real pain this is absolute betrayal. The motives for winning are unclear, but consider the novel Animal Farm (plot summary) by George Orwell (aka Eric Blair) and the cynical mobilisation and manipulation of well-meaning animals by other animals (the pigs), a dystopian allegorical tale of treachery and betrayal.

    Union bosses are allegedly paid £1.7million a year in pay, pensions and perks. RMT rail union boss Bob Crow was (according to official statistics), paid in excess of £128,000. Crow's six-figure package includes a salary of £84,923 with additional pension contributions totalling £28,088. Almost £10,000 in "expenses" plus another £5,284 to cover his travel and petrol bills. The well-paid militant 'fat-cats' plotted a wave of strikes that caused misery for millions of hard-working families. The biggest union 'fat cat' is Derek Simpson, general secretary of the Unite union (retires 23.12.2010) behind the recent British Airways strikes and received just under £187,000: a £97,027 salary, nearly £27,000 in pension contributions, £38,340 for accommodation and £24,480 for his car. Unite's other general secretary Tony Woodley has a £122,000 package, including a salary of £93,815. BIG earners include Dave Prentis, boss of public sector union Unison who got just over £130,000 (£95,000 salary, pension contributions of more than £24,000 and nearly £11,000 expenses). Billy Hayes, the militant leader of Communications Workers Union (CWU), took home an £87,045 salary - plus a "beneficial loan" of £1,393.

    The same union bosses are claimed to have handed over £74.2million to Labour since 2005 - more than half of the party's donations. It suggests Marxist ideology funds Marxist ideology and quite possibly without the approval of those who pay for it - the workers. The smiling strikers suggests a blind happiness. Going to your own public execution and still happy.

    Open your eyes and view reality

    It's the end

    Derek Simpson retires this December (2010). What interest will he then have for the betrayed unemployed as he enjoys the pension the members have funded?

    Public sympathy is at a minimum when those who are fortunate enough to have a job play the games of others completely unaware of the 'game' they are in. Being led by the nose like lambs to slaughter. This illustrates the true ethos behind a socialist (Labour) party.

    All the figures on pay, pensions and perks are based on papers submitted to the official Certification Officer, who keeps records on every union. Presumably, the members (workers) are happy to pay their contributions into union coffers and ensure lucrative pensions for their leaders' retirement. And assuming that they are aware of how the unions fund Labour governments and the "high life" for the hardline fat-cats. Any outgoings must originate by income from members. It seems that "while workers face demands for pay restraint, union bosses are raking it in at their expense" (Douglas Carswell). The male supremacy within union positions that represent the rank and file of men and women is illustrated by the following:

    Bob Crow, RMT - £128,226 
    • Pay: £84,923 
    • Pension contributions: £28,088 
    • Expenses: £9,931 
    • Travel (including petrol): £5,284
    Derek Simpson, UNITE - £186,626
    • Pay: £97,027 
    • Pension: £26,779
    • Car and other allowance: £24,480
    • Housing Benefit: £38,340
    Tony Woodley, UNITE - £122,108
    • Pay: £93,815
    • Pension contributions: £16,347
    • Beneficial loan: £6,603
    • Car fuel: £5,343 
    Unite is formed from the merger of
    Amicus and the TGWU

    • Marxists approach the question of union mergers from the point of view of the rank and file, and whether the merger will or will not lead to greater strength and combativity. On this basis, a smaller, democratic union can prove more effective than a larger, bureaucratic union, whose leaders are anxious to avoid struggle whilst they look after their own interests at the expense of the rank and file.
    Dave Prentis, UNISON - £130,109
    • Pay: £94,953
    • Pension contributions: £24,311
    • Expenses and car benefits: £10,845
    Paul Kenny, GMB - £112,000
    • Pay: £84,000 
    • Super-annuation: £20,000
    • Car: £8,000
    John Hannett, USDAW- £113,156
    • Pay: £85,812
    • Pension contributions: £17,247
    • Union car: £10,097
    Billy Hayes, CWU - £88,438
    • Pay: £87,045
    • Beneficial Loan: £1,393
    Alan Ritchie, UCATT - £83,536
    • Pay: £68,779
    • Pensions contributions: £12,658
    • Car: £2,099
    Michael Leahy, Community - £116,000
    • Salary: £86,072
    • Pension contribution: £17,214
    • Car, driver, mortgage, medical, telephone : £12,709
    Gerry Doherty, TSSA - £78,508
    • Salary: £65,152
    • Pension contributions: £13,356
    Keith Norman, ASLEF - £118,944
    • Salary: £73,907 
    • Pensions contributions: £26,430
    • Car, services and accommodation: £18,607
    John Smith, Musicians' Union - £102,239
    • Pay: £80,116
    • Pensions contributions: £16,000
    • Car: £5,423
    • Phone: £700
    Gerry Morrissey, BECTU - £76,359
    • Salary: £59,813
    • Pensions contributions: £16,546
    Joe Marino, BFAWU - £56,585
    • Salary: £42,759
    • Pensions contribution: £6,691
    • Car: £7,071
    • Medical: £64
    Chris Kitchen, NUM - £51,594
    • Salary: £47,537
    • Travel, fuel and phone: £4,057
    Ian Lavery, NUM President - £59,421
    • Salary: £59,421
    Geoff Bagnall, Unity - £71,335
    • Pay: £41,598
    • Pensions contributions: £21,963
    • Car, fuel, health club and other benefits: £7,774 
    Militant unions have given more than half of all donations to Labour since the last General Election. The party and its MPs received £74.2million in total - with more than £40million coming from groups now threatening to bring Britain to its knees with strikes. PM Gordon Brown while still in government was blasted for not condemning the current BA cabin crew walkouts, yet took £10,950 for his Scottish constituency. Opposition parties had accused Labour of being held to ransom by the unions. Tory chairman Eric Pickles said: "No wonder Gordon Brown has shown no backbone during this strike - his political survival depends on union barons lining the pockets of the Labour Party... Labour want to take us back to the 1970s with a Spring of Discontent and a wave of walkouts.

    "Labour courted rich individuals under ex-PM Tony Blair's leadership, who poured £millions into the party's coffers. That cash eventually dried up under Brown and left the party ever more reliant on union help. The militants' influence had grown at No10 and UNITE, locked in a bitter battle with BA, led the way in donations with £17.9million. Dr Brown's former 'spin doctor' Charlie Whelan, still a regular visitor to Downing Street, is now political director of Unite. Senior adviser in No 10, Clare Moody, had her salary paid by Unite.

    Public service union UNISON gave the next highest handout of £8.1million, while £5.2million came from USDAW. Both are involved in disputes. The GMB, whose British Gas members voted to strike before reaching a last-minute deal on Wednesday, gave £6.2million. The Royal Mail-crippling CWU gave £2.6million and the TSSA, whose rail workers were set to strike with the RMT, gave £242,000. Figures posted on the Electoral Commission website show Dr Brown's Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency got the £10,950 from Unite, Unison and the GMB. Other ministers who received union backing included Schools Secretary Ed Balls, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth and International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.

    Dr. Vince Cable (Lib Dem deputy leader at the time) said: