There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Speaking at the ICA tonight on the cuts

A last minute call this afternoon to appear at the Westminster UNISON AGM being held at the prestigious ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) in central London, where I will be on a panel debating the cuts and representing COR (Coalition of Resistance). The discussion is to be preceded and followed by musical entertainment and stand up comedy with the likes of Attila the Stockbroker. Apparently other speakers will represent, Stop the War Coalition, the National Shop Stewards Network, and the Right to Work Campaign. Should be a stimulating debate.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Week of Resistance and the TUC March for the Alternative

coalition of resistance logo

With the cuts now coming hard and fast - the voluntary sector organisation I work for has just had a 20% cut from Lambeth Council and my colleague who runs the Lambeth Pan Disability Forum has had his post cut from the end of March, plus Lambeth Age Concern and a host of other voluntary sector organisations reeling from the cuts, with thousands facing being laid off, it is more important than ever to flag up the resistance to these cuts. I am a member of the National Steering Committee of the Coalition of Resistance and below is a list of dates and events for the Week of Resistance in February and the vitally important March for an Alternative, being organised by the TUC on March 26th, where we are already hearing that thousands of trade unionists, disabled people and members of communities affected by the cuts are booking trains and transport to London.

I am off to my UNISON Voluntary Sector branch meeting tonight to see how we can fight the cuts on the ground in our respective organisations.

TUC march for the Alternative - London March 26th

It is clear that March 26th will be the biggest demonstration since the anti-war march of February 2003. All our work from now till then will be dedicated to making sure this is the case. We have printed and distributed 10,000 flyers for the March demonstration and we will be producing 100,000 more. Please contact us if you would like us to send you material for local distribution. We are asking for donations which will be spent entirely on producing new material.
Our mailing address is:

Coalition of Resistance
Coalition of Resistance, c/o Housman's Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road
London, London N1 9DX

Week of Resistance 12th - 19th February

To build for the March 26th protest CoR has called a Week of Resistance. The following events are planned:

• Sunday 13th February Capitalism: A love story by Michael Moore. London Socialist Film Co-op 10.30 am the Renoir with discussion led by Tony Benn

• Monday 14th February Stop the Valentines Day Massacre of our Public Services. Downing Street 5pm-7pm with Jeremy Corbyn MP, John McDonnell MP, Steve Hart Unite - sponsored by SERTUC and Unite [ London and Eastern Region].

• Tuesday 15th February Mass Lobby of Parliament Tell MPs: Hands off our homes, our benefits and our rights. Rally in Central Hall Westminster and mass lobby of Parliament. 12-4pm. Called by Defend Council Housing.

• Wednesday 16th February COR Public Meeting Goldsmiths College with Caroline Lucas MP, Tariq Ali and Clare Solomon

• Wednesday 16th February COR Public Meeting with Keep Our NHS Public Conway Hall WC1 with Dr Jacky Davis, Wendy Savage and John Lister. More info.

• Saturday 19th February Mass leafleting for March 26th demonstration - stalls throughout the country.

• Saturday 19th February Visit George Osborne at home - a cross between 'a place in the sun' and 'location, location, location'

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The end of a discredited government and a last minute 'fix' in Ireland

So the end is in sight for the Fianna Fail - Green government which has been on its sick bed for months. The Greens finally withdrew at the weekend, citing problems about "uncertainty" and "lack of consultation". The fact is that they should have left this government several years ago and in my view should never have entered it in 2007. The party has lost many of its best members as a result  of the increasing compromises which the Green ministers and TDs (MPs) made. I had written articles in US and Australian journals criticising the position which the party adopted from 2008 onwards and also organised a fringe at the GPEW conference in Hove where a former Green councillor, Bronwen Maher, spoke about what had happened within the party.

February 25th now seems to be the date for the general election. But the opposition parties, including the Greens, have agreed to a shabby deal, where the Finance Bill, which among other things will reduce the minimum wage, will be rushed through both houses of parliament within less than a week, so that no vote of confidence in the government needs to be called. This is a real attempt to shortcut democracy because the people should be allowed to vote first  on the type of economic decisions they want made in their name and the new government with a democratic mandate should make the decision. We can see from this that Fine Gael and Labour, the likely government partners, will continue to push through the neo-liberal policies designed to crucify the Irish people as a result  of the EU/IMF bailout of the toxic banks. Only Sinn Fein will vote against this in the Irish parliament this week. Joe Higgins the Irish Socialist Party MEP put the point very forcefully to Barroso, President of the European Commission, in a recent debate in the European Parliament.

As Paul Mason, the BBC Economics Correspondent, recently remarked: "The Irish face a generation of penury." With people leaving the country at the rate of 1000 per month, the outlook is grim. I can only hope that the parties of the Left do well in this election and that they reject the massive reparations laid down by the IMF and the discredited Irish political elite for the Irish people to pay.

The current view of the Irish politicians is best summed up in this comedy clip of a supposed interview involving the Fianna Fail Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan and the Labour TD, Joan Burton.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Blair appears again before Chlcott

On Friday morning, I stood in the bitter cold for several hours outside the QE II Centre in central London where Tony Blair had been called again to give evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry. Addressing the demonstrators, along with an Italian Senator from the Partito Radicale, Marco Perduca and several other speakers including a member of the Iraqui Democrats.

I introduced myself as a member of the International Committee of GPEW and that the Green Party and Caroline Lucas stood four square behind the demonstrators calling for Blair to appear before the court at the Hague to be accused of war crimes.I said that Lord Goldsmith’s comments on the legality of the war (his distancing of himself from Blair) together with the refusal of the Cabinet Office to releas the papers to the Inquiry, showed that there was a clear attempt on Blair’s part to doctor the accounts of the lead up to the war and was essentially a falsification of history. I also said that I thought that both the British people and the people of Iraq need to know the truth about Blair’s actions and what really happened between him and President Bush. Finally, I said that having let him off lightly last time, I hoped that the Inquiry this time would be a lot more forensic in their questioning of Blair.

In the event, as we now know, the Inquiry, although being a little more thorough with Blair, allowed him off the hook again. Despite heckling from those who had lost relatives in the war in Iraq, he tried to present some crocodile tears and say that he regretted all of the lives lost in Iraq, while never regretting the war itself. Here are some reports on the demonstration, one of the highlights for me was the figure wearing a Blair mask being led through the crowd in handcuffs. Later, while being interviewed by the Islam Channel, I was asked what some of the legacies of Blair's decisions were. I replied that there were , of course, the obvious ones of a deep distrust between the West and the Arab world, but there was also the long term political impact in this country of a distrust in politicians and the political process, after one of the largest demonstrations in British history, had not changed Blair's decision and that of the Labour Party one iota. We are now witnessing the consequences in the further betrayal of those who voted for them by the Lib Dems, creating another generation who will view all politicians as cynical and morally bankrupt.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Journey ends here - The return of Tony Blair, war criminal

This is the infamous poster of the war criminal Blair projected tonight on to Westminster Central Hall. He appears before the Chilcott Inquiry today at the QE2 Centre from 8am to 2pm and I will be there to give him the welcome he deserves.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Disabled People, Carers and Green Party Core Values v The Neo-Liberal Tide

The guest post below is by Alan Wheatley, Green Party Spokesperson on Social Security and Care Services, and will be an article in Green World magazine shortly. Disabled people are on the front line for the savage cuts which this government are introducing and already I have heard talk of possible suicides. Someone I know who is a disability activist in Lambeth, and is now one of the disability reps on the General Council of the TUC, is calling for disabled people to be at the front of the TUC march against jobs and cuts on March 26th. I think that this is an excellent idea, especially in view of the heroic role played by people like Jody Mc Intyre during the student protests before Xmas. Disabled people are also increasingly playing a role in the Coalition of Resistance.

Disabled People, Carers and Green Party Core Values vs the Neo-Liberal Tide

by Alan Wheatley

The ConDem coalition's protests that it was the legacy of the previous government that made them inflict savage cuts on the most vulnerable members of society. Actually New Labour and the main national disability charities made it so easy for the ConDems to continue in a neo-liberal agenda. The cuts in Disability Living Allowance and more broadly-claimed housing benefit emphasise the legacy-dependent class's folly of regarding 'welfare dependency' as the problem.

The ConDem government inherited more from New Labour than the fallout from an investment banker-induced mushrooming of national debt. For the new Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord David Freud's attachment to government started when Tony Blair took him on as an investment banker-turned-welfare reform guru. The Welfare Reform Act 2009 reflects a neo-liberal consensus..[1] [2] [3] That neo-liberal consensus has made the project of taking the UK back to pre-Welfare State models and even the workhouse far simpler though no less misguided.[4]

The neo-liberal model of reality epitomised in the DWP consultation paper '21st Century Welfare' only values people as units of consumption or production in a for-commercial-profit oriented system. 'Decent hard working families' welfare-reformist rhetoric denies the validity of the contribution volunteers, disabled people and parents make to society while claiming benefits. A state-funded 'welfare reform industry' administers a new form of slavery as it colonises and makes commodities of disabled people's lives. The private companies and now even national 'for disabled people' charities are incentivised by huge bonuses on government contracts. Low paid 'blue chip' company workers' Working Tax Credits fund a welfare state for the rich . Meanwhile, an ununionised reserve army of forced labour suffers ever greater 'conditionality' or bullying.[5]

As an unpaid Green Party Spokesperson I half-joke that I wish the government would stop giving me so much work. In reality, all claimants are under attack. My spokesperson status and Green Party core values as the antithesis of neo-liberal 'conditionality' gave my life heritage as a disabled job seeker great kudos. I research Community Care archives. I liaise with other Green Party members affected, CarerWatch, Caroline Lucas MP, Prof. Peter Beresford, and more recently Brighton Benefits Campaign, Disability Cartoonist Dave Lupton and Social Work Action Network. With them, my accumulated total of just 17 months' waged employment since 1977 makes me treasured as an empathetic and treasured 'expert witness' and ally. I turn my experience from victim to survivor and vanguard member of a revolution.

Get involved, and follow the links for further info! (Some of the finest people I know are benefit claimants.)

Alan Wheatley

Green Party Spokesperson on Social Security and Care Services




[3] 'The effect of Welfare legislation in the UK 2010 part 1' and '[ibid.] part 2'


[5] “Green Party evidence to '21st Century Welfare'”

Further info: 'Writing off workfare: for a Green New Deal, not the flexible New Deal' “Caroline Lucas” “welfare reform” “Prof. Peter Beresford” Social Work Action Network

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

National Day of Protest against Benefit Cuts and DLA Consultation

Details below of the National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts. Yesterday before attending the London Green Party meeting I had a meeting with London Disability Spokesperson Alan Wheatley and we began responding to the government's consultation on Disability Living Allowance. The consultation closes on February 14th so we have a considerable amount of work to get through before then. I will be chairing the working group which organises the Green Party's response to this. I had a busy weekend attending the Coalition of Resistance National Council all day Saturday where I was elected on to the national Steering Committee, whose first meeting was held today. More on the national council meeting anon. Also attended a committee meeting today of the London Ambulance Service's Clinical Quality, Safety and Effectiveness Committee, having only received the vast wadge of papers yesterday. I was standing in for the Vice Chair of the Patients Forum, Malcolm Alexander, who usually attends. Tomorrow night I attend the launch of the Centre for Respiratory Research at University College London.

National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts: 24/01/11

News is coming in of protests and actions around the UK as part of the National Day of Protest Against Benefit Cuts called for the 24th January.

With a call to focus on the poverty pimps set to make hundreds of millions out of benefit reforms, many groups have chosen to target Atos Origin, the company responsible for the punitive medical testing of disability and sickness benefits.

In London a Party and Picnic has been called in Triton Square near Euston from 2pm. Bring music, drums, whistles, banners, food to share and brighten up the faceless corporate wasteland that is home to poverty pimps Atos Origin Ltd:

In Livingston,not far from Edinburgh, protesters will be visiting Atos Origin’s Scotland Office. Visit the facebook page for more info, and be there from 10am:

Atos will also be the scene of a protest in Leeds called by local claimants and West Yorkshire Solidarity Federation. Be at 1 Whitehall, Leeds from 10 am then a group will be visiting notorious poverty pimps A4e at noon (Ground Floor Zicon House Wade Lane Leeds LS2 8DD):

Even the Shires are revolting with a Protest Against Disability Cuts to be held in Lydney, Gloucestershire. Meet outside the Co-op at 1pm:

A call has gone out for protest in Burnley, meet outside Burnley Town Hall at 12.30:

In Hastings activists will be laying a trail of Red Drops from Hastings to London.

Crawley – Meet 10am, The Boulevard (opposite Marks & Spencers):

Brighton – Using the 24th to publicise a bigger event against Atos Origin on the 5th Feb:

A few days earlier on the 20th Jan, Cardiff’s Unemployed Daytime Disco returns promising DJs, Live Music, Spoken Word Artistes, bands, light shows & happenings. And of course it’s all free:

Finally taking place everywhere the Second National Troll A Tory Day will take place on the 24th January for all those who can’t attend a protest in person. Tell the bastards what you think:

If you are organising an event in your area that has not been mentioned please get in touch. Either join the national event page and post details on the wall or email: notowelfarecuts (@)

Supported by:

o Accept the challenge Iain Duncan-Smith!

(FB Group from Dundee Unemployed Workers)

o Benefit Claimants Fightback (fb group)

o Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign (fb page)

o Brighton Benefits Campaign

o Cardiff's Unemployed Daytime Discos!

o Carer Watch

o Carer Watch fb page

o Crippen – Disabled Cartoonist

o Disabled People Against Cuts

o Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty

o Free London Listings

o Goldsmiths in Occupation

o Haringey Solidarity Group

o Ipswich Unemployed Action

o Islington Disabled People Against Cuts

o Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group

o Lancaster and Morecambe Against the Cuts!

o Norfolk Community Action Group

o Nottingham Claimants' Union

o Oxford Save Our Services

o Nuneaton Against Benefit Cuts (fb page)

o Squattastic

o Tyneside Claimants Union

o Welfare Rights 4 u (UK) fb page

o Welfare Action Hackney

o Work Programme & Flexible New Deal Scandal

o World Homeless Day

Friday, 14 January 2011

One Month Before Heartbreak - The fight to save DLA

There is only a month left before the government consultation on the ending of DLA (Disability Living Allowance) as we know it ends. I have agreed to chair a working group which will respond to this on behalf of the Green Party, as a disability activist and a recipient of DLA. The arguments around the issue are put very well in this article on Community Care website. It will be a tough battle but crucial for many disabled people. A report out today also showed the impact of any removal on many people's lives.

'The Pipe' - A documentary film about a struggle against Shell

Well worth watching the documentary ‘The Pipe’ which tells the story of Shell and the pipeline in the West of Ireland. Green Energy Minister, Eamonn Ryan, has presided over the criminalisation of the local campaign, after the Greens had backed it in opposition. Another one of their betrayals, which will not be forgotten in Ireland. Excerpts here from Irish TV (RTE).

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Co-Chair of LGBT Greens standing for election in Brighton

Good to see my friend Phelim Mc Cafferty, who has done so much on LGBT issues both inside and outside the Green Party standing for election in the forthcoming council elections in Brighton. He is standing for Brunswick and Adelaide ward in May. In a city which has the highest proportion of LGBT voters in the country I am sure that his hard work and radical stance on LGBT rights and equalities issues in general will serve him well. Phelim did a great deal of work on the LGBT manifesto for Brighton and also on the Green Party's general election LGBT manifesto for last year's contest. Together with the other Co-Chair of the LGBTIQ Group, Lesley Hedges, who unfortunately has had to retire from active politics due to ill health, and also myself when I was on the party's Regional Council, he considerably strengthened the LGBT and equalities section of the manifesto, which meant that the Greens had the most progressive policies in this area last year.

I will be going down to Brighton over the next few months to help in his campaign and also trying to galvanise the LGBT and trade union vote in the area behind him. Phelim has also done a great deal of work on trade union issues and like myself is an active member of the Green Party Trade Union Group, as well as being on the National Council of the Coalition of Resistance and a leading member of Green Left. With this government cutting services for all marginalised groups in the community, the SE region of the TUC is about to launch a new group called 'Queers against the Cuts' demonstrating how many LGBT organisations are threatened with closure and how the health cuts will impact on the treatment of HIV. Again, having someone like Phelim as a councillor with really strengthen this campaign and bring the needs of the LGBT community to the fore. He is a person of considerably political integrity and courage who to use a phrase which for me is still powerful "speaks truth unto power."

Response from the London Ambulance Service on medical treatment of people kept in police 'kettles'

The response below is from the London Ambulance Service to the Vice Chair of the LAS Patients Forum. I also asked a question along these lines at the last LAS NHS Trust Board meeting last month.
Dear Malcolm

In such cases any one ill or injured, public or otherwise, would be treated in accordance with normal treatment regimens. We do have a specialist unit who are either pre-deployed if it is a planned event, or can be assembled if it is a spontaneous event. They are specially equipped, (personal protection), and trained to deal with such incidents which can by their very nature, be very volatile. (It is not unknown for LAS staff to come under strong verbal abuse, and occasionally physical threat. (This was seen at Notting Hill a couple of years when missiles were thrown at what were quite obviously LAS & St John members of staff. (A St. John vehicle was also badly damaged)).

If we are made aware that someone is ill or injured in a crowd that is being contained, then staff will make contact with the Police and work out the safest method of extraction. This may mean being escorted into the crowd, or the patient being brought to our staff by Police Medics. Every situation is different and has to be dealt with differently. The staff on the ground will, under the direction of the LAS Command Team, always liaise with the Police, so that they are aware that we have / might have a patient in an area where the public are being contained. These situations are also exercised, (very realistically), by our staff and the Police at the Public Order Range at Gravesend.

If during such an event EOC receive a call from someone within a “contained” area, they will pass details to the “Event Control” if one has been set up, (normally for pre-planned scenarios); or they will pass it to the Command Team on the Ground for deployment of the most suitable response. This really does depend at what stage the incident is at. Containment normally happens after quite a while so a Silver Command Team will have been established and will be on site.

I hope this assists


David Whitmore DIMC RCSEd

Senior Clinical Adviser to the Medical Director

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

220 Waterloo Road



020 7783 2092 - Direct Line

07899 965712 - Mobile

020 7921 5127 – Fax

E-mail -

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Call for unity from Bob Crow

I will be at the first meeting of the National Council of the Coalition of Resistance on Saturday, together with other members of the Green Party and Green Left. I totally echo the sentiments expressed below by Bob Crow and they represent the views I put forward in my recent interview on COR on Left Project blog. We are facing a cataclysm for public services, the voluntary sector and the benefits system. We must work together to oppose these cuts or perish.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am writing to urge maximum unity in the struggle against the Coalition government’s austerity programme.
Such is the scale of the onslaught against our class that no one should be in any doubt of the need for such unity.
There can be no question of any political party or organisation seeking to assume leadership of this struggle or setting up new national organisations that would create disunity.

Instead all our efforts should be devoted to mobilising all progressive forces and building the biggest and broadest possible movement against the cuts.

I would urge all comrades to take a step back and consider how we can best act in a way which helps achieve these aims.

Yours in unity

Bob Crow

RMT General Secretary

Oldham and Saddleworth By election hustings

The hustings in the Oldham by election with questions on the NHS, cuts etc and a spirited performance by Green Party candidate, Peter Allen. Good luck tomorrow Peter.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Questions to the IPCC and the Met Police over the health impact of kettling

The correspondence below has been sent by the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum to both the IPCC and the Metropolitan Police. At its meeting last month the Forum expressed concern about the treatment of student Alfie Meadows at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, where it was widely reported that police there tried to prevent him being treated – he was subsequently diagnosed with having suffered a brain injury. Also at the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust Board meeting on December 14th, I raised a question about how the LAS dealt with emergency calls coming from within a kettle. The reply was that specially kitted up LAS staff entered the kettle to try and find the patient – also that LAS staff were present in the police control room during the demonstration and that both LAS, St John’s Ambulance and Red Cross were on standby at such demonstrations. However, the Chief Medical Officer of the LAS admitted that there was a real danger of hypothermia occurring within the kettle.

The Forum is meeting tonight at the LAS Headquarters in Waterloo Road, which is a public meeting, at 5.30pm where some of these issues will be discussed.
Street detention and encirclement of protestors

Can you please let me know if you have carried out an investigation into the process of mass detention used by the police called "kettling"? We are particularly keen to know about any investigations into medical emergencies, medical treatment and access for the LAS during these detentions.

Your sincerely

Malcolm Alexander

Vice Chair

Patients' Forum London Ambulance Service

Chair: Joseph Healy, Vice Chairs: Malcolm Alexander, Sister Josephine Udie, Lynn Strother

Secretary: Alison Buick

Malcolm Alexander,

Vice Chair, Patients Forum,

30 Portland Rise,

N4 2PP

Sir Paul Stephenson


Metropolitan Police

January 9th 2011

Dear Sir Paul,

I am writing to you about the increased use by the Metropolitan Police of techniques involving “kettling” people into a confined space where they are detained until such time as they can be released or processed in a controlled manner. The approach appears to gather everyone in its path whether protestor or by-stander. I understand this practice is not currently subject to specific statutory regulation and control, except of course that Article 3 of the Human Rights Act provides that, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. This would appear to limit the sort of force that may be used.

The reason I am writing to you is specifically in relation to the medical needs of people held in a large crowd contained by the police, sometimes for several hours. People may become ill during such detention either due to panic, fear or the occurrence of natural events like strokes and heart attacks. Other people may have sustained an injury in their interaction with the police. In such a situation the civil liberty to call an ambulance and to receive treatment consistent with their clinical needs and civil rights are likely to be hampered possibly leading to death, sustained injury or increased harm as a result of delays in getting attention for a medical emergency.

Can you please answer the following questions?

1) Are you able to show that during planning of your operations that the potential medical needs of the people you detain by “kettling” are considered?

2) Can you provide a copy of your policy for responding to the medical needs of people who have been detained in a “kettling” operation?

3) During the use of this kind of detention what method is used to identify medical problems, especially in the ‘thick of the crowd’ that may arise during the detention?

4) Can I have a copy of any agreements you have with the LAS on their access to people your officers have detained during a “kettling” operation.

5) What provision do you make to allow the LAS access to people who have been detained during a “kettling” operation?

6) What agreement do you have with the LAS to enable them to respond directly to 999 calls from people who have been detained by your offices in a “kettling” operation?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Malcolm Alexander

Vice Chair

Friday, 7 January 2011

London Ambulance Service Patients Forum meeting next Monday

With the London Ambulance Service now heading at full speed towards Foundation Trust status this is a very important meeting where we will hear details of what is being planned.

AGENDA – Patients’ Forum Meeting

Monday January 10th 2010, 5.30–7.30pm

Conference Room, LAS Headquarters, 220 Waterloo Road, SE1

Nearest Tube and Rail: Waterloo



BSL signers will be available

1) Minutes of Meeting held December 13th 2010

2) Matters arising and action points

3) Chair’s Report – Joseph Healy

3) ‘Foundation Trust Status – Brave New World?’ – Presentation by Sandra Adams (Director of Corporate Services London Ambulance Service)

4) Patient and Public Involvement work in the LAS – Beverley Jeal (PPI Section, LAS)

5) Target performance and turnaround times and Category A and B calls.

LAS Commissioning Plan for 2011-12 - Presentation by Lead Commissioner

Press Reports


The meeting will close at 7.30pm

Coalition of Resistance National Council meeting and interview

Just got back from Spain earlier this week and things have not stopped since. I had the Lambeth Green Party meeting on Wednesday night and have been working full time for the last two days, also seeing a friend of mine from Ireland who is staying in London for a week or two. Also putting the papers together today for the next meeting of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum on Monday.

In the interim Edward Lewis of New Left Project has finally sent me a copy of my interview with him last month and it is now up on their blog and will be up on the Coalition of Resistance site soon. I know that I may have ruffled a few feathers with my comments on the Right to Work (SWP front organisation) and also on the defects of Stop the War but my motto is always that one should be as forthright as possible in politics and address the issues head on.