The wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


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!