The frivolity of Prime Minister’s Questions.

September 7, 2011

There were laughs reverberating around the hall of the House of Commons today as Tory MP Nadine Dorries asked “Will the Prime Minister show the Deputy Prime Minister, who is the boss?” She raised the issue in conjunction with NHS reforms. Someone should inform Dorries that no one in the Country actually gave permission for these NHS reforms (when I say no one, I obviously exclude John Nash over at Care UK).

On a side note, for those who do not know Nadine Dorries, she attempted to prevent abortion providers giving NHS funded counselling to women, under that famous Tory justification-of-the-disgusting as “patient choice”. The amendment to the Health Bill, seeks to force the NHS to provide “independent” counselling to women seeking an abortion. The worry is, this opens the door for faith based groups to provide counselling to pregnant women. This isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, given that Dorries other anti-abortion campaign in 2008, was funded by Christian Concern for our Nation. This is a Christian fundamentalist group, who believe any kind of pro-equality legislation for homosexuality, is anti-Christian legislation. Here is what their site says:


Sexual orientation is being given increasing protection under equality legislation. Unfortunately this has led to serious consequences for Christians.

Here is its EDL style fear tactics, on Islam:

From the introduction of Sharia law and Islamic finance to the implications on freedom of speech and women’s rights, the presence of Islamism in the UK has great repercussions for all of us.

– They seem to be under the impression that the introduction of entirely Christian fundamental values is a wonderful thing, but any other religious fundamentalists must be great evils. I want neither. They also seem to be under the impression that we have a country controlled by Sharia and Islamic finance. How odd.
They have arguments against the scrapping of the Blasphemy laws (we genuinely still had blasphemy laws up until 2008 …… not 1534……2008!) on their site. They are shocked that anyone would support the scrapping of Blasphemy Laws. Speaking on the site, Andrea Williams defends the Blasphemy laws because they protect against “strident criticism” of God. That it protects against “sexual assaults against Jesus Christ. Making sexual overture towards Christ”…. sounds similar to the way Muslims reacted to the drawings of Mohammed…irrational, and dangerous. After much of what i’ve wrote on this blog, I guess if the laws were still in place, I could be prosecuted for it.
Anyway, This is who funds Dorries campaigns. That is who Dorries is.

Today, MPs voted overwhelmingly against it, and rightfully so. After such a crushing defeat, Dorries said:

“Actually, it was the most tremendous success. We lost the battle but we won the war”.

– One recalls Tariq Aziz in 2003, as the Ba’athist regime in Iraq crumbled, insisting that victory was imminent.

The laughs were justifiably aimed at the pointlessness of the question, and Cameron’s absolutely correct refusal to answer it, but to me it highlighted two problems:

I) Nadine Dorres has simply amplified growing concern on the Tory benches that the Lib Dems are diluting the message of Conservatism. This Blog by Conservative home echoes similar sentiments. It is vastly misguided in its anger. They seem unable to grasp the concept of not winning an election. They did not pass the post. They did not get a majority. They do not have a mandate to initiate deeply right winged, Tory principles. If the Deputy Prime Minister were to be suddenly struck down with a conscience, and said “We are not voting for anything you put forward any more“, the “boss” would appear incredibly impotent. The Country did not choose one boss or one Party. We did not elect a Tory government. We elected a mixture. Doubtlessly Nadine Dorres is simply annoyed with Clegg’s refusal to back her ludicrous religious fundamentalist anti-abortion campaign. What the Tories are doing now it seems, is attempting (as Conservative Home did in the blog I linked to) to use the diluting of Tory policies by Liberal Democrats, as a reason for weak growth. So, that’s the Lib Dems, Europe, the Royal Wedding, Labour’s legacy, and the snow, that the Tories have blamed for weaker than anticipated growth. Even so, the point remains valid; someone needs to tell those like Dorries, who seem to think they have some sort of inherent right to rule, that they didn’t win the election. This is not a Tory Parliament. Even to claim they won the most seats, is fallacious, given that more people voted for slower deficit reduction – Labour/Lib Dem – than voted for the pace now being forced upon us. As far as I can tell, the Lib Dem dilutions aren’t good enough. This is a very very Tory Government. Frustrated about being in Coalition with the Lib Dems? Tough. The public don’t want a very Right Winged government. Either you operate a minority government, or you deal with Coalition. You have no other choice.

One must wonder what the polls would be saying, if the Tories were able to cut even deeper and apply Tory principles where otherwise they are diluted by the Liberals. The Poll from Yougov yesterday, despite Lib Dem dilution, showed that when asked “Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit, do you think this is… “
Only 35% said it is good good for the economy. 27% said it is being done fairly and 52% said it is being done too quickly. Even now, having not won the election, they still don’t have a majority of the country agreeing with their policy. They have no mandate. They do not understand this.

II) Prime Minister’s Questions last for thirty minutes every Wednesday. It is a chance for our nationally elected legislature to interrogate the government. Given the rapid nature of change in schooling, the NHS, the struggles facing people who are the victims of deep austerity, the Libyan conflict; It is simply a waste of a question, and a stain upon the fabric of Parliamentary Democracy for an elected representative, who has the opportunity to ask anything at all, to have the nerve to stand up and ask the Prime Minister to bitch slap his Deputy into place. I would have preferred for Cameron to have spent that wasted time laughing at the insanity of Nadine Dorries, instead answering questions about his apparent vast NHS reform support from The Royal College of Nurses, despite their Chief Executive Dr Carter saying recently:

….. we are telling MPs that this Bill risks creating a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care.
This fragmentation risks making inequalities worse, and preventing health providers from collaborating in the interests of patients. We must avoid a situation where existing NHS providers are left with expensive areas of care while private providers are able to ‘cherry pick’ the services which can be delivered easily.”

– Isn’t the dismantling of the NHS, and the Prime Minister’s refusal to accept the almost universal condemnation of the reforms, far more important to the future of the Country and the people who live in it, than Nadine Dorries personal dislike of Nick Clegg? She should be ashamed of herself to continuing the politics of theatre in a supposedly “honourable” National Legislature.
Shouldn’t we be asking why 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.”

– Doesn’t seem like the Lib Dems are fighting hard enough to me. Heaven knows what the Tories would be pushing for now, had they won a majority in 2010. It is unnerving to think about. Nevertheless, it isn’t a Tory government and so excessively Right Winged policies like that on the NHS, really need to be fully scrutinised during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Dorries isn’t the first. I blogged not long ago, on the subject of Loughborough Tory MP Nicky Morgan asking misleading and futile questions in Parliament, having emailed her to point out her pointlessness. She, oddly, blamed by anger at her helping to bring down the intellectual discourse that we expect from our Parliamentarians…… on my apparent sexism. To this day, I fail to understand her point, and cannot comprehend how someone of that level of stupidity manages to get elected. But it isn’t just restricted to the Tories. Labour and Liberals are just as guilty of weak and frivolous questioning in Parliament. It is one of the very reasons I am thoroughly anti-Lords reform. I do not want a second chamber full of mediocre career politicians trying to score points against each other. I am quite content with an appointed Lords based on merit and expertise. Another House of Commons, would be a disaster. I don’t care if it’s elected. It’s irrelevant. If all we can achieve by the Democratic process in this Country, is a Health Secretary funded entirely by the Private Health sector, and a mad old Christian who spends her time throwing darts at Nick Clegg, then perhaps Democracy isn’t all it is cracked up to be. We expect more from our politicians. It becomes increasingly obvious that people who spend their debate time, taking cheap shots at each other, should be not representing anyone, in any walk of life. They are not worthy of the office of MP.

We are told constantly of the importance of voting. That our ancestors fought for this privilege. Well, Parliamentarians fought civil wars, their brothers and fathers and sons were killed, for the supremacy of Parliament. Parliament must be worthy of our vote, because that is what wars were fought to ensure. Do we really think that the current Parliamentary tussling, complete with childish attacks and needless questions at the expense of serious debate and discourse, is truly worthy of the vote that is apparently so precious? The degradation of Parliament is circular, in that the mediocrity of our career politicians creates an air of ambivalence toward politics and the democratic process. In return, the disinterest of the electorate necessarily creates a system in which it becomes far easier for mediocre career politicians to enter politics. It is almost certainly the reason we need an unelected House of Lords.

Nadine Dorries may have raised a laughable question, but it illustrates a growing disease in Parliament. Prime Ministers Questions is a public arena, for rather bad theatre, than an arena for informed debate and intelligent discourse and holding the most powerful office in the Country to account, and that is a worrying state of affairs.


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…..


  • Why the Big Society is a load of bollocks

    February 14, 2011

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

  • It’s a Tory plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • 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.


    A Tory England

    October 21, 2010

    Quote of the cuts day has to go to Shadow Chancellor Alan Johnson, to Nick Clegg in the Commons directly after the Chancellor’s cuts package was announced:

    Somewhere between the ballot box and your ministerial car door opening, you changed your mind on everything.

    This particular brand of Conservatism is interesting. It is of course very Thatcherite. It is no different to what it was in the 1980s. Actually it is different because it is far more severe. It can easily be dressed up in lovely new inclusive phrases like ‘The Big Society’ and ‘Progressive Conservatism’ despite the fact that in less than ten seconds, the Chancellor can announce 490,000 expected job losses in the public sector, whilst his backbenches cheer gleefully. It’s easy to call it fair and necessary. But when, along with half a million job losses, we hear the Chancellor say:

    “The Employment and Support Allowance, given to people unable to work due to sickness or disability, will be restricted to one year”

    … it is virtually impossible for anyone who has even a fundamental understanding of the word ‘fair’ to be able to justify the madness.

    Yesterday’s spending review was ideological. It does not matter how many times Cameron says it isn’t, it is. It will devastate lives. £1bn is being saved by 2013 by cutting Child Benefit, yet £2bn is being given away to companies earning £350,000 a year, also by 2013. Most Conservatives are in politics for this very reason; to role back the Welfare State for the poorer and instead enlarge the Welfare State for their friends in business. When 490,000 people are instantly made unemployed, and the entire Conservative benches in Parliament stand up smiling and screaming, their faces beaming uncontrollably, waving their Parliamentary papers in the air with overwhelming joy; one finds it difficult to accept their rhetoric that this is ‘tough’ on them. It seems this is their moment in the spotlight. They were supremely happy yesterday. They have spent years hoping this moment would come.

    It has been a successful attack by the Tories and they have, I will admit, been amazing at getting their side of events across and gaining mass support for their plans. They have achieved this, as far as I can tell, in four ways:

    1) Absolutely 100% blame Labour for everything.
    It is clear that the Coalition has been told to mention the debt left by Labour as much as possible. It is perfect justification. Every Minister interviewed will refer to Labour’s legacy within about five seconds of being questioned. It is largely illogical because the debt left by Labour was firstly, very much needed, and secondly, is not actually dire.
    The problem with this view is that up until recession hit, the Tories pledged to back Labour’s spending pound for pound. So, by suggesting that Labour spent thirteen years on a spending spree, the Tories backed it fully. Then when the banks collapsed, and people’s homes and lives were put at risk, spending rose to keep people safe. This had to happen to offset the problems suddenly caused by huge unemployment. This isn’t the State’s fault. It isn’t the Government’s fault. Spending had to rise. What use is it cutting unemployment benefit during a time when unemployment is at an all time high? That is Tory logic. Allow the recession to run its course. Allow people to lose their homes and their jobs and to worry about how they are going to feed their kids. So next time when you complain about Labour’s debt, actually consider why we are in debt.

    2) Make sure the faults of the Private Sector are ignored.
    It was the financial sector that failed miserably. They risked everyone’s savings to enrich themselves further. But it isn’t just the banks that messed up. Since the early 1980s wages for workers have stagnated. They have hardly risen at all on average. Yet, the wages of the very wealthy; the owners, have increased ten fold. Take Sir Philip Green, the new Tory Party investigator of Civil Service pay; he owns a company called Taveta investments, which is registered in his wife’s name who happens to live in a tax haven. He has successfully avoided paying tax worth up to £285mn. At the same time, he awarded himself £1.2bn in a single year personally, whilst telling his work force (the people who actually make that money for him) that they must now increase contributions to their final pension scheme by half and work up to five years longer to receive it. He also uses sweatshops in India. BUT WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Now, you can only sustain unjustifiably large wages, like that of Mr Green if profit remains high. If your workers are being squeezed as much as possible, and have less disposable income to spend consuming and so enriching the very few, how do you do that? The solution was easy. You offer them easy credit, like a Topman Store Card. They then pay more than they usually would but over a longer period of time. Thus, the little man is squeezed further, but the guy at the top makes more. But apparently this is perfectly fine. The Public Sector, the sector that bailed out the Financial sector, is apparently entirely to blame.

    The problem as I see it, is that surplus profit was not being recapitalised in beneficial causes. Instead of expanding and looking into new forms of production, the owners of capital were buying up assets on the stock market. When this is amplified by million and millions of people, we suddenly have a problem. You buy assets on the stock market, hoping you will get a pretty handsome return in the future. But you understand that might not happen. You are gambling. The City of London and New York recklessly gambled our money away, they are entirely to blame.

    Whilst David Cameron likes to suggest that National debt is like household debt; he’s wrong. Not only is household debt nothing like National debt (I can’t suddenly raise taxes, if i go into the red, nor can I print my own money), but this neoliberal experiment, that the Tories kick started in the 1980s, actively encouraged us all to get into debt. This is why the banking sector collapsed. Because debt was encouraged. Secondly, personal debt is not always a bad thing if it helps improve the future. I am in debt, to pay for my education, which I hope will allow me to get a better job and be able to provide a better life for my future family, than I would had I gone straight into a job I did not want to do. This debt is an investment. Public debt is also an investment, especially if it keeps as many people in their homes and jobs as possible; which Labour understood (bare in mind, I am not a Labour voter), and which the Lib Dems understood before they were offered a bit of power. Public debt is not always a bad thing. It is often needed. It provides investment and a safety net.

    The Tories, with help from their friends in the Media (Conservative Director of Communications: Andy Coulson, used to be editor of News of the World) have shaped political discourse in this country to an apathetic and largely moronic population, beautifully. The Sun (owned by Murdoch, who also owns News of the World) ran a double page spread last Monday entitled “Britain’s benefit blackspots”. A guide to the worst areas of Britain for benefit fraud. Altogether, they noted that Benefit cheating costs the UK taxpayer £900mn. You may think that is a lot. But according to research by the TUC and Tax Research UK, Corporate Tax avoidance, and personal tax evasion (i.e – Lord Ashcroft and his non-dom status) costs the UK taxpayer close to £25bn. That’s about 30 times more in lost revenue. Enough to wipe out the deficit in about eight years, without the need for a mass of public service cuts.

    It is also suggested that public service workers are over paid. Now, given that wages have stagnated for most workers in the Private sector, i’d suggest that this is the fault of the Private sector. These bastards should pay more, not attack the public sector.

    The Tories ran the 2010 campaign on the idea that a rise in National Insurance was an evil ‘tax on jobs’. Today, they just killed off 50,000 jobs in 20 seconds. But, it’s the public sector, so apparently it’s okay. The massive consequences on communities and small private businesses, will become apparent very soon. The Tories will try to claim it is all Labour’s fault. It isn’t.

    The public sector, furthermore, is not inflated. Public spending during the 1960s was far higher than at any time during the 00s. Wages were rising beautifully during the 1960s too.

    3) Make sure the public believes, whether true or not, that this is the only way.
    The cuts that have been made, did not have to be so severe. They are overly harsh. We are a Triple A credit Country. 80% of our debt matures in 14 years, not a couple of years. We have the 5th largest economy in the World still. And we have the 3rd largest currency reserve in the World. And a very strong currency actually. So whilst you may believe everything the Tories tell you about how awful Labour were; it suggests to me that if the Tories were in power when recession struck, they’d have offered no help, spent absolutely no extra to keep people in homes and jobs, and then most probably blamed Unions.

    The current debt in the UK stands at 64% of GDP. After World War II, it was 180%. More than double now. Japan has a debt of 194%. The USA has a debt close to 73% of GDP. In fact, between 1920 and 1960, for that forty or so year period, UK government debt did not fall below 100%.

    4) Gain support from sources that apparently are credible.
    George Osbourne yesterday listed the people who agreed with him. We’ll take them one by one now. Firstly, he listed the IMF. The IMF is a neoliberal organisation that only ever proscribes harsh economic treatment to solve problems. They destroyed Ghana beyond recognition. Malaysia refused to accept anything the IMF demanded, and now Malaysia is doing just great. The IMF can also be blamed for half fucking up Ireland. Last week the IMF said that bank regulations were failing – We all fucking knew that two years ago. Nice of them to join us. Great source George. Secondly, he mentioned the CBI – the Confederation of British Industry. The business owners union. The same people who told us all that introducing minimum wage would destroy business in Britain. The same people who suggested that students are a drain on society, and yet they all went to university when it was free. They are businesses, looking to enrich themselves further, they have no sense of social responsibility, nor do they care if you cannot afford to eat. They would like to see no Welfare State and the NHS privatised. The CBI attempted to justify a huge amount of Corporate tax avoidance (discussed earlier) with….

    Legitimate tax planning – undertaken by companies that operate globally – should not be confused with so-called tax avoidance

    Thirdly, he mentioned the Bank of England. The institution responsible for the welfare of the economy. The institution that failed to see the biggest financial crises ever from taking place, even though that is its specific job. The same institution whose Deputy Governor Sir John Gieve admitted that they knew that the financial sector was out of control, and had no idea what to do about it. Another great choice for a source.
    And lastly, he mentioned the 35 businessmen who signed a letter and sent it to the press advocating everything they are doing. These businessmen are not economists. They do not know how to run an economy. They are under the impression that a business haven is ideal for all of us. Contrary to that opinion, i’d say otherwise. Nevertheless, they signed the letter. Who are these businesses? Well, one of them is Paul Walsh of Diageo, who I shall mention shortly. He has been given a role as an advisor to David Cameron. Vested interest number 1. Another is Nick Prest, Chairman of AVEVA. AVEVA has just been awarded a contract to supply Babcocks, who are to build the two new aircraft carriers unveiled by the Tories. Vested interest 2. Another, is John Nelson of Hammerson Investors. Massive tax avoiders, and are quite happy to even tell us that’s what they do, on their website. Perhaps I will refuse to pay any tax ever again and refer to it as ‘tax efficient’. Vested interest 3. Another is Moni Varma, Chairman of Veetee who admitted that Conservative HQ asked him to sign the letter. Not a vested interest, but an idiot nonetheless. Another is Philip Dilley, Chairman of Arup, who has just been given a place as an advisor to David Cameron. Vested interest 4
    The letter itself was drawn up by Next Chief Exec. Lord Wolfson. Wolfson has donated close to £300,000 to the Tory Party and is now a Tory Lord. Vested interest 5. Another is Sir Christopher Gent, non-executive chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. Gent has donated around £113,000 to the Tory Party. Vested interest 5. Isn’t it amazing? Why are we taking them seriously? Why aren’t their vested interests mentioned? I think I will email my logic Tory MP and let you know what his response is.
    Next, David Cameron has created a sort of business council. This includes Paul Walsh; the CEO of Diageo PLC, who has moved ownership of British alcohol brands offshore to avoid tax. Martin Sorrell, whose company WPP has moved entirely offshore to avoid tax. And CEO of Glaxosmithkline, Andrew Witty who avoids paying million in tax due to offshore accounting.
    None of these sources are credible. None have the Country’s best interest at heart. None care if a few hundred thousand lose their jobs, and their homes. This is Tory bullshit.

    It has been a very clever four pronged attack to win support for a program that would usually take months and years to thrash out the details of. The proposal yesterday was horrific. It is not Progressive or fair in any way. The Liberal Democrats should be utterly ashamed. They are finished. Out of protest, I will not vote in favour of AV, even though I once would.

    At the moment, the public is suffering from political apathy. They assume this is all necessary. It isn’t. It is dangerous and it is a complete attack on a decent, caring Nation in an attempt to turn us all into bitches of the business World. Labour are not all that much difference, hence the lack of credible opposition. They are not progressives. By moving to the centre, and even the centre-right, they have backed themselves into a corner. They no longer represent the Progressives. Their needs to be vast civil action. Unions need to step up, students need to step up, everyone needs to step up and let these people know that we should no longer be controlled or live in a society entirely shaped by a very select few old grey rich businessmen. I hold out hope and I have faith in this generation of anti-Tory opposition.


    Student protest

    October 18, 2010

    Demo 2010 – Fund Our FutureI will hopefully be attending the Student march on London on November 10th, as a reaction the the news that the Coalition intends to increase tuition fees from a cap of £3,290, to £7,000. The Liberal Democrats, and Nick Clegg and Vince Cable specifically pledged to never support a tuition fee rise, and in fact wanted tuition fees scrapped entirely. They secured a mass of Student votes because of this one policy. Last week, both went back on that promise and decided to support the raising of tuition fees to a cap of £7,000 a year, whilst some courses could cost £12,000 a year.

    Obviously, the Lib Dems pathetic excuse for absolutely pissing all over their votes, is that the situation left by Labour is worse than previously though. Except it isn’t. They had the same information back in May as they do now. In fact, the economy has improved over those past few months.

    If tuition fees were as high as £7,000 when I started university last year, I would not have gone. I would have gotten a job I disliked, had a mediocre eduction, and whilst it would please Tories because employment numbers suit their cause, it actually would do absolutely nothing for me and my aspirations. But a few rich people would be fine with the cost rise, so it’s okay.

    What strikes me as ridiculous, is that we have just come out of an horrendous economic crises, based entirely on debt. Wages of workers across the board have stagnated for years, whilst wages in the boardroom have increased beyond recognition. Which in turn, meant that ordinary workers were struggling, and were very insecure. So an easy credit market shot into life, offering the chance to borrow huge amounts quickly and easily. We soon racked up debts, the housing market collapsed, and banks suddenly struggled to pull back the huge amounts they’d wrecklessly loaned out. Debt caused it. Now, to get out of the problems, the Coalition is suggesting we get ourselves; the next generation – into a huge amount of debt if we want a half decent chance at life. The very same politicians, who went to university, when it was entirely free. How ironic.

    Do know what is more annoying than the quite obvious elite-ism that runs through the veins of Tories and now Lib Dems? The fact that the man they have put in charge of finding instances of what a man worth £4bn and has never had to worry about struggling to pay for food, thinks is ‘wasteful spending’, actually owes billions in elaborate tax avoidance schemes whilst he himself told his employees they’d have to work longer if they want a decent pension pay off, than first thought. Oh and he’s often been criticised for using sweatshops abroad, in which workers are paid less than £4 a day, to work up to 22 hours six days a week, whilst he lazes his life on a beach in Monaco. What a lovely man. So students have to get ourselves into greater debt, because people like Sir Philip Green (Sir? Really?) need to save some money for a new yacht.

    So I will be going on the march, not just in protest of the planned Student Tuition fee rise and the obvious lack of balls the Lib Dems have; but also because the appointment of Philip Green and the love affair with businessmen who actively tax avoid is one of the main issues I see in the UK at the moment. Plus, political cynicism and apathy is far too wide spread. I don’t want my entire life controlled by business, and its bitches in Westminster. It isn’t the height of human freedom. It is the opposite. That is why I will be marching.

    I hope to see as many students there as possible.


    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.


    Election ’10: The aftermath

    May 8, 2010

    “The Country has spoken!!!………. We just don’t know what they’ve said.”

    – Lord Ashcroft

    So whilst Britain still has no Government, and talks remain underway between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives on the possibility of a coalition, there is at least one happy moment we can all share in.
    Nick Griffin, the leader of the British Nazi Party has spent the past month campaigning relentlessly in the constituency where he was standing; Barking. They expected their first BNP seat in the commons. The result?
    Labour’s Margaret Hodge: 53.4% of the Vote
    Conservative’s Simon Marcus: 17.8% of the vote
    BNP’s Nick Griffin: 14.6% of the vote.
    They came third. Not only that, but 1.6% of the BNP vote from 2005, swung to Labour.
    The BNP contested 326 seats at this election. 207 more than 2005, and yet, their share of the overall vote only increased by less than 2% overall. That’s horrendous.

    Margaret Hodge, and Labour, absolutely destroyed the BNP in Barking. But, that’s not the end of the smug look on my evil liberal pro-multicultural face this morning…..
    The BNP, on Friday, lost all twelve of their seats previously held on Barking and Dagenham Council. It would seem that the big push the BNP were going to make, failed miserably. Good. We don’t want Fascists.

    Anyway, back in the realm of reality (reality tends to have a liberal bias), I stayed up all night on election night hoping to see a few big named casualties. There was no Portillo ’97 moment as such. Although seeing Jacqui Smith lose Redditch, was quite pleasing. As was watching Lembit Opik, who seems far too in love with being a celebrity than a politician, lose miserably. Opik then appeared on the Election addition of Have I got News For You, which was actually a brilliant episode, and said:

    “Can we hurry this along? I have an appointment at the job centre in an hour”

    Which made me laugh. I actually like him.

    However, the Hung Parliament result has meant that the Liberal Democrats are currently in talks with the Conservatives over the possibility of a ConDem (puns are the future!) coalition. David Cameron, in his statement yesterday, said:

    “and to remind you how proud you can be of the result: a bigger increase in seats even than Mrs Thatcher achieved in 1979”

    – That’s a little misleading. Purely because since 1979, and especially since 1997, the Tories have been absolutely despised. An increase in seats during an election in which the Country has hated Gordon Brown for well over a year, you’ve had millions more to spend on your campaign than any other party, and yet you’re still not able to gain a majority, is a massive, massive failure, and suggests people still don’t trust you. A year ago, the Conservatives were 19 points ahead. They were going to win massively. On May 5th, the polls had them at 5 points ahead. Also, Margaret Thatcher in 1979, didn’t have the bulk of the Nation’s Media behind her. This has not by any means been a successful election campaign for the Tories. All it means is, the Tories over the past five years have managed to hide their inherent disdain for gays, foreigners, Europe, and the poor behind more creative and moderate language. Congrats.

    “So I want to make a big, open and comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats. I want us to work together in tackling our country’s big and urgent problems — the debt crisis, our deep social problems and our broken political system …

    “On the basis of the election result we achieved, it is reasonable to expect that the bulk of the policies in our manifesto should be implemented.”

    Here at least, he is right; in that the Liberal Democrats cannot expect too much from a coalition. They lost seats. The Tories, as much as I may dislike it, won the most seats, they should have the bulk of the power. If the Liberal Democrats and the Tories were to form a partnership, I think the Liberals would have to back down on much of their manifesto pledges. Trident will be maintained incase those evil Commies come back, Europe will remain at arms length because we’re British, we once had an Empire you know!, the cuts will still be pretty sharp risking a double-dip recession, and I cannot imagine David Cameron is going to agree to electoral reform. On the subject of electoral reform, the Lib Dems key policy initiative, Cameron said:

    “I believe we will need an all-party committee of inquiry on political and electoral reform.”

    That, isn’t worth anything. It is a terrible offer. An electoral reform inquiry has already happened, back in 2009. The Liberal Democrats surely know how meaningless this offer by Cameron is. The Conservatives will never be open to key electoral reform.

    I would quite like to see a Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru and SNP alliance, maybe even throw Caroline Lucas of the Greens into that too. A real alliance of UK Progressives. Real change. They have to be committed to Electoral reform, it is a must. Whilst the Conservatives may very well have won most of the seats, more people in the UK voted for left, and centre-left politicians, and so a centre-left coalition would be my ideal. If the Tories are allowed to implement the cuts they clearly want, they wont last more than one term in office, and they’ll be unelectable for another generation. I quite like that idea too.

    The next few days will be mightily interesting.


    Clegg day

    May 1, 2010

    Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg came to my University this week. I took a few photos.

    I got a bit excited.

    These guys didn’t quite get the point.

    Thankfully, this guy did get the point.

    The campaign bus turned up.

    And random local and national news.

    Including ITV.

    I don’t know if Clegg took them up on this offer.

    Clegg answering questions. He pretty much won my vote when talking about hammering the rich tax avoiders. I’d assume he can say that, because the rich tax avoiders are not big contributors to the Lib Dem campaign, in the same way as Labour and the Tories. I agree with the Liberals on Trident, and I agree with them on Europe. I may have to vote Liberal Democrat. Despite the fact that they sing from the same hymn sheet as the Conservatives and Labour.


    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.