The rioting appears to have sparked a debate about the social implications of a culture focused on consuming. The Prime Minister has been forced onto the ropes, bruised and battered, agreeing tentatively to an inquiry into the underlying causes of the riots. Ed Milliband surprised me yesterday, made me sit up and take note of him, in a way that no Labour leader has done in quite some time. In his speech, Milliband said:
”People who talk about the sick behaviour of those without power, should talk equally about the sick behaviour of those with power.”
– It is perhaps a little opportunistic of him to have waited so long, to have been a Brownite and not said a word, to have spent the past year as leader of the Labour Party, not really separating himself from his predecessors. Silly little concepts like Blue Labour followed the post-97 tradition of capitulating to the Right on social issues, when they had the opportunity to take the title of “Progressives” away from a deeply regressive Liberal Democrat Party, made me wonder if I could bring myself to vote Labour again. But Milliband seems to be trying to distinguish himself now, from both the New Labour legacy, and the ToryLib Coalition – which, if you watch Simon Hughes speak, is slowly crumbling. So whilst opportunistic, Milliband has created a gulf between himself and the Government, the lines of which were forever blurred when Blair and Brown held the keys to power.
David Cameron, by comparison, is apparently on a rather ironic moral crusade to instill moral values into poorer communities by the time the Parliament is at a close. A particularly ironic statement he made was that the riots can partly be blamed on:
A culture that glorifies violence
– Ironic, because in five weeks time London will host DSEi 2011, the biggest arms trade fair in the World, just a few short months after a disastrous rush to intervene in Libya.
Cameron thus far has offered no solutions. The only thing of substance he managed to muster, was the idea to take benefits away from rioters. Cuts being the cause of the unrest in the first place, Cameron’s solution is more cuts? His ironic moral crusade is vile. I say ironic for a few reasons. Firstly, where was this moral outrage when the Banks were destroying the World? I don’t remember Cameron ever demanding that those responsible for the financial breakdown and its transformation into a sovereign debt crises, come out the massively inflated bonus packages of the crooks who caused the mess. Secondly, it is easy, as a Government with no mandate to do what they’re doing, to see physical violence as the collapse of the moral fabric of England, to watch the looting of private business and express outrage. It is easy to do what Republican Americans tend to do, and scream and shout about the need for smaller government, whilst threatening to evict families from their homes if their children were involved in rioting, or banning social networking and having security services monitor it closely. Their idea of Government is just as big as it ever was under Labour, the difference is the Tories seem to believe that thugs looting the private sector, is somehow worse than the Government absolutely gutting the public sector. But then I guess the aforementioned Bankers, according to the Telegraph, have bankrolled over half the funding of the Tory party in the previous five years to the tune of £43mn.
By contrast, A disabled children’s charity called “The Children’s Society” cannot afford political influence like that of the Banking sector. It is no surprise then, that the Children’s Society found that due to public sector cuts, when a disabled child reaches the age of 16, some families could be up to £22,000 worse off. That’s just for one child with a disability. Two or three children with disabilities in the same family; the damage caused by cuts is unthinkable; unless you’re Tory, in which case it’s a “difficult decision” but “necessary”. Perhaps agreeing to tax on wealth being brought back from tax havens be entirely scrapped; marking the biggest change in Corporate tax rules, in years, so that the richest tax avoiders get away with paying nothing when they move back, represents a “difficult decision”? The curse of the nasty party. I am ever more unsure how anyone can justify taking so much money away from families who need it the most. It represents looting of the worst kind.
In 2010, before the election, Gordon Brown suggested that Sure Start would be under threat under a Tory government. Clearly he was ignored, as Cameron and his Party of the family, said:
“Yes, we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this. centres do not need to close”
– Well, the lying, nasty party of big business, between July 2010 and July 2011, has closed 20 Sure Start Centres…. that’s in just one year. The average cut to Sure Start per child is £50 across the Country. Though, in the poorest areas; Tower Hamlets and Hackney for example (coincidentally, where rioting took place), the average cut will be £100 per child. Yet, in the richest areas such as Richmond, it will be £30 per child. In contrast, here is the holiday home that Cameron stayed in during the riots; isn’t is lovely?
A few chavs stealing Nike trainers from Foot Locker isn’t even a drop in the ocean of the destruction caused both by Government cuts, and by those rich few in the Private Sector who happen to be the traditional support base of the Conservative Party.
Those that stand to gain from the destruction of the public sector, are guilty of the exact same crime that the London rioters are guilty of; attacking the community that they live, for their own selfish benefit. Eton educated Stuart Wheeler, who donated £5,000,000 to the Tory Party in 2001, is quoted as saying of party donations by individuals:
“absolutely natural and unobjectionable” for big donors to gain influence over policy”.
It is no surprise then that the NHS reforms are market orientated reforms, in which private equity firms and individuals who have donated to the Tory Party in the past stand to make a fortune. Perhaps we should investigate the absolutely immoral behaviour of Tory Donors?
Take Lord Blyth. He used to be chairman of Boots, and then Chairman of Diageo – the company who make Guinness. Under his leadership, Diageo restructured its model, to avoid paying any tax in the UK. The amount it should be paying, given that 30% of its production is in the UK, would cost 20,000 families to fill the gap left by Corporate theft committed by a company that was run by one of the Tory Party’s top donors.
Short Selling stocks no doubt was one of the major causes of the financial crises. People lost their homes and their jobs, their lives, the means to feed their families, because Hedge Fund short sellers gambled on the failure of the economy. John Nash is a Hedge Fund manager. He also ran Care UK. A Private healthcare company. He also donated £21,000 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s private office whilst still chairman of Care UK. In June 2011, NHS Buckinghamshire announced that Care UK had “won” a contract to provide a Musculoskeletal Service costing £2,000,000. Since 2010, Care UK has seen a rise in profits of £1.6m, with a rise in turnover of £94m. Quite a large increase. Especially when one considers that since 2009, countless councils have cut all ties with Care UK for frankly awful service. Take Islington, who ended their contract with Care UK in 2009, stating:
“We have made the decision carefully and decided that clients’ needs will be better served with a different model of care from another provider. We look forward to announcing publicly the new contract partner in due course.”
– Lennox House in Finsbury Park, run by Care UK, came under fire when two care home resident’s bodies were left in their bedrooms for over two days.
Dr KRH Adams Bolton, a Health consultant for 26 years in Bolton, wrote this of Care UK:
They do not manage complex cases. They do not have intensive care facilities. They do not have the research and teaching responsibilities that the real NHS has. I would also question if the CARE UK staff have the same training and experience as a real NHS consultant.
Care UK Hertfordshire received over 2000 complaints in 2009. In Harrow, Care UK received a zero-star rating from the Commission for Social Care Inspection, listing 20 failings, not once but on two separate visits. Not only that, but the miserable company has just won a £53m contract to provide healthcare to prisons.
Given that the Tory Party are clearly the new guardians of morality, why would they choose to offer any contracts whatsoever, from a Private Healthcare provider who have failed in their duty to provide quality healthcare where ever they can be found infecting our health system, if it not for the fact that donations equal influence over policy? There is no other reason.
David Rowland, a Tory Donor who was set to become Party Treasurer in 2010, before revelations about his dodgy business deals and immoral attitude toward the Planet forced the Party to cancel his appointment, though not cancel his next £1mn donation on top of his previous £3mn donation the year before, is really not a great person to have on your side when you’re preaching morality. Rowland bought a lead smelting plant in Idaho which had, before he bought it, caused a massive environmental disaster, leading to acute respiratory health problems for children in the surrounding area, and the deaths of thousands of animals. Rowland bought the company, used the money set aside for the clean up to secure a property deal in New Zealand, and then sold the company. He tried to hide it, by moving the funds to Bermuda, but the US Justice Department blocked it after mass protests and political pressure. Rowland moved to Guernsey to avoid tax in the UK. So arrogant is this thieving immoral shit, that he unveiled a statue on Guernsey… of himself. Cameron appears to be obsessed with looting the public sector, whilst unveiling tax exiles, and immoral Corporate fraudsters, as the answer to the troubles of the Conservative Party. Blatant hypocrisy.
Jeremy Isaacs donated £190,000 in the past five years to the Tories. He was head of the Asian and Europe part of the Lehmann Brothers company; a company that helped plunge the World into financial meltdown.
Hedge fund managers like John Nash are not a productive force. They make nothing. The gamble on the lives of millions. They are dangerous and unnecessary. The World would carry on without them, just fine. And yet seven of the top ten Tory donors, are hedge fund managers. In fact, Stanley Fink, who donated almost £2m to the Tories, is considered the “Godfather” of hedge funds. £13m from ten bankers, contrasted with £11mn from the Union Unite – with its two million members, as opposed to ten men – to the Labour Party and suddenly the influence of the Unions is about as relevant as Nick Clegg.
So, given the rhetoric on instilling a sense of morality, and knowing this must extend to every part of society, including the super rich, and the banking industry and its bonus culture that created such a mess in the first place, what are the Tories doing? Well, before the election, David Cameron said this:
where the taxpayer owns a large stake in a bank, we are saying that no employee should be paid a bonus of over £2,000.
– After the election, Stephen Hester of RBS was able to collect a £2.1m bonus. His salary and other payments, means he took home over £6m for the year. Brilliant. Eric Daniels at Lloyds; £1.45m bonus. Brilliant.
In 2009, George Osborne demanded that the Labour Government put a stop to ALL retail banks:
“paying out profits in significant cash bonuses. Full stop.”
– After the election, and after Osborne now has the power to stop it… full stop… Bob Diamond of Barclays is to take home around £4m in cash bonuses.
And most scandalous of all, especially for a Government that promoted honesty and transparent government, was the rather shocking revelation from a leaked Treasury paper, that whilst the Tories were telling the public they would seek to create new tough rules on banking bonuses across Europe; they were secretly lobbying to make sure the law never passed through the EU Parliament. The Government failed, and the directives passed the EU Parliament despite the Treasury in the UK working its hardest to fight it. Then, in true Osborne style, he said in the Commons, after the directive that he tried to destroy passed the EU Parliament:
on 1 January this year we introduced the most stringent code of practice of any financial centre in the world.
– Not only is he taking credit for something that he tried to destroy, it also isn’t true in itself. The EU originally wanted a 20% cap on upfront cash for bonuses. Osborne pushed for it to be raised to 40%. Under the rules for the UK, bonuses are not considered “large” until they reach £500,000. Significantly more than the EU. Certainly less than the £2000 Cameron was demanding before the election.
So, will Cameron be insisting these people are evicted from their homes? Or banned from the Internet, or imprisoned? Well, his spokesman said this:
“We’ve made a broad statement which is about the need to see some restraint and some responsibility from the banks, but we are not going to set bonus pools for individual banks,”
– The concept of morality from a Tory perspective, is evidently unnerving, dangerous, and breaks the immoral barrier down within seconds. We now have to deal with five years of a Party that is far more destructive, wedded as it is to big business, and dangerous than it ever was before, under a Chancellor whom, every day, seems more and more deluded and out of his depth.
The rioters are from a class that has been ignored, abused and disenfranchised for decades. The solution doesn’t lie in punishment alone, the solution lies in sorting out the immoral practices of the people at the very top first. The REAL trickle down affect. We need, as a society, to see looting by the wealthy as being just as wrong as looting by the poor. It is ironic, hypocritical and if it wasn’t so unnerving and dangerous, it’d be laughable, that a Prime Minister, from a Party with such a shady record on its ties to dodgy businessmen and a cabinet full of millionaire Parliamentary expenses abuses, would have the nerve to insist he is the one to instill moral guidance upon us all.