The Tory Hypocrisy

December 21, 2012

AlecShelbrooke

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke apparently isn’t satisfied with completely ripping the bottom out of the entire public support system, immediately after his Party’s social engineering project threw millions out of work and onto the benefit system. Apparently that’s not enough. He wants to go one step further. If you claim any sort of Welfare, he wants to tell you what you are allowed to spend it on. So I thought i’d make sure Shelbrooke was being consistent in his apparent moral outrage at misspent tax payer’s money. After all, if we save enough by forcing poor people to only eat bread and water, we might be able to afford to give Starbucks another wonderful Corporate tax break, on tax that they don’t actually pay anyway.

Interestingly, a quick bit of research (and this is my interpretation of the research only) brings up Mr Shelbrooke’s own expense claims (MPs in-house-socialism).
Between April 2010, to March 2011, Shelbrooke claimed: £38,914.52
Between April 2011 to March 2012, Shelbrooke claimed: £38,666.06
Between April 2012, to the present day, Shelbrooke has claimed: £14,541.57
Altogether, since winning his Seat in 2010, Alec Shelbrooke, the man who is hugely unhappy at wasting taxpayers money, has claimed a total of: £92,122.15. This is on top of his MPs salary of £65,738. a year.

Maybe you’re thinking all of those claims are necessary, for him to run his office? To an extent, you would be right. He needs to cover the cost of the running of his office, and I accept the legitimacy in that. But maybe you’re presuming that it’s perfectly acceptable for the tax payer to be funding the council tax on his second home, or maybe you think he’d be unable to perform his duties as MP-with-an-ideologically-dogmatic-hate-for-poor-people, unless the tax payer fund the £1,300.00 on his monthly flat rental? (That’s a pretty expensive flat. I’m sure he could find cheaper accommodation elsewhere?)
Here:
accom
– Is there REALLY no cheaper flat that he could rent? Actually, yes. Here, I found a few. Saves the taxpayer a fortune. £750 a month, on the Old Kent Road. Perfect!
In fact, of Shelbrooke’s expenses since 2010, he has claimed the most for Accommodation, than he has for Office costs, travel costs, and Staffing costs. For 2010-2011, he received £14,300.00 in Accommodation.

Here’s another interesting talking point; Alec Shelbrooke has claimed a number of times, for his TV licence. Here is just this year alone:
shelbrooke
– So, naturally, being inquisitive, I thought i’d raise this with Shelbrooke over Twitter (admittedly, I could have been a lot more diplomatic; call it heat of the moment):

s1

Shelbrooke, to his credit, replied.
s2
– Interesting statement, and on the surface, appears reasonable. But, if you look on the Parliamentary Standards website, you will come across a “Definitions” page, explaining the terms used on the expenses forms. Here:

Accommodation Expenses
Most MPs outside the London Area need two residences in order to conduct their parliamentary
duties at Westminster and in the constituency. IPSA will fund the costs of one of these locations.
This may include rent or the cost of hotel stays. For some MPs re-elected in 2010, mortgage interest
will continue to be reimbursed for a transitional period, ending in August 2012. Costs of council tax,
service charges, utilities and telephone/TV/internet connections are also reimbursed. Cleaning,
gardening and furniture costs are not.

Office Costs (Previously CORE & GAE)
This covers the basic costs of having an office: rent, business rates, utilities and day-to-day running
costs, including office equipment, various services, basic security, and non-political communication
costs. Constituency surgery venue hire is included here too.

– So, by Shelbrooke’s reply, it would seem that his TV licence should, if it were claimed purely to show Parliamentary proceedings for the benefit of his staff, be made out as an ‘Office Cost’. Yet, if you cast your eyes to the expense claims I posted above, you will see it classed as “Accommodation”. Just to clarify that:
ipsa
– Now, I am not saying that he’s lying. It may have been falsely attributed. He might have just put it down as “Accommodation”, for no real reason. But it’s worth thinking about. If Shelbrooke has claimed for a TV licence in his home (perhaps the same home, that we’re all helping to fund by paying his council tax, and rent every so often), then I am not entirely sure where he gets the nerve to tell benefit claimants (and remember, it isn’t just the typically referred to Tory definition of a benefit claimant – sitting on the couch whilst everyone else funds their lifestyle of pissing away £50 notes – it is everyone who claims any sort of benefit) that they aren’t entitled to luxuries. Even if TV is within the rules of Accommodation costs covered by expenses, he is being hugely inconsistent in his own moral outrage.

Here is another wondrous example of his hypocritical moral outrage at wasting tax payers money. A man earning £65,000 a year, allegedly charges the tax payer for his TV licence and his rent every so often, works at a place where alcohol is subsidised by the tax payer, feels the need to fill out a Parliamentary expenses form to pay for his food and drink…. worth £15.
food
– That’s a pretty expensive meal. Why? Wait a while, go out, with your own fucking money, and buy a cheap meal from somewhere in London. Thereby saving the taxpayer, and not appearing like a massively hypocritical fool.

Shelbrooke isn’t the only Tory to be have been horrendously hypocritical, with a sense of “I deserve” about them. In June 2010 David Willetts referred to students as a “burden” on the tax payer. Interesting stuff from an insufferable millionaire whom allegedly claimed, according to the Telegraph, £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.

If you happen to be a victim of the disastrous failure of far-right economics, forced by a Government of multi-millionaires, that didn’t have a mandate to do it, and you’re now unemployed through no fault of your own………. a man from that clique of the modern day Nobility, wants to make sure you are not allowed a shred of human happiness, and any dignity that you feel you are losing due to not being able to find work, he believes should be amplified. Your misery at being jobless, apparently must be enhanced by your misery to only buy things that ‘Lord’ Shelbrooke, with his tax payer funded flat, his tax payer funded TV licence, and his tax payer funded expensive meal (allegedly), thinks is appropriate. So shut up, and learn your place, you miserable unemployed pleb.

Everyone who has lost their job as a result of Tory economic mismanagement and dogmatic recession-inducing extremism, when receiving your benefit, should note that this overly privileged authoritarian Tory wishes to have the power to tell you what you should and shouldn’t buy. He wants to tell you what constitutes “luxury”. But we should not expect any different. This is what Tories do. They are not compassionate, they are not progressive, they are a Party of millionaires, for millionaires. Remember this in 2015.

Let’s give MPs a Welfare Card.
They can only stay at cheap hotels in London, when they’re in the capital – thus sparing the tax payer, rent payments, and council tax on second homes.
They can only buy lunch, up to the price of, let’s say, £3. This covers a Tesco Meal Deal. Perfect.
Let’s stop subsidising the Commons bar. They can pay for it themselves. But not with their new MP Welfare Card.
And they most certainly cannot claim for a TV licence.
I would support that. Very much so.


The Tory Party: One big PR disaster

October 17, 2011

Every morning, David Cameron must get out of bed, and feel as if he is walking through a storm without an umbrella. And instead of being soaked in water, he’s drowning in collective Cabinet shit. The Tory front bench, is a PR disaster, almost on a daily basis now. The media is totally in control of the image of the Tory Party. This is a sign of great weakness. There is no PR man controlling the public image of the Tory party any more. The days of painting David Cameron as a “Compassionate Conservative” are dead. The ball is now fully in the court of the media.

Even when we leave aside the fact that they have taken a weak economy that no one thought could get much worse, and made it far worse than anyone could have ever sat and imagined, the drivel that comes out of their mouths, and the antics they get up to, is enough to astound even the least interested in politics among us.

On the subject of the economy; growth had been downgraded from Osborne’s Office of getting everything entirely wrong, all the fucking time Budget Responsibility, five times. Three times before the Eurozone crises really started to take hold. The first time, the Tories blamed Labour. Everything was Labour’s fault. Then, in December 2010, when growth was downgraded again, they blamed the snow. Then the Royal Wedding. Then Europe. Surely the inherently racist Tory party can’t be far away from blaming black people?

Today, the Climate Secretary Chris Huhne, (admittedly, a Lib Dem, but that is so similar to Tory now, it really doesn’t need a distinguishing disclaimer) came out of a meeting with the big energy companies in the hope of striking a deal to bring down the cost of energy in the UK, as its rising rapidly out of control. Huhne’s interview with the BBC went something like this:

BBC: How did the meeting go?
Huhne: Very very very well!!
BBC: And what can we expect to happen?
Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah out of touch bollocks.
BBC: Did the energy companies concede anything?
Huhne: Well, if you switch providers all will be fine blah blah even more out of touch, skirting the question bollocks.
BBC: So it’s the consumer’s fault?
Huhne: Well, if you switch ….. you see where this is going.

– To sum up, Huhne thinks if we all switch to a cheaper tariff, we’ll all save money. The problem is, the difference between one company and another, is the difference between £1, and £0.99p. We know there are options, but the options are raping our bank accounts collectively. Ofgem reported last week, that the average profit margin for energy companies had risen from £15 per person in June… to……… £125 in September. That is vastly unacceptable. The bosses of these companies continue to blame wholesale prices of oil. Now, if profit margins had stayed the same, despite the rise in the price to the consumer, then they’d have a point. But you cannot increase your profit by such a huge quantity, and then claim it is the fault of wholesale prices. Huhne, is a PR disaster.

It goes without saying, that Theresa May and Kenneth Clarke are PR disasters, after the Tory Party Conference this year. For a quick refresher, May had used her speech to pour unnecessary and dangerous fuel onto the fire of a Nationalism that already burns far too bright in this Country. She was arguing against the Human Rights Act (a document so important, that May’s only argument against it, was an entire lie. She should be sacked for that alone). To do this, she said:

“The illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because – I am not making this up – because he had a pet cat.”

– The problem was, she had made it up. She is the personification of the Daily Mail. When you cannot find a legitimate reason to promote hate and anger; just make it up. When a Minister hasn’t checked their facts, has resorted to UKIP style populist politics to provoke anger and outrage and something that simply isn’t true, to then use the phrase “I’m not making this up” is so indescribably amateurish, one has to wonder how any of these people are in the position of power they currently occupy.
The story itself – the cat loving illegal immigrant – is wrong. Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary and May’s cabinet Tory colleague responded to her speech, by saying:

“I’ve never had a conversation on the subject with Theresa, so I’d have to find out about these strange cases she is throwing out.”
“They are British cases and British judges she is complaining about.
“I’ll have a small bet with her that nobody has ever been refused deportation on the grounds of the ownership of a cat.”

The Judicial Communications Office said this:

“This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy – applying at that time to that appellant – for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK”.
“That was the basis for the decision to uphold the original tribunal decision – the cat had nothing to do with the decision.”

– So, May was wrong. She made up the story. She lied. But it gets even better. Chris Huhne (the PR disaster mentioned previously) tried to send a message on Twitter to his friend, saying:

“From someone else fine but I do not want my fingerprints on the story”

– This is in relation, to being exposed as the person pointing our the “i’m not making this up” speech by May was eerily familiar to Nigel Farage’s (leader of Far Right UKIP) speech, in which he said:

“Should not be deported because – and I really am not making this up – because he had a pet cat!”

– Huhne notified a Guardian journalist to the exact, word for word quote “similarities” between the speeches. But accidentally tweeted to all of his subscribers that he didn’t want his fingerprints on this story. So, May is a PR disaster. Clarke is a PR disaster. And Huhne is a double PR disaster. Brilliantly, Nick Clegg waned into the argument by saying, quite beautifully:

“They were both right.”

– N’awww…….what a cock.

Until recently (having declared he wont stand for re-election) Tory MEP Roger Helmer is responsible trying to justify his speeding, by saying:

“No matter how fast you are going, you get people passing you.”

And an email to a 17 year old animals rights activist, with:

“I am not prepared to join the seal campaign, because while I agree that the culling of seals by beating them over the head is not very pleasing and aesthetic, I think it is probably fairly quick and humane…
“I challenge the use of your term “innocent baby seals”, because
(A) Seals are not morally competent, and therefore cannot be innocent or guilty;
(B) I think it is mawkish, sentimental and unhelpful to adopt a “Bambi” attitude to animals, or to seek to anthropomorphise them – I wonder if you would have the same sentimental view of rats or tarantulas? – if not, why not?
(C) In one sense the seals are guilty (without any moral responsibility), for damaging fish stocks and the livelihoods of local fishermen.
“Your sympathy for dumb animals does you credit, but my advice would be that you save your concerns for people rather than animals.”

And on the subject of date rape:

“…the victim surely shares a part of the responsibility, if only for establishing reasonable expectations in her boyfriend’s mind.”

– Roger Helmer, not only is one of the worst human beings I have ever had to displeasure to read about, but also, a massive PR disaster.

Liam Fox’s friendship with lobbyist Adam Werrity is a PR disaster for so many reasons, it’s almost too big a story to try to dissect. Needless to say, using public funds to pay a lobbyist, and to claim thousands of pounds of public money to allow a lobbyist to stay rent free in your flat, is never going to end well. Especially when you’re the Minister in control of the Nation’s defence system. When that same lobbyist, who is almost entirely funded by public money, is able to bypass official channels because he is friends with the Defence Secretary, and arrange meetings with private companies for commercial purposes; the Defence Secretary automatically becomes… not just a PR disaster, but a massive moron of a PR disaster. When that same lobbyist is given over £140,000 by a property investor with ties to Israel and an intelligence firm with links to Sri Lanka, whilst he accompanies the Defence Secretary as an “advisor”, on trips abroad, not only is the Defence Secretary a massive moron of a PR disaster, he is a dangerous PR disaster.

Oliver Letwin, Minister of State for Policy, photographed dumping confidential documents in a bin on St James’ park, a few months after saying no one wants to see a poor family from Sheffield going on holiday abroad. Oliver Letwin, PR disaster.

Caroline Spelman, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs plans in late 2010 to sell off a third of the 1.85 million acres of British forests to private investors for the sake of Hotel Resorts and Theme parks, only to have the Prime Minister admit he’d never given permission for that, and for the entire thing to be shelved. Where’s the communication?

George Osborne, who seems to keep being on TV insisting that the UK is leading the way out of the financial crises, that his plan will work, and that all will be fine. He says this, whilst the poverty rate increases – more on this point later – whilst unemployment is very very close to hitting the 3 million mark, whilst youth unemployment is at its worst since the 1980s (coincidentally at the time of the previous Tory government), whilst wages are stagnating, whilst output is dropping, whilst homelessness increases, whilst inflation is slowly getting out of control, whilst energy bills are now unworkable, and whilst dropping growth figures show that we are very very close to another recession. George Osborne is a PR disaster.

Philip Hammond, New Secretary of Defence, tells BBC’s Question Time, that allegations of his tax avoidance (he’s a multi-millionaire who said he’d continue to claim £30,000 a year of public money to fund his second home) by Channel 4’s dispatches were:

“Completely unfounded innuendo and unfortunately if you go into public life you have to accept that innuendo’s will be made against you to which you don’t always have the opportunity to reply.”

To which, the follow up question:

“So were the allegations that you’d moved shares into your wife’s name and that you took dividends rather than income, wrong?”

– was answered rather spectacularly by Hammond, with:

“Neither of those facts are incorrect”

– Unfounded innuendo one second, but absolutely true the next. Brilliant. Phillip Hammond, is a PR disaster, whilst also managing to be a smug twat about it.

How weak Cameron is looking. He needs an Alastair Campbell. His one attempt to attract an Alastair Campbell type figure, was Andy Coulson….. a massive PR disaster. They are one PR disaster after another, day after day, idiots running the Country and being exposed as idiots every time they show their contemptuous, nasty little faces.

The problem this represents for those of us on the left, is that the actual issues do not get publicised (perhaps i’m partly responsible for that, given the nature of this blog) enough. The BBC chose to almost entirely ignore 2000 people blocking the bridge the day of the NHS Bill moving to the Lords. The big issues, like the NHS bill, that have grave consequences for all of us that believe in a Nationalised, free health service, are put to one side, because Letwin uses a bin. And so, public discourse focuses almost entirely on the image of the Government, rather than the disastrous and dangerous ideological economic project they are inflicting on Country. Policy gets pushed aside, the underlying nasty nature of Theresa May’s made up cat story, is ignored. This can only work to benefit the Tories. Nobody voted for such a big NHS reform. Nobody voted for a huge hike in tuition fees. The Tories are getting away with shifting vast sums of wealth to very rich individuals and businesses, and the docile English population is too engaged in the fact that Liam Fox has a friend. Perhaps there comes a time when endless PR disasters can be used to benefit an unpopular government and its very undemocratic and ideologically motivated agenda.


Daily Mail – Incomprehensible tirade of bullshit

October 3, 2011

Amanda Knox looked stunned this evening after she dramatically lost her prison appeal against her murder conviction.

– All very well, except, she didn’t dramatically lose, and she was in fact acquitted.
We all know that the Daily Mail repels the concepts of ‘fact’ and ‘honesty’, but this is an astoundingly incomprehensible tirade of bullshit, on levels never seen before.

So what happened?
Well, it seems that ingeniously posted an article by Nick Pisa, giving the wrong verdict, invented quotations, with an entirely fabricated story to back it up, before realising their horrendous mistake, and taking it down. Thankfully a friend of mine saved the article, which can be found here.

Let me treat you to some of the best bits from this beautiful failure:

Prosecutors were delighted with the verdict and said that ‘justice has been done’ although they said on a ‘human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail’.

– Entirely fabricated

Following the verdict Knox and Sollecito were taken out of court escorted by prison guards and into a waiting van which took her back to her cell at Capanne jail near Perugia and him to Terni jail, 60 miles away.

Both will be put on a suicide watch for the next few days as psychological assessments are made on each of them but this is usual practice for long term prisoners.

– Fabricated to the point in which I’m wondering if this is simply an attempt at post-modern art. Fuck the rules! Distort reality! …… yes, that must be it, it couldn’t possibly be that the Daily Mail is the Journalistic equivalent of when you’d write the top line of a story, and then cover it up and ask your friend to write the next line, only to reveal a muddled and incomprehensible tirade of bullshit…… but at least you’d do it knowing it was a bit of a game, rather than a serious piece of journalism, that actually, quite unbelievably, helps to shape public discourse.

Still, it makes a change from their usual route of making sure a docile British public has a continued hatred for anyone with a slightly darker skin complexion.


Planet Clegg

September 22, 2011

I am not sure where Planet Clegg is located in the Universe. It is certainly light years away from Earth. They say the laws of physics are the same anywhere in the Universe; from a little town in Gloucester, to the edge of a black hole. Well, Planet Clegg seems to have physical properties that differ somewhat from the rest of the Universe, because whilst we can choose to talk shit, Clegg seems compelled by nature itself, as if it is a natural instinct, to talk shit. It really is amazing.

His speech at Conference is available everywhere, so I thought i’d take what I consider to be the most significant parts of the speech, and try to dissect them. To sift through the bullshit, and look at the substance:

“Our first big decision was to clear the structural deficit this parliament. To wipe the slate clean by 2015. This has meant painful cuts. Agonisingly difficult decisions. Not easy, but right.”

– As the £12bn black hole in the public finances was revealed earlier this week, it became clear that the “painful cuts” (less painful if you’re as rich as the Cabinet, and not painful enough to consider cancelling the five day boring yet incredibly expensive tax payer funded Conference) have achieved the opposite of what they were intended to do. Borrowing has stayed higher this year, because growth has stalled at 0.2%. According to the Financial Times:

The Financial Times has replicated the model of government borrowing used by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which suggests the structural deficit in 2011-12 is now £12bn higher than thought, a rise of 25 per cent.

– To fill this black hole, VAT would have to rise again to 22.5% and further, deeper cuts (if we stick to the path of extreme austerity). For Clegg to claim it is “right” to do what he has been doing, to cut the structural deficit by 2015, he is simply deluded and vastly ignorant. A Lib Dem turned Tory.

A new economy where the lowest-paid get to keep the money they earn. That’s why a Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury has put two hundred pounds into the pocket of every basic rate taxpayer and taken almost a million workers – most of them women – out of income tax altogether.

– The Bank of England warned that inflation was set to rise to over 5% by the end of the year. Average wages rose 2.8% in 2010. So actually, average wages, when taking inflation into account, fell. People are not better off now. Inflation, caused by strangling demand out of the economy is what keeps investment out of poor areas, and a few small changes to the tax system, regardless of how Clegg sugarcoats it, means nothing.
Do the lowest paid get to keep the money they earn? Or is it going to be spent on extortionately high energy bills?

And within one city, two nations: In Hammersmith and Fulham in West London, more than half the children leaving state schools head to a good university. Just thirty minutes east – down the district line to Tower Hamlets – and just 4 percent do. Odds stacked against too many of our children. A deep injustice, when birth is destiny. That’s why I’ve been leading the charge for social mobility – for fairer chances, for real freedom.

– One City, two Nations is a nice little tag line. The suggestion that the Lib Dems are dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest kids through education, is overwhelmingly delusional. According the Institute for Fiscal Studies, for each year up until the end of the report (2014), child poverty is set to rise. 90% of children on free school meals then go on to receive EMA to the tune of around £1,170. This is what I received, otherwise I certainly would not have been able to afford to go to college, and then onto University. Due to the cut in EMA and the replacement with the new bursary scheme, those who would have received the full £1,170 EMA, now stand to receive just £370.
The IFS stated of EMA:

“The EMA significantly increased participation rates in post-16 education among young adults who were eligible to receive it. In particular, it increased the proportion of eligible 16-year-olds staying in education from 65% to 69%, and increased the proportion of eligible 17-year-olds in education from 54% to 61%. The simple cost-benefit analysis mentioned above suggests that even taking into account the level of deadweight that was found, the costs of EMA are completely offset.”

– Getting rid of EMA is an ideological attack on social mobility. As stated above, overwhemingly delusional for the Lib Dem leader to suggest he has been ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Education is the key to social mobility. Taking away EMA, whilst at the same time back tracking entirely on Tuition Fees to the point where he agreed to triple the debt of the Nation’s 18 year olds, does not represent ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Does he really believe cutting EMA for the poorest, offering them a piss poor replacement bursary, whilst inflation continues to spiral out of control effectively cancelling out any perceived benefit, whilst benefits are slashed, and whilst wages stagnate and poverty rates rise – is a good thing for the cause of social mobility?

After being hit hard, we picked ourselves up and we came out fighting. Fighting to keep the NHS safe. Fighting to protect human rights. Fighting to create jobs. Fighting for every family. Not doing the easy thing, but doing the right thing. Not easy, but right.

– I think by ‘right’ he means right winged. How can one of the men responsible for the destruction of over 100,000 jobs in less than a year, a man partly responsible for a working NHS considered to be one of the best in the World succumbing to the terror of the private sector; a private sector that certainly did not provide improvements to the railways or the utilities, a man partly responsible as shown above, for poverty rates set to rise and families set to lose more and more due to high inflation and stagnating wages; how can this man claim he is fighting to create jobs and fighting for every family?
From April 2011, to July 2011, those three months alone saw unemployment rise a further 80,000 to 2.51 million. A huge amount of job losses in just three months. It was the largest increase in unemployment since 2009 – the midst of a recession. What about disability? Lib Dem Steve Webb said that the £12.3bn for DLA at the beginning of this Parliament, would be exactly the same by the end of the Parliament with the Personal Indepedent Payment. Clearly Webb doesn’t understand inflation over a five year period. Wheelchairs, travel, care will cost over 20% more in 2015 due to inflation. So, that £12.3bn is worth far less than Webb would have you believe. 20% of those claiming DLA will lose it, not because it is better targeted, but because it has been cut by 22%. Clegg started the house fire, the fire is still raging, and he claims he’s brilliantly putting it out, as more of the house burns.

Labour says: the Government is going too far, too fast. I say, Labour would have offered too little, too late. Imagine if Ed Miliband and Ed Balls had still been in power. Gordon Brown’s backroom boys when Labour was failing to balance the books, failing to regulate the financial markets, and failing to take on the banks. The two Eds, behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming, never taking responsibility. At this time of crisis what Britain needs is real leadership. This is no time for the back room boys

– What a waste of a paragraph. The charge of plotting and scheming from a man who signed a pledge, and gained much support and votes from the student movement in 2010, only to piss all over that pledge when he came to power and use “Well, you have to compromise in Coalition” as an excuse, is unbelievably hypocritical. In their 2010 manifesto, in bold font, on the first page, the letter from the leader, we see:

Don’t settle for low politics and broken promises; be more demanding.

– I voted Lib Dem in 2010. I want my vote back. That is me being more demanding. I want a vote on a joint Lib/Tory manifesto that includes a VAT rise, the dismantling of the NHS, closures to youth centres, and libraries and the loss of 100,000 jobs VS a Labour manifesto. If he is going to use “have to compromise in coalition government” I want to vote on that coalition compromise, rather than having to deal with the outcome of behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming Lib Dem politicians trying to worm their way out of their commitments that allowed them this taste of power in the first place.

On the first point, that Labour say the government is cutting too far, too fast; The IMF this week pointed out that with growth having to be downgraded for (i’ve lost count) yet another time, the government may have to slow down its austerity measures. At the beginning of 2011, the IMF, fully supportive of austerity joyfully claimed the UK economy would grow by 2% this year. That was downgraded to 1.7%. That was downgraded to 1.5%. That was downgraded to just 1.1%. We’ll be lucky to hit that mark. So, the IMF’s support for austerity, and the fact that they may be coming to the conclusion that deep, fast cuts do not work appears to echo not only Labour’s stance, but also pre-election Clegg’s stance. Clegg in 2010 of the Tory plans for fast and far cuts:


“Self evidently I think, we think, that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism.”

– It isn’t just Labour who say the Coalition is cutting too far, too fast. It was also pre-2010 Clegg.

I don’t think the unions should be able to buy themselves a political party. Ed Miliband says he wants to loosen the ties between Labour and the union barons who helped him beat his brother. Let’s see him put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see if he’ll support radical reform of party funding. Every previous attempt has been blocked by the vested interests in the other two parties.

– Perhaps he should convey the same message to his master in Downing Street. Islington Council severed their links with John Nash’s Care UK because the private health provider has an awful track record, and racks up mountains of complaints. John Nash of Care UK donated £21,000 to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s private office. Unsurprisingly, at the beginning of the year, a £53,000,000 contract to provide health services to prisons went to Care UK, even though the NHS was deemed to be:

better than the successful bidder on quality, delivery and risk.

– I ask, being the pockets of unions – that represent thousands, if not millions of year, is now considered worse for ‘centre-left’ Clegg, than being the pockets of one businessman and his desire for profit at the behest of patient care. The policies that he will ensure his backbenchers vote for, are drawn up by a Party in the pockets of big business. He is therefore complicit. Brilliant.

Probably the most important lesson I have learned is this: No matter how hard you work on the details of a policy, it’s no good if the perception is wrong. We can say until we’re blue in the face that no one will have to pay any fees as a student, but still people don’t believe it. That once you’ve left university you’ll pay less, week in week out, than under the current system, but still people don’t believe it. That the support given to students from poorer families will increase dramatically, but still people don’t believe it.

– It isn’t that we don’t understand. Or that we don’t believe it. It is simply that we don’t believe education should be open to market forces. Education is the right of everyone. For families who are struggling to pay increasingly inflated gas and electricity bills, whose benefits are slashed, the prospect of their 18 year old being charged £9000 a year is a step too far. With this policy also came the policy of pay-nothing-back until you earn over £21,000 a year, compared to the £15,000 limit in place now. Most Universities will rise tuition fees to above £6000, and many to the £9000 limit. The £21,000 is meaningless. I don’t care if i’m paying back £1 a year, the fact that I would leave university with well over £40,000 of debt, when you include living costs, before i’d even reached my 21st birthday, is ludicrous. If I have three children, and they want to go to University, that is going to amount £110,000+ worth of debt that my children end up with. Couple this, with the fact that England’s University budget has been cut by £449m, the teaching budget cut by £215mn, and Educational Maintenence Allowance (which I relied on to get me through college) scrapped, this does not represent a progressive plan for students. If the unique selling point is pay nothing back until you earn over £21,000, why have a top £9000 limit at all? Why not £50,000 a year? Or more? The universities can speculate that they will be richer than ever, and the debt, which Clegg seems to think is not a deterrent at all, will be irrelevant. Their policy is a disaster.

My main issue with the tuition fee debacle, is the principle. Saddling the Nation’s 18 year olds with the burden of the National debt, whilst not one banker has been prosecuted, and big businesses receiving Corporate tax cuts, and whilst the Government has allowed Vodaphone to get away with not paying the £4.8bn they allegedly avoided paying in tax, is shameful. It is certainly not progressive.

The Clegg speech at the end of the Lib Dem Conference had eroded any last glimpse of hope I had in a Liberal Democrat Party. They are, and will forever be, in the eyes of we on the Progressive Left; Tory-lite. Even Clegg’s tie, is slowly turning blue.

If you look through a particularly powerful telescope, you may be able to see Planet Clegg. I hear it was formed by the coming together of the concepts of dishonesty, u-turns, and delusion.


The Osborne Delusion

August 17, 2011

I am not going to comment on the Clive Goodman letter, needless to say, Cameron’s decision to bring Coulson into the heart of government, is just another example of the blatant hypocrisy the Prime Minister is exhibiting recently, in his new self appointed role as guardian of all morality.

So I will focus my attention on the Chancellor instead.

Every couple of years a mad American Christian will insist that the end of the World is fast approaching. They will it, because their religious delusions, they believe, could not possibly fail them. Logic and evidence are shunned for dogmatic religious doctrine that they refuse to give up on, despite the failure time and again of their religion to provide any substantial justification for its existence and its claims. George Osborne is a Tory whose doctrine is about as far right economically as one could possibly get. He will insist his doctrine is the only one that works, despite its massive failures time and time again. Neoliberalism is a religion, George Osborne is a manic preacher who cannot let go.

It was more than obvious before the general election, to most free thinking Englanders, that George Osborne’s assessment that the UK was on the brink of bankruptcy was entirely false. The 6th largest economy in the World, with a triple A credit rating coupled with low inflation and falling unemployment, after the deepest recession in living memory, is not on the brink of bankruptcy. It was a nice little phrase to use in order to attempt to win an election….. which they didn’t.

We knew that England wasn’t Greece. We knew that 80% of our debts matured in 14 years as opposed to Greece’s 3 years. We knew that Greece is in the Euro zone and so has no exchange rate flexibility. We knew Greece is ranked 109th in the World for ease of doing business, with the UK ranked 4th. We knew that Greek public debt is 142% of GDP whilst the UKs was 76%. We knew that Greece was a CCC rated country according to credit rating agency Fitch, whilst the UK was AAA rated. We knew that what George Osborne was saying, his comparison of the UK to Greece, was simply the case of the Tory machine trying to win an election.

But it didn’t stop there. He’s still at it. Either he knows he’s very very misleading, or he’s genuinely insane. Osborne has been insisting recently that he has apparently saved the economy from total collapse. He claimed recently, in an article in the Telegraph, that:

In retrospect, the use of political capital to implement immediate efficiency savings, pass the emergency Budget, agree the most difficult Spending Review for generations and put in place long-term fiscal reforms to pensions was an excellent investment in our country’s economic stability. Thanks to these decisions, the credit rating agency Standard & Poors took the UK off negative outlook and reaffirmed our AAA rating.

– The problem with that statement is, Standard and Poors reputation as a credible source for credit ratings, is rather inadequate. Ezra Klein writing in the Washington Post, said of Standard and Poors and the bursting of the credit bubble:

Standard Poor’s didn’t just miss the bubble. They helped cause it

– They did this, by assigning Triple A credit ratings, to collaterised Debt Obligations, that were risky enough to cause the entire system to crash. Investors bought up the CDOs thinking they were safe, when in fact they were standing on the edge of a cliff, with a hurricane behind them.
Just this month, the US Treasury found that the downgrading of the USA’s Triple A credit rating by Standard & Poors was based on a $2tn mistake in their calculations. The US Treasury said:

The magnitude of this mistake – and the haste with which S&P changed its principal rationale for action when presented with this error – raise fundamental questions about the credibility and integrity of S&P’s ratings action.

– To use Standard and Poors as a sign that our credit rating was saved by the Tories, Osborne is quoting a woefully incompetent source.

So how well is “Plan A” working?
Osborne claimed that Britain was leading the way in growth. He also claimed the latest 0.2% growth figures for the second quarter were a good sign. Here is how that “good sign” looks on a graph:

– Do you see the blue line edging ever so slightly downward? How in the first quarter of 2011, growth was at 0.5%? How it fell 0.3% and how Osborne thinks that’s a “good sign”?
0.2% is apparently great news, for Osborne, yet when growth in January 2010, under Labour, was 0.1% following the recession, Osborne said this:

If you’re looking for the reason why the British economy couldn’t have weaker growth at the moment, literally statistically, it’s only 0.1%, the reasons for that is that businesses are uncertain about the future, there’s no government plan for the recovery, there’s no government plan that is credible when it comes to dealing with the deficit and answering those things would help job creation.

– So the difference between terrible economic growth, and fantastic news, is +0.1%? Fickle Osborne. What about his insistence that the UK is leading the way out of the mess in Europe? Well, whilst the UKs second quarter growth figures were 0.2%, the second quarter growth figures for Italy were 0.3%. Spain was 0.2%. Poland was 1%. Ireland was 1.3%. Finland was 0.8%. Estonia was 2.4%. Sweden (with its large tax rates and well funded public sector) was 1%. In fact, the entire Euro zone growth was 0.2%. Suddenly, Osborne acting as if he is Superman is a little bit more comical than when he blamed the snow.

The inflation rate – the Consumer Prices Index – rose by 0.2% in July from June. It is now at 4.4%. Clothing and footwear measured for CPI saw the biggest rise on record.

The BBC reported today that rail users will see prices increase by 8% next year due to the inflation statistics. A great example of the “efficiency” of the privatisation project over the railways.

The Office For National Statistics revealed that manufacturing in the UK fell by 0.4% in June, and the trade deficit in goods and services grew from £4bn in May to £4.4bn in June. The ONS also point out that overall production output in June 2011 was 0.3 per cent lower than in June 2010. Mining took a hit, at 13% lower production levels than June 2010.

Imports are down. Exports, due to austerity across the World, is down. So to base a Nation’s recovery on manufacturing (Osborne insisted on an export led recovery), whilst exports are down – leading to the fall in production, is walking a very very thin tight rope. We will be relying on the service sector, because the manufacturing base of the UK was absolutely destroyed under the previous Tory administration.

According to today’s figures, unemployment rose to 2.49 million, a rise of 38,000 in the three months to June. Soon to hit the 3 million mark? Unemployment among 16-24 year olds rose to 949,000, up 15,000. Welcome to the 1980s.

The Council of Mortgage lenders said that repossessions had dropped by 24% to 36,300 in 2010. That figure is now rising, and is expected to reach 40,000 by the end of 2010.

Doingbusiness.org ranks countries by their ease of doing business. In 2010, under Labour we were ranked 4th in the World. In 2011, we are ranked 4th in the World. Absolutely no change. Despite drastic cuts, tax breaks, the desirability to do business in the UK has stayed the same. Yet, ease of starting up a business in 2010, we were ranked 16th. Now, in 2011, after the Chancellor saved us…. we are ranked 17th. Brilliant. We dropped a place.

The big six energy companies have announced plans to increase prices. Npower stated it would increase electricity prices by 7.2% and gas by 15.7% by October. This increase comes after they announced first quarter profits, up by 130%. The rise will add an average £140 onto bills. And Npower’s hike, is the lowest of the big six (other than EDF, who haven’t announced yet).

The Office of Budget Responsibility, created by Osborne in May 2010, said that the target of 1.7% growth this year, was highly unlikely, and that growth would be relatively weak. The Chancellor announced a target of 1.7%…. the Chief of the OBR said there there “aren’t many people” expecting that to happen. To hit 1.7% growth rates, the UK needs 1% growth rates over the third and fourth quarter. Given that it was 0.2% in the second quarter, it would appear that the Chancellor was so miserably wrong, it actually hurts to think of how we managed to be stuck with such a person in charge of the Nations finances.

According to BBC Panorama, when adjusted for inflation, the average UK employee takes home £1,088 a year less than two years ago.

So, to sum up, inflation is rising; if it hits 5% the increase in earnings compared to the increasing in prices will reach 3%, exports are down, unemployment is getting worse, manufacturing is falling, train prices are beyond ridiculous, wages are stagnant, disabled children in poor areas are suffering more, people ARE losing their homes, growth is all but flat lining, and energy and gas prices are going to bankrupt most of us. Is this what leading the way to recovery is like? Can we swap it please?

With stagnating wages, rising inflation, rising unemployment and harsh austerity, is it any wonder that growth figures are so low? Where does the demand come from, when people have no money, no help, and are constantly afraid of losing their jobs and their homes? Is it any wonder that imports are down? There is no demand. When the Government “saves” money, so does the public. Under the atmosphere of stagnating wages, rising energy and gas prices, high inflation and harsh austerity, it is indescribably insane of the Chancellor to have expected growth of 1.7%.

Phrases like “difficult decisions” for millionaires like Osborne, who watch the poorest, riot in London from his holiday home in California, are beginning to sound very tiresome. It is impossible to justify taking vast amounts of money from disabled children, from EMA, and at the same time back the bail out of Portugal and invest in a war in Libya that has achieved absolutely nothing. To continue to allow the very wealthiest to get away with tax avoidance, by changing the rules on profit brought back to the UK so those profits are now not taxed at all, whilst keeping VAT high, is not a plan to deal with the economic woes of the Country, it is simply Tories being Tories. We’re in safe hands, as long as George “I avoid paying £1.6m tax on my trust fund…we’re all in this together” Osborne is in control.

Is there any good news? YES!!!…….. oh wait, no, no there isn’t.


The curse of Letwin

August 1, 2011

The Conservative Government REALLY need an Alastair Campbell. Desperately. They attempted to secure a Campbell figure to head their PR team, with the [sarcarm] brilliantly managed and executed appointment of Andy Coulson.[/sarcasm] It would take a top PR team most of the day, every day, to ensure Oliver Letwin, the Minister of State for Policy, keeps his grotesque mouth closed whenever someone from the press is around, because he betrays the idea that the Tories have change, or modernised, since, well, around the 19th Century. Letwin is a left over from a group of Etonians who clearly and misguidedly believe they have a right to rule by way of their heritage. It is an arrogance that the Cameron Government will never shake, because they are the living embodiment of that privileged arrogance. They have disastrously inter-breeded this mentality with a Thatcherite economic mentality that is as dangerous as it is out-dated. His disastrous face, screams contempt for anyone who isn’t Oliver Letwin. He is a PR disaster. It is one of the many reasons (another being massive incompetence and dishonesty – which we’ll come to later) that he was overlooked when the Tories were searching for a leader. Hell, they even chose Iain Duncan Smith, does anyone remember him?

With a face looking as if someone had created him out of the concept of pompous twat, Oliver Letwin has once more allowed the Conservative Party mask it currently shrouds itself in, to fall, revealing a Thatcherite brigade just as frightening and dangerous as their 1980s counterparts.

Letwin had told a consultancy firm, that his proposals for public sector reform should instill:

“some real discipline and some fear”

He said this, because he believes the productivity of the public sector has failed. It is a strange comment and angle to take, given that the private sector has spent the past four years creating sovereign debt crises’ everywhere it goes. Productivity is very difficult to measure in the public sector, because the public sector is not about creating anything. Investment in the public sector has seen waiting lists for operations down year on year since the last Tory administration. Teaching standards are also up. The public sector does not “make” things. So talk of productivity in comparison to the private sector, is futile and misleading. It strikes me as wholly patronising that a man such as Oliver Letwin has the balls to lecture public sector workers – teachers, doctors, nurses, firemen – on what “real discipline” is. They are not children. They also did not claim public money for ludicrous items like mortgage interest payments. Also, the public sector hasn’t spent twenty five years creating a system of easy credit to boost the excessive pay of CEOs and Managing Directors, whilst the average worker saw overall increase in wages? And then when the company or bank failed miserably, the “fear” was THAT pertinent that the CEOs are given massive pay offs and lovely big bonuses. All this, whilst the public sector is told constantly, and has been told constantly, from Thatcher, to Major, to Blair, to Brown and now to Cameron, that it is not good enough, that it must be modelled on a failing private sector built on squeezing productivity out through long hours, a mountain of stress, and all for less pay whilst the big boss is compensated for his little contribution to overall productivity with huge salary and bonuses; and that their jobs are always on the line. A private sector model should be as far away from inflicting misery on the public sector, as possible.

It isn’t the first time Letwin has revealed his hostility to those less fortunate. Earlier this year, he surprised and disgusted the most posh of Tories, Boris Johnson, by telling Johnson:

“We don’t want more people from Sheffield flying away on cheap holidays.”

– At least he recognises that the North suffered horrifically with the gutting of jobs and thus wealth during the Thatcher years. Though he seems to have suggested that it is perfectly okay for the wealthy Southerners to pay for expensive holidays and that holidaying abroad should be based on wealth. I expect he thought he was at home with Boris, and could reveal his true feelings, but sometimes posh Tory twats seriously misjudge the situation, and regret the fact that their well crafted public self has been set on fire by their real self. This seems to happen a lot with Letwin. And now on to why I referred to his as a hypocrite:

In 2005 Letwin used the phrase “Wealth Distribution” in a positive light! I know! I was shocked too when I first read it. A Tory, interested and supportive of wealth distribution? Surely not! Well, actually, not. 2005 was the year Cameron was trying to pose as being a “progressive conservative“, deeply contradictory term yet one he managed seemingly to work. Letwin clearly took on that contradictory term, by trying to fill out a left wing term with right winged substance in the hope that no one would scratch below the service. He said:

…….not by trying to do down those with most but by enabling those who have least to share an increasing part of an enlarging cake.

– In practice what this means is, a desire to scrap the top rate of tax for the richest, a desire to lower the Corporation tax rate to the lowest recorded level, a desire to allow companies like Vodaphone a get out of jail free card by writing off their tax debt, whilst at the same time cutting allowance for the disabled, the elderly, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Letwin must be talking about the 16000 less police Britain will have after this Parliament; according to the leaks that the Guardian currently has; the Tory’s new director of policy Steve Hilton, suggesting abolishing maternity leave whilst also abolishing ALL consumer rights legislation. Just to reiterate….. this man, is the Nation’s DIRECTOR OF POLICY. Now i’m not saying these idiotic and deeply right winged ideas of Hilton’s are likely to become a reality. To suggest so would put me on the same wavelength as the manic Right Wingers who would constantly suggest that New Labour were about to ban England shirts and change the name of Christmas, or ban you from being white. Letwin must believe Hilton’s ideas will “enable” those with the least to a share of an increasingly large cake. Tories consider Hilton a genius…… not just because of his ideas (which aren’t in any sense a spark of genius) but also because he doesn’t wear shoes in Downing Street and they consider this “wacky”. In their defence, it is as wacky as most Tories are likely to see, given that they are born wearing business suits, slick back hair, and spend the next twenty years trying to hide the fact that their schooling experience is a plethora of homoeroticism cunningly disguised as a love of “Rugger“. It can’t have been too many years ago when gay and black people were described by most Tories as “wacky“. Hilton, like Letwin, is politically dangerous.

The reason why Letwin is hypocritical in his desire to do away with the idea that public money can actually do good, is because he used public money to claim over £80,000 for his Cottage in Somerset, in order to heat the place, empty the septic tank, £1000 in mortgage interest and most beautifully of all…… over £2000 to repair a leaking pipe underneath his tennis court. So much for “real discipline and fear“.

Either the Tory Party spend some time searching and investing in a decent PR figure, or they sew Oliver Letwin’s mouth closed, he is a liability to the Conservatives, and a liability to humanity.


Phone Hacking, The BBC, Left Wing Conspiracies and Boris!

July 20, 2011

There are a lot of blogs and articles surrounding the staggering resignations, deaths, arrests and revelations surrounding the Met and its Press Office run almost entirely by ex-News Corp journalists and their incompetent handling of two investigations; the utterly absurd judgement and ignorance of the Prime Minister; the shameful opportunism of Ed Milliband; with regard to the News Corp hacking issue. There are hundreds of articles and new revelations popping up every day. So I wanted to a somewhat different angle to this, and run down a tangent.

Though first, it seems that the Prime Minister is on the very brink of being dragged underwater and his Premiership drowned (I say that, with a lasting smirk on my face) as it emerged that not only was Coulson brought into Tory Party HQ, but also Ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who is one of the people who have been arrested so far, was an adviser to Coulson after Coulson began work for the Tories. This is particularly toxic for Number 10, because Wallis has already brought down Met Chief Sir Paul Steve Stephenson and Deputy Met Chief John Yates after it was revealed that the Met had employed Wallis as a PR consultant. This will be worth following, because even Tory blogger Iain Dale makes the extraordinary suggestion that Cameron could be brought down by this scandal. This is echoed with Tory blogger Mark Thompson offering up Theresa May as a replacement for Cameron, after betting agencies were taking 6-1 bets on Cameron being brought down, down from 100-1 two weeks ago.

Anyway. Onto the main point.

At Prime Minister’s questions last week, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart asked the Prime Minister if the police would also be investigating what he refers to as a “criminal conspiracy” at the heart of the previous Labour Government and the Murdoch Empire, into the desire to undermine Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft in the run up to the General Election.

I think it necessary to evaluate the character of Graham Stuart MP directly, as to discern whether his little outburst is worthy of our attention.

When Graham Stuart was at Cambridge, he was the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. His term also coincided with a scandal, in which voting for his election was seen as suspicious and irregularities in the outcome meant that eight of his colleagues in the CUCA resigned in protest. Eight!

As well as having a face you just want to slap, and being a little bit untrustworthy at election time, he also managed to acquire the services of the repair men to resurface his private road leading up to his luxury mansion, at a usual cost of £2,500….. for free. There are potholes on the public roads around the town that he lives, but instead the resurfacing was used for his private estate.

But even if he had to pay for the road (which he didn’t), he would be able to, with the money he saves on his fortune, through his expense claims, which he thinks are perfectly legitimate. According to his forms, that I have spent the past couple hours of my apparently boring life reading through, he claimed half the electricity bill, half the rent on the flat which comes to £1400 a month, half the council tax, food, internet, phone, mobile phone, digital camera, tripod, an Egyptian cotton satin sheet worth £40, £240 on bed linen from John Lewis which he says represented “good value for money“, four £86 pillow cases, £8,500 on food between 2005-2009, he claimed £85 from a company called “Freestye Design” whom design company logos. I wondered why he’d be using a company like that. When his expenses were released, he said:

“if anyone has any questions or queries about individual claims they are more than welcome to email me or contact my office and I will do my best to answer them.”

So that’s exactly what I did.
He didn’t reply.

So, given that this man has a bit of a dodgy typical Tory character, one has to examine his question. The point he was trying to raise, was that Tom Baldwin, Head of communications for Ed Miliband, had obtained information about the Tory Lord’s tax affairs illegally. It’s an odd charge to make, given that no one is likely to feel all that sympathetic toward a Lord, worth over £1bn at the heart of a Government (who, indeed, is the largest donor to the Tory government) whose mantra is “save save save!!” Money must be saved everywhere, disabled people must lose out, children must lose out, everyone who isn’t rich must lose out…….. except for Lord Ashcroft, who isn’t contributing to the save save save mantra, because the “illegally obtained information” showed that he is classified as a non-dom, which means he doesn’t pay any UK tax on his fortune made abroad. Yet, he is part of a legislature, that insists the UK is on the “brink of bankruptcy“. He is hardly likely to foster the sympathy of a public, in the same way that the hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone gained. The Tories are actively trying to divert attention away from themselves, because not only did David Cameron appoint Andy Coulson (they clearly want, and desperately need an Alistair Campbell), but Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London referred to the hacking scandal last year, as a Left Wing conspiracy. Whenever a Right Winger uses the term “left wing conspiracy” to refer to something they do not like (it happens alot in America, who, any time a gay guy says he wishes to get married to the love of his life, some lunatic Republican insists it’s all part of the “gay agenda“), I often want to bang my face against a wall and weep for the sanity of that particular section of humanity. Take Janet Daley writing in the Telegraph yesterday:

…..that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre.

Firstly, she does what most right wingers do, and suggests the BBC has a horrid left wing bias. She will no doubt point to some illogical evidence to back up her point, whilst ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The BBC, to me, has no real bias. It is almost impossible for a media organisation to be objective when objectivity itself is impossible with regard to politics. For example, whilst Daley will claim that Euroscepticism doesn’t get treated as a legitimate political view on the BBC, it is equally as important to point out (which she doesn’t) that the BBC personality who presents all their Westminster shows, is Andrew Neil, a man who was in the Conservative Club at the University of Glasgow, was a Conservative Party Research Assistant, and stood side by side with his former boss; Rupert Murdoch at the launch of Sky in the 1980s, before becoming a writer for the Daily Mail. It is almost impossible to become more right winged, before morphing into Margaret Thatcher. And he presents all of the BBCs Westminster coverage. The Daily Politics, sees Andrew Neil flanked by Labour MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott (never been a minister, or taken particularly seriously in politics) and Michael Portillo, a former Tory Defence Secretary, Shadow Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Employment, and potential leadership candidate. The balance is tipped very much in the direction of the Right on this one.
The political editor at the BBC is Nick Robinson. One quick google search shows that Robinson, during his time at Oxford, was not just a member, but President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He was National Chairman of the Young Conservatives. Before the 2010 election he compared Cameron to Disraeli. After the election when the coalition agreements were being debated and drawn up, he referred to a Lib/Lab coalition as a “Coalition of losers“. And contrary to the views of the those of us on the Left, on his blog Robinson says of Cameron:

David Cameron prides himself on being bold when big moments occur – challenging for the Tory leadership in 2005, calling on Gordon Brown to have a snap election in 2007 and that “big, bold and generous” offer to form the Coalition in 2010.

What Robinson has done there, has metaphorically kissed and caressed a photo of David Cameron.

Daley is so blissfully ignorant to the fact that the past two years has seen the political discourse dominated by the desire to see deep public sector cuts rather than tax hikes for the wealthy; it has seen the emergence of the desire to revert back to the Capitalism that indeed failed and brought the World crashing down with it from both Labour and the Tories, and it has seen the discourse in the media and from the mouths of politicians everywhere throw spear after vicious spear at the hearts of anyone on benefits or in a Union. The NHS has been attacked, the Welfare state has been attacked, Universities have been attacked, the public purse has been attacked, and yet the very people who caused the mess in the first place have been given vast pensions and allowed to go free. A Guardian poll yesterday showed the Tories ahead of Labour, which all suggests that the public discourse and its limits are very firmly in the court of the Right Wing. A left wing discourse would, above all, launch a sustained attack on the very need for public sector cuts in the first place, it would be calling for a complete reinvention of the economic system as opposed to ignoring the inherent flaws which WILL lead to another crash, it would be unequivocally supportive of the Unions and public sector workers rather than painting them as out of touch, greedy, and overpaid, it would be constantly presenting the information surrounding Corporate tax avoidance and the obscenely high cost to the taxpayer rather than attacking the single mum who claims a few quid more than she perhaps should. As a left winger, it is an insult to hear the discourse of the political landscape in this country referred to as left wing. But that is the superb nature of right winged discourse, unless we’re throwing anyone with an Asian complexion out of the country, privatising the NHS, and shooting the families of Union leaders in the face, they will insist the Country is too left wing. Boris Johnson did that when he claimed the coverage of Phone hacking was all part of a left wing conspiracy. The same Boris Johnson who will now, in his short term as Mayor of London, see the arrival of the third Met Commissioner on his watch. Not a great record. So that’s Boris, Cameron, The Met, Lord Ashcroft (who we are now supposed to feel sympathetic toward) and Graham Stuart MP, who have not had the greatest of records pertaining to the phone hacking scandal.

Back to Ashcroft. In 2005, he commissioned two polls by YouGov and Populus. The polls were huge, and were set up to help the Tories target marginal seats, therefore it is most certainly in the public interest. He commissioned them and paid for them through his company which is based in Belize, which means he didn’t pay any VAT on them. The Guardian estimated that he owed £40,000 in unpaid VAT. Ironically, Vince Cable, now part of the Tory government funded by Ashcroft, said at the time:

“This is quite serious. We are now not talking just about Ashcroft’s non-dom status, but about systematic tax avoidance in funding Conservative party activities such as polling.”

– So why on Earth should I care that a man who sort to keep his tax details private whilst funding a Party who would almost certainly allow his abuses to continue as they gutted the public purse, had his details extracted illegally? There are levels of poor conduct within the journalist arena, and those conducted by Brooks and Coulson and the Met (the Chief of the Met had a meeting with the Guardian to urge them to drop the phone hacking investigation last year) and in-directly, David Cameron, is far far worse than those by Tom Baldwin.

Graham Stuart MP should quit his ramblings and just go back to his mansion, and lay on his Egyptian Satin tax payer funded sheets.

The saga continues…


The wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

A couple of nights ago, Twitter was alive with the news that Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies had stood up in the House of Commons and said this:

“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.

“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that, given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same, they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.

“My view is that for some people the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a help.

“If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.”

Philip Davies ideal England is one in which sweatshops, full of people with disabilities create cheap goods for the overly privileged Tory benches to feed from, whilst the sweatshop bosses drive up to the gates of Downing Street in their brand new Mercs, accompanied by a lovely big donation for the Tory Party.

Perhaps we could use the £161,300 in expenses he claimed rather dubiously in 2009, on top of his £65,000 a year salary, to pay people a better salary? On the subject of his expense claims, he claimed the most of all Bradford MPs, and claimed £10,000 more on his second home allowance than Bradford North MP Terry Rooney. I am not entirely sure how that’s warranted, or helps him does his job to a greater degree. Incidentally, claimed for more in second home allowances than my dad makes in a year. Unsurprisingly, he clings onto this gravy train by opposing much needed Parliamentary reform. The lobby for Parliamentary reform, Power 10 label Philip Davies as one of the six MPs who will happily block reform of Parliament. This isn’t surprising, given just how much he has financially benefited from the current corrupt nature of Parliament.

Nevertheless, there is an unnerving essence to a member of our national legislature, insinuating that a person’s worth should be based solely on their physical or mental capability, and then using defensive rhetoric, heartfelt sentiment, to sound as if he only wishes to help disabled people, rather than line the pockets of his Party’s donors, and make it easy for employers to exploit without worry. It is equally as unnerving for a politician to tacitly suggest that wage discrimination is not only acceptable, but entirely the fault of those who are being discriminated against. His words sound as if he is suggesting being disabled is a lifestyle choice, that requires a bit of a punishment. That punishment should apparently be an agreement to work for less money that one needs in order to live, along with the added expense that comes with certain disabilities.

It would be right to point out that those with disabilities, who Davies wants to be paid less, did not cause the financial problems we’re now in. Ironically, for Davies, it was the private sector’s excessive greed (of which he clearly has no problem in promoting) that caused the mess, through unproductive excess profit being used – not to pay people better even when it had accumulated enough to easily manage paying more – but on dodgy asset deals. The problem in 2007 wasn’t that there appeared to be a lack of capital caused by the need to pay disabled people, or anybody a national minimum wage, but by the fact that there was an abundance of concentrated excess capital that wasn’t being put to good and productive use. Wages were stagnating for the majority of people, whilst wages at the very top climbed higher and higher. That, is entirely the fault of the private sector. Is Davies saying that if we dropped the minimum wage, wages would flourish, failed Tory economics would be proven right, and disabled people would be working shorter hours, for a loyal boss, who paid wonderfully? Because I foresee a bunch of employers driving even bigger Porsche’s whilst their £2 an hour disabled employees can no longer afford adequate care. Davies certainly didn’t offer any added benefits that some disabled people may require due to being paid below minimum wage. Grants for specialised equipment? Incomes and the ability to pay for necessary care and equipment cannot always be planned for even on a week to week basis, for those suffering certain disabilities. To promote the idea of wage discrimination against those with disabilities, at the same time as cuts to Disability Living Allowance take hold

It is a minimum wage for a reason. Do we really believe employers wouldn’t use an “opt-out” for their own advantage? Wages at the top are already obscenely high in the private sector. In 2009, for example, the chief executive of the Anchor Trust, which provides home for the elderly, took home £391,000. Anchor Trust is a charity! Whilst donations are down and employees are facing redundancy it is ludicrous for a CEO of an organisation that so many people rely on, to take home almost £400,000 a year.

I continue to be of the opinion that if an employer cannot afford to pay somebody a decent enough wage to live on, he/she shouldn’t be running a business. They are a danger to the public. £5.89 is not a lot of money, and to suggest that the rest of us are entitled to at least that, whilst a disabled person is entitled to less, purely because of a natural affliction is sensationally regressive.

The far right narrative is the problem, not minimum wage legislation. Philip Davis is attempting to remove responsibility for fair pay away from the employer, and onto the employee. Citizens UK found that of the companies in London willing to sign up to paying their lowest paid members of staff a “National living wage” rather than a “National minimum wage”, of £8.30 an hour, they managed to lift 3500 families out of poverty in 2009. It didn’t have an adverse affect on prices, in the same way as the minimum wage introduction in the late 1990s didn’t have an adverse affect as many Tories claimed it would. Campaigners for a National Living Wage are screaming out at Tesco, who have failed to ensure their cleaning staff are paid a fair living wage, despite the company making £3.8bn profit last year. Employers do not, ever, take paying their staff a respectable wage seriously. Ever. Surely if they were made to pay more, of which they can definitely afford, the money would be divided among a workforce who would pay more tax, and use the added disposable income on goods and services from businesses across the Country, rather than wasting it on the very very small band of wealthy elites?

A study in America called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. I wonder if Philip Davis thinks black Americans should agree to work for less money than their white counterparts, purely because they are black? What about a black person with a disability? Back to slavery?

We should though, not be surprised by the ignorance that Philip Davis displayed. Here is an MP who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which state that it is unlawful to discriminate when selling goods or services, education or facilities based on sexuality. Davies therefore thinks it is acceptable for a school to expel a gay student. Or for a shop to ban a lesbian lady purely for her sexuality. He also voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. So, he wants more freedom for shop owners to ban people based on sexual orientation (individualism and all that Libertarian bollocks) yet that same individualism, he doesn’t extend to the most privileged of people passing that privilege onto their children, who may or may not have worked or produced anything worthwhile in their entire lives? Oh the hypocrisy.

In 2011 he even invented his own logic based on a lie, when it comes to making cigarette packaging plain:

“I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that.”

– The objection I have with the line “it would not have any basis in evidence” is that it does have basis in evidence. Cigarette companies spend millions on their packaging, and over the last couple of decades, they have used the idea of “light” packaging to sell products to people who believe smoking “light” fags, means less danger. A 2004 British Medical Journal research article found that:

The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (≤ 7 mg)

– So smoking a cigarette from a package that claims to be “ultra light” means nothing. But do people really believe “ultra light” means they are at less of a risk of developing lung cancer? Does the advertisement on the packaging work? If it does, then Davis is either a liar, or a massive idiot. Well, surprisingly……. he’s a liar or a massive idiot. A University of Toronto research paper, titled “‘Light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes: who smokes them? Are they being misled?” published in 2002 found that:

In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M (light and mild cigarettes) to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on cigarette packaging.

– The policy of plain packaging is absolutely based on evidence. It is time we started to ignore the “nanny state” hysterical screams from manic, misinformed, ignorant right wingers.

Not only that, but in 2006, after an act of vandalism was initially blamed on a group of Muslim men, Davies said:

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– It later turned out that the act of vandalism was caused by white men. Davies did not apologise, nor did he take the same tough far-right, BNP-esque line with the white vandals as he had done when he imagined the vandals were all muslim.

You might think the incessant stupidity stops there. You’d be wrong. In 2009 Davies asked:

“Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?

Maybe he would be happy for black people to take a pay cut after all.


The way of the Huckabee

December 1, 2010

Former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee has called for whomever leaked the cables to Wikileaks, to be executed. Interesting. When Islamic extremists issue fatwas against people like Salmond Rushdie, our politicians rush to condemn them. They are barbaric. They are left overs from the Middle Ages. But apparently, American Republicans can issue death threats against whomever they so wish; especially if it intrudes on their apparent inherent right to be the bringers of war and destruction across the World.

Huckabee said:

‘Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty’

A little extreme perhaps. But then i’ve always said, those who worship their abstract, fantasy World of the concept of “Nation” are just as moronic as those who worship their fantasy World of “Religion“. Huckabee wants to put someone to death for the sake of his abstract concept.

Huckabee, ironically, is part of a political party that sent thousands of troops to their deaths in a war that won support on the basis of a lie. In 2003 a letter was conveniently found in Saddam Hussein’s house, from one of the 9/11 bombers, Mohammad Atta, and the head of Saddam’s Iraqi Intelligence, General Tahir Jalil Habbush. The letter read:

“To the President of the Ba’ath Revolution Party and President of the Republic, may God protect you.”
reads:
“Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer [the real name behind this Arabic alias remains a mystery] and we hosted him in Abu Nidal’s house at al-Dora under our direct supervision.
We arranged a work program for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him…He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy.”

It was convenient, because it was simply false. The man named Nidal was an enemy of Hussein. I wrote about this in a previous blog in greater detail than I will go into here. Needless to say, the document is not authentic. This comes years after Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist and Author Ron Suskind, suggested that the Bush White House along with the CIA had forged the document to suggest a pre-war link between Iraq and Al Qaeda to back up their authority for war. Given that, according to Wikileak documents leaked a few months back, this little lie, along with the tidal wave of lies the Republicans threw at the World in order to gain support for their illegal war, caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, shouldn’t Huckabee be getting his priorities straight, and quit worrying about how many rich Americans in expensive suits these leaks embarrass, and worry about his weak interpretation of the word “treason”?

Every President for the past, at least, 100 years should be tried for treason. Reagan funded and armed right winged terrorists in Nicaragua, and so was indirectly responsible for thousands of innocent lives lost.
General Suharto of Indonesia is estimated to have killed around 1,000,000 people in 1965, after the US gave lists of known Communist sympathisers, making it easier to round them up and execute them. Arms deals then propped up the Suharto dictatorship through the reign of President Ford right up to President Clinton.
$112,000,000 worth of arms were passed to Suharto’s regime, from the Carter administration.
During the invasion of East Timor, but the Suharto regime in Indonesia, supported by the Americans; the UN had a vote calling for Indonesia to stop its invasion immediately. The vote was blocked by the US who also blocked a vote to impose economic sanctions on the Country.
Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Suharto, on his absolutely abhorrent invasion of East Timor:

“It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly; the use of US-made arms could create problems.”

Kissinger knew that what he was supporting and helping, was nothing short of genocide. Strangely, Huckabee hasn’t called for Kissinger to be executed.

The problem isn’t that the leaker, or Wikileaks puts anyone in danger. They don’t. What they do, is embarrass World Governments. Especially America. It is long overdue quite frankly. Politicians like Huckabee would quite like to be able to get away with murder, without being hindered by those pesky journalists.

They set a precedent; they show that technology has reached a point where it is possible for those working within the system to say “Hang on, this is wrong, this needs to stop” and leak the relevant information and misdeeds to the press, without meeting in a car park and handing over brown envelopes. Politicians like Clinton, and Obama, and Huckabee, and Bush are not concerned with National Security, they are concerned that their quite obvious misdeeds and crimes are being made public. It is the equivalent of a murderer complaining that the press made his name public, and that it might make his neighbours dislike him now. Boo fucking hoo.

Wikileaks is doing what journalism should have been doing for years. This is the job of journalism.
It seems to have become the job of the press, to add fuel to the cancer of Nationalism/Patriotism. To mask all shocking details of what our Country undertakes in our name, behind a wall. On one side of the wall, the press place us…. portrayed as the great victims of the evil Arab and Socialist World. On the other side of the wall, they place everyone else. The problem is, the wall doesn’t exist. It is an illusion. To keep us supporting this shit, they wave an English or American flag every so often, and play our National Anthem. Suddenly, we don’t need to question what sort of crimes our Governments are committing, because they must be doing the right thing; they’re English after all!

The Press tend to toe the Government line, certainly on foreign policy issues. Even the BBC, that beacon of independent broadcasting, in 2004 referred to Blair as the “great liberator”, and not in an ironic sense.
We seem happy to read versions of stories sourced by government officials and business leaders (as if their word is truth), influenced by the needs and desires of advertisers, and playing to the political and business sympathies of editors; who all create a sort of fantasy World, but the moment any potentially embarrassing story is leaked, we bang on about National Security. As if it’s the fault of those who leaked the fact that our governments are shit and our ridiculously clouded National Pride is a little bit misplaced.

It isn’t irresponsible. We’re fucking irresponsible for constantly electing corrupt lying money hungry bastards. Governments are irresponsible for playing such a dangerous game with diplomacy, and invoking a sense of the abstract concept of National Pride whenever we’re heading toward a conflict, whether we’re morally right or not.
We’ve known for years anyway, that governments and big business are absolute bastards, it’s nice to have it confirmed.

Yet some people seem to have said….. “Oh my god, the UK has been supporting torture, and bad mouthing other Nations. They also are responsible for millions of civilian deaths in the Arab World……….including children!!!……………….. who fucking leaked this, the bastards!!
Get your priorities straight.

There needs to be a place where the misdeeds of government and business can be aired without being twisted by vested interests in the press. There is no Andy Coulson or Alastair Campbell to spin the truth.

Also, there exists quite a contradiction within Capitalist countries, especially from the Right, who want wikileaks closed down. The hollow cries of “keep government out of the market” are suddenly ignored, whenever they demand it. It’s almost laughable how hypocritical the bastards actually are. Jefferson said that a free press was essential to democracy. Well, this is what a free press does. Accept it.

One of the leaks shows that whilst the US and UK have been telling us that no official log of civilian deaths in Iraq exists at all, it actually does exist. It shows that the US had continually ignored hundreds of cases of rape, child abuse, torture, beatings, and murder by the Iraqi police. It shows also that the US and UK know that at least 109,000 innocent Iraqis have died as a result of the Iraq war. A war that was sanctioned on the basis of a complete lie. The Republicans, of whom Huckabee is one, are responsible for the deaths of at least 109,000 innocent people. Huckabee should be tried for war crimes, and treason given how many Americans lost their lives as a result of it.

Wikileaks also released a video not long ago showing soldiers in an Apache helicopter gun sight, using the helicopter like an XBox war game. They take out a small village, and then can be heard saying “Ha, ha, I hit ‘em.” Another says “Look at those dead bastards“. Who are the real fucking criminals in this?

Another log shows that a British rifleman shot dead an young Iraqi girl who was innocently playing in the street. Our journalists would have never uncovered this. Her death, the anguish of her family would have remained a secret. The rifleman would be, and probably still is, hailed a hero. And so the game of the glory of the West no matter what, continues, unhindered; whilst the bodies of children lie shot and bloodied in the streets of Iraq. But Huckabee doesn’t have a problem with this. He has a problem with anyone who actually dares to make it public.

For a Nation that prides itself on its democratic system, I would have thought we’d all be supporting something that absolutely helps democracy flourish. You cannot have democracy, without all the relevant information on how your representatives and government are acting, in your name. Genuinely justifiable secrets, like troop positions in Afghanistan are one thing; but leaking the amount of awful deaths and torturing your Country has been involved in, or leaking the fact that your Country is trying to spy on UN officials, is not a genuinely justifiable secret (unless you’re President Nixon).

Without these sorts of leaks, the status quo remains, and the status quo is massively unbalanced, and quite honestly wrong. The status quo exists to keep the consumer-lead middle classes happy, half truthful news, quickly devised, by journalists who do not investigate as they should, next to stories about who Paris Hilton fucked at the weekend. A World that and is basically saying “ignore what’s happening over there…. ignore the blood……….. oooo look, a shiny thing! You want to buy the shiny thing! Go on, buy the shiny thing”. But then when someone shouts, loudly, “No, fuck the shiny thing, let’s focus on the blood, let’s focus on what’s happening over there….” politicians call out “NATIONAL SECURITY!” It has nothing to do with National Security and everything to do with National embarrassment.
What Huckabee is generally saying is “We have worked hard to create the myth that was care about the World. That we aren’t just attempting to create an economic empire built on docile, easily manipulated and exploited peoples. Our people ACTUALLY believe this bullshit we propagate too. Please don’t ruin it. If you do ruin it, we’ll put you to death“.
Wikileaks, and online citizen journalism, is where journalism is heading. A proper radical kind of press, that does not filter out damaging reports, is what people like Northcliff set out to do decades ago.

This isn’t dangerous. It isn’t going to cause another World War. It is massively needed. Because the way things work at the moment, is very one sided, and is run like an American Empire. They are the new Rome and they want it all their way, without question, placing themselves above the law. The President and the Secretary of State are on damage control mode. They are part of the established order, that wishes to conduct their business, however dodgy it is, however illegal it may be, in absolute secrecy. That is the order that exists. If you don’t particularly like this fairy land of an order, then you will support Wikileaks, like I support Wikileaks.

The only question you should ask yourself is; Should America be allowed to get away with anything it pleases?


The Presentation

October 19, 2010

Yesterday at University I had my first presentation of the year. I had under a week to prepare it. It went pretty well though. I quite like being the first to present, and I have no problem talking in front of people. I get quite passionate when I talk too. Which must be a good thing. I get my grade back next week. I thought i’d publish my guidelines on here, for what I wanted to present. The presentation follows the question.

Presentation 1 – Debate and discuss: ‘Increasing concentration of media ownership into fewer hands means news will become less reliable as a source of information and public scrutiny’. Explain why you agree or disagree.

The corporate media is a business; enshrined by law to protect shareholders.
A media corporation is not unusual, it is a corporation. It has to play by the very same rules as every other corporation. This presents institutionalised problems right at the very fundamental making of a media corporation.
Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation, writes:

The law forbids any motivation for their actions, if it is to assist workers, improve the environment, or help consumers save money. As corporate officials; stewards of other peoples money, they have no legal authority to pursue such goals as ends in themselves – only as means to serve the corporation’s own interests, which generally means to maximise the wealth of its shareholders. Corporate social responsibility is thus illegal – at least when it is genuine.

Corporate media is no different. Its only concern and its only legal requirement, is to make money. It is not concerned with preserving and progressing democracy through what it likes to call an open and free press. It merely wants to make money, become dominant, and have influence. Wealth and power centralized within the State are considered great evils; wealth and power concentrated in very very few hands within a wealthy private elite, who remember are unelected and who are not in any way concerned with the public good, is strangely considered free.
When Jefferson stated that “The only security of all is in a free press” he was writing at a time when Corporations, including the press, had social responsibility enshrined in law. Corporations in those days were not allowed to attempt to influence elections, nor could they fund campaigns and if they were seen to be committing a public harm, they would be dismantled. The free press in Jefferson’s time, were not media conglomarates ruled by very wealthy elites.

Justice Hugo Black asserted that “The first amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public”. When corporate media attempts to consolidate its power, we don’t particularly receive diverse and antagonistic sources.

I wont try to suggest that all media outlets in the UK have the same agenda. It’s obvious to anyone that the Daily Mail has a far more right winged approach to the society and Nationhood and economics, than the Guardian. But, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t similar in other ways. The media is generally conservative, because it exists as a result of the economic and social structure that is in place and that it benefits from, and so anything that might threaten the power of business (for example; a working class or left wing version of events) is only ever going to be published in a negative light. For example, the top story on Sky News this morning was that 35 business leaders have backed George Osbourne’s plans for spending cuts. It was reported as if this is some sort of proof that the Conservatives are doing the exact right thing. The Sky News report said the document of support was signed by Stuart Rose, the M&S Chairman. What it doesn’t say, is that Stuart Rose is set to be made a Lord, by the Conservative Party and is a life long supporter of them. It also says that a group called Diageo signed the letter. It doesn’t go into any detail. Diageo is the parent company of Guiness and Johnny Walker and other big alcohol names. However, what the report doesn’t say is that over the past couple of years Diageo has restructured itself so as to avoid as much tax as possible, despite making most of its money in the UK. Another businessman to sign the statement in support of the Conservative Party, is Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury. What the report doesn’t say is that The President of J Sainsbury, is John Sainsbury, Baron of Preston Candover, with a net worth of £1.3bn, he is a Conservative Party donor, and member of the Conservative Party. Another businessman to sign the statement in support of the Conservative Party is Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next. What Sky or any other broadcaster or newspaper doesn’t say, is that Wolfson is a member of the Conservative Party and donated to David Cameron’s 2005 campaign, and named by the Telegraph as the “37th-most important British conservative.” None of the British press or media in general today, have published this side of the story. And so information, it could be argued, has been withheld.

To own and run a successful newspaper in the UK, you have to have money. To have money, it is fairly unlikely that you are a pro-union left winger with socialist ideals. To enhance your wealth, you need to be somewhat dedicated to neoliberal ideals. This is one of the main reasons we do not have working class publications any more. And so one side of the argument is very much presented. Reliable sources of information, as well as two sides of the argument are almost never presented.

For example, during the election campaign, every party ran on the notion that spending needed cutting drastically, and that Gordon Brown referring to Gillian Duffy as a bigot was awful. None of them challenged the consensus. None of them bothered to point out that Gillian Duffy had actually asked Brown before hand “What are you going to do about all the Eastern Europeans”. To me, that stinks of bigotry and ignorance. On the economy, the Sun printed last Monday, a double page spread about benefit cheating, entitled “Benefit Ghettos: Worst welfare blackspots finally revealed”. It began the story with “Britain’s benefit black spots where up to eight out of ten people live on State handouts are exposed in shocking new figures released today”. This struck me as particularly over dramatic. Words like ‘exposed’ and ‘shocking’ add to the idea that we should all be intensely angry at a few people on benefits. This isn’t new, or exposing, or shocking, most Papers have ran stories on benefits over their life time. The suggestion is, during time of economic hardship, those living on benefits; if they aren’t the biggest problem, then it’s immigrants. Always the same story, time and time again. Now, what wont get published much, is the fact that according to statistics, in 2007 to 2008. Benefit cheating cost us around £800mn, whilst Corporate tax avoidance cost us £18.5bn. It would seem that when men in expensive suits do it, the papers aren’t too bothered by it. When a single mum in a council house in Liverpool does it and about 300% less, it’s a National scandal. The papers stay clear of it. I’d suggest this is simply because half of the companies who owe a fortune in lost revenue due to elaborate tax avoidance schemes, are key advertisers. Andy Coulson, the Tory party communications Director, and ex editor of the News of the World, must have had a say in the fact that both the Sun and the News Of The World tend to stay entirely clear of the Lord Ashcroft tax avoidance affair.
During the Summer of 2008, Rupert Murdoch’s son-in-law paid (around £34,000 in total) for the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, to fly Santorini (a Greek Island) for private talks on a yacht, with Rupert Murdoch. Also in Santorini for the talks was a lady named Rebekah Wade……………. Editor of The Sun.
It is no coincidence, that a couple of days after Murdoch spoke in the Sun, stating of David Cameron:
“What does he really feel in his stomach? Is he going to be a new Thatcher, which is what the country needs? The UK desperately needs less government and freer markets“
Cameron then made a speech, in which he said of Ofcom:
“So with a Conservative Government, OFCOM as we know it will cease to exist.“
Surely that’s no coincidence. I pick on Murdoch because he’s the current king of the media. He really pushed for a Conservative government and not just with the Sun. After every leaders debate, Sky News awarded victory to Cameron. Even the first, in which Clegg mania took off and the entire Country was pretty certain Clegg won; Sky News said 45% of people polled said Cameron won and only 23% said Clegg won. I don’t think 45% of Conservative HQ would have said that Cameron won.

To conclude, the concentration of media into fewer private hands, is no different to concentration of media in government hands; it provides only a certain side of a story, which is to say to side of the story which least affects its advertisers negatively, or the business community in general. Profit comes before responsibility much of the time.