Follow by Email

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The carrot is more effective than the stick.

Universal Credit, will be introduced in four local jobcentres in selected areas of Ashton-under-Lyme, Oldham, Warrington and Wigan.

Iain Duncan Smith tax credits
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith

There is a fundamental flaw in the economic logic that argues by essentially, cutting benefit payments it will somehow, automatically "force" people back to work. Wrong. The way to achieve the objective of getting people off benefits (and thereby cutting the amount of benefit payments), is to generate the conditions and the environment where work is available. Given that the majority of claimants would rather be gainfully employed, it seems reasonable to assume that people would take up work, were the opportunities there to do so. Clearly, the private sector has had only a marginal effect in the creation of real job opportunities. It therefore follows that the public sector, government in fact, must create demand within the economy to encourage other businesses to expand take on more workers. The economic "accelerator principle" has long been accepted as a valid economic tool. There are those, even in the "comments" sections of the Huffington Post and elsewhere, who argue that governments do not create jobs. Again, wrong. Governments are in a prime position to provide job opportunities a role which the private sector has been woefully inadequate in fulfilling. Contracts, placed by government through local councils, to build social housing for rent together with low cost housing for purchase would address both the problem of housing shortages and lack of job opportunities. Councils across the country hold considerable amounts of "brownfield" sites, together with other parcels of land which are ideal for housing purposes. There are other projects which government could commence for with the expectation of short to medium term employment, rather than very long term proposals such as HS2, scheduled for commencement in 20 years and which may not even “get off the ground” in any case.
The carrot of work opportunity is greater than the stick of cuts to benefits.

What is a "wealthy pensioner".

Ed Miliband has suggested the Labour Party would consider withdrawing benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes from wealthier pensioners.

Pensioners say hands off our benefits (Pic: Socialist Worker)
“Means testing is being used to divide and rule—to pit young people against pensioners. But the real divide isn’t between young and old, it’s between rich and poor.”


We have been here before. What is a "wealthy pensioner". How is "wealth" defined?
Living in a large private house, but having only a state pension as income, can hardly be described as "wealthy". On the other hand, a couple living in private or social rented accommodation, both drawing state pensions and where perhaps one of the partners has income from an occupational pension plus a private pension, would have a far larger disposable income than many. Clearly there would have to be some means of comparison (more expensive bureaucracy) between individuals and arbitrary cut off points (creating anomalies and discrepancies) to manage the "new" policy. This of course introduces only one thing. The "Means Test". This pernicious intervention into people lives has been an anathema to the labour movement, and to many other parts of society for decades and I believe would not be an acceptable measure for receipt of bus passes or winter fuel allowance.

Monday, 29 April 2013

More of the same old policies but in different wrappers

Ed Miliband: these are six economic Bills Labour would push right now

Ed Miliband will today set out six of the key economic Bills that would appear in a Labour Queen’s Speech next week.

Sorry Ed. Just more of the same old tinkering with the problem.There is nothing here to inspire me to rejoin or vote for the Labour Party.

Try these instead.

Housing: Local Councils in conjunction with Housing associations, to commence building of social housing for rent.

Banking: Retain existing publicly owned Banks within public and  re nationalise Bank of England. New State controlled bank(s) to provide low cost (interest) loans to small business employing less than 500 employees.

Energy: To take back into public ownership the providers of Gas and electricity and water.

Transport: To return to public ownership the former elements of British Rail and to establish an integrated transport system.

(and just for good measure)
Employment:repeal anti trades union legislation of previous governments.

(and that is just for starters.)

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Iain Duncan Smith issues more instructions.

Iain Duncan Smith Tells Wealthy Pensioners To Hand Back Their Bus Passes

IDS urges wealthy pensioners to forego perks.

Another outpouring of verbal diarrhea from the "scrounger" living rent free in a lodge on his father in law's estate, who enjoys a chauffeur driven limousine on his way to and from work (and no doubt return trips to other less well known locations) and who's grasp of reality is severely limited by his background, his class and his intellectual abilities. Instead of lecturing the rest of us about things (in all aspects of his position as Work and Pensions Secretary)  which he could never understand or imagine, he would be better employed instructing or requesting that the other 649 MP's give up their allowances for food every week, (because they can afford to feed themselves from their already generous salaries and other perks can they not) as their contribution to saving money during these times of economic difficulty. 
It is beyond the point in time, when Iain Duncan Smith should be given a more appropriate and useful role, more aptly suited to his talents. Assistant Head gardener at the British Embassy in La Paz for example.

Legacy ? What legacy ?


Baroness Sue Campbell: 'We have wasted the Olympic legacy'



 This was always going to be the case. This, with the numerous other examples of the waste of taxpayer money funding the Olympics, which were never more than an exercise in money making by the "corporate entertainments" industry, a number of sycophantic MP's and a collection of other public figures and "celebs" promoting themselves, has, as predicted by many, turned out to be a gigantic waste of £billions. Some athletes may have enjoyed the experience. Some of the public who managed to get seats may have enjoyed it. (Why were there so many empty seats in most of the stadiums ?) The vast majority of people however, small traders, visitors, general public etc gained no benefit from the Olympics at all. Just go to Weymouth as an example, and ask around.

Olympics 2012 ? A complete waste of money and resources, as predicted.

Justice, provided that you can afford it.

Under plans to save £200m solicitors will be paid fixed fees, with contracts going to firms like G4S

New legal aid reforms end "justice for all"

The objective of course, is to deny people access to legal redress for negligence, personal injury, abuse by the rich and powerful and the media, and all the other Tort's against ordinary people, which are becoming so prevalent in society today.

It is not just a seating plan that is needed.

Ed Miliband prepares Labour for major autumn reshuffle
Miliband warns frontbench team that some 'need to make their mark'

In addition to "re arranging the deck chairs", Miliband should also look at policies. No matter which faces occupy the front bench, a party which acquiesces to changes in the law following the "Poundland Workfare" judgement, allows wholesale privatisation of the NHS with barely a whimper, when in office did nothing to amend or repeal the anti trade union legislation of previous Tory governments, did not role back and in some cases even increased, the insidious expansion of privatisation, will never be taken seriously as a radical reforming party. There is no mention emanating from Labour, of any plan or idea on how to rein in the excesses of the bankers or how to expand public sector programmes for social housing or infrastructure projects to generate aggregate demand in the economy and to get people back to work. Get a grip Ed and provide alternatives to this disaster of a government, not just more of the same old and tired mumblings but from different faces.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Keir Hardie has little in common with Ed Miliband.

Ed Miliband Says 'Awful' George Galloway Will Not Rejoin Labour

Ed Miliband and George Galloway

Ironically of course, George Galloway has more in common with the original hopes and aspirations of the Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress, (who founded the Labour Party in 1899), than Ed Milliband and his brother, or many of the present incumbents of the Labour Party benches in the House of Commons. You need only to read some of the TUC history or research Keir Hardy to understand how and why the Labour Party came into existence.
Keir Hardie

Many Labour MP's today however, seem more concerned with protecting their positions and perceptions of their own importance, or maintaining the status quo for the benefit of the banks and speculators, or businesses and the excess of the "free markets". It was the TUC that created the Labour Party (not the other way round) perhaps they would do well to understand their roots.   

Friday, 26 April 2013

A move towards intervention ?


US says Syria may have used sarin gas in chemical weapons

 US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

Has Rumsfeld returned to favour? What does "with some degree of varying confidence" actually mean? Perhaps the "International Community" otherwise known as the United States of America, is looking for a reason, no matter how flimsy, to "put their boots on the ground" in Syria. As Sam Goldwyn, another user of malapropisms, once said, "include me out !"

Are we out of the woods?

UK narrowly escapes triple-dip recession as GDP figures show 0.3% growth in first three months of year.

Something to smile about ?

Joy, happiness, "green shoots" speculations and great euphoria pouring out of Sky News and BBC News 24 with nauseating predictability. When these manufactured figures are revised downwards (as they invariably are), there will not be much mention of the "triple dip recession", but by then the propaganda will have done its work and people will be content and relieved. Well, some will be.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Criticism and comment is not disloyal.

Ed Miliband has had a dramatic clash with Len McCluskey, calling comments by the leader of the Unite union "reprehensible" and "disloyal".


Nothing has really changed since I left the Labour Party, or to be more accurate, since the Labour Party left me, when the “Blairites” assumed control and led the Labour movement to the barren desert of the “centre ground” of British politics. There they found that the Tories had already squatted in the area, and the Liberal Democrats were frantically scurrying around trying to find a home for their “all things to all men” policies. Now, in a country where the main political parties essentially preach the same message, where a Tory government, supported by a rag bag collection of Libdem MP's eager to maintain their new found cabinet positions, passes draconian and divisive austerity measures under the guise of “welfare reforms” and where Labour acquiesces, albeit by default, to these assaults on the ordinary people in the country, can anyone really be surprised that fewer and fewer people actually bother to vote. “You are all the same when you get elected” is a common and accurate criticism.
The latest clash between the Labour Party and the Trade Unions is very reminiscent of the differences between the Leadership and the Labour movement as a whole back in the 1980's when any criticism was considered to be disloyal and any views or opinions other than those expressed by “the leadership” were dismissed as subversive.
Today we have the media full of the Miliband McCluskey altercation and the clichéd references to disloyalty and attempts to divide the Labour Party.
How many of the commentators I wonder, will actually bother to read what Len McCluskey said?
and in my opinion represents fair comment on a matter which should be of concern to all who consider themselves to be part of the wider Labour movement.
Boris Johnson has called for a new law banning strikes from taking place unless they are backed by at least 50 per cent of those entitled to vote. In response McCluskey said. “It’s slightly hypocritical, because on that basis Boris Johnson wouldn’t have been elected Mayor of London; only 38 per cent of Londoners took part,” he points out. “It amuses me on the one hand and angers me on the other, the hypocrisy of Tory leaders. Here we are, at a time of enormous crisis within the economy and all they want to do is attack workers’ rights.”
Very true Len and it is worth remembering that in the 14 years of the “New Labour” government, nothing was done to repeal the anti trade union legislation imposed by the Tories during their period in office. In fact, Blair even introduced even more restrictions on working people. The minimum wage was only ever lip service to a long held Labour party principle.
McCluskey's remarks in respect of the Thatcher years, the Thatcher legacy and the arrangements for the funeral are views held by many people in this country and can hardly be open to criticism.
The main sense of outrage from the “establishment” and their supporters seems to stem from the fact that the shadow of Blair remains over the Labour Party and many people now sitting on the front bench would dearly love a second coming of their messiah. The remarks in reference to Byrne, Murphy, Alexander and others are again fair comment and it is noticeable that Labour is maintaining that in government, they too would be offering austerity cuts but differently from the way that the Tories are cutting. There is no commitment to reverse the welfare “reforms”,or repeal any of the legislation introduced by the ConDem Coalition. There is no commitment to reverse the privatisation and resultant destruction of the NHS. No reform of the banking free for all, no sign of any transport policies, nothing other than a rehashed and warmed up serving of the same old Tory mess but in a different wrapper.
McCluskey closes with the comment “If he [Miliband] is daft enough to get sucked into the old Blairite ‘neoliberalism wasn’t too bad and we just need to tinker with it a little bit’ . . . then not only will he fail but I fear for the future of the Labour Party.”
On this point alone, I think he (McCluskey) is absolutely right. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The shame of a nation.

Foodbank Britain: Demand for Emergency Food Increases Five-Fold Since Coalition Came To Power

food bank
Volunteers put a selection of tinned food together for a client at a depot at St Paul's Church, Brixton

In Great Britain, in the first quarter of the 21st Century, more than 350,000 people rely on food banks. Last December, it was predicted that in 2013 foodbanks would feed more than 200,000 people across the country, double the number of 2012, and the expectation was that the number would grow rapidly. It is now only April and the figure already exceeds 350,000. This is a situation about which we should all feel angry, uncomfortable and even ashamed that we have collectively allowed this position to come about.
A country which once boasted having "an empire upon which the sun never sets" and a collective wealth envied by nations around the world in the 19th Century is now, in the 21st Century, reduced to witnessing thousands of ordinary people, many of whom are actually employed, queuing for food charity.
Shame on a government which brought this about and shame on a nation for tolerating such conditions.

Criminal activity pays.........................for some people.

 HSBC To Axe Over 2,000


HSBC the bank run by some shady management, who qualified for huge bonus payments into their personal accounts, being the same bank who admitted money laundering and other criminal activities. HSBC who were fined (or agreed to pay US authorities) $1.9bn (£1.2bn) in a settlement last year, and now faces new accusations of illegal activity in Argentina for using "fake receipts" to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion.
HSBC this week, announces job cuts impacting on thousands of its staff, over the "changing nature" of the business as well as regulation.
Another example of corporate crime providing financial reward for the top management and redundancies for people who work there.

Monday, 15 April 2013

I come to bury Thatcher, not to praise her.



I have not got an invite to the funeral. Perhaps "they" know what I think,write and say about the woman who destroyed whole socities in this country, decimated numerous UK industries, condemened hundreds of thousands of people to a life on benefits, made greed and selfishness acceptable, and declared that there is no such thing as society. The legacy of this evil woman lives on even today in the actions and attitudes of people like Cameron, Duncan-Smith, Schaps, Osborne and the rest. Division rules in the UK as Tories seek to "out Maggie, Maggie". Labour MP's and the wider Labour movement, and all other people who have been savaged by the most devisive politician in British political history, should boycott all events associated with the funeral and should resist any attempt to glorify this woman with a "permanent memorial". Her memorials are already part of our ladscape. Empty factories derilict accross the country, ghost towns where there were once thriving communities, whole generations of unemployed steel workers, miners, ship builders and their like, all victims of Thatcher and her vile policies. Bury the woman, but expect no flowers or sympathy from me. As someone once said "The evil that men do lives after them" Thus so it be with Thatcher. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

When "fairness" means "self interest and hatred"

 Benefit Reforms Are Putting 'Fairness Back At Heart Of Britain' Says Cameron


Wrong Cameron. Benefit "reforms" are generating division, self interest and hatred in Britain. Ensuring that society is divided against itself on the question of welfare, is yet another tactic in the "divide and rule" philosophy employed by the Tory's since 1918 and even before. This time however, you have gone too far as more and more people recognise the pernicious cynicism of Tory intent. Rothermere of the Daily Mail and even News International may provide you, Osborne and the others with a platform to peddle your hypocritical ""We are putting fairness back at the heart of Britain" deception, but for many the mask of Tory rectitude has been removed.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Axed from Daily Telegraph website after just two days

Former Sun editor loses online column after Hillsborough backlash: Kelvin MacKenzie still can't handle 'The Truth'

Kelvin MacKenzie

 The obnoxious Kelvin MacKenzie sacked from the Daily Telegraph after just two days. Perhaps there may be such a thing as natural justice after all. He should now take the hint and retire to some very remote island in the middle of the Pacific and vent his spleen where there is no one to listen or even care.

Inciting schisms for political purposes.

 Cameron backs Osborne over comments linking Philpott case to welfare.


 David Cameron has strongly endorsed controversial comments by George Osborne, in which the chancellor highlighted the killing of six children by Mick Philpott to raise questions about welfare payments

The Tory leader now joins Osborne in the slime of the sewers along side the Daily Mail. The stench of government malevolence now emanating from Downing Street, contaminates British politics and ensures that the divisions between those who have and those who have not, will grow wider and more bitter. The polarisation of society is inevitable and irreversible as the Tories pursue their campaign of contempt and injustice. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Osborne links Philpott case to benefit reform


Chancellor George Osborne

Consider carefully what Osborne said. "....subsidising lifestyles like that".
How will Osborne, or anyone else for that matter, differentiate between Philpott and his family from Derby, and the Smith family of the same size living in Warrington? Is there an assumption that any family with more than a specified number of children, are automatically scroungers living on welfare benefits? Osborne is on very thin ice when seeking to make political capital out of this case. It was not the "welfare state" that was responsible for this crime, nor was it the Philpott "family" collectively. It was Mick Philpott and two accomplices who carried out this appalling act. Specifically describing Philpott, Judge Mrs Justice Thirlwall commented, "You are a disturbingly dangerous man. Your guiding principle is what Mick Philpott wants, Mick Philpott gets. You have no moral compass."
Osborne’s comments tar all families with the same brush and moreover generate the impression that all people within the welfare system, are of the same basic nature. Osborne's remarks are, along with the evil headlines and “story” peddled by the Daily Mail, designed to create divisions within society and generate hatred between those who are within the welfare system and those who believe that they are not. I choose those words intentionally, because many of the comments supporting Osborne and the Daily Mail, as contained in this article, and in other media demonstrate a growing hostility towards claimants. Paradoxically of course, many of the people making such comments are themselves, within the welfare system, receiving support in the form of tax credits, child allowance, or any of the other allowances that a proper welfare system should and does provide. Do they consider themselves as part of the problem? Somehow I doubt it because politicians and media have been manifestly successful in deliberately generating divisions between people by constantly appealing to prejudices with anti benefit claimant propaganda of the most distorted and vile kind.
The Philpott case has provided ammunition for the assault on the welfare system which the Daily Mail and now Osborne have been swift to use. Making political capital from an event such as this, is grossly cynical and worthy only of contempt for the individuals and media outlets involved.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

It is not "independent" and it doesn't "deter".

Trident Is Needed To Cope With Threat From North Korea And Iran, David Cameron Says


More illogical garbage from Cameron. His arguments are complete nonsense and have been discredited for decades. Scare mongering to justify retaining a missile system which is neither "independent" (no mention of the "launch codes" in this story) and which certainly does not deter, has the cobwebs of history all over it.