Leverage: a very elastic term, ambivalent even. When banks use it, they usually mean debt but when trade unionists talk about leverage, the word assumes an altogether higher purpose, or, depending on one’s perspective; it becomes a euphemism for intimidation.

The news recently that strikers at the Ineos-owned Grangemouth refinery had targeted the homes of managers for public protests raised some interesting questions about the changing nature of industrial disputes. Predictably however, the media circus has largely focused on links between the Grangemouth strike and Unite’s machinations in the selection of Labour’s Falkirk candidates.

It’s funny how sometimes the truth has a habit of popping up and then in the midst of all the detail, it gets lost; like one of those photoshopped pictures that occasionally appear on everyone’s social media timelines. You know the ones; where you don’t notice the spectre hiding in plain sight in the background until you take a closer look. Well, I had one of those last week.

It’s a funny old world and no mistaking it. The following story made its way into The Rusty Wire Service’s dead letter drop and given that we love both literature and the endlessly diverting shenanigans of the global securocrat community, this was right there in our sweet spot. 

According to the link provided by my helpful correspondent (click here), the author of the following account is John Sifton, an attorney at Human Rights Watch.

Everything was grand till he got the hearing aid.

Up to that, he’d almost grown accustomed to his worsening disability. Sure, the ever-encroaching silence saddened him but he usually managed to make light of it. He’d invariably wheel out the story of how he first found out he was going deaf to anyone who’d listen.

“If they saw the enormity of it up front, they might decide they have a choice. You know what I mean?”  Former Anglo-Irish exec John Bowe explaining to a colleague why it was best not to initially divulge to the Central Bank the true extent of the bank’s losses.  (As reported in the Irish Independent)

Maybe I’ve been gone a long time, perhaps I’ve even picked up some fancy-schmancy English notions since I came to live in London.

Jesus wept! Where does one start? First of all I love the name: Prism, it’s Man from Uncle meets the Dark Side of the Moon with a dash of the Matrix thrown in for good measure.  Well, as of 24 June (at the time of writing), nobody knew where the Man from Prism was. Had he gone to Ecuador? Was he in Cuba, did he ever leave Moscow? 

One thing is certain, Edward Snowden owes his liberty to a number of factors that have little to do with his own ingenuity as some kind of Digital Pimpernel.

This feature appeared in Shares Magazine on 13 June 2013. 

'Paypal for Wiseguys' or the birth of a new 'fiat' currency? Whatever is, Bitcoin’s certainly got governments worried.

Until a couple of months ago, the world at large was – on the whole – blissfully unaware of the existence of bitcoin.
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So farewell then Margaret Thatcher.

On the morning of 8 April the former Conservative leader, who gave her name to an ideology of self-serving individualism, passed away peacefully in the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly.

Where was I when Thatcher threw a seven? Well, I was at work writing for a newswire when the story broke; rather more concerned with the movements of the dollar and the yen than the passing of the left’s great Bête noire.

Earlier this month and for the last time, I trained at the Lord Clyde Boxing Gym in Deptford. When it closed, I lost one of my favourite places in all of London.

The gym at the ‘Clyde shut its doors after a protracted legal battle that had initially seen the plucky little boozer successfully challenge the developers’ plans. Landlord Rory McInally brought together a wide coalition to oppose the move.
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Deptford High Street. Is there anywhere like it? Well, no but it would be disingenuous not to mention that each of the many real gems of the city will try to lay boastful claim to quintessential London authenticity and good luck to them.

I’ve worked in suits and workclothes all over the length and breadth of this fine city and nowhere I’ve lived; from Hammersmith to Hackney nor Finsbury Park to Forest Hill, has that London particularity of Deptford.
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