The Tea Party: In the shadow on the Confederacy.

October 10, 2013

The Signing of the Constitution. By Thomas Rossiter.

The Signing of the Constitution. By Thomas Rossiter.

As the days turn into weeks, the US shutdown edges no closer to being resolved. Polls consistently show that the public believe the Republican Party shoulders most of the blame for the chaos and the threat of default. Moderate Republicans join the growing chorus of disapproval of the shutdown and takeover by a small fringe group of well funded Tea Party Senators and House members. But it isn’t just the public, Democrats, the President, the courts, and moderate Republicans who blame the Tea Party faction for the shutdown, the Tea Party doesn’t seem to have the Constitution on its side either.

The Constitution of the United States is a work of genius. Largely influenced by James Madison’s brilliance for applying enlightenment philosophy to practical politics, and moderating the thoughts of Jefferson (who wished for the Constitution and all laws to be replaced every ‘generation’; 35 years) and the ideas of Hamilton (who pushed for a President elected for life); the Constitution ensures the minority cannot and should not be allowed to dictate policy on threat of economic or political catastrophe. The delegates to the Constitutional convention knew that the Constitution must be adaptable to the progress of US society beyond their own lifetime, and so amendments were the answer. The Founding generation – though they knew the threat loomed heavily – could not have accounted for the Constitutional issues that would arise when a Civil War eventually proved the biggest threat to the Union. One of which, was the debt.

The Fourteenth Amendment is one of those Constitutional Amendments that isn’t ambiguous. There isn’t much room for discussion or debate over its legitimate meaning. Section 4:

“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”

– The validity of public debt shall not be questioned. The Amendment was passed in 1868, as a result of political wrangling in a Congress worried that the public debt would be used as a weapon by southern States for reconstruction concessions in social and economic spheres of influence. The 14th Amendment put a stop to that threat. The South reacted bitterly to all of the 14th’s provisions (including section 4), refusing to ratify it. They wished to use the threat of the debt, to force the US government to bend to their will, despite losing an election, and a war. The South was eventually forced to sign up, with threat of exclusion from representation in the United States Congress, if they refused. The 14th Amendment was an attempt to prevent the minority – and those who lose elections – from seeking to rule on their own terms. And it worked, until today.

It would appear with the threat of default looming on the horizon, the Republican Party has decided that the wording of the 14th is not clear enough, choosing instead to openly and proudly use the public debt as a weapon to extract concessions that they didn’t manage to win through the electoral process. It took over 140 years, but we cannot be under any illusion; as they move further to the right, the Republicans have spent the past few years channelling the spirit of the Confederacy when it comes to voter suppression, when it comes to subtle hints at secession upon the election of a candidate they didn’t like, and now in seeking to use the debt ceiling as a way to defund and delay an established, Constitutional law.

On the validity of the 14th Amendment, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote in 1935:

“While this provision was undoubtedly inspired by the desire to put beyond question the obligations of the government issued during the Civil War, its language indicates a broader connotation. Nor can we perceive any reason for not considering the expression ‘the validity of the public debt’ as embracing whatever concerns the integrity of the public obligations.”

– It is all embracing. It isn’t questionable. It should not be used as a tool for partisan point scoring.

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment tells us exactly which branch of government is in charge of ensuring the 14th Amendment is carried through:

“The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

– It is Congress’s job to ensure that the validity of the public debt of the United States is not questioned. The historical context of the Amendment is such, that the Amendment was specifically designed to prevent the threat of default unless concessions are met. This isn’t new money the President is asking for, it is money already spent, debts already incurred. It is House Republicans refusing to pay the bills unless they get what they want. And whilst Speaker Boehner is right in that the debt ceiling has been used by both parties as a bargaining chip before, it has never been used to threaten closure of government and default on debts.

The President has no power to invoke the 14th Amendment to unilaterally incur and pay the US’s debts. The constitutional crisis caused by such a move by the President, may well prove to be more damaging than the threat of default itself. The President has been clear; the 14th Amendment does not allow him the power to raise the debt ceiling himself.

To this end, the Republicans know just how dangerous the course they have chosen is. This isn’t a negotiation. This is a threat of force. In 2011 Standard & Poor’s Credit Rating Agency issued the following statement:

“Since we revised the outlook on our ‘AAA’ long-term rating to negative from stable on April 18, 2011, the political debate about the U.S.’ fiscal stance and the related issue of the U.S. government debt ceiling has, in our view, only become more entangled. Despite months of negotiations, the two sides remain at odds on fundamental fiscal policy issues. Consequently, we believe there is an increasing risk of a substantial policy stalemate enduring beyond any near-term agreement to raise the debt ceiling. As a consequence, we now believe that we could lower our ratings on the U.S. within three months.”

– They are quite clear. The debt itself is not what will lead ratings agencies to lower the US’s Credit Rating. It is the politics of the debt ceiling and continued threat of political instability. This instability is driven by a small group of highly financed Republicans, distrusted and disliked not just by the American people and the Democrat Party, but also by their own colleagues. Whilst this is true, the instability is also the product of a lack of clarity on just which branch of government is responsible for ensuring payment of public debt, and if it is constitutional to use the payment of the public debt as political leverage. It is quite clear that the Republicans are using that lack of clarity for political posturing and to circumnavigate the democratic process that didn’t go the way they wanted. If this isn’t the use of force to extract concessions and hinder the stability of Constitutional, democratic government, the entire economy, and the will of the people in the United States, I don’t know what is. In theory, a law exists to deal with that threat:

18 USC Chapter 115 – TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES:
“If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”

– There are several reasons here why I would argue that the Republicans in Congress have already openly played loose with this law. Firstly, the use of the tactic of closing down the government, by attempting to hinder, and delay the execution of the Affordable Care Act – a law passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Secondly, by attempting to prevent, hinder, or delay the payment of debts that the 14th Amendment insists shall not be questioned, and shall be enforced by Congress. And thirdly, the word “conspire” is key, especially given the months of planning that this shutdown has seemingly involved. The legal framework of the United States has been completely disregarded by a very small fringe right-winged movement that cannot abide elections that they did not win, and constitutional laws that they do not like.

Whether or not the Republican Party has broken, or cleverly maneuvered its way around Federal laws, is up for debate. The period of reconstruction attempted to set straight the Southern treat of using the debt as a bargaining chip, with the 14th Amendment. Today that democratic idea is being challenged by the children of the Confederacy. Reason dictates that if a small band of fringe Congressional representatives are able to close down the government, threaten economic disaster, unless a concession is made to defund or delay a law that the American people largely voted on in 2012, that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Judiciary – all three branches of government – then something is seriously wrong with a democratic framework that allows for such a vicious tactic.


The US Government Shutdown: A coup in all but name.

October 9, 2013

Closed Lincoln Memorial. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Emw (Own work).

Closed Lincoln Memorial.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By Emw (Own work).


“I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
– Thomas Jefferson.

In an interview on ‘Face The Nation’ with Republican Senator for Texas John Cornyn, host Bob Schieffer asked:

“How is it that you wind up with a freshman Senator, who’s been in office less than a year, becomes the architect of this thing that has the two sides so gridlocked that nobody seems to know a way out of it? How did that happen?”

– Whilst it’s a fair question, it makes one critical mistake. Senator Cruz wasn’t the architect of the shutdown. Of course one freshman Senator doesn’t have the power or influence to shut down and gridlock the entire US government. But his wealthy contributors and backers certainly do.

When President Obama was reelected in 2012, democracy had spoken. A government of the people, for the people, and by the people had been chosen, with Obamacare a key policy in the minds of voters as they had their rightful say in voting booths across the country. Recently, Republican Senator John McCain accepted and reiterated this:

“We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost. One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation.”

– But notoriously, democracy and people are never equipped to be able to compete with vast amounts of money from very wealthy backers. Knowing this, “Freedom Works”, a major donor to the ‘Freedom Works For America’ super pac and affiliated with the Koch empire produced a memo on a strategy to disregard the democratic process, and defund the Affordable Care Act by any means necessary. The memo read:


“Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare. This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.”

– The memo goes on to suggest strategy (identical to the tactics used during this shutdown):

“A mere “date-change CR” is unacceptable. Although the Obama administration and others will argue the CR is not the appropriate legislative vehicle to defund Obamacare, it is easily done through a series of appropriation riders. Because the CR represents one of the best vehicles possible to delay the implementation of Obamacare, it must not be used to bargain on the upcoming sequester.”

– This was shortly after President Obama’s re-election. The plan was always to use the threat of government shutdown, to defund a law that had just been ratified by the American people via an election, for the sake of the policy of one organisation rather than the votes of millions of American people. There was to be no backing down. The authority of the voting public and the Supreme Court of the United States were to be overridden. Democracy hadn’t worked for them, so they produced a solution to completely disregard the democratic process. For this sickening, entirely anti-democratic goal, they needed a candidate. Well, during the 2011 primary for the Texas Senate race, Freedom Works said:

“After evaluating the candidates in this race, we believe that Ted Cruz will best serve the interests of hardworking Texas taxpayers by advocating the principles of lower taxes, less government and more individual freedom”

– They chose a candidate likely to run at the White House in 2016. One of “Freedom Works For America’s” main financers is Crow Holdings, LLC. Crow Holdings has contributed $20,000 to Senator Cruz so far for 2014. This, on top of the $25,000 from Koch industries. One of the those who signed the Freedom Works memo above was Chris Chocola, President of “Club for Growth”. “Club for Growth” has contributed the most of all Cruz’s campaign contributors at a staggering $705,657. Another signee was David Bossie, President of Citizen’s United. Citizen’s United have so far contributed $15,000 to Cruz.

Of course, it helps that alongside campaign finance, those wealthy backers can afford to produce widespread and misleading ads in order to convince people to vote for their bought candidate. Generation Opportunity is a legally “nonpartisan” organisation funded by the Koch brothers, that produced the despicably misleading ‘creepy Uncle Sam’ anti-Obamacare ads in which Uncle Sam pops up between a woman’s legs during a gynecological exam. On a related side note… Ted Cruz voted no on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act.

So if you were wondering what constituency Ted Cruz is in the Senate to represent…it isn’t a ‘grass roots movement’, it’s the extremely wealthy Freedom Works For America & associates. Big business bought their candidate at the primary stage of the Texas Senate race, a candidate willing to do the bidding of ‘Freedom Works For America’ and its associates; a candidate who would not worry about the Speaker of his own Party; a candidate willing to disregard the will of the American people, and represent good value for money by ensuring that he use the CR to infect the entire country with the policy of a very small fringe movement.

Polls across America show that the public blame the Republicans for the government shutdown, far more than they blame Senate Democrats & President Obama. And that reflects reality. It is difficult to blame any group other than the Republican Party, when even Republicans blame their own Party for the shutdown. Fox News analyst Dick Morris before the shutdown joyfully insisted:

“Now there’s gonna be, there’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in ’95 and ’96 but we’re going to win it this time!”

– The same Dick Morris that predicted a landslide Romney Presidential win in 2012 appears not to have noticed that the prediction he made, was so wildly off mark. On his website, he acknowledges that Speaker Boehner is the one who is responsible for the continued shutdown. Morris says:

“The dye is now cast. The battle lines are drawn. Boehner has refused to reopen the government or raise the debt limit without concessions from Obama. What began as a foolish government shutdown to try to end ObamaCare is now morphing into a serious, and likely successful, attempt to rein in the ObamaCare cost, cut government entitlements, and hold the line on taxes.
Finally, the Republicans in the House have gotten it right.
They deserve our full support.”

– Yes. The Republicans have chosen to disregard the legislative process, and the public’s rejection of their 2012 platform, by just choosing to pretend 2012 didn’t happen, and relying on candidates wholly owned by big business. Dick Morris fully acknowledges that there would be a forced GOP shutdown, and that Speaker Boehner is the one who could end it.

In 2010 – three years ago – Senator Mike Lee of Utah was asked if he would endorse a government shutdown over the debt limit. Lee replied:

“It’s an inconvenience, it would be frustrating to many, many people and it’s not a great thing, and yet at the same time, it’s not something that we can rule out, it may be absolutely necessary.”

– This is how very wealthy members of Tea Party sect of the Republican Party view a shut down. As simply an ‘inconvenience’ for those furloughed. Here, Lee accepts responsibility for the government shutdown that is happening right now, three years ago.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King has been a vocal opponent of his Republican colleagues shut down tactic. A day after a House Republican private strategy meeting, King appeared on MSNBCs Hardball and said:

“This was a fool’s errand that was started by Ted Cruz. But we can’t just blame him. We have to also blame his acolytes in the Republican Conference—30 or 40 of them who stood with him, who were willing to undo what John Boehner wanted to do, which was to pass the CR, move this along. They insisted on going this route of attempting to defund Obamacare and threatening to shut down the government if it wasn’t done, we got locked into this. Let me just say we are where we are, and I blame Ted Cruz and his supporters for doing that.”

– King’s point here has two important features. Firstly, Ted Cruz and a small group of Tea Partiers are entirely to blame for the government shutdown. Secondly, Speaker Boehner didn’t plan on taking this route. Which suggests, he is now just a puppet on a Tea Party string. The Republican Party is in the midst of a civil war.

King is adamant that there are a lot of moderate Republicans willing to vote on a clean CR, and who oppose the Cruz tactic bought by the Koch Empire. 21 House Republicans so far. But most aren’t willing to go public with how they disapprove of the Koch-led tactics to bring government to a close, for the simple reason that they will get primaried. They are willing to admit it too. Greg Walden (R-OR) said:

“We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”

– And he’s right. It isn’t just the President, Democrats, and the American people in general under attack at the moment. It’s Republicans themselves. The ‘Freedom Works For America’ website openly targets Republicans who they do not consider Tea Party enough:

“The 2014 race for control of the Senate has already begun. Establishment Republicans are beginning to recruit moderate Big Government candidates in races across the country in a typical top-down approach. This approach has led to moderate losing candidates like Tommy Thompson (WI), Rick Berg (ND), and Danny Rehberg (MT) in 2012. We can’t let these opponents of fiscal conservatism win!”

Another Tea Party favourite, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert (who is no stranger to ridiculous remarks) said in 2010:

“Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but if we don’t stop the runaway spending – even if it means showing how serious we are –okay, government is going to have to shut down until you runaway-spending people get it under control. And if you can’t get it under control, then we just stop government until you realize, you know, yes we can.”

– Gohmert sees no alternative but to shut down the government unless Republicans get their way. He fully acknowledges that this is a viable Republican tactic.

They acknowledge the tactic in 2010, they acknowledge it again in 2013, they threaten Republican colleagues not tied to wealthy far-right backers and who privately (and some publicly) blame this small sect of Tea Party Republicans for the shutdown. There is no debate over who is to blame for government shutdown. A framework for shutdown was articulated by Republicans – sometimes excitedly – in 2010, and codified by a wealthy conservative fringe group and their associates in 2013. It is a coup in all but name.


The Tea Party: A Disdain for Democracy.

October 1, 2013

“We’re very excited Rep. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”
– Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on the prospect of government shut down.

Just stop for a brief moment and reflect on the democratic process we sometimes take for granted. Reflect on how one section of one party in one House of Congress has conceived that to be “American” in the 21st Century means to entirely ignore the fact that you lost the Presidency twice, you lost the Senate, you lost the popular vote for the House, you lost the Supreme Court ruling, and yet you’re still willing to threaten the stability of not just the US economy, but economies across the World, for the sake of an ideology that isn’t even remotely popular enough to win anything of significance through the proper democratic process. Reflect on how serious the situation is, that the President had to sign emergency legislation to fund the military. Reflect on how House Democrats and moderate House Republicans are willing to pass a a budget without a threatening attachment. Reflect on how that one section, of one party, in one House of Congress holds the lives of millions of uninsured people, including children, in the palm of its hand whilst it plays a relentless game of undermining the President for no other real purpose. Reflect on how their programme for change was rejected in the legislature, and executive elections, and judicial branch. Reflect on how instead of producing new ideas to present to the public having lost on their last platform, they arrogantly move to tell the American people; accept our previously rejected programme of change, or we will close down your government. But we’ll continue to take our salaries that you pay us, and when it all collapses, we’ll blame you for not giving into our unelectable demands & threats.

How on Earth is this an American, Constitutional, or Democratic system of values?

If you don’t like a law, that’s fine. You now have two steps.
Step 1. Come up with a new platform, new ideas, and win elections.
Step 2. Change the law.
But the rules of the democracy (or Republic; whatever euphemism they choose to attempt to justify this shutdown) under which you live imply that you cannot move to step 2, without passing step 1. To do so, is to show a thorough disregard and disdain for the consent of the governed, for the framework upon which your system of government was created, and a disrespect for the office you represent. To move to step 2, without achieving step 1, is as close to dictatorial as one gets within a democratic framework.

It seems more and more obvious that a one year delay is simply a stall for time, before the mid-terms. For the Affordable Care Act to come into force, and to work as it is supposed to work (which it will), to help millions of people including children access affordable care would be a nightmare situation for the far right of the Republican Party, because they’ve spent an extraordinary amount of time creating horror myths that simply wont come true, and they will have to answer for that. It is therefore essential for Republicans that the ACA not be allowed to work, even if it means closing down the government and threatening the economy over. And so human beings are treated as unimportant, disposable, and secondary to the political aims of one section of one party in one House of Congress who could not win by traditional democratic means. It is not just contempt for the most vulnerable; for children with pre-existing conditions; for women whom paid far more than men for the same coverage under the old system; It is a Confederate-esque contempt for the democratic framework that enables their existence in the first place and especially if that democratic framework provides results unfavourable them. It is that contempt that is absolutely impossible to justify.


The Pig Society Part II

February 16, 2011

The Big Society grows ever stronger, and support grows ever wider, charity bosses and workers applaud it and sing its praises, because it is a wonderful plan that is definitely not a cover for a mass of Corporate tax cuts.

That is what delusional Conservatives believe.
Except, it’s bullshit.
The voluntary sector is being absolutely gutted of funding.
As the previous post pointed out. But to make it clear, the Guardian today featured a story of a lady named Denise Marshall. She is Director of Eaves and also the Poppy Project. These charities work with victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking. She has dedicated her life to this cause. She has fought some pretty high powered members of the criminal underworld across Europe. Eaves provides housing and counselling for victims of abuse. They offer up to 35% savings on gas and electricity and other necessities for vulnerable women. In short, Denise Marshall is a heroine. She was recognised for this in 2008 by being given an OBE. She is one of the very few who actually deserve the honour.

Denise is now handing back the OBE, to David Cameron personally, because she has said that the extreme and needless cuts to funding for charities and organisations like Eaves, means she will no longer be able to support and fight criminal gangs who traffic women for the sex trade. She feels that she would be hypocritical and unworthy of an OBE when she can no longer protect the women she has the award for protecting.

Marshall said:

“I received the OBE in 2007 specifically for providing services to disadvantaged women. It was great to get it; it felt like recognition for the work the organisation has done.

But recently it has been keeping me awake at night. I feel like it would be dishonourable and wrong to keep it. I’m facing a future where I can’t give women who come to my organisation the services they deserve – I won’t be able to provide the services for which I got the OBE.”

“If you run a refuge where you don’t have the support staff it just becomes a production line, where you move people on as quickly as possible to meet the targets. You’re not helping women to escape the broader problems they face. They may get a bed, but no help with changing their lives and moving out of situations of danger.”

“I’ve worked in this sector for almost 30 years. I don’t want to sound melodramatic but I don’t think I have ever felt as depressed and desperate as I do now,”

How then, do the Big Society advocates justify the fact that on the same day as a true heroine feels she can no longer protect very very vulnerable women in her care, the Tories are trying to stop an EU law on the banning of naked short selling (which I shall try to explain as much as possible shortly)? The EU law, if the Tories get their way, will not affect the UK on naked short selling. Germany have banned it, the U.S have banned it, Australia have banned it, Hong Kong have banned it, Japan have banned it. We have kept it. It makes a very small elite group of speculators very rich, whilst risking money that is not theirs. How are these people protected, yet the vulnerable women like those that Denise Marshall represents have their funds slashed. The Government and its banking friends and business associates are sitting sipping champagne, whilst Rome burns. Nero would be in awe.

Short Selling (not naked short selling) is a little confusing, and utterly absurd. It has no social use. It is not to the benefit of any of us. It is dangerous and it should be banned. When you buy shares, you buy them in the hope that the price will rise and you can sell them some time in the future, to make a nice bit of money. It is all to do with how you obtain shares. You and I would buy shares. Naked short sellers borrow shares in the hope that the price will fall. So, if for instance I was to borrow 5000 shares from Broker A. I will then sell them at £1 a share, so £5000, hoping the price falls. Say the price falls by half. I now buy back all the shares, at £2500. I have netted myself a nice little £2500 and I give the 5000 shares back to the Broker A.

Naked Short Selling is different, because you don’t even borrow the shares you’re selling. You don’t have them. You’re selling a promise that you will obtain the shares that you’ve just sold, at some point in the future. You may as well walk into a bank, take all of their money, and promise to give it back at some point in the future. There is then an incentive for short sellers to wreck companies, because the share price has to fall for them to meet their promise. On a grand scale, this can lead to massive crashes.

This little practice lead necessarily to the 1997 Asian Financial Crises, that left millions in poverty. This wasn’t the fault of too much Government interference in people’s lives, or too many people on the dole. It was a direct result of unproductive short sellers and a massively deregulated financial sector.

The law looks to ban naked short selling in the EU. The UK will be trying to exempt itself from that banning.

This of course comes days after the announcement that there would be vast changes to the offshore tax laws, which mean that large and medium sized businesses who offshore their profits and then move them back to the UK, no longer have to pay the difference between the tax they paid in their tax haven and the tax they pay in the UK. They no longer have to pay any tax on profits that are made outside the country and brought back to the UK. Not only that, but they can claim expenses against tax they pay in the UK, to fund their overseas departments. That represents one of the biggest changes to Corporate tax law, and a massive shift of wealth from the poorest due to cuts, to the very wealthiest on a level far beyond anything Margaret Thatcher could have dreamed of. Suddenly the veil of an omni-benevolent Tory government is falling off, to be replaced by a face stamped with the logos of Diageo and Barclays.

On the 9th February, George Osborne told the House of Commons:

Those entrusted by us to regulate those bankers and run our economy washed their hands.
Meanwhile the rest of the country is left paying every day for their failures.
The government has to pick up the pieces.

It would seem that what Osborne believes is “picking up the pieces” entails giving away massive tax cuts, destroying the voluntary sector, and inviting the World’s naked short sellers to come and set up home in Britain.

Welcome to the Pig Society.


Why the Big Society is a load of bollocks

February 14, 2011

I have taken it upon myself to write a bullet point list of why the Big Society is a load of bollocks.

  • It’s a Tory plan.

    In principle, is sounds lovely, and cuddly; a Country where everyone helps the little old lady cross the street, and the struggling girl trying to lift her suitcase up a flight of stairs, or a disabled man trying to reach food on the top shelf, or inviting a homeless drug addict round to Christmas dinner and letting him touch your wife’s breast. It all sounds lovely. But it’s a Tory plan. So obviously it isn’t all that it seems. Putting two and two together is not difficult, because this breed of Tory isn’t much better than the last breed at hiding their sinister motives.

    Tories and their supporters are notoriously unable to critique their dogmatically held economic principles, no matter how flawed or dangerous it is. They simply put a new mask on it, every couple of years. A rebranding. Putting sparkly bits on dog turd.

    Compact Voice, an agreement between the Voluntary sector and the Government, took London Council to court over plans to cut £10mn worth of funding. They won the right to a judicial review, after the court found that the plans to cut funding to 200 projects for lower socio-economic areas of London failed to meet statutory equality duties. So given that it takes a court order to promote a Big Society that the Government is apparently massively in favour of…. what is going wrong?

    First you must look at the current Tory leader. Margaret Thatcher. Actually, it’s a posher looking shinier version of the mad old witch, but it nevertheless, is Thatcher. Dogmatically gelling himself to out of date, unfounded economic principles that didn’t work last time, and wont work again. Economic principles that cause more misery than joy, and only work to enrich a few people; the same people who happen to be socially retarded bastards of the highest calibre.

    Thatcher famously said “there’s no such thing as society“. This is exactly what David Cameron is saying when he tries to promote his “Big Society”. The mask behind the motive, is that people will volunteer in their communities, rescue libraries, save post offices. The problem is that local communities are being drained of all resources.

    When you take the mask off, the choice is “run your library yourself, of we’re closing it down“. And that’s horrendous. It is no different to what Tories always attempt to do, it just has a new mask. It would seem that the “Big Society” is a clever PR stunt, to cover up the fact that the Government is taking money away from the public sector, washing its hands of all social responsibility, in order to fund a mass of tax cuts for the very wealthy. The evidence for this can be seen with the recent offshore Corporate tax rule change; the biggest change in its history. Public money is being taken away from your library, and given back to people who run a business in England, but store their profits elsewhere, and pay no tax on it. Not only has the offshore tax system been scraped, the Corporate tax rate will be dropped by 4% by 2014. Public money is being taken away from your child’s school, for purely ideological reasons, and given to the very rich in the form of tax cuts; the very same very rich people who happen to fund the Tory Party.

    Last year, George Osborne stood up in Parliament and told us all he was instantly getting rid of 490,000 jobs. Half a million people unemployed, in less than ten seconds. The Tory backbenchers cheered in joy. The Big Society is the tedious and futile hope that the voluntary sector will suck up the jobs that have been, and will continue to be destroyed by the Government. When millions are unemployed and in desperate need, the Government is washing its hands of them, and telling the rest of us to deal with it. We didn’t create this mess. The Financial Sector; many of whom donate to the Tory party, and all of whom are taking home a mass of money in bonuses this year created the problems.

    The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

    “In Scotland we’re already delivering the big society. David Cameron’s big idea simply describes a lot of what already happens throughout Scotland’s third sector, from active volunteers in communities across the country to excellent public services run by charities.

    “But government cuts are dangerously undermining our capacity to even continue the valuable work we were doing before the crash, never mind becoming the thriving third sector that Scotland so badly needs.

    “Right now we’re on a knife- edge. The local lifelines that so many people rely on face vicious cuts, leaving the most vulnerable without the support they need. It’s going to take more than rhetoric to save our services.”

    It is impossible to engage the Voluntary sector, when you are taking billions our of it, and giving a couple of million back whilst telling everyone you’re definitely funding it adequately. It is a joke. Most charity leaders don’t buy into it. They recognise that whilst Charity organisations face cuts of close to £5bn, plus the added issue of receiving less due to the scrapping of tax relief on donations, the promise of a couple of extra hundred million pounds, is minuscule. A £100mn “transition fund” is the equivalent of taking a loaf of bread away from you, handing you a slice of bread, and telling you to feed your family.

    In fact, the Office for Civil Society’s promise of an extra £470mn for Voluntary organisations over the next four years, during a Parliament of intense Council cuts, is nothing in comparison to £500mn over the past three years. The Charity Commission will also be required to cut its funding by 27%.

    Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, the Executive Director of the UKs leading voluntary and training service; “Community Service Volunteers” said:

    “So there are a lot of very worthwhile programmes – for example volunteers working in child protection as promoted by the minister for children – which are now under threat of closure.”

    Do not buy into the Big Society hype.
    It is not just a cover for public sector cuts, it is a cover to transfer wealth to a very narrow wealthy elite, through a mass of Corporate tax breaks.
    In plain, it is Tories being Tories.


  • On this day…

    January 21, 2011

    I am 25 today.
    It’s rather old.
    A quarter of a century.
    I dropped Ash off at Gatwick this morning and have just got home.
    She has now gone home.
    I have to wait five and a half months to have her back.
    I don’t like that at all.
    Up until about an hour ago my day was particularly dull.
    I bought a lovely Redbull at Watford Gap.
    That was a little bit of an up point.
    Can you imagine the up point of your day being a can of Redbull?
    It’s been a pretty average January 21st.
    Not the worse ever.
    I think King Louis XVI off of France had the worst January 21st given that he had his head cut off.
    George Orwell’s January 21st wasn’t too much fun either back in 1950, given that he died.
    Emma Bunton, Baby Spice has to live with the fact that she was in the Spice Girls, her entire life.
    It’s a cross I wouldn’t like to bear.
    She was born on January 21st too.
    I have managed to reach 25, in Leicester, without yet having at least three kids by three different women, and without having stabbed anyone or contracted a nasty drug habit.
    I am impressed by my record.
    But still, the day was starting off very boring indeed.

    So imagine my joy when my entirely dull day turned to brightness when I turned on my TV screen to see that Tory Director of Communications and ex-News of the World editor/King of illegal Phone Hacking Andy Coulson has “resigned”. It’s certainly not a surprise. What is a surprise is that he still insists he knew nothing of phone hacking whilst he was editor of the News of the World. Which means one of two things…. 1) He’s lying (I suspect this is the case) or 2) He was an incredibly bad and out of touch editor. He resigned from the N.O.T.W because he claimed he knew nothing about any wrongdoing and insisted he’d done nothing wrong, and now he’s resigned from the Government….. because he claims he knew nothing about any wrongdoing and insisted he’d done no wrong. How odd. He also claimed he was not a despicable bully. He insisted it. And yet, in 2008 he was taken to an Employment Tribunal and the claim of bullying, against him, was upheld. The defendant was awarded £800,000 as a result. Which begs the question, if Coulson was involved in bullying, and was editor of a Paper in the middle of a phone hacking scandal, why would the Prime Minister employ him? Why is tax money (££140,000 a year as of May 2010) going to pay his wages whilst local council care budgets are being slashed?

    Coulson’s resignation comes a day after Labour’s massively incompetent and useless leader Ed Miliband announced that Alan Johnson, the shadow Chancellor was to resign for family reasons. It was a little bit of a media blunder for Johnson to have resigned on January 20th, because the papers and the TV news were bound to run with it, rather than the story that was grabbing headlines on January 19th, suggesting that David Cameron’s latest target is set on severely disabled children. The media repainting the Tories as the Nasty Party is exactly the wake up call people need. The harsh and unnecessary cuts to services like those that support the families of severely disabled children, whilst Vodafone have a tax bill written off by the Treasury, of close to £6bn. It could have lingered in the media and put pressure on the Government.

    The mainstream media reported that David Cameron, pre-election, promised to protect the rules for Councils providing care for disabled children. He made that promise to the parents of Holly Vincent, whom suffers from quadriplegia, has severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and is blind.

    They applied for respite care to Gloucestershire County Council. They were denied. This is because the wondrous Big-Society, We’re all in this together brigade of selfish rich economic thugs have not ringfenced spending for respite care. They have provided £800mn over four years to the County Council but it isn’t ringfenced. They have lifted the rules. Councils now are not obliged, legally, to spend funds protecting the most vulnerable. Cameron, pre-election told the parents of Holly Vincent that he “would never do anything that would hurt disabled children”.

    As a result of the lack of funds spent on Holly Vincent, her parents have signalled their intention to put her into a care home, because they simply cannot afford to look after her any more. They currently only get five to six hours respite a week.

    Riven Vincent, Holly’s mum said:

    “…..there’s nothing to stop cash-strapped local authorities from using the money elsewhere. I have no wish to put my daughter into a home. We want to look after her, all I am asking for is a little more support.
    Without this, we simply cannot cope and nor can families up and down the country just like ours. We are crumbling

    I don’t want her in a residential care home – it would destroy me. But without extra help, I find it hard to see how we can meet her needs at home.”

    If a politician had promised to help my struggling family, if we had a child who was so severely disabled and getting worse as she gets older, and then he cut the funding to the local authority and didn’t ring fence the remaining funds…… I’d get all the publicity possible to make that politician out to be the absolute scum bag liar hellbent on destroying hard pressed families up and down the Country for the sake of tax cuts for the wealthiest. The Prime Minister is a disgrace. The Tory Party and all of their heartless supporters, are a disagrace.

    Alan Johnson should have let this story linger for a while, so it has a chance to sink into the minds of the British Public that we have elected Thatcher-on-speed. Absolutely every promise they made, they appear to be backing down on. No one voted for backdoor privatisation of the NHS. No one voted for such a massive Tuition fee rise. No one voted for the releasing of rules surrounding respite care ringfencing. I can’t imagine many people would have voted for such a shit Party, had they expressed their desire to be the bringers of Neoliberal hell to Britain.

    Although, the Tories were kind enough to give me the birthday present of Coulson’s resignation. Perhaps next year they will try and top it by sacking Cameron, Osborne and Clegg.
    That would be amazing.


    Who needs principles anyway

    August 19, 2010

    “closing those huge loopholes that only people right at the top, very wealthy people who can afford a football team of lawyers and accountants to get out of paying tax”

    – Nick Clegg, April 2010, on how he would pay for cuts.

    I admit I am a little bias. I despise everything the Conservatives stand for. They are a cancerous leech created and represented by a very rich minority, they cause chaos and they destroy and their rise to power is in the same lugubrious category to me as the rise of AIDs or the news that a robot army with 10 inch metal penises has risen in rebellion and is coming to specifically rape me, and me only, or even worse, right winged American Christians are all moving to England en masse. I hate everything they stand for, everything they say, everything they do, I hate that I’m sure George Osbourne says “crickey” a lot, and I hate that they are now in control of the Country.

    I think the writer Charlie Brooker says it far better than I ever could;

    The Conservative party is an eternally irritating force for wrong that appeals exclusively to bigots, toffs, money-minded machine men, faded entertainers and selfish, grasping simpletons who were born with some essential part of their soul missing.

    I did however like the Lib Dems a short time ago. When Clegg had principles. When he was discussing his priority to close down tax loopholes that the very rich use to actively tax avoid. So that being said, isn’t it amazing how a few months in office can change a Politician’s opinion to the point where he is happy to discard his principles entirely?
    Whilst the Coalition plans £61bn worth of cuts across the entire public sector because they have a sense of emergency about saving money, whilst claiming they are not doing this on ideological grounds; they seem perfectly happy to employ Sir Philip Green as a Government advisor. He will be in charge of a White Hall spending review, to ensure that cuts are met across department. He will identify areas that can be cut.

    Why is this a problem?

    Sir Philip Green is Britain’s 9th richest man. He owns Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop, and Wallis. He owns about 12% of the UK’s clothing market. He is the UK’s 9th richest man however, because his companies are in his wife’s name, who happens to live in a tax haven, in Monaco. Which means, in 2005 alone, the arrangement cost the Treasury £285mn (which would employ 12,720 public sector workers for a year, according to The Gov statistics site), because his wife Tina did not have to pay any tax on the £1.2bn dividend she received. Green therefore, is one of the UK’s biggest tax avoiders. Whilst he is still actively avoiding taxes and making over £1bn a year in dividend payments, he has told his UK staff in 2005 that members of the Company’s final salary pension scheme must work five years more and increase their contribution to the pot by half, if they are to receive the same payout. He is also known for using sweatshops. So, he is a billionaire because he uses and abuses cheap labour in sweatshops, he actively tax avoids to net himself a lovely £1.5bn, and he makes his workers contribute more, and work longer, for the same shit payout. And he is the new efficiency advisor? Really?

    Whilst Green gets knighted at Buckingham Palace, and then suns himself in Monaco on the money he’s saved from avoiding tax, his employees who make him that money in the first place, work for pittance, and have to pay tax because they’ll end up in prison if they don’t. The little people, the same little people who would must have been naively enticed into voting Tory in May, are being screwed over beautifully.

    As well as employing 12,720 public sector workers for a year, had he not avoided tax on that single dividend and paid the £285mn, the Government would have enough to pay for certain schemes they are scrapping, like £150mn the the health in pregnancy grant, a one off payment that helps mum and baby stay healthy and covers wider health costs for pregnant women, which the Tories are entirely scrapping. Or the £180mn child tax credit supplement they intend to cut quite viciously.

    David Cameron told the Sun recently that “benefit fraud is the first and the deepest cut we will make“. He is talking about single mums and struggling families who scrounge a few extra pound a week to help pay the bills. Hypocritically, he is not talking about the man he just appointed who costs the UK a fortune in lost tax revenue every year, to look into savings across the public sector,

    And they wonder why people like me refer to them as the same old Tories, looking after their own? The same old ideological right winged warfare against anyone who isn’t actively tax avoiding and who doesn’t earn millions of pounds a second?

    Clegg, that ‘progressive’ politician has kept breathtakingly quiet on the subject. Like a lapdog who will do and agree with everything his master tells him. Who needs principles anyway?


    The burden of Willetts

    June 11, 2010

    The Tories are playing up again. In the Commons yesterday, a Labour MP quite rightly asked THE MILLIONAIRE Chancellor George “We’re all in this together” Osbourne how badly he’d personally be affected by the £6bn cuts to public services. Osbourne answered by saying “If that’s all you have to say, it shows you’re not committed to the cuts that are needed“. What this translates to, for those of us who don’t speak posh elitist Tory twat language is “none, because i’m a millionaire, and I will be cutting taxes for my fellow millionaires, so we’ll be fine. We’re actually not all in this together. Because I have a safe job, a big house that i’ve paid for, and my kids are richer than all of you, before they were even a twinkle in daddies pervy posh eye. But i’ve had to convince a bunch of gullible idiots to vote for me on the basis that I actually have anything but utter contempt for anyone who isn’t George Osbourne” For a man who keeps telling us, day after day that we’re all in this together, it would have been nice of him to answer how he is going to suffer from the knife that he is personally sticking in to everyone who isn’t massively wealthy. It would be nice to know why he claims it isn’t an ideological war against the public sector that motivates him to absolutely destroy any sign of progression Britain has seen since the last Tory government got destroyed in 1997, when in fact the private sector, which is the sector that caused this entire mess in the first place, is getting away pretty much entirely free from the wrath of government. And it would be nice to know where he thinks he has the mandate to do all of this, given that the majority of the Country did not vote for swift cuts this year, at the election. Ideological right winged warfare. We’ve seen it before. I hope people take to the streets again.

    The new Universities Secretary of the Lib/Con Coalition, David Willetts has said that Students are a “burden” to the taxpayer, as he set out plans to cut £200million from the budget for Higher Education. Clearly he has chosen to ignore the fact that THE MILLIONAIRE David Willetts claimed £125 from the taxpayer for lightbulbs to be changed in his mansion, and £2,191.38 for the cleaning of a shower head, £1,100 for food, and a further £5,107.25 for plumbing repairs. That’s over £8000 in total, which could pay for a University Student’s tuition fees for two full years, after which time the Student will leave university with a better understanding of his or her chosen field of expertise, and the market will gain a new professional. Or, we could have a clean bathroom complete with a brand new lightbulb in THE MILLIONAIRE, Mr Willetts house. Tough call.

    David Willetts is a burden to the taxpayer.

    David Willetts disgusts me. As do all the senior Tories, and CBI members who constantly attack Universities for what they offer both in terms of a high standard of education, and constant networking. David Willetts has been part of governments that have successively helped to leave my generation in a complete mess both financially and socially. The Tories of old sold off the council houses in a cheap attempt to buy votes from traditional Labour supporters. They made it easy for their friends in expensive suits to buy three or four houses, in seaside resorts across the country and only use them once a year, thus destroying local communities like Beadnell in Northumberland. And where has that left us? Well, together with the ingenious idea to deregulate the financial sector, also by the previous Tory government, it has left us with the City of London speculating on house prices, and absolutely no chance of someone like me ever owning my own home in this Country. HEY THANKS!

    These old grey suited up bastards used the university system when it was free, and are now intent on burning the ladder on which they climbed, for anyone who isn’t rich. Our University hosted a Question Time style event for local candidates running for MP to answer audience questions, just before the election in May. On the question of tuition fees, the Tory said that they planned to raise tuition fees, but it’d all be fine, because they’d offer a lovely 10% discount to anyone who paid it all back within two years. But she insisted this wasn’t an elitist idea…….despite the fact, that it quite clearly was….. an elitist idea. I know for certain, that if tuition fees were as high as £5,000, as she suggested, I would not have gone to University. I would have been thrown into a job I dislike, forced to choose a career quickly, training in work I do not want to do, purely because it pleases a bunch of old grey pricks who have spent the past thirty years raping Britain for future generations. I will not listen to them. I would not have been able to advance myself in the subjects I wished too, and the only reason would have been because of money. The CBI keep telling me that Maths is a useful subject, but Philosophy isn’t. What if I absolutely adore Philosophy and despise Maths? I have to then endure living in a Country that has been shaped by the CBI to reward those who live for Maths and punish those who enjoy and wish to excel in Philosophy. The CBI and the Tories have absolutely no say over what is “economically valuable”. Markets change. If we were genuinely interested in creating free markets, that are free from interference, surely a group of bosses telling us all what is economically valuable, is no different from the Government doing so…. and if the Government were to do so, the irony would be that the Tories and the CBI would call them Communists. Why don’t the CBI offer to fund the degrees they consider economically valuable? The CBI, can go and quite simply, fuck their self-important, narcissistic selves and the superiority complex that plagues them. They are not the shapers of society. Why do they not ask their friends at the banks, who played cute little gambling games with our money to cough up what they owe, rather than hitting students, who will be the driving force behind the economic future of this country, long after the key players in the Tory Party and the CBI have been pulled back down to Hell?

    We are the future. They are the miserable past that has failed us all. The failed us with the banks. They failed us with this horrendous neoliberal experiment that Thatcher threw at us all. They failed the poorer areas of the Country by turning their backs and blaming bad parenting and laziness for the problems rather than a Government that was more interested in expanding the wallets of the wealthy few. They failed us by invading Iraq. They failed us with huge interest rates and poll tax. They failed us with North Sea Oil. They failed us with funding for arts and sport. They failed us with the climate. They failed us with housing. They fail us day after day, and my generation should show we are fucking sick of it. The only people they didn’t fail were their fat cat friends, who happen to be old, grey, and very rich. They are not our masters. Pump more money into the Universities. Teach our Politics and Economics students, the reasons why the past three governments and their love-children who have become big businessmen have failed us all so miserably, and fix it.

    The Confederation of British Industry, which is basically a session of useless old cunts in very expensive suits who happen to fund the Tory Party, who have been wrong on every call they appear to have ever made, including their call that Minimum Wage would destroy England; keeps telling me through the media, that certain degrees are useless and worthless. I happen to disagree. No degree is worthless. If our market place is to flourish, we need diversity. We need to teach people that their interests and their passion for furthering their knowledge on their interests are not worthless. We need to tell our children to NEVER listen to a generation of people who have collectively failed us all through their ideological warfare based on dodgy economics and social retardation. Every degree, whether it be in Economics (although, i’m not sure how they’d teach that now, given that no one seems to know what the fuck they’re talking about) or a Bachelors Degree in Making Tea. What should happen, is if the CBI want a certain degree to be given more attention and better funded, they should pay for it to be funded in its entirety given that they are the people who will inevitably benefit financially. By limiting degrees to what the CBI want, we are simply moulding the market to the shape that the CBI have created; it would not be “freedom“, it would a twisted version of the market designed to further enhance the riches of a very small minority of people. The CBI should not have any say whatsoever. They are the biggest Union of them all, and the most destructive.

    No degree is worthless. It is an investment in the future. I would rather tax money go to investing in Universities, excellent lecturers, top class research facilities than going to paying the pensions of any old grey suited man who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to have an education system built around who can afford it. The suited men in the CBI and Tory Party did not create the brilliant, compassionate and ever questioning minds of this Country, but they sure as hell fucked up the future for us all.


    A leopard cannot change its spots.

    May 14, 2010

    The day before I was elected leader, Mr Cameron suggested we join them. He talked about a “progressive alliance”. This talk of alliances comes up a lot, doesn’t it? Everyone wants to be in our gang. So I want to make something very clear today.
    Will I ever join a Conservative government?
    No.

    Nick Clegg’s speech to the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2008.

    This pains me to say, but I fully support the new Government’s immediate scrapping of the third runway at Heathrow, and the I.D Card Scheme. Both were huge mistakes by Labour. To claim to be committed to carbon reduction, whilst planning a third runway at Heathrow, was political bullshit of its most nonsensical kind.

    Now that’s out of the way, there are a few initial problems I have with this new coalition Government.

    Firstly, as mentioned previously, the three main Lib Dem negotiating team that worked tirelessly to strike a deal with the Tories after the General Election caused a hung Parliament; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, and David Laws, are the only three members of the Lib Dems (other than the leader, and his No.2, obviously) to be given a place in cabinet. Which stinks. Chris Huhne is at Climate and Energy, David Laws is Treasury Secretary, and Danny Alexander is Scottish Secretary. What a lovely little negotiation that must have been.

    Secondly, David Cameron, the New Prime Minister (I shuddered, writing that) said this would be a “new kind of politics” with “new people, and new ideas”. Interesting. Let’s look at the cabinet shall we?

  • Work and Pensions Secretary: Iain Duncan Smith. Ex-leader of the Tory Party. Very anti-European. Had a post in William Hague’s shadow cabinet. William Hague said he only promoted people to his shadow cabinet, if they had a full commitment to financial deregulation. You know, the issue that caused the problems we face now economically. Oh how wonderful. Voted for the Iraq war. Voted strongly against all gay rights legislation and against the ban on fox hunting.
  • Secretary of State for Justice: Kenneth Clarke. Has been alive since the beginning of time. Served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. Voted against gay rights legislation. Voted against a more transparent Parliament. Voted against the ban on fox hunting. Voted against foundation hospitals.
  • Communities Secretary: Eric Pickles. Been in Parliament for 18 years. Ex-Chairman of the Tory Party. Voted against all gay rights legislation. Voted against removing hereditary peers from the Lords. But then voted for an all elected chamber. But then voted again for a partially elected chamber. Voted against foundation hospitals. Voted for the Iraq war. Voted against the ban on fox hunting.
    Voted against IVF treatment for lesbian couples arguing the need for “a father and a mother”.

  • Foreign Secretary: William Hague. Been in Parliament for over 20 years. Keen Thatcherite. Ex-leader of the Tory Party. Lost the 2001 general election to Blair’s Labour Party. Voted strongly against removing hereditary peers from the Lords. Voted against foundation hospitals. Voted against gay rights legislation. Voted against the smoking ban. Voted against the ban on fox hunting. Voted for the Iraq war.
  • Home Secretary and Equalities Minister: Theresa May. This is my favourite of the lot. Being Minister for Equality, she has to deal with raising the standard of equality across the board. This includes gay rights. Theresa May has voted against every piece of gay rights legislation, and said of the repeal of that nasty little piece of Tory legislation “Section 28” which forbade anything positive being said about homosexuality in schools; “There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.“. She then voted against the right of Gay people to adopt. This is our new equalities minister. A bigot, is our new equalities minister. It’s like the Republican Party of America just won the election.

    The list goes on…and on….and on. New people, with new ideas. Which, happen to be the same old people, with the same old ideas. Interesting.

    The final thing that has annoyed me already about these utter bastards, is the way in which they have locked themselves into a fixed term. Of course it was ridiculous to allow the PM to dissolve Parliament and call an election. It meant any time within a five year period, he could go to the polls.Cameron has waivered that right, and good on him for doing so. But, he then found a new novel way of getting around that issue. For a vote of no confidence to bring down a Government, a majority of 50% plus one, of the members of Parliament must back a vote of no confidence. It is the mechanism that brought down the Labour Callaghan minority government in the ’70s. Cameron currently has 47% of MPs in the House, and so there was enough at any time during the next five years, to enact a vote of no confidence, because the other parties hold exactly 53% of the MPs. The new government has increased that threshold to 55%, which means there now is absolutely no chance of a vote of no confidence. He has locked in his government. Which means if the coalition were to fail, and Cameron run a minority government, there is no way for the Conservatives to dissolve Parliament on their own, nor is there any way for Labour, the Liberals and the other parties to dissolve the Parliament. It is now institutionally impossible to muster up the 55% needed. Dangerous politics. And they had the fucking nerve to suggest that Gordon Brown was “clinging to power”.

    It’ll be interesting to see what comes next….


  • The Con-Dem Nation

    May 12, 2010

    “Prime Ministers should be voted into 10 Downing Street by the people of Britain, not because their party has stitched up some deal”
    David Cameron, in Essex – 24th April 2010

    Yesterday, I watched David Cameron walk into Downing Street, because his party had stitched up some deal.

    The reason being, the good of the markets!

    MUST KEEP THE MARKETS HAPPY!

    Apparently, we have to enact deep and harsh cuts to public spending, because the markets wont like it if we don’t. The markets wont like if we close tax loopholes for the rich. The markets wont like if we ever suggest helping those who need it most. The markets don’t particularly like Democracy.

    It seems Labour were right. You vote Clegg, you get Cameron.
    I cannot pretend I’m not massively disappointed by the Liberal Democrats getting into bed with the Conservatives. I’m disappointed for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, when it came to the election, the idea that the Liberal Democrats might enter into coalition with the Tories was a possibility of course, but very very slight. It seemed ridiculous to me that a party of the centre left, with policies far closer to Labour than the Tories, would seriously consider a partnership. They are so far apart on policies over Europe, Trident, the deficit, the environment, immigration, and electoral reform that I wonder – and actually, still wonder – how they could possibly reconcile.

    And secondly, I voted Liberal Democrat, because they appeared to be the real new progressives in UK politics. I did not vote them on an anti-Tory vote. Any vote for me, would have been anti-Tory voting. I voted Lib Dem, because I agree with them on Trident, and Europe, the environment and on the need to be careful with spending cuts rather than deep and swift. I agreed with them when Clegg told us at DMU that the very wealthy people who get around paying their fair share in tax, should be made to pay what they owe. That is what I wanted to hear. To suddenly team together with the old regressives in UK politics, a group whose main concern is protecting the very wealthy, is a bit of a betrayal. However, at the same time, it is far better to have a cente-left party diluting the extravagances of the right winged party, than it is to have a Tory majority.

    I do believe that any real chance of electoral reform, of a PR system of electing our Governmental officials, is now over. The Liberal Democrats will never get that chance again. They have sold that idea, for a bit of power. And it was sold for a bit of power. The Liberal Democrats chief negotiating team were; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, David Laws and Andrew Stunell. Three of the Lib Dem Cabinet positions already given, actually given just as the chief negotiating team left the negotiations were; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, and David Laws. How nice.

    The details of the coalition arrangement are as follows:
    Prime Minister: David Cameron – Tory
    Cameron’s bitch Deputy PM: Nick Clegg – Lib Dem
    Chancellor: George Osbourne – Tory
    Home Secretary: Theresa May
    Foreign Secretary: William Hague – Tory
    Defence Secretary: Dr Liam Fox – Tory
    Health Secretary: Andrew Lansley – Tory
    Business and Banking: Vince Cable – Lib Dem
    Justice Secretary: Kenneth Clarke (seriously!) – Tory since 1882.
    Energy and Climate Change: Chris Huhne – Lib Dem
    Work and Pensions Secretary: David Laws – Lib Dem
    Scotland Secretary: Danny Alexander – Lib Dem

    Policy compromises:
    The Liberal Democrats have agreed to accommodate the Tories idea to cap non-EU immigration.
    The Liberal Democrats have agreed to accommodate the Tories on swift deep £12bn cuts to public services and an emergency budget.
    They have both agreed to a fixed term 5 year parliament, meaning no election until 2015.
    Any transfer of powers to the EU will first have to pass a UK referendum.
    The Liberal Democrats have agreed to drop their plans for a tax on mansions worth over £2m.
    The Conservatives have agreed to drop their plans for a rise in the threshold for inheritance tax.
    The Conservatives still plan to recognise marriage in the tax system.
    The Conservatives have agreed to hold a referendum on Alternative Vote. Which, doesn’t benefit the Liberals at all. SCORE!

    So, to sum up, the Liberals have backed down on Europe, Trident, Electoral reform and the Economy. So what actually have they managed to gain? The scrapping of the inheritance tax threshold? Is that it? A Liberal voice in cabinet or at the treasury, is meaningless, if their policies in the main areas they campaigned on, have been dropped in favour of Tory policies.

    My main problem is the deep swift cuts that will come. I consider them totally unnecessary. They are purely to please the markets, and not to help the people of Britain. Especially the most vulnerable. I expect an emergency budget, to attack “LABOUR’S EVIL JOBS TAX!” but then, put up VAT quite horrendously.

    However, I cannot fully blame the Liberal Democrats for this ever so slight betrayal of the trust of their left-leaning support. Whilst I will absolutely never vote Liberal Democrat again, I cannot help but think the Labour Party purposely spoiled talks between themselves and the Liberals for a possible Progressive coalition. If so, I have to say, quite a clever move by the Labour Party.

    Before the talks had even begun officially, people like Peter Hain were saying Labour should be back into opposition for a while. There seemed no desire to create a progressive alliance.
    If I were a Labour strategist, i’d say that they should take a while to reorganise, let this Tory/Liberal coalition do what they have to do (the Liberals were bound to be forced to compromise on Europe and on the economy and swift deep cuts), because this next five years is going to be pretty poisonous when it comes to how deeply cuts are going to annoy a very very large majority of the public……. and then Labour will be in a far stronger position at the next general election. The Tories will look like bastards again, a lot of people who voted Tory this time are going to regret very quickly, and a vast majority of the Liberals left leaning support, will not vote Liberal again.

    I think it works to Labour’s favour for the next general election. Appoint a new leader, move to the left, oppose all these needless swift cuts, and The Tories, i’d guess, will not last longer than one term.

    We now need a true party of the Left. We need to fight the bigots on the issue of immigration and not allow the Liberals, Labour and the Tories the right to set the discourse on the subject (the discourse, is simply them giving into media set opinion). We need new ways to fight the deficit rather than allowing the discourse to surround deep cuts to public services. We need real progressives, that aren’t market bitches.

    Will electing a Milliband as leader of the Labour Party achieve that?
    No.


    The Labour Party

    May 3, 2010

    It is bemusing to me, that it has become popular to refer to the past 13 years under Labour, as a complete failure. Whilst I will not be voting Labour at this election, I still think we need to talk about all the good Labour have done as a counter weight to the constant barrage of abuse aimed at Gordon Brown. The past thirteen years have not been awful. They have not given us a “broken Britain“. They have definitely not been without fault, and at times they have acted to make me want to throw rocks at every member of the Labour Party, but they have had great moments that the Labour Party should be proud of. They have been a far better 13 years, than they would have been had the Tories won the 1997, 2001, and 2005 elections.
    Here’s a list I compiled, of all the benefits brought to us by Labour.

  • Minimum wage.
  • EMA.
  • Devolution.
  • Winter fuel allowance
  • Northern Ireland Peace.
  • Paternity leave.
  • The ban on testing cosmetics on animals.
  • Civil Partnerships.
  • Free entry to museums.
  • Increased maternity leave.
  • Minimum holiday entitlement.
  • Greater London Assembly.
  • Gift Aid.
  • Sure Start.
  • Introduction of Child Tax Credit.
  • Free Eye tests for over 60s.
  • Free bus travel for over 65s.
  • The abolishment of Section 28.
  • Wider access (MUCH wider) to higher education.
  • Banning of hunting with dogs.
  • Disability Discrimination Act.

    Knowing that none of those achievements would have been possible under a Tory government, knowing that their eyes are twinkling at the prospect of cutting as much as possible from the public service, and knowing that their emphasis on helping a minority of rich people get richer (as long as they’re not gay), if I HAD to choose between Labour and the Conservative Party; Labour would win every time. Gordon Brown could be caught calling an old woman a bigot, and then killing her live on Sky News……… i’d still rather a Labour government, than a Conservative Government.