The Human Cost of the Bedroom Tax

July 30, 2013

In May this year, Liverpool’s Riverside Housing Association called for the urgent help of the Samaritans, to deal with the rising number of people on the brink of suicide because of the misery inflicted by the Bedroom Tax. The country’s most vulnerable – and subsequently, the easiest for a Cabinet of millionaires to belittle, humiliate, and immiserate – are having to pay (some, with their lives) for the failure of the Banks, and the offshore donors love affair with the Conservative Party.

In March this year, grandmother Stephanie Bottrill committed suicide, after telling neighbours that she couldn’t afford to live any more. She could not afford the cost of living in her house, a home she had lived in for 18 years, because a government of millionaires decided she had too many ‘spare’ bedrooms.

Today the High Court ruled that the Bedroom Tax legally discriminates against people with disabilities, and so, could not be overturned by the Judiciary. The case brought by ten families who will suffer from the Bedroom Tax, had asked the court to determine that the rules do not recognise additional needs required by disabled people and families. The ten households that brought the case argued that the Discretionary Housing Payment was woefully inadequate. Shelter agreed. As did other charities in the sector. The wealthy judges, unsurprisingly, didn’t.

Firstly, it is important to note that the Court did find that the policy was discriminatory toward some disabled people. Try to remember that, when you hear the joyful response from Conservative MPs. They are expressing delight at the fact that they now have a legal right to discriminate against people with disabilities. This is the nature of the Conservative Party in 2013.

In the coming days, we are likely to hear analysis on policy, on the Court’s role in challenging policy, we’re likely to hear how the bedroom tax is ‘already helping’ bring down costs, we’re likely to hear about logistics, and how unaffordable the housing situation is in the UK, we’re likely to hear about how the DHP is incredibly well funded and how Iain Duncan Smith finds everyone working at Shelter to be secret Marxists. All faceless, soulless discussion that works only to dehumanise the consequences of the policy. We’re likely to hear all of this, from very wealthy individuals, in very large houses, coming from the gleaming faces of Iain Duncan Smith and others like him, who do not have to deal with the horrendous circumstances they choose to inflict upon the most vulnerable. For example, this charming chap:

screen-shot-2013-07-30-at-11-46-17
– On a side note, disabled people aren’t the only people Bob Blackman insists are less than human. He also told BBC News that gay marriage legislation was wrong “on principle”, insisting it could only work between one man and one woman….. The Mirror then exposed Blackman as a cheat. So, let’s be clear, Bob Blackman and others like him, enjoy inflicting misery on others. He has no principles. He has hobbies. Those hobbies include contempt for anyone who isn’t Bob Blackman.

What we are unlikely to hear, are the human stories from those who will be most affected by today’s decision. Those that are forced to make heartbreaking decisions. FutileDemocracy spoke to two of those people, and so here are their stories, in their own words:

Jacqueline Leeson, in Lincolnshire has two children; Ashley and Jake.
Jacqueline told me:

“One child is suspected autistic spectrum, he has social difficulties, he also suffers from short term memory, dyspraxia of the mouth and petit mals, he has a life threatening allergy to grass and is asthmatic, my other son has short term memory and also is asthmatic, my son with the social difficulties spends much of his night time talking in his sleep, falling out of bed, crying out and making dashes to safety from his night terrors, he’s now 11 and always been this way, I have a three bed house.

“A short time ago I managed to find an exchange to Cornwall to another three bedroom house. It was the closest I could get back to my family and it took over a year to find this exchange, the school down there had autistic and a short term memory units meaning both of my children would have been supported, where I live now none of this is available at all, in fact hardly any support in these area’s are available.

“Cornwall council deemed I was going to be over housed and removed me the move even though my children had been accepted in the new school and the disability care was already being arranged.

“The bedroom tax has lost my children’s right to a better education and have their disabilities supported, I’ve also lost my partner as he’s working in Somerset as there is no work up here for his industry and the distance was too far for him to travel.
My family have split up, my children have been left with the bare minimum chance of success and I’m still nearly 300 miles away from my disabled Mum who is very poorly, all because of the bedroom tax.
Jakes also had his DLA slashed as well by about £75 a week.”

– The Bedroom Tax – especially when taken with other harsh cuts – in this situation, not only punishes Jacqueline and her children, who are in a situation not of their own making, for wishing even a slightly better situation for herself and her children after years of difficulty. It is also a notice that the future must be bleak also. That their suffering is necessary. That Conservative policy, does not care much for family. That successive governments’ failure to deal with a housing crises, whilst Minister’s in control of policy – like the Bedroom Tax – such as the truly insufferable Lord Freud sat back relaxed in the comfort of luxury, knowing they didn’t have to act, because it didn’t affect them.

Freud isn’t the only one.
Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg insisted that the Bedroom Tax was necessary to deal with the 2,000,000 people on social housing waiting list, by evicting those in houses that have one too many bedrooms than necessary. Incidentally, Nick Clegg, upon his appointment as Deputy PM, gets to live here, somewhere among the 3,500-acre, 115 roomed estate at Chevening…. and he lives here, free:

Upon appointment as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was given this 3,500-acre, 115 roomed estate at Chevening, to live in for free. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Dhowes9.

Upon appointment as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was given this 3,500-acre, 115 roomed estate at Chevening, to live in for free.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By Dhowes9.


– Though, he does have to share the 115 room Estate, with Foreign Secretary William Hague. So, he only has 113 spare rooms really.

Sue North-Blake and her husband are having to cope with cutting down on the most fundamental necessities, like food, and heating. Their choice is; cut out meals, or leave their home. This is the reality of the choice handed to families that have to deal with the hardship of disabilities, by a government of multi-millionaires who themselves, own multiple mansions.

My disabled husband and I live in a two bed bungalow. I am his full time carer. Because of his disabilities I use the second bedroom. It is NOT spare!. We applied for the DHP but were turned down because the council counts DLA as income, and said we should be using that to pay for the room.”

“So we had to cut down on food, and in the winter the heating will just not go on. Yet if we had a night carer come in we would be able to have 2 bedrooms! The government is discriminating against married couples who need two bedrooms for medical reasons.”

So, the legacy of the Bedroom Tax is one which promotes further hardship for those in the most vulnerable of situations. Conservatives and their voters should of course be ashamed, but it isn’t surprising. This is what Conservatives do. They measure the success of a government, by the wealth of its richest, rather than the poverty of its poorest. The real shame, should be reserved for the Liberal Democrats, whose support is necessary to enact such horrendous policy decisions.

It is worth noting just who the Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, actually is. She spouts the usual “Labour’s legacy” defence whenever questioned on the human cost of her soulless policies. Do we really believe that if Labour had left a strong economy, a Tory government wouldn’t be doing the exact same as what they are doing now? Do we really believe that this is all due to addressing the deficit, rather than a Conservative ideological dream? Do we really believe that having spent thirty years extolling the virtues of leaving the most vulnerable to suffer by themselves, this is happening because it is ‘necessary’ rather than a Conservative ideological dream? Well, one must examine Esther McVey’s ideological leanings, for the answer. And it comes all too easily.

It is unsurprising that McVey feels it necessary to inflict more misery upon those who need the most support, given that she is a keen supporter of ‘Conservative Way Forward’, a group that dedicates itself to the further realisation of Thatcherite principles. Thatcher; ideologically dedicated to removing as much State support for the most vulnerable as possible, promoting the truly monstrous ‘care in the community’ scheme, alongside horrendously degrading and humiliating procedures in order to receive Disability Living Allowance. McVey is one part of the Thatcherite poison that infects the government and its disabled policy. The new PIP rules set to replace DLA, contain some awful details, when examined,(for example, the truly horrifying new rule that to qualify for Motability support, one must be unable to walk more than 20 metres) but again, when these people control the country, it is of no surprise that disabled people suffer the most. I’m sure joyfully slashing support for those already having to cut down on food, and having to deal with unheated homes, and care for disabled family members, pushing more and more to the brink of suicide, comes easy to the heartless Esther McVey, and the £51,737.22 she claimed in expenses alone for 2012/2013.

Hitting the Conservatives with real life stories of the misery that they purposely inflict upon the most vulnerable families, highlights just how monstrous their dehumanising policies are in the 21st century. Especially from a Party whose donors cash in so heavily on that misery.


This could be 1983

May 13, 2011

The Conservatives haven’t changed. It is true that they are the epitome of what it means to be wealthy, privileged, and have an in-built mechanism of contempt for anybody who isn’t wealthy and privileged. I find their politics to be vicious and nasty, and their economics to be self serving and hypocritical. They are typical of the type who wish to use a system to climb to the heights they have, and then burn the ladder up which they or their family before them, climbed.

They will always use the “deficit” (which isn’t that bad) to justify the unjustifiable, simply because no one except a tiny band of elite scumbags will ever accept their economic principles. Libertarianism is dangerous and unhealthy to a civilised society. It is built on the premise of judging a nation by how rich its most wealthy have become, how concentrated that wealth has become, rather than how society protects its most vulnerable.

Their language is arrogant, vicious, dirty, and out dated, to match their political stance. Here is a few examples of Tories being Tories.

  • Wandsworth Council today announced plans for the Autumn, to charge children £2.50 to use the local park. It is in response to the £55mn it needs to find in spending cuts. Instead of fighting the obvious manipulation of figures from the Treasury which suggest we’re on the verge of becoming Greece (which we aren’t), and instead of pointing out that the Treasury is in worse shape now than it was when Labour left office, and expected to get worse, with regard to inflation and unemployment……… the Council has just accepted the bullshit, and decided that along with the disabled and the unemployed, children should be the next to be hit. We now have more property millionaires than anywhere in Europe – creating an horrendous property apartheid especially in the South, we have a banking system that has managed to get away with causing chaos, and we have a mass of Corporate tax avoiders costing the system £25bn a year….. and yet Wandsworth Council think the way to go is to make children aware that from now on, any ounce of fun, is going to cost them money. The excuse? The same typical excuse Libertarians use all the time, the same tired, nasty excuse Tories have been using for decades:

    “Why should Wandsworth taxpayers subsidise children from other boroughs?”

    – Who thinks like that? It makes me squirm.
    If that’s the case, why should the majority of left leaning voters (over 57% at the 2010 election) subsidise the jobs of a right wing government? I don’t want our family tax money to pay for our Tory MP to live so comfortably. I don’t want our tax money to go to paying a National debt whilst the very wealthy manage to pump their money into offshore accounts, and be allowed to claim expenses on running those offshore companies, against the UK tax they don’t pay. We are subsidising their ability to pay nothing. They couldn’t run a successful business in the UK, and offshore its profits, without functioning roads, a decent healthcare system, a property protection system like the police force, an education system to prepare their future workforce. And yet, their right to offshore, is supported by our Government who instead choose to attack children’s parks. Great.

    The Tories main campaign poster in 2010 was this:
    – So imagine our surprise when Mark Britnell, who made it into the Top Ten of the most influential people when it comes to healthcare in the country by the HSJ, former Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the NHS and now “health policy expert” on David Cameron’s personal NHS advisory group said this to a group of Private Healthcare lobbies, organised by private equity firm Apax:

    “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer. The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”

    Minister for Health Andrew Lansley, who is worth an estimated £700,000, and spent the Labour years flipping his second home, claiming expenses for renovating a cottage designated his second home, before selling it for a tidy profit, before claiming for furniture for his flat in London now designated his second home, insists that he isn’t considering NHS privatisation. One wonders what his most charitable donor, John Nash, of Private Health company Care UK thinks about that. Nash donated £21,000 to Lansley’s private office, whilst they continue to make 96% of their profit from the NHS. Care UK stand to make a great deal more from increased involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

  • Cameron promised that front line jobs would not be cut from the NHS, before the election. Vowing to protect the NHS is a big vote winner in the UK. Cameron knew that. He then didn’t win the election, didn’t get a mandate, and so decided to rip the NHS to shreds. According to Unison, 500 jobs at St George’s Hospital in South London are to go, along with three wards and 100 beds. Similarly, Kingston Hospital in South West London announced that around 20% of its workforce will need to go, to meet the governments cost saving demands. The government repeatedly claims it is increasing spending on the NHS in real terms. Another lie. NHS spending is set to grow by less than under the Thatcher years, which is when the NHS was gutted almost to complete meltdown. Here’s how that “increase” looks on a graph:
    Between 1997 and 2010, the number of doctors increased by 57% and nurses by 31%. Funding rose from around £1bn a year (less than Philip Green paid his family in dividends in 2009, which he financed by taking out a loan, which in turn reduced his Corporate tax rate as the interest on the loan could be offset against Corporate profits of his firm Arcadia) under the Tories, to £4.3bn under Labour, which increased the activity of the NHS by over 40%. It worked. We are healthier now than we were in the 1980s, we are living longer, and morale in the NHS was higher than the 1980s. Increases in spending this year, when adjusted for inflation, will be 0.024% from April 2011. Great. In fact, Sir David Nicholson, Chief executive of the NHS said this about the new spending plans for the NHS:

    there has never been a time where we have had four years of flat real growth. It is unprecedented.

    – There are many Tories that will argue consistently and poorly, that Osborne and the Tories are championing the NHS and funding it amazingly well beyond all recognition. Listening to them, is perilous.
    Waiting lists are already sky rocketing. In Coventry, it was reported that there would be a 13 week waiting list for Hernia repair at Walsgrove University hospital. That has now increased to 26 weeks and should be considered “just a guideline” as lists are likely to increase again this year.
    According to County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust:

    Trust is undertaking a £60m cost cutting exercise to be delivered by 2014, including £20m in 2010/11. The trust is also cutting 300 beds. 300 nursing jobs will be lost through natural wastage Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: equivalent cost savings of around 200 fewer jobs are required to meet financial targets. In cash terms, the trust is making cost efficiencies of £25m over 3 years. City Hospitals Sunderland: The Trust undertook a £22.5m cost cutting exercise for financial year just gone. NHS County Durham and Darlington : The NHS service providers in County Durham and Darlington are undertaking a £200m cost cutting exercise over the next 3 years. The trust is cutting 62 senior nurse posts and replacing them with 78 more junior posts. In addition, County Durham PCT has identified 110 management posts for redundancy.

    The managerial posts are “in addition” to front line nursing.

  • Cameron told a female Labour MP in the House of Commons – the NATIONAL LEGISLATURE – to “calm down dear”. One wonders what Tory MP for Loughborough Nicky Morgan thought of this childish, sexist outburst from our Prime Minister, given that she was seen visibly laughing in the House of Commons at that pathetic remark, yet accused ME of being sexist when I simply asked if she had asked a planted question a few weeks back.
    This comes a few weeks after Cameron took a swipe at ethnic minorities in his attack on multiculturalism, in which he mentioned Islam and Muslims 36 times in twenty minutes, and Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist not a single time. It was an attack on Islam, to the point where even Nick Griffin called the speech “provocative” and members of the EDL said that Cameron “understands us”.
    That came about a week after Osborne referred to an openly Labour MP in the Commons as the “pantomime dame”. It isn’t surprising, their stance on homosexuality, given that whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 99% of Labour MPs voted to repeal the nasty little Section 28 law that banned anything positive being said about homosexuality in schools, only 24% of Tories voted to repeal it. And whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 95% of Labour MPs voted in favour of allowing gay adoption……. only 6% of Tories voted for it. So that’s homophobia, sexism, and racism all within a year. What else is left? Ah yes, class.
    David Shakespeare, leaders of the Tory Councillor for Buckinghamshire Council said that poor northerners who are losing their jobs due to the cuts, should go down to London and pick the fruit of the land owners down south, instead of seeking job seekers allowance. He also said:

    ‘The North may replace the Romanians in the cherry orchards, that may be a good thing’

    – Not even a necessary thing? Not even a regretful thing? A GOOD thing? He doesn’t mind kicking people out of their work and their jobs, he thinks it’s a great thing, because they’ll come to the south and work on his land for next to no money! He’s happy that the North is about to be gutted, again, of all funding whilst the south thrives, again, like the 1980s. Luckily I am from the Midlands, so I’m not sure i’d have to pick this overweight Tory prick’s fields, but i’m not sure if I have to bow as he drives past in his luxurious horse and cart.

  • Osborne announced this week that he was going to make it easier for companies to cut pay, cut pensions, dismiss people, and be allowed to get away with being discriminatory. In essence, he plans to make job security as unsafe as possible. It will be golden news to people like my boss. It is an attack on the workforce again. Presumably he will moan about Unions trying to hold the country to ransom whilst he attacks the rights of as many workers as possible, expecting us all to just bend over and take it. I hope the Unions unite and fight, I hope for a period of industrial action on a scale never seen before, and I hope a general strike is called as soon as possible If it is going to be a case of a very wealthy minority making life as miserable and difficult as possible for the many, then I hope the many fight back. Osborne claims employment rules are holding back job creation. He of course, is wrong. Job creation is held back significantly by a vast majority of big bosses plundering money into dodgy stocks or increasing their salaries beyond recognition. Why not cap private sector managerial wealth to a percentage of the lowest paid? Therefore when the lowest paid gets an increase, so does the highest paid. The extra-profit to be used to employ new people. Why attack the right of the workforce to a decent level of job security and working conditions? Why is that the only solution? Do you know what else creates job losses? It is happening on a smaller scale across the country, cuts are having affects on jobs and livelihoods. Cuts….
  • Derby’s Historic Industrial museum has had to close, 9 job losses.
  • Bishop Aukland College – 179 jobs losses.
  • South Tyneside College – 200 jobs to go.
  • Tyne Metropolitan College – 66 jobs to go.
  • Stockton Riverside College – 23 jobs to go.
  • City of sunderland College – 69 jobs to go.
  • Newcastle College – 171 jobs to go.
  • East durham college – 76 jobs to go.
  • New Cross library, Crofton Park library, Sydenham library, Grove Park library, Blackheath library all to close.
  • Oxford Brookes University – 400 support staff received “at risk” letters.
  • Diss weekly Youth Centre praised by police for helping troubled children, to close, and staff to lose their jobs.
  • Taunton Primary School – no more music teacher, no more music lessons.
  • A Big Society initiative – new volunteers to help out at museums in Hampshire – to replace 25 staff who have lost their jobs. Unpaid staff to replace paid staff. Great.
  • Five libraries in Lewisham to close.
  • Cuts to NHS disabled transport in Dumfries – jobs losses expected.
  • 50% of pupil support assistants assigned to children with special needs, to be cut in Aberdeen.
  • 21,000 job losses at Lloyds……..
  • ….. former Lloyds boss Eric Daniels takes home a bonus of £1.45mn…..
  • ….. new Lloyds boss António Horta-Osório takes a signing on fee of £6mn and a salary of £1.6mn.

    In short, the poor need jobs to live. The rich need the poor to be as close to slaves as possible, reliant entirely on them to be able to eat, to be called lazy and scroungers and attacked as greedy if they unionise or refuse to work for a piss poor boss in piss poor conditions for piss poor pay. It is not a plan to increase job creation, it is a plan to enable the very wealthy, to get even more wealthy – to buy an extra yacht to fill the void in their soul – by asking more and more of their staff for as little as possible, and it’s always been the case. The project is designed to make people believe their tax money is wrongly being used, not just by people who claim to have a physical disability whilst they play tennis and golf 24 hours a day, but also by children playing on swings in the town next to yours, as opposed to the fact that your tax money is actually used to make sure that the wealthiest get massively insane tax cuts with Corporation tax expected to drop from 28% in 2010….. to 15% in 2020. That is what your tax money is funding. Make sure the man in the expensive house in Notting Hill thanks you for his lovely new Mercedes….. but don’t let your kids play on the park next to his house, you scrounging scumbag.

    The progress the country has made since the hell of the 1980s, is about to be burnt to the ground. Do not be fooled into thinking this “has to be done”, it is Conservative party ideology, they have waited over a decade to have this chance.

    They are attempting to replace compassion, with greed, and it’s working.


  • Pig Society Part III

    February 19, 2011

    David
    Cameron took a break today from trying to convince a very very
    unconvinced public that the Big Society idea is such a wondrous
    agenda, to work for a No vote for AV. So whilst he’s doing that, I
    thought i’d continue my series of blogs on the Big Society, by
    going one by one through the Tory/Lib Cabinet, and letting you all
    know what it is each is doing for the Big Society; what they
    volunteer for. Which ones run their public libraries, which ones
    have found the time, like the rest of us must do, to run their
    local school. I’m almost certain they practice what they preach. It
    would be terribly pathetic if they didn’t.

  • Prime Minister David Cameron, Tory: No
    voluntary work declared.

  • Deputy Prime
    Minister Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat:
    No voluntary
    work declared.

  • Secretary of State for
    Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague,
    Tory:
    No voluntary work declared.

  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne,
    Tory:
    No voluntary work declared

  • Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander,
    Liberal Democrat
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for the Home
    Department; and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May,
    Tory:
    No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and
    Skills, and President of the Board of Trade Vince Cable, Liberal
    Democrat:
    No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan
    Smith, Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
    Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat
    : No voluntary work
    declared.

  • Secretary of State for Health
    Andrew Lansley, Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.
    Far too busy selling the NHS to American Private health firms.

  • Secretary of State for Education Michael
    Gove, Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Communities and Local
    Government Eric Pickles
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Environment, Food
    and Rural Affairs, Caroline Spelman Tory:
    “I have
    been chair of two local charities MABL and Welcome although in my
    new role as a cabinet minister I have had to step back to be a
    patron but the first of these has hit a very difficult patch
    financially so I have had to spend a lot of time trying to help
    secure sustainable funding for MABL which helps the victims of
    domestic violence. We are not out of the woods yet and I have yet
    more meetings planned this week to try and save it. I have to be in
    the department in Whitehall even when parliament is not sitting so
    it is not easy to schedule the time but I come home every Friday
    and help also at the weekend.” – I fully salute Spelman for this.
    Not so much for trying to privatise trees.

  • Secretary of State for Transport Phillip Hammond,
    Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for International Development
    Andrew Mitchell, Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics,
    Media and Sport Jeremy C….Hunt, Tory
    : No voluntary
    work declared.

  • Secretary of State for
    Northern Ireland Owen Paterson, Tory
    : No voluntary
    work declared

  • Secretary of State for
    Scotland Michael Moore, Liberal Democrat
    : No
    voluntary work declared.

  • Secretary of
    State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, Tory
    : No voluntary
    work declared.

  • Leader of the House of
    Commons, Lord Privy Seal Francis Maude, Tory
    : No
    voluntary work declared.

  • Attorney General
    Dominic Grieve, Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Solicitor General Edward Garnier,
    Tory
    : No voluntary work declared.

  • Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin, Tory:
    No voluntary work declared. So that’s one out of 23. I’m not too
    good at maths, never have been, but I believe that’s about 4%. Just
    saying…..


  • London’s burning

    December 9, 2010

    I’m all for violent direct action; but I draw the line when those damn students made the future King of England ejaculate out of his eye. That’s too far.

    London is burning again. The protesters have spoken. I genuinely hope this is a sign of things to come. I hope the Unions get a backbone too. The middle classes certainly wont. They need to watch Coronation Street’s live episode and complain about students. I am a strong supporter of violent direct action, when Government’s quite clearly piss on the very people who elected them. It gets the message across. Always has. Shock Capitalism has been tried on Countries in the past, with shocking consequences. We should not allow it to happen here, we don’t want it here. We will not be peaceful about it either.

    So the Tuition Fee debate lasted five hours. The biggest decision on higher education in decades, was decided in less time than it takes to drive from Manchester to Devon. Nick Clegg and Vince Cable didn’t stay for the debate.

    The Government won by 323 votes to 302. Their majority of 86, swiftly cut to 21. A number of Lib Dems showed the had to courage to vote against the rise, and surprisingly, a few Tories voted against it too.

    Still, here is the list of Lib Dem MPs who voted for the rise in tuition fees, despite pledging to vote against any such proposal.

    Let’s make sure this is the last Parliament they ever sit through.

    Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
    Norman Baker (Lewes)
    Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
    Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)
    Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington)
    Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane)
    Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
    Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam)
    Vince Cable (Twickenham)
    Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland)
    Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam)
    Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton)
    Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green)
    Don Foster (Bath)
    Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay)
    Duncan Hames (Chippenham)
    Nick Harvey (Devon North)
    David Heath (Somerton & Frome)
    John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley)
    Norman Lamb (Norfolk North)
    David Laws (Yeovil)
    Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk)
    Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)
    Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East)
    Sarah Teather (Brent Central)
    David Ward (Bradford East)
    Steve Webb (Thornbury and Yate).

    If any of these are your MP, and you voted partly due to their stance on tuition fees; email them. Let them know that they are a disgrace. Let them know that they have absolutely forfeited their right to be known as Progressives. Let them know that they are Tories.


    The sleight of hand

    December 3, 2010

    There is a bit of a sleight of hand employed by the Conservative/Liberal Coalition on the whole issue of Tuition Fees. It is a little untouched, and quiet, and isn’t really being spoken about, but it needs to be.

    I went to a Question Time style event at University tonight. It included Labour MP for Leicester South Sir Peter Soulsby, Conservative MP for Loughborough Nicky Morgan, and our Student Union President. The Liberal Democrat dropped out, spinelessly. No Liberal Democrat contacted in the area would take up the spot. The rats are in hiding it seems.

    I got a couple of questions in, and especially focused on the Tory’s claims that her Party do not dislike the public sector or funding higher education because her boss David Willetts, the Universities Minister often speaks highly of both. I pointed out to her that 9 months ago Willetts referred to students as a ‘burden on the taxpayer’, yet amusingly he claimed thousands of pounds in Parliamentary expenses to do up his home, public money that could have been used to fund any one of us students in that room, or not in the room who are likely to be put off going to university due to the Coalition’s horrific attack on higher education. So I asked her given that information, who does she consider to be the real burden on the taxpayer? The student, or the insufferable hypocrite David Willetts.
    She didn’t answer. She went on a rant about how much the Tories love the NHS. I wanted to say to her “sshhh, you’re talking bollocks“. I refrained.

    On the subject of Tuition Fees, Nicky Morgan, the Tory made the point to say:

    “The important thing here, is that you don’t have to pay anything in upfront fees under our system.”

    We don’t pay upfront fees now. Never have. Nor does anyone actually think that under this new Tory/Lib system, students are expected to turn up on their first day with £9,000,000 in a briefcase ready to hand to the University. That has never been the argument against the rise in tuition fees. It is purely a nice thing for Tories and Lib Dems to say, in order to sound like they’re doing us a favour. They aren’t.

    And then there is the real sleight of hand.
    There has been much praise amongst Lib Dems and Tories for them raising the amount you need to be earning before you start paying back your tuition fee loan, from £15,000 to £21,000. This is their flagship policy, because they claim it’s more progressive than the current system. I have a couple of issues that make this a sleight of hand. The idea is those earning less will not have to start paying back.
    Firstly, raising the bar to £21,000 is great, if your loan amounts to what it does at the moment. If I leave University with a £20,000 debt, a £21,000 threshold is workable. But it is highly ineffective if i’m leaving with a debt of £40,000. That is a huge difference. Also, the interest rate is set to rise from 1.5% to anywhere up to 3% for those earning over £40,000 a year. So that’s more money we’re going to be paying back overall. Whilst at the same time the University budget is to be slashed beyond recognition. Yet they insist on calling it a fair deal and progressive. It is like a barman saying “Hey, why don’t you pay for a pint, and i’ll give you half a pint? That’s a fair deal for all of us!” Paying a lot more, for a lot less, has never in the history of the World been considered fair and progressive; unless you’re Nick Clegg living in a fantasy World.
    And secondly, and most importantly; The plans are based on 2012 prices, which the Government has been quick to point out don’t matter because no one pays up front in 2012. So, the plans should be based on the first lot that leave under the new system; 2016. This means that adjusted for an expected 2.2% rise in inflation by 2016, the threshold is not £21,000 but is actually closer to £17,000. That represents a massive sleight of hand that will save the treasury a lot of money, and cost graduates a hell of a lot more in monthly repayments than the previous system, a hell of a lot more than the Government has lead the public and the Institute of Fiscal Studies to believe.

    The Institute of Fiscal Studies pointed out that whilst 20% of graduates will indeed benefit from the plans; 8 out of 10 graduates will pay a lot more than they would do under the current system.

    Vince Cable stated:

    “Almost one in three graduates will pay less than they do at the moment under the scheme that the Labour Government introduced.”

    Almost? Not quite one in three. So, that means more than two in three will pay more than they do at the moment. How is he still insisting that this is a fair and progressive system? It’s fucking awful. The plans by some Lib Dems to abstain, is absolutely useless. If they signed the pledge, they should vote no next week. If they abstain or vote yes, they do not deserve to call themselves elected representatives.


    The Winter of Awakening

    November 24, 2010

    Nick Clegg is the biggest joke in British politics.
    – David Cameron, before the election.

    As students take to the streets for a second round of marching, London is bracing itself for more direct action. Thousands and thousands are marching as I type this, across London in what they are calling “Day X”. It is another chance for the voice to be heard, over the subject of tuition fees. Students have balls. As I said in a previous blog, we need to not worry about what Middle England thinks.

    The BBC is reporting how awful direct action is. How they think students stayed home because it got violent last time. 0.26% of the protesters last time got violent. I personally wish more direct action would take place. But nonetheless, hardly any of it got violent. The BBC is becoming the voice of Middle England, and no one else.

    The police have blocked Parliament Square. I have no idea why.
    The protests are happening across the Country. London is getting violent at the moment, Cambridge has a large scale protest taking place with them invading their Senate House, Bristol’s protest is massive. 2000 people have circled Sheffied Town Hall. I wandered through Leicester earlier, and spotted a couple of hundred people protesting. Liberal Democrat HQ in London is ringed by police, and the street cut off. A show of solidarity from our Scottish friends, as they are doing a sit down protest outside Lib Dem HQ in Edinburgh.

    It is a Winter of awakening.

    I hope they break the police line and burn Lib Dem HQ to the ground.

    The great John Pilger:

    “There is no other way now. Direct action. Civil disobedience. Unerring. Read Shelley and do it. Born of the “never again” spirit of 1945, social democracy has surrendered to an extreme political cult of money worship. This reached its apogee when £1trn of public money was handed unconditionally to corrupt banks by a Labour government whose leader, Gordon Brown, had previously described “financiers” as the nation’s “great example” and his personal “inspiration”.

    This is not to say parliamentary politics is meaningless. It has one meaning now: the replacement of democracy with a business plan for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope, every child born.”

    – John Pilger

    Back in April, Nick Clegg, and the Liberal Democrat Party won the votes of thousands of students, including my own, with his solemn pledge to abandon tuition fees altogether. They got into Coalition, and have instead chosen to raise the tuition fee cap from around £3,300 to £9000. That is a massive increase. I certainly wouldn’t have considered coming to University had that been the case.

    Yesterday, a Nick Clegg who seems to have lost all credibility and support, said this:

    “Examine our proposals before taking to the streets. Listen and look before you march and shout,”

    I am not sure the man could be more patronising if he tried. We have examined the proposal. In fact, I sat last night and read through it, again and again, trying to see what i’ve missed, what is it that is good for us students, what have we got from this? I came up with this list; The tripling of tuition fees, to £9000 a year, also came with 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 around £6000, with top Universities charging up to £9000. This 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.
    Clegg talks as if we should be thanking him for tripling fees as opposed to scrapping them. As if we don’t understand the proposal. We understand perfectly well, we’re just not despicable Tories. Clegg is. There is nothing positive or progressive in the plans. Absolutely nothing.

    The Universities Minister David Willetts said the proposals represent a:

    “‘good deal for universities and for students”

    Firstly, this isn’t a “deal”. We didn’t agree to this. Students and Universities are having this forced on them, by a Government that does not have a mandate to do it.

    Interesting comments from Willetts. This from a man who went to University when it was free. This from a man who claimed £2,191 in Parliamentary expenses, for, amongst other jobs around the house that contribute in no way to his duties as an MP; paying workmen to change 25 lightbulbs in his house. Another £1,400 on plumbing work. Not to mention the £143,764 Mr Willetts claimed of taxpayers money he claimed on his second home allowance.

    The BBC present it all one way. The real story is not the smashing of a few windows but the smashing of the welfare state. We will continue, until they change their policy, or we bring the Government down.

    – Simon Hardy, student leader, interview on BBC News.

    What would represent an even greater deal for students, would be if the Government hadn’t just allowed Vodaphone to get away with not paying the £4.8bn they allegedly avoided paying in tax. Allowing them to get away with such widespread abuse, whilst punishing the youngest and the most vulnerable, ie; placing the burden of the debt on the shoulders of the poor, and of 18 year olds, is going to cause mayhem.

    I encourage the future generation to disregard anything the older generation has to say on who has the right to go to university. They got it wrong on the economy over the past thirty years, on housing over the past thirty years, on the climate over the past thirty years, on every-fucking-thing they touched.

    To hear them lecture us on who deserves to go to uni, and who can come to Britain, is laughable. You had your chance, you failed. Fuck off.

    Especially the Conservative lot. In love with free market Tories like Thatcher and Cameron, yet absolutely anti-free market in practice, more so than me. They want government to decide who deserves to go to University, they want government to decide what degrees are worthwhile, they want government to decide what migrant workers can come in. They want to tell government exactly whom companies should be employing, based on their place of birth. They want government to interfere with the market when it suits them. And then they expect us to take them seriously?

    They appear to think that the only objective to education, is to earn money and nothing else. It is a deliberate attempt to rid us of conscientious people. Thatcher once told a girl in around 1988, that her degree in “Ancient Norse Literature” …was… “What a luxury“. Thatcher saw no value in a study of another culture and history, because there was no immediate economic value. We need people like that girl, people need to know about these things, their knowledge enriches culture. “What a luxury” suggests if there is little direct economic value, there is no value. That is the view of the older generation. We do not want a market based education system.

    And again, if the past thirty – forty years had been amazing, then i might be inclined to agree with them. In fact, we’ve got a fucked climate that no one seems to give two shits about, the rise of the far right and xenophobic racism, wage stagnation on a level never seen before, illegal wars, no houses, and the biggest financial crash in living memory. They started the fire, and now they’re telling us how to put the fire out, and it appears to be with a bit more fuel. Forgive me for thinking they deserve no credibility whatsoever.

    If the economy is to go on being as it was; i.e based entirely on easy credit, and money that doesn’t actually exist yet, and speculating that it might do in the future (which in turn causes crashes like subprime) then yes, we should follow the demands of the older generation. The generation that caused all the problems in the first place. If we want change, and a new way of doing things, then we should stick two fingers up to them, and tell them to stop fucking lecturing us on what a young person should do with their life. We need critical thinkers and a massive range of experts in as many fields as possible, so we don’t all become like the older generation. It is worth a try, because the old way didn’t work, it failed us all miserably.

    Clegg today told the BBC he “massively regrets” having to break his pledge on tuition fees. If these new proposals are so great, why does he regret it? Apparently us students should be mightily happy.

    Fight the cuts.
    Fight the coalition.
    Occupy headquarters.
    Sit ins throughout Universities.
    Close off the streets.
    Break police lines.
    Fight Clegg.

    Direct Action across the Country.


    We’re all in this together!!

    October 28, 2010

    “The Coalition’s extreme austerity policy is the biggest economic gamble I have seen a British Chancellor take in my lifetime. With my heart, I hope for the sake of the country the wager pays off, but in my head I fear that this unjust, unjustified and unnecessary programme will cost us dearly as a nation.”
    – Professor John van Reenen, London school of economics

    Today I spoke on the phone to our Liberal Democrat candidate for MP. He came 2nd in the May 2010 election, losing out to the Tory, but he is still a candidate and still campaigning for the Lib Dems. I sent him an email, and he very kindly rang me back. I asked him questions regarding the Coalition rhetoric on the economy. I specifically asked him what had changed economically, to make the Lib Dems think their committment and pledge to abolish tuition fees was suddenly not feasible? He didn’t offer me a good enough reason. I pointed out that when Vince Cable said at the beginning of October, that the economic situation was worse now and so they had to abandon the tuition fee pledge; that the situation was actually better, than when they were running for the student vote, in May. So, he blatantly lied. Our local candidate said “yeah”. He also told me that the Lib Dems wanted coalition with Labour, not the Tories. So it amazes me when they spend every moment that they are awake, insisting everything is Labour’s fault. It is following the line of Tory discourse. I massively appreciated him giving up some of his time to allow me the chance to question him, and he answered very honestly; annoyed at much of what has happened and the direction the Lib Dems seem to be going. I get the feeling this Coalition isn’t going to last very long.

    When the Chancellor announced the spending review in Parliament last week, he specifically made the point that Britain was the ‘brink of bankruptcy’, and that it was all Labour’s fault. On Tuesday this week, it was announced that the British economy is growing faster than expected. Obviously George Osborne claimed all the credit for this, essentially missing out the fact that none of his economic policies have actually been implemented or had any time to settle in whatsoever. We went from the brink of bankruptcy, to growing pretty well, in the space of 6 days. Impressive. Osborne claimed it was all due to confidence in the proposals by the government. Which is an absolutely ludicrous claim to make. I cannot imagine in the space of three months, markets have decided to suddenly start growing in unison, whilst banks start lending, all because there’s a new Chancellor in town. That just doesn’t happen. I hope though, it will make the Tories step back from the rather amusing claim that we are about to become the next Greece. What the rise actually shows, is the strong construction sector, due to public sector contracts, has provided much of the growth. This is likely to slow right down, after the axe actually hits its target. Improvement and maintenance to schools for instance, which was part of Labour’s stimulus package, is set to fall by 40% because of the cuts.

    Osborne taking credit for the growth is eerily reminiscent of when Republican Congressmen in the States angrily complain about the stimulus package, but happily stand in front of cameras holding the cheques for projects that it paid for in their district, despite their fierce opposition to it. Osborne is doing the same. The stimulus created this growth, the Tories angrily opposed the stimulus, and now they are taking credit for its benefits. And a dumbed down British public, too obsessed with X Factor, will believe it. I’m pretty sure a further 500,000 unemployed in the public sector, which will obviously hit the private sector too, might mean that growth figure drops quite harshly over the next twelve months; I wonder who Osborne will put the blame for that on.

    The stronger than expected growth figures, mirror those of this past July, in which GDP grew 1.1%, when the forecasts were just 0.6%. In April – June, the Construction Sector grew by 6.6%, it’s highest rise since the 1960s. In the second and third quarters of 2010 – still, without any Tory policy implemented – the UK economy saw the fastest consecutive growth in over ten years, suggesting that Labour might have got it right after all. Surely Osbourne can’t take credit for that too? The Party line seems to be; when it’s bad, blame Labour. When it’s good, take all the credit.

    The Tories announced that we have secured our Triple A credit rating; despite the fact that it was never actually at risk. It was always secure. In five months in office, they are claiming to have secured a credit rating on the back of the worst financial crises (caused entirely by the Private sector, nonetheless) in decades, and are apparently solely responsible for the growth figures. It’s beyond moronic.

    Nobel Prize for Economics winner, Joseph Stiglitz recently criticised the way the Coalition is dealing with the economy (in direct conflict with the 35 business leaders, but then Stiglitz doesn’t fund the Tory Party), by saying:

    “I feel sorry for the Irish people who have to suffer from this policy… but it doesn’t have global or European consequences. If the UK, Germany or other countries do it, then it is going to have systemic consequences for Europe and the whole world. If that (austerity) happens I think it is likely that the economic downturn will last far longer and human suffering will be all the greater,””

    Tough cuts to the Irish public sector, lead to huge unemployment and declining output, and certainly not a bustling, wondrous, all encompassing private sector as promised to us by the Big Society brigade.

    Today, Lord Turnbull, the former head of the Civil Service told a Treasury Select Committee that Britain was not on the brink of bankruptcy. He’s right. The idea that a Triple A rated economy, which happens to be the fifth largest in the World, and the second largest Financial centre in the World, is on the brink of bankruptcy is an amazing thing to suggest. It is simply a backdrop for these horrific cuts the Government announced last week. But one has to ask the question, if growth is far better than expected, and we have ‘secured’ our credit rating, and we are no longer on the ‘brink of bankruptcy’, there is no economic reason for such harsh cuts any more. The only possible reason to push forward the cuts, would be for the sake of ideology? What the Tories actually inherited was an economy coming out of troubled times (so, growing) and falling unemployment figures, which is actually astonishing given the extent of the crises we have just been through.

    But this isn’t the best bit of Tory bullshit to grab my attention today. Remember, we are all in this together, that includes the people on disability allowance who will get it drastically cut after a year; the people who will be purged from London because of the housing benefit cut; and of course the poor FTSE 100 bosses, who it was announced today, have awarded themselves greater pay rises and bonuses than at any time over the past few decades. The average FTSE 100 boss, now earns over 200 times the average worker wage. Bonuses to bosses increased by 34% on top of a 4% average pay increase. J Sainsbury gave its CEO a 60% pay increase. The boss of Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Gaviscon, is the most highly paid on the FTSE 100 list of top paid execs, taking home £90m. This comes a couple of days after the BBC reported that Reckitt Benckiser had agreed to pay a £10m fine for essentially, ripping off the NHS by “restricting competition in the supply of heartburn medicines to the NHS”. Good to see he’s earning his £90m.

    Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, quite rightly told the Guardian:

    “Let us not forget that these are the same people urging the Government to make deep cuts in jobs and services and in the welfare on which the poorest in our society rely”

    This all of course, comes a few days after a Channel 4 investigation, suggested that certain Tory millionaires, including George Osbourne himself, have been making money from tax loopholes. The investigation claims that Osbourne will benefit from a £4m offshore trust fund, which in turn will save him £1.6m in inheritance tax. He did nothing to earn that trust fund. He didn’t ‘work hard’ for it. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond apparently avoided the new 50p top rate of tax, by moving all of his shares from his family property business, into his wife’s name, who pays less tax. These people are really taking the piss at the minute.

    Instead of taking to the streets like the French are doing, we tend to praise these bosses and attack Unions. Whenever there is a strike, our media convince us beautifully that the workers are trying to destroy the company and ruin our lives. It couldn’t possibly be the bosses fault, they couldn’t possibly be to blame. How fucking dare people demand to be treated better? We see their striking simply as something that inconveniences our neat little consumer obsessed World. We don’t see them as people fighting for their jobs, against a class of people who simply want to enrich themselves further, despite the fact that they take home millions already. We should all be hand in hand with every striker in the Country, because the majority of us have far more in common with the ordinary worker being pissed on, than we ever will with the bastards who sip champagne on their boats. We have become massively Thatcherite in our thought process. I hope this changes soon.


    I hate to say I told you so, but…..

    August 5, 2010

    “My eight-year-old ought to be able to work this out – you shouldn’t start slamming on the brakes when the economy is barely growing. If you do that you create more joblessness, you create heavier costs on the state, the deficit goes up even further and the pain with dealing with it is even greater. So it is completely irrational.”

    – Nick Clegg, April 2010.

    There is a small protest taking place at Hove Town Hall today, where David Cameron is speaking. The protest is over Government plans already set in place, to cut Government spending drastically this year. The ideological warfare lead by the Tories, and their tag along, principle-less friends in the Liberal Democrats is supposedly the result of the need to do something quick about the debt crises in the UK.

    I’ve always wondered why Tory supporters suggest that National debt is a lot like personal debt. They suggest that if we run up a large debt, it’s best for us to pay it off straight the way and so therefore it is the same for Nations. It isn’t the same for Nations. It is completely different. It just happens to use the same word ‘debt’. To follow their logic through, we should do what the Coalition is doing and only spend money on bare essentials. Bread, the very cheapest and fewest clothes possible, shelter and water. Personal austerity. But, then wouldn’t that risk an even deeper recession as demand falls, jobs are lost, and businesses close? The government in one breath are telling us that National debt and personal debt are identical, yet in the next are telling us that whilst they cut spending, we should be encouraged to spend.

    Now, putting aside the fact that there isn’t a debt crises, and putting aside that fact that only 20% of our debt matures in the next three years, and putting aside the fact that millions of people were dumb enough to believe the scare tactics employed, that voting Tory was some righteous move because they keep mentioning the words “omg debt!!!! Naughty Labour” despite the fact that those voters are somewhat economically illiterate to the problems that they personally would encounter under a Tory government. The same Tory government whose millionaire members kept spouting the same “we’re all in this together” nonsense, whilst refusing to answer what it is that will effect them the most from the spending cuts. When will ordinary people learn that voting Tory, is never going to benefit them.

    Maybe now.

    It has emerged today that the UK’s service sector, which is the key ingredient in our economy, stalled last month in its output. So much so, that growth in the sector, fell to a 13 month low. The vast majority of companies who were asked what has caused the stalling of growth, said that cancelled government projects, that were propping up their business, whilst recovery from recession was underway, were the cause of the stalled growth. The government projects, were all cancelled, by the Tory government. Consumer spending, which was strong in January, February and March under Labour, has now started to slow down massively, under the Tories.

    Labour’s Ed Balls rightly says:

    “These warnings show why it is so risky for the government to be cutting public sector contracts now when the recovery in Britain is so fragile and people around the world are worried about a double-dip recession. David Cameron is misguided and wrong to say the most urgent priority for Britain is to slash the deficit. The most urgent priority should be to secure Britain’s economic recovery by boosting jobs and growth.”

    The chief economist for the surveying company, Markit said:

    This has hugely increased the risks of a double-dip recession, perhaps even by the end of the year.

    Julian Le Grand, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, stressed recently that massive cuts risked a return to recession, and possibly worse than before. Economist Paul Krugman continues to argue against such swift cuts. David Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England monetary policy committee says that we need more stimulus and more spending in the short term, and definitely not cuts. Nobel Prize Winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has said that more government investment in high return ventures like education and investing in infrastructure and promoting investment is the way to go, and that cutting spending risks a prolonged return to recession. The Tories, are wrong. Very very wrong.

    Every day, Sky News would interview some irrelevant business man in an expensive suit, and spin it to appear that he knew exactly what he was talking about when he demanded spending cuts immediately. BBC News would do much the same. We’d keep hearing from the same type of people. Never from those who would suffer the most. And so the idea that any suffering would take place, was largely ignored, and the rose tinted business men specs were continuously worn, and presented as fact, that this was the only way. We’d see Willie Walsh of B.A tell the UK that the cabin crew on strike were threatening to destroy a great company, pretty much daily. Sky and BBC didn’t question it. They didn’t suggest that we were only ever hearing one side of the story. They’d then back in up, by interviewing a child at an airport trying to get home but couldn’t because of the strikes, crying on his own, and we’d all (when I say ‘we all’, I exclude myself from that, because i’m not an idiot) suddenly demonise the cabin crew as greedy and evil, yet Willie Walsh, the CEO who had brought BA to it’s knees, by forcing it to pay $25mn over a price fixing scandal and a further £121.5m in the UK by the Office of Fair Trading. Why weren’t we told that perhaps if management wasn’t so appalling, that 98% of the workforce wouldn’t have to agree to strike action?

    We were then told, constantly by the Tories that they have to do this, because Labour have had thirteen years of creating a massive debt. We have not been told that in the first five years, the Labour Government reduced the debt by £34bn. The biggest debt reduction than any government accumulatively, over the past fifty years. Massive actually. Public spending then fell from 40% when the Tories were last in power, to 38.1% by 2001. In fact, the debt by 2005, had fallen from 44% of GDP to 34% of GDP. Spending only started to build, after recession hit, because there were suddenly no jobs, and because of the nature of the crash, spending was needed to protect homes and jobs. The Tories opposed it. Half the people who voted Tory, would have lost their jobs, and their homes, had the Tories been in power between 2007-2010. Contrary to the constantly projected bullshit, Labour had not spent 13 years wrecklessly spending. They had actually followed the Tories lead, and embraced Neoliberal economics.

    We were then all told that we must cut public spending, because to attack the bankers who actually caused the mess, would mean the bankers would all leave the Country and go somewhere in which they could be as corrupt as they wished without being brought up on it. It’s like saying “Look, we know he’s a murderer, but he’s a good football player, so we wont tell the police, otherwise he’ll leave the club”. We are made to believe that the best thing for all of us, is to become servants to the financial sector. We do what we’re told, by business. It becomes our fault, that the economy is screwed. There is something fundamentally wrong with the entire system, and the philosophy behind it. The philosophy being, we are all self centred egotists who could not possibly be interested in advancing the public good and humanity in general, and we we should leave it to the private sector because the private sector appeals to our vanity. The philosophy is wrong. The philosophy is something that has been embedded into our minds consciously, not naturally.

    The idea that we are taking away from the public sector, and giving to the private sector is sold to us, as an act of democracy. That democracy is linked to capitalism. It isn’t. Surely the opposite is true. We are taking power away from the democratically elected officials, who are accountable to the people who vote for them, and giving the power to unelected, self interested businessmen who we never see the faces of, let alone vote for. The political sphere may be in the hands of democracy, but the economic sphere is firmly in the hands of a new age nobility.

    When the Tories spent half of the election campaign complaining that raising National Insurance was essentially a tax on jobs, they failed to point out to anyone that their ‘austerity’ measures would not just mean a massive loss of jobs in the public sector, but also, and as a direct result of the cuts, a massive loss of jobs in the Private sector. This is not in any way Labour’s fault. This is entirely the fault of the Tories. I can guarantee as the situation gets worse, which it will, the Tories will justify it constantly by telling us all that they had to do it because of Labour. The latest estimates that put unemployment up by a further 1.5 million by this time next year, which of course means consumer spending falling even further, is not the fault of Labour. Labour had a deficit reduction plan, that was careful and meant as few job losses as possible, and then when business started to pick up, the idea was that new revenue streams would open up and the deficit could be reduced slowly. The Tories plan, is an absolute disaster. Labour, it turns out, were right.

    Spending, as a percentage of GDP was raised under Labour, as a result of the faults of Neoliberal/Tory policy across the World. As a result of mass deregulation of the banking sector primarily. That was Tory policy. They were wrong. The Tory idea that introducing a minimum wage would result in mass unemployment turned out to be false. With National Insurance, they were wrong. And now, with these new spending cuts, they are massively wrong. They said they would protect front line services. According to the Norfolk Firefighters, £1.5mn will be cut from front line fire services in Norfolk in 2010/11, these cuts include cuts to vital appliances, cutting employment of firefighters, and cutting coverage.

    Let’s still not forget that whilst the major banking institutions that essentially caused the problems in the first place were licking their wounds, out of nowhere suddenly we were made to forget that aspect and start blaming public spending and Welfare programs for the problems we face. Public spending did not cause this problem, the private sector caused the problem, and now David Cameron is proposing that we should rely on the private sector to fix the Nation. Business cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the good of humanity, without regulation. Voting Tory, means voting away that regulation.

    Over the next few months, we are likely to see just how much Labour did to prop up the economy, as the Tories continue to knock out the pillars that hold it up.

    The problem Labour has now, is that they are still pandering to the Right. They keep mentioning a clear deficit reduction plan, as if there is no alternative. They keep suggesting cuts have to come. Blyth Valley Labour MP Ronnie Campbell noticed just how little a difference Labour offered in their dedication to needless public sector cuts, by saying:

    We’ll cut your throat slowly, the others will cut your head off.

    The UK has the fifth largest economy in the World, we are AAA rated credit wise, and the third largest reserve currency in the World. We are still able to spend £6bn replacing an out of date, out of touch nuclear deterrent, and almost £1bn subsidising the arms trade, yet the Con Lib Coalition insists that we need to cut spending to help people whilst jobs continually wither away. This is purely ideological, and it is dangerous. And we on the Left, were right.


    Budget 2010: A Very Tory Budget

    June 24, 2010

    Shamefully, Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander washed away any suggestion that he should be ashamed of himself for campaigning throughout the election months on the premise that the Lib Dems would DEFINITELY NOT have to rise VAT in order to fund their economic plan, only to announce jointly with George Osbourne, that VAT would have to rise. Alexander defended it by suggesting the economic situation, since he took office, had “dramatically changed”. The trouble is, none of us know how it has dramatically changed. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it’s safe to say the situation hasn’t changed at all. The smirking face of Clegg sitting behind Osbourne as he made his budget speech, was all I needed to see, to ensure that I would never vote Liberal Democrat Tory-lite again. Alexander then said that the budget was progressive in that the richest, contributed the most. He lied again. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that the budget was “not progressive” in that the richest households did not pay more, the corporations who tax avoid were not being punished, and banking bonuses were not being taxed. Cutting benefits, raising regressive taxes, and then cutting corporation tax, can never ever be described as progressive, no matter how blinded you are by current Lib Dem rhetoric. We all know that Labour lied appallingly in their last manifesto, but Clegg and the Liberals have taken political deception and selling out their principles, to a whole new level.

    Whilst in Australia, i’ve kept a close watch on George Osbourne’s “emergency” budget situation. The term “emergency” in that phrase, the Tories have used for the past few months, and it’s very tedious. Playing politics with the economy, which they largely have very little control over anyway, is a little unnerving.

    Cameron and Osbourne have suggested that the economic figures for the last Parliament could have been ‘fiddled’ and pledged to make sure that kind of behaviour would never happen again. The problem is, the figures were not fiddled, as a report from the Office for Budget Responsibility pointed out recently. The same report rubbishes another Tory claim that the UK could become the next Greece. The report shows that Greek debt is double the UKs, Greece is still in recession and we’re not, and the debt maturity for Greece is 3 years, compared to ours which is 14. We, quite conclusively, are not Greece. The OBR report also revised figures for borrowing, showing that the situation had indeed improved. George Osbourne, having seen the Labour had not fiddled the figures, and that we were not the next Greece, and that borrowing had improved, responded quite ridiculously with:

    “this is damning evidence that the mess the previous government left behind is even bigger than we thought.”

    It is against this report that Osbourne made his first budget speech. The key points are:

  • VAT will rise from 17.5% to 20%
  • Council tax frozen for a year.
  • Capital Gains Tax will rise from 18% to 28% from midnight for higher rate taxpayers.
  • The “entrepreneurs relief” rate of 10% on the first £2m of gains will be extended to the first £5m.
  • Child benefit frozen for three years.
  • Tax credits reduced for families earning over £40,000 a year.
  • Housing benefit for longterm unemployed will be cut.
  • Sure Start maternity grant restricted to first child.
  • Single parents punished for not looking for work, when their child starts school.
  • Welfare in general, cut by £11bn over three years.
  • Pensions linked to earnings again.
  • Retirement age increased to 66.
  • NHS budget protected.
  • Corporation Tax cut by 5% over three years.
  • Small Companies tax rate cut to 20%.
  • No real commitment to tackling climate change.
  • 25% cut from every department.
  • All children under 15, will be punched in the face.

    Okay I made that last one up.

    How is this a progressive budget? It couldn’t be any more regressive unless one of the pledges was to reintroduce Feudalism. The NHS budget is protected, which is good. But departments like the Home Office (which means crime and education) will be slashed viciously. As will Climate Change financing. We are regressing, and not just by enough needed to ensure recovery, we are regressing for ideological reasons.
    No tax on banking bonuses. No punishing the banks. No tax avoidance loopholes closed. No punishing companies who have spent the past twenty years actively tax avoiding, costing us pretty much our entire budget deficit in lost revenues? No acknowledgement that it was not the Public Sector that failed, it was the Private Financial Sector that failed. Just an attack on people who have no political power. Same old Tories.

    The medical checks for Disability Living Allowance, along with 25% cuts for the department are massively harsh. The majority of those claiming this benefit, are the elderly, to help pay for their care. 25% cuts will not just hit those who are scrounging the benefit, it will hit the elderly who need it too. But it’s okay, because whilst they will now have to work an extra year anyway, the money that would have gone to providing care for the elderly, will now go to funding
    the “relief rate” of 10% on the first £5m a businessman earns. Thank God for that. The elderly should not be given any help, when the money could instead be used for more important social needs like buying a businessman a new yacht.
    The goal is to get us into budget surplus again, in six years time. Labour had pledged to halve the deficit over four years. There is no urgent need to create a budget surplus in six years. It is ideologically driven, rather than driven out of necessity.

    I have never understood the need to cut a deficit in the middle of a recovery. The budget was a Tory ideological budget. A glint in their eyes. As far as I knew, you prop up an economy when it’s falling. When it has recovered, and tax revenues increase, you then start to decrease spending.

    As far as i’m concerned, the Tories were wrong when they told us everything would be wonderful if they sold the railways, gas, and destroyed British industry; they were wrong when they told us minimum wage would drive companies out of Britain and leave us in a terrible position globally; and they are wrong now. To massively cut a deficit when recovery is underway, is like kicking away the walking stick from a man whose broken leg is still getting better.

    By calling it an ëmergency budget for the past few months, and by blaming Labour for the problems with the banks, rather than a mix of Tory banking deregulation and Labour lax oversight, they are merely indulging in a bit of ideological warfare. I guarantee unemployment rates will shoot up, and then they’ll blame Labour. Or the gays. Or muslims. But if/when double dip recession hits, they will no longer be able to blame Labour.

    The budget was a very neoliberal budget. It bases its entire existence within this new coalition, on the premise that budget deficits are necessarily awful things that must be cut immediately. There are many many economists who would tell you that that way of thinking, is not “actual knowledge of basic economic principles” and only serves as ideological Friedmanite warefare. Milton Friedman would have very different ideas about what constitutes basic economic principles, than John Keynes.

    Deregulating finance, in the 1980s led massively to fake booms economically, because credit became far too easy, and consumer debt went through the roof. And all of these new fake booms, fromt dotcom to subprime, failed miserably. That’s the legacy of right wing economics. And now, this budget, is a throw back to the days when deregulation, and cutting corporate tax whilst increasing regressive taxes and hitting those less fortunate, was considered a wondrous solution to stagnation. It didn’t work before, it wont work again.

    The Tories, on their quest to rubbish the N.I rise during the campaign also failed to mention that they whilst they said they’d scrap it completely, what they meant was they’d only scrap it for employers. Employees are still going to be hit with the rise. They said they had absolutely no plans to raise VAT, in fact, they made it part of their campaign. So in essence, they have no mandate to do this. Actually, they have no mandate to force deep cuts this year anyway, given that the majority of the country voted for cuts to come over a five year period.

    Attacking single parents, for not working is another harsh measure. As is cutting housing benefit for longterm unemployed. If the economy was flourishing and jobs were in abundance, it would be almost understandable; but that isn’t the case. There are very few jobs. Cutting benefits during a recovery from the biggest recession in decades, is simply throwing another generation onto the scrap heap. Forget any ambition you might have, you either get a job in McDonalds, or you go homeless. Professor Colin Talbot of Manchester Business School estimated that because of the cuts promised, one fifth of all public sector workers would lose their job. What about them? The Government will fire them, and then offer very little help? It is the lack of compassion that drives the Conservative Party, and now, the Liberal Democrat Party.

    The Liberal Democrats should be ashamed. They are now firmly placed on the right wing of the economic scale. They are not progressives. They are Tory-lite.

    Contrary to what Osbourne claims, we are not “all in this together”, because when 77% of savings comes from cuts rather than taxation, the poorest will always be hardest hit. When Tory friends in the City are rewarded with tax decreases, yet VAT rises and benefits are cut along with departmental spending, the wealthiest are not helping to cut the deficit, they are benefiting from it. This was not a budget for you and I, this was a Tory budget for the rich.

    The economic problem that we face, is not just figures and statistics, it is the philosophical base of the economy itself. Until we as a society take note that those on benefits take up such a small piece of the public purse, and those scrounging benefits even smaller in comparison to the corporations who actively tax avoid, we will never progress. We have just elected a government, who have no problem with corporate tax avoidance and private sector over-extravagance. Until we realise that neoliberalism got us into this mess, and so electing a neoliberalist government will not get us out of this mess, we will never progress.

    The whole notion of needing more, has been the base of our economy for the past thirty years. The idea that growth, on a national scale, has nothing to do with actually bettering society, and everything to do with owning more shit that none of us actually need is mirrored in the idea of growth in the individual, growth is not the idea of personal betterment, but how many holidays someone can go on in a year, or how much better your car is compared to your next door neighbour. That mindset is ingrained in our minds. Including mine. Our sense of self is based entirely on what we consume, and anyone who disagrees is an evil socialist. I completely 100% blame Thatcherism and Reaganomics for that idea. New Labour and today’s Tories are just an offshoot of the 1980s. Because before Reagan, even President Nixon, a Republican, would have been considered a socialist by their standards. I’d suggest that to combat this horrendously weak base for an economic system, we should be investing public money in new industry, we should be directing funds and encouraging investment toward the betterment of society and we certainly shouldn’t be redirecting money away from the poorest and toward the richest. There needs to be a fundamental move away from the failures of Neoliberalism and toward a far more progressive left direction. Otherwise, all we are doing now is laying the foundations for the next economic collapse, and the circle will continue for another generation.

    If anything, i’m pretty sure England can again produce some fantastic anti-Tory music. A new Clash please!


  • The Con-Dem Nation

    May 12, 2010

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

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

    The reason being, the good of the markets!

    MUST KEEP THE MARKETS HAPPY!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Lomography Film Roll: Four

    May 11, 2010

    It would seem that within the next couple of hours, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives will be going into coalition. Talks between the Liberals and Labour fell apart before they’d started. Gordon Brown looks set to resign tonight too.

    So, with the news of a new Tory lead government, with a pathetic Liberal Democrat party that I will never vote for again, I thought I should post something a bit more cheery.

    I got this roll of film developed today.


    The rationality of not voting.

    April 17, 2010

    There is a presumption among many people, after last weeks leadership debate, that the Liberal Democrats are some extraordinary force for change in British politics. It amazes me. They are still centrists, much like New Labour. They have quasi-radical policies I agree with; scraping Trident comes to mind. But overall, they aren’t much different. They are market liberals. It would be incredible if the Liberal Democrats became the next Government, not because they offer radical change, but simply because the name “Liberal Democrat” has been largely ignored in British politics since it’s inception. But, they do not offer a change of system. They offer the same system, with a couple of tweaks. Their supporters seem to be assuming a change. Clegg in the debate said of the MPs scandal, and home switching, and other ridiculous expenses claiming that:

    I have to stress, not a single Liberal Democrat MP did either of those things

    …… Clegg himself collected £1,657.32 in expenses, on family groceries. Oh the irony. Lib Dem MPs Richard Younger-Ross, John Barrett, Sandra Gidley and Paul Holmes were all forced to pay back over £16,000 for claiming huge amounts of money for renting posh flats near Parliament. Oh…the…irony! Chris Huhne, the multi-millionaire, claimed £119 for a trouser press. The irony continues.

    The choice in my constituency is between Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, and BNP. Now, i wont vote Tory out of principle. I wont vote Labour because they no longer represent my view. I wont vote BNP because i’m not a despicable nazi, and I wont vote Lib Dem, because they don’t represent my view either. If I have to give in to this system I dislike, then I will support a party of the left. Of which, none seem to actually exist.

    So I wont be voting.

    The cliche among Western democracies has been “if you don’t vote, you cannot complain” in suggestion that if Labour win and you didn’t vote against them, you have no right to complain. I disagree. I wont vote, because I do not believe any of them are fit the run the Country. I do not believe they have the right to have a say over so many lives. When they inevitably fuck up, lie and cheat, and are seen to not actually do what is expected of them, I can happily say that I haven’t empowered any of these bastards, and so I have every right to complain.

    It is a rather difficult choice to decide not to vote. By not voting, I am in essence voting. Because by not voting, it isn’t because I am apathetic. It isn’t because I don’t understand Politics. It is simply because no political party represents my views. Not voting, is a rational decision for me. I consider myself of the Anarcho-syndicalist variety. I have no love for Capitalism. I don’t particularly like the idea of the Nation State, and Democracy is only acceptable to me, at a grassroots level. The current democratic system, is a mash of democratic and undemocratic principles. It says “This is the system that people who you have not elected have put in place, your job is now to elect one person to be the figurehead of that system”.

    To vote in this upcoming election, would mean that I am giving my blessing to a system I am not too fond of. And since Labour, the Liberal Democrats and The Conservatives all offer no real change except a change of businessman running the show, and a few weakly tied bandages on a system that has recently failed miserably; for me to vote for any of them would be an endorsement of that system, and I cannot out of principle bring myself to do that. A system that says that Conservatives will win and cut spending, forcing the homeless rate back up, and the suicide rate sky rockets. Labour then get in a few years later when the misery gets too much, and a few extra regulations are placed on businesses that work only to help us all ignore the fact that those same businesses are openly tax avoiding. Then, an economic bubble will burst, the Tories will blame Labour again, despite them both being to blame. The Tories will get back in and force cuts again and so the cycle continues. A self perpetuating avalanche that negatively affects the majority, but keeps the wealthy minority happy. It is not the democracy that centuries of warfare has been fighting for. It is not democracy when there is no real choice. It is a group of businessmen, all fighting for control over a single system. It is that system that is tyrannical because there is no choice, we are stuck with it.

    The public do not chose the agenda. We simply endorse an entire agenda of one party. One party, out of two or three to be precise. But all Parties rest on the assumption that human nature, is greedy and self interested. I disagree profoundly with this assumption, and so no party that represents that view, is ever likely to acquire my vote.

    One should view human nature as so intricate and inexplicable, that it is deeply atrocious and manipulative for advocates of a particular social or economic system to claim to have tapped into it. The idea that human nature is inherently greedy, and self-centered seems to have become the prevailing philosophy, but it has taken over a century of forcing it upon Nations like Latin America, riots against Thatcherism, propaganda against any system that suggests otherwise (if you wonder why a child in Africa is allowed to starve, you’re automatically a “communist” or a “bleeding heart liberal” apparently), pounding home the idea that businessmen “create” wealth and so it’d be apparently immoral to redistribute that wealth to people who can’t actually afford to live; that Authoritarianism is a great evil – unless it’s in the workplace, then it’s wondrous. Should such a small amount of individuals be allowed control over such vast resources? No. It has taken over a Century and the loss of many lives, to become almost universally accepted that a small amount of individuals controlling a vast amount of resources is perfectly acceptable, and even desirable. It is simply a philosophy. It is not universal truth. It is not objective fact. Durkheim and Jung both suggest that human nature is supremely malleable. I accept that whilst human nature is not free of instinct (we are only animals after all), within the political and economic realm, it is deeply, deeply malleable. Furthermore, the Capitalist system was not developed and put into practice by a group of philanthropists concerned with the development of the human good inline with our basic nature; they simply put in place a system that protected their wealth and developed a political system to further enhance it.

    Canadian author Stephen Garvey says:

    “Western societies are fundamentally driven by capitalism. So Western Democracy through its autocratic, hierarchy is an excellent political system to maintain and expand the global capitalist agenda. I say this point, based on a majority of people being deceived into believing they have say, a final say, through elections.”

    For those who consider this to be strictly false, take note of the amount of money the U.S has spent spreading “democracy“. Do you truly believe it is for the benefit of the people? No of course not. It is because democracy, is a pretext for this morbid version of Capitalism that exists purely to further the wealth and by definition; power, of a select few. It is why Castro is considered evil, yet Pinochet was supported vigorously. It is why we overthrew a democratically elected President of Iran and replaced him with a dictator in the Shah. Capitalism and Democracy, the Western way, complement each other, and for that reason, I am dead set against it.

    To vote for one of the main parties, is a vote for the way the system is. And given that there is not a way to vote out the current system, to vote is by definition, undemocratic. The system is undemocratic, in that it isn’t about free and fair elections between people who wish to help make life better for the majority. It is a system based on which party is the wealthiest, which Lords and businessmen bankroll them, and what they expect in return. The majority of us rely on information from political parties and the media (which has it’s own political agenda) to make up our minds. We are not autonomous. We do not decide for ourselves. Therefore, a political party’s purpose, is simply to manipulate and influence opinion to it’s own ends. All three of the main parties, operate from the assumption that we are all self interested.

    Human nature, whilst it has the potential to be greedy; is also loving, compassionate, reliant, ugly, detestable and every other possible trait we may show. The system we live in today, quite obscenely rewards greed and so greed as a trait, is amplified. Competition is built into our nurture from a young age, from the school system onwards, so competition upon greed, is amplified. In reality, the degree of variability between outright greed and utter benevolence is huge.

    Rudolf Rocker once said:

    “The causes which underlie the processes of social life have nothing in common with the laws of physical and mechanical natural events, for they are purely the results of human purpose, which is not explicable by scientific methods. To misinterpret this fact is a fatal self-deception from which only a confused notion of reality can result.”

    The three main parties in UK politics, disagree with Rocker, and for some reason think they are experts on human nature. As if economic Darwinism is ethically justifable. Whilst it isn’t apparently popular to say this, but I’m all for a huge rate of tax, universally, on the richest 2-3%.
    I am of the belief that once necessity has been taken care of (basic food, drink and shelter for everyone), then profit and riches can exist. It is not ethically justifiable to allow one man to own much wealth, whilst another starves to death, in my opinion.

    My ideals are Syndicalist. They are also Anarchist, in that I believe all forms of power and control over others, should be able to legitimise itself. To that end, I do not believe the the Capitalist has any such authority. However, in a system in which the most power is wielded by the Capitalist, I believe the State has a role to play in curtailing that Capitalist power. In that respect, I am a Statist. But only when the State exists within a Capitalist system. I am a great supporter of workers rights. Hence the Syndicalism. I am and always will be entirely suspicious of anyone with a lot of money and a lot of power.

    So, I will not be voting.