Sunday, 30 June 2013

Forget the dolmades – try this with your vine leaves

Mushrooms on top of vine leaves
There’s always something new to learn – and neither the world of gardening nor that of cooking are any exception.

After mentioning, a few days ago, that my vine is developing nicely, m’friend George pointed out that the is a recipe that uses vine leaves in the Divine Mrs D’s Summer Cooking.

Mushrooms cooked in vine leaves, apparently.

 I went straight to the cookery books.

My copy is part of the Grub Street hardback Elizabeth David Classics, which also includes Mediterranean Food and French Country Cooking: a delightful collection.

In this context, that means that I had two recipes for this same dish.

In Mediterranean Food – her 1950 debut – Mrs D included a recipe for ‘Cèpes à l’Italienne’, which involved “1lb cèpes or morels or other mushrooms, vine leaves, oil, garlic, salt and pepper”.

The mushrooms are cleaned, de-stalked, sprinkled with salt and left for a few minutes, before being put “in a warm oven a minute or two to dry”.

The “washed and dried” leaves are placed at the bottom of a “fireproof” dish and covered with a film of olive oil, before being placed “over the flame” until the oil is hot: “not boiling”, though.

The cèpes go in (“stalk side up”) and the pot goes in a moderate oven for half an hour.

After that, the stalks are cut into thin pieces and, with a clove of garlic, added to the dish. It’s seasoned and cooked for a further 10 minutes.

By 1955, when Summer Cooking was first published, the recipe had been changed subtly.

Now called simply: “mushrooms cooked in vine leaves”, David introduces it by saying that she has “already published recipes similar to this one,” but she makes “no apology for including it again here, as I think many people who have a vine growing in their gardens would be glad to now it”.

The mushrooms by this time are simply “cleaned whole flat” ones, and the leaves are blanched before lining the dish.

There is more garlic here too – “3 or 4 whole cloves” – and the mushrooms are finally covered with more vine leaves before the dish is lidded.

In this case, it requires a slow oven for 35 minutes.

But apart from the simplification – had David and/or her publishers decided that readers might prefer a simpler version? – the most interesting difference in how this is written up is in the explanation of what the dish achieves.

“The great point about this dish is that the vine leaves make cultivated mushrooms taste like field mushrooms,” explains David, in a short, bracketed note.

All of which sounds fascinating – and very tempting. Now my vine isn’t currently big enough to be raiding for leaves for such an experiment, but the one at the back of the potager is.

Although it borders the area where the bins are kept, I picked leaves from furthest away. The blanching ensured they were clean.

I hadn't gone for the most generic of ’shrooms, since this was intended as the first course of a Sunday dinner, but for a selection of girolles, pied bleu and king oysters.

One of the latter was sliced into four lengthways. The rest were trimmed and brushed as necessary.

And I diverted from the recipe slightly in slicing my garlic.

It’s a perfectly easy dish to construct. Since I don’t have a small lidded dish, I covered one tightly with foil, pleated.

My “slow oven” was set to 150˚C (fan).

This really is something that I will do again. The leaves add something to the mushrooms that seems to deepen the flavour. A very, very satisfying result.

After that, it was a simple case of little lamb chops, each topped with a sprig of fresh oregano from the patio and grilled until the fat was crisp, then served with lemon, in true Italian style.

Ready for the oven
Given such an Italian influence to the meal, the only question was what else to serve with that.

Since The Other Half isn't exactly keen on polenta – which is how my first experience of lamb chops and lemon came when it was served in Venice – I opted for a rather French solution. Well, one I picked up in Paris, at any rate.

I cooked and puréed a small amount of potato, but mixed it with good virgin oil instead of cream and butter.

Seasoned with fleur de sel, each serving was in a small bowl, with a dimple in the smoothed top (back of a teaspoon), into which a little further of my best virgin oil, green and peppery, was dripped.

Perfect. Though I say so myself.

What that single potato also meant, though, was a debut for one of the new Le Creuset saucepans.

They’ll take some getting used to – not least because of a smashing piece of design.

Every lid has a small hole in it to vent the steam, meaning that you can boil without either having the lid balanced so as to leave a gap or having to keep the temperature higher.

So it’s easy to see that those pans will actually save on fuel – they’re not just good to look at.

Good design can pay dividends. And a recipe for mushrooms cooked in vine leaves, whether published once or more, will certainly be done more.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pots and pans and Bruno's cocotte

It is presumably a sign of increasing age when one be ones excited by new pans. By which logic, I have already reached an advanced stage of decrepitude.

I have new pans - and not just any old pans, but a mix of Le Creuset and Mauviel. The former are wonderful - the latter makes me feel incredibly cheffy.

The old ones were dying. We'd had them for close to 18 years - not quite the 25 years of the guarantee, but not bad service. And particularly not given my early lack of any culinary expertise.

They were from an advert in a Sunday supplement and were paid for in three instalments. Before that, we'd already been through several pans, because we'd gone as cheap as possible.

We'd bought - and had to replace - more than a few basic pans; all from street markets and as cheaply as possible because that was what we could afford at the time.

Which brings me to a particular observation.

In the UK, good kitchen tool are more expensive than across the Channel. We first noticed this about five years ago, when we headed to Collioure for our second holiday - and our first self catering.

I was concerned that there wouldn't be any really decent knives. On the first two trips down there, we traveled via Perpignan, spending a night there before making the last, brief leg of the journey.

On the Saturday morning, we slipped into Galleries Lafayette and went to look for a basic cook's knife. And both of us remarked just how affordable good knives were.

It seems that, in France at least, a serious knife is not considered a luxury, to only be available at a luxury price.

That said, it's a philosophy that transfers to the UK market - at least a bit. My first set of knives, bought about 12 years ago were cheap and not of particularly good quality. Oh, they did okay for a few years, but they were very limited. And as my culinary skills improved, I felt a need for better tools.

Sabatier, I discovered, were actually a much better price alongside a range of much mor designery knifes - including the very costly Japanese ones that have been popularised by some celebrity chefs. It's not difficult to see a link in that.

A year or so later, I picked up a proper, heavy, copper omelette pan in Paris. It wasn't cheap, but if I harboured any doubts about the value, it was illustrated the first time that I used it - and it produced the best omelette I'd made. It makes jolly good pancakes too.

When I eventually - after a very deep breath - invested in a couple of Le Creuset pieces a couple of years ago (a seriously heavy casserole and a shallow one) again the difference was instantly noticeable.

Mind, I did read the instructions first to learn about how not to over blast them with heat - or stick them straight into water after cooking.

The old pans had long lost their conductivity - my earlier uses may well not have helped - and at least one was also now starting to leak as the base gradually started splitting from the rest.

So they have now been retired.

The replacements are the Le Cresuet saucepans with lids - 20, 18 and 16cm - and a 14cm 
Mauviel for serious sauce making.

All come with a lifetime guarantee. A lifetime. You're not supposed to ever have to replace these, but to hand these down to the next generation.

And that is craftsmanship and an investment.

It's also in complete contradiction to the prevailing attitude of goods being manufactured with a quite deliberately limited lifespan. Invest all you want, but in many cases, the whole idea is that you will have to buy - and buy again. Such is The Market.

But a glance online, at sites in France itself, revealed that they are all cheaper over there than here. Not cheap, but cheaper.

It seems to illustrate a culture where cooking is regarded as a luxury pastime rather than something that should be within everybody's grasp, and part of the nation's culture as a whole.

So, with spangly new pans on their hooks, what is first to be cooked in them?

Well, of course life doesn't really work like that.

And what the weekend brought was the chance to use kit that was already in the house.

First up, the shallow Le Creuset was used for a cocotte of summer vegetables.

A cocotte is actually what we'd call a casserole. In this case, I had been inspired by Bruno Loubet's new book to try his seasonal version.

For some weeks now, as the potager has grown increasingly green and lush, I've been wondering just how to use the produce I'm longing to harvest.

After all, you'd have to have a pretty sizeable plot in order to be able to harvest an entire, single portion of any one vegetable at any time. And most vegetables don't grow in the sort of synchronised way that makes that easy.

So far, I've had three pods of peas - and two tiny turnips.

Bruno's cocotte, on the other hand, takes care of this, as it's a dish of - in effect - what's available on any given day from your garden.

He describes, quite delightfully, how his father would return home from his own garden with a basket of various freshly-picked vegetables, presenting them to his mother as though they were the most beautiful flowers in the world.

And the cocotte allows you to use this variety of a produce in a single dish.

This first effort had little from the potager - but some. The two available pods of broad beans that have sped away from the rest. Thyme and bay came from the patio too, and I added a few young chard leaves to wilt at the end. In coming weeks, the proportion of homegrown crop will increase.

A cocotte also answers another question: what to do with a glut.

In Bruno's version, he includes radishes. 'Radishes?' you say. 'Cooked?' you say.

Well indeed. It's as alien to us as cooking endive or lettuce, but that's the sort of dirty tricks those Continental types play in the kitchen. But after all, how many radishes can you eat over a few days in salads?

And it's equally a great way to use up odds and ends.

My radishes aren't ready yet, so I picked up a bunch from the market, plus two small turnips, asparagus - the season isn't quite over - a bunch of young carrots, two of the thinnest leeks I could spot and fine beans. And went to work.

According to the recipe, you heat olive oil and pop in the root veg. Stir into the oil, season and add a clove of garlic. Lid the pan, turn the hob to its lowest, and leave for five minutes or until the carrots are al dente.

Actually, that took rather longer, so I may well not have got the oil hot enough to start with.

Then you add further vegetables, half a glass of water, and re-lid, but with a slight gap.

A few minutes later, the rest of the veg - you get the gist. At the end, a knob of butter, a spoon of cream and a squeeze of lemon.

Okay, it took longer that the recipe suggested. I added thyme and bay to flavour and, as mentioned, a few thinned-out chard leaves at the end, plus some large spring onion bulbs at the start.

It wasn't perfect - but it was the sort of first effort that means it won't be long before it's tried again.

It's funny that France has such a bad reputation for vegetarian eating, when it's also a country that arguably understand and appreciates veg far better than we do. This dish is an illustration of that.

To follow, we had filleted Dover sole, simply grilled and served with lemon. Fruit for dessert - with cheese, for me.

Good food doesn't have to be complex. But good tools most certainly make it easier to prepare - and they help increase the pleasure of cooking too.

And perhaps at least one of the new pans will get a run out tomorrow.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Easy options on the food front

Bacon and new spuds and asparagus
One of the most surprising things about the last week has been that, after arriving home from Liverpool last Friday, I didn’t leap straight into a Pot Noodle phase.

Utterly knackered, it was tempting. But when I'd crawled up the platform at Euston, I opted instead for the easiest ‘quality’ option: M&S.

I had been contemplating lamb chops, but since the only available ones were from New Zealand, I opted for something a little more local – British bacon.

And to go with that, new potatoes and asparagus.

It was a simple matter to boil the spuds and the asparagus (20 and three minutes respectively) and then pop the bacon into a hot pan and let it sizzle gently for a while, curling and browning; moved around occasionally with tongs.

Frankly, I didn’t even feel like arranging it on a plate, but tossed it all together, added butter, seasoning and the bacon juices.

Even after a week that had seen a couple of decent restaurant meals, there was something heavenly about the result. And it had all been ridiculously easy top cook.

The cats were delighted to see me home, but an absence means that one is told in no uncertain terms, that they are owed.

In Otti’s case, she was determined that, despite never having eaten it before, she was going to try bacon. Allowed to have a little piece (after I’d finished – I do try to teach them some patience) she then decided that it was very nice indeed and why hadn’t I shared more with her?

Saturday allowed a return to Broadway Market and the great what-shall-we-eat-for-the-coming-week challenge.

In this case, I started from a fishy perspective – sea bass, filleted.

Potatoes were par boiled and then slightly crushed before being drizzled with olive oil, seasoned and then popped into the oven (160˚C fan) for 20 minutes.

The bass – slashed carefully on the skin, seasoned and lightly oiled – were placed on top and given a further 15 minutes.

Bass with potatoes and seasonal veg.
This was served with fine beans and asparagus, a drizzle or two of my balsamic glaze and a wedge of lemon. And jolly nice it was too.

An experiment with tuna didn’t quite go as planned, though.

Unusually, Vicki had a big slab, so I decided to buy a slice (it’s enough for the two of us).

It was intended for Monday – Vicki said it should be okay for that, but to watch out for the ‘rainbow’ effect in case it did start to go.

To be on the safe side, I decided to try something a bit different, and salt it. The Spanish – mojama – and although I couldn’t find a specific recipe, how hard could it be?

I used a mix of ordinary salt together with some fleur de sel that The Other Half had picked up for me on his recent trip to Perpignan: one that was infused with banyuls, the sweet wine from that area.

On Sunday evening, I rinsed it off and left it to soak ion fresh water. That was changed again on Monday morning and one last time when I got home that afternoon.

Pods growing fat
The plan was then to use Bruno Loubet’s guidelines and confit it – approximately 30 minutes in olive oil heated to approximately 50-55˚C.

All that went okay, but unfortunately it still came out as incredibly salty.

Still, failures are part of the process of learning.

In the meantime, the potager is going a bit bonkers after struggling to show real signs of life for so long.

I will shortly have peas – and the broad bean pods are just appearing. One of the runner beans is already taller than me – okay, I know this doesn’t mean much.

There will be a small crop of blackcurrants – but this is year one.

The salad leaves are doing well, as are the radishes, the spring onions and the gem lettuces, while the chard is coming on decently, as are the carrots and turnips.

The vine is growing well, the lemon has produced a plethora of buds, the nasturtiums are finally producing leaves in something approaching abundance and the four tomato plants that we were given by a friend look to have settled in comfortably.

Who knows – the weather might even allow for cropping a few leaves this weekend. But it’s enormously exciting to see crops developing in such a way.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Abortion, FGM and porn: abuse and choices

Last night, in a quite extraordinary performance, Texas senator Wendy Davis stayed on her feet for 10-plus hours to effectively break a plan by that state to close most of its clinics that offered abortion (amongst other services) to women.

She couldn’t take a break to pee or to eat; she had to keep speaking – and staying on topic. This was no opportunity to quote Shakespeare at length or read her favourite poems.

It was an extraordinary feat, and one that should be applauded anywhere and by anyone who cares about women’s rights.

Actually, you’d expect it to be applauded by those who care about a small state too – but that’s one of the oddities of the times we live in: many of those who say that they believe in the smallest state possible make an exception when it comes to women’s reproductive systems. And, of course, anything to do with LGBT people.

The ideology of such people is remarkably selective.

Mind, as of 2012 – perhaps lawmakers have subsequently seen sense – oral sex was illegal in Indiana.

In Washington DC, anything other than the missionary position is strictly verboten.

Sex toys are illegal in Alabama.

In San Antonio, Texas, it’s illegal to flirt.

It is illegal in Bakersfield, California, to have sex with Satan without a condom. If only I’d known.

And so on. There are plenty more where those came from.

So when you look at those examples of controlling, interfering laws, perhaps it’s hardly a shock that some states are targeting a women’s right to control her own body. And indeed, there are a few that are now prosecuting women for having a miscarriage.

But there really are times when the state should butt in (so to speak).

A report from the NSPCC a couple of days ago revealed the scale of the problem of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a practise that’s exclusive to any one religion, but crosses the divide. In Somalia, for instance, it’s to be found in Christian, Islamic and animist communities. In other words, it’s cultural in the widest sense of the word, not simply in terms of a single religion.

But although the NSPCC stressed that the youngest victim who has been treated by the NHS in the last two years was seven, and although various agencies warn of the scale of girls who are at risk, little seems to be being done in terms of using the weight of the law to prosecute families where it is uncovered.

Personally, I don’t buy into the argument that such things can simply be out down to ‘the patriarchy’. If a woman, who has suffered FGM herself, and knows therefore what it does, still decides to inflict it on her own daughter, then the prime responsibility is hers.

If it hasn’t happened to the mother, there’s even less of a mitigating argument.

And that is particularly true for women living in the West. If it isn’t, that means we have ghettos where nothing breaks in. But that’s a different problem.

Personally, I don’t think that any parent should be able to simply lop of a child’s foreskin either. If your god wants it as a mark of faithfulness, then wait until the child is a man and can make his own decision.

Anything else is simply about parental faith and is a symbolic version of child sacrifice.

These things are irreversible. There is rarely ever a sound medical reason for male genital mutilation and while it doesn’t have the same medical ramifications as FGM, there is evidence that it reduces male pleasure.

And here we hit the nub.

It’s that thorny old issue of sex – and pleasure.

In particular, in most of this, it’s about controlling female sexual pleasure – and ‘urges’. In the 21st century, it seems that some people don’t even comprehend that hormones create desire – not genitalia.

Mind, it’s worth remembering that FGM continued in the US well into the 20th century in order to control the dread evil of masturbation. So we should abe wary of thinking ourselves so far advanced of some other societies.

But it’s not far removed form the obsessive desire to ban pornography either. And all the ranting and raving, and all the claims of ‘cultural violence’, do not change one simple fact: not a single, solitary piece of serious research has ever been found a link between porn and violence –  predominantly by men toward women and children.

And people have been looking for that link for years – just as they have been looking to prove a link between violent entertainment and violence in real life.

Yet now, in the UK, we have legislators who are seriously coming up with propositions that would make it illegal to mention legal activities in print. Or even a private email. No matter how consensual. Fisting is just one. Bondage is another. I could potentially be breaking the law by evening mentioning those unmentionables.

To read more on this, follow lawyer Myles Jackman on Twitter and his blog. His most recent posts should be mandatory reading for any would-be censor.

Yet research done with serial sex offenders does tend to suggest a link between a sexually repressive background, with no outlets, and offending.

Statistics from the UN tend to suggest that the more liberal a country is in its attitudes to sex, sexuality and the sex industry, the lower the rates of rape and sexual abuse.

These are notoriously difficult stats, since cultures in countries such as Saudi Arabia make it very difficult, if not pretty much impossible, for a woman to report rape – not least since she stands the risk of being punished herself.

And also because, in places such as Scandinavia, not only is the opposite true, but the bar for what constitutes rape is set much lower.

Much of the point here is that the West should not be complacent – but nor should it fall into a trap of intellectual sloppiness, and start adopting what are, in essence, the attitudes of reaction.

If there are cases of FGM, we should deal with them with the full force of the law. We should not run around, flapping our hands in the air and worrying about upsetting someone’s cultural sensitivities. It’s abuse, pure and simple.

But neither we should not fall for the argument of social conservatives worldwide that sexual pleasure is bad and should be stamped out, whether in terms of a woman’s right for her clitoris to remain intact or for men and/or women to make and view pornography that is consensually produced.

In the case of the former, as stated, it’s a straightforward issue of abuse. In the latter, we’re back to some people trying to control the behaviour of others on the basis of, at best, an absence of substance.

If we don’t think it acceptable for the judicial system to bang someone up because they ‘think’ they might have done something, we shouldn’t fall into a trap of calling for a ban on something just because we ‘think’ it’s bad.

If I don’t buy into the easy idea of blaming ‘the patriarchy’ for everything, I equally do not buy into promoting a culture of victimhood among women. And to constantly assert that women do things only because men tell them is actually the most patronising (matronising?) thing imaginable.

It also pongs of an elitism: that ‘I know better than you and I know the best for you’.

And ultimately, people who might see themselves as progressive actually add to the argument of social conservatives who would really like to turn back the tide and keep women ‘in their place’, as homemakers and breeding machines.

Be very aware of whose side you’re on. It can – or it should – be rather telling.

But let’s wind up by returning to abortion.

If a woman can be coerced into making porn, and if that’s the prime reason for banning it (since there is no evidence of it causing harm) then a woman can be coerced into having an abortion, so perhaps that should be banned too?

The truth is, we should stop treating women as malleable beings who cannot be trusted to make the ‘correct’ decision for themselves and are always and utterly the victims of men – unless they’re in that self-selecting band of the truly ‘liberated’.

If a woman is capable of making such as major a choice as abortion – and research shows that women do not take such a choice lightly – than women are capable of deciding whether to watch or appear in or produce or write pornographic material. And women are capable of making a choice not to have their daughters (or their sons) mutilated.

Either women as a whole are capable of taking responsibility for their reproductive and sexual lives – or they are not.

Anything else is disingenuous nonsense.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The bank that wants your democratic rights

Once or twice, I've used the Thomas Mann quote that “Everything is politics”. Today, in prefixing a piece with that, I'm going to do something unusual for this blog and ask you all to do something political – or at the very least, to be aware of some things and pass a message on.

I'm long enough in the tooth by now to think that few things could shock me.

But thanks to Richard J Murphy (and one thing that you can do is to follow him on Twitter or read his blog regularly), I have today found myself absolutely seething.

It seems that JP Morgan has decided to publish a document that calls for 'progress' to be made in a number of fields.

The main thing that should concern us all is that a part of this 'progress' would be to ditch all employment rights and even things like the right to protest.

The bank declares, quite openly, that such rights were reactions against dictatorships such as those of Franco and Hitler, that this was unfortunate, and that now is the time for these things to be 'corrected'.

It beggars belief that a non-democratic and, therefore, unaccountable corporate body is even discussing such things as desirable – let alone (presumably) actively pursuing such policies.

I want to start simply by asking: who the hell do they think they are?

The motive is obvious - corporate greed and power. We already live in a supranational corporatocracy, where the bankers remain unpunished and unchastened for causing the global financial crisis that is having a continued, real impact on millions of people's lives across the world.

That's millions of people, it should be reiterated, who did not cause that same crisis, although some did buy into the culture of greed and rampant consumerism that were created and promoted in the 1980s and that laid the foundations for it.

In the UK, successive governments have followed a neo-liberal ideology, backed up by the bulk of the mainstream media, to the extent that now, there is not a single mainstream political party in the UK that does not bow down to the orthodoxy of austerity for the many and continued, increasing riches for the very few.

Let's deal quickly with an accusation that rears its head on such occasions: is this the politics of envy?

Quite simply, no.

I won't be disingenuous: like most people, a few more bob wouldn't go amiss. But I'm fortunate enough to be in a better position than at any time in my working life. For the moment. Insecurity abounds.

I look at my niece, though, who worked hard for a good degree, and now finds herself struggling; underemployed in a job that, frankly, she's over-qualified for.

What this entire, far-reaching approach is though, is anti-democratic, utterly counterproductive in terms of local and national economies, damaging to social stability and well-being and, ultimately, just downright unfair.


What a simple, small word, and one that can often sound really rather twee and unrealistic.

Which is, in part perhaps, an element of the problem.

A few years ago, in 2009, Richard G Wilkinson and Kate Pickett published a book, The Spirit Level. It's dry, but the key premise is that the more unequal a society is in terms of income, the less good that society is for everyone: not just those at the bottom or even in the middle, but even for those at the very top.

Outcomes on health and education are lower for all; crime and social problems such as alcoholism and drug abuse are higher.

The work was done across the developed economies – plus a subsidiary survey comparing  all the states of the USA.

Some of it seems counterintuitive - not least negative impacts educationally and health-wise on those at the top of the income tree - but the findings are consistent. And, as far as I know, nobody has yet been able to debunk those findings - and there have been efforts to do precisely that.

So fairer societies become something that we all seek, even if we ourselves seem to be doing well. Call it enlightened self-interest, even if not a philosophical commitment to fairness.

Yet for all that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have signed up to the language of The Spirit Level, this country is seeing quite the opposite.

And when you see huge multinational corporations such as JP Morgan demanding a pound of flesh from the majority of the population, one's heart is hardly lifted. Because big finance and big business already have far too much say in national economies and in how many national governments behave a irrespective of the will of the people.

Just think how difficult it is for a community and the council that is supposed to represent it to defy Tesco when that company (or any other that is massively financially powerful) is determined to open a new store.

Ad pleased do not fall for the fallacy that UKIP is an alternative. That party wants to do away with all employment rights too - and scrap public services. Nigel Farage and his fellow spivs are little different from the likes of JP Morgan – they just add anti-Europeanism into the mix, while Farage himself is sucking on the teat of taxpayers as an MEP.

The idea that the post-war settlement was an unfortunate mistake is frankly disgusting.

But the crisis we face goes further than some statement from a bunch of bankers.

At the same time, we have the farcical situation of a government being caught out spying on millions – and then insisting that the whistleblower is the criminal and a traitor!

A situation where the police are accused of spying on the family of a victim of murder, who are campaigning for justice, never mind targeting infiltrating and having sexual relationships with those that they ‘think’ is opposed to the system.

Where does it end?

Do we sit there, thinking that at least we can choose to buy from a vast range of jeans – sweat-shopped produced in factories with no 'elf 'n' safety – or do we say that enough is enough?

Grassroots politics is boring and soul-destroying and difficult. But the very least we all need to do, if we consider the current situation as bad, is to inform ourselves and pass the message on.

Isthmus about saying that profit is bad? No.
s. And that, in other words, is people who work.

Indeed, over 80% of all housing benefit is paid to people who are in work – as is over 60% of the entire welfare bill. So in other words, taxpayers are subsidising the profits of private landlords – and private companies.

And here we have JP Morgan, suggesting that it would be ‘progress’ if our right to protest, and our employment rights were withdrawn.

Make up your own minds what you think about such corporations – and the individuals that constitute them.

And pass the word on.

Richard J Murphy on JP Morgan’s declared policy (includes a link to the entire document from JP Morgan).

@RichardJMurphy on Twitter.