Capitalism and Language

August 7, 2013

It is impossible to go a day or two without being presented with language that means very little, whilst appearing to mean a lot. It gives the appearance of some sort of professionalism, but that is all it is; appearance. It exists in its own World, somewhat divorced from reality. It perhaps mimics notions of professional dress codes; professional hair cuts; making sure tattoos aren’t on display; all the signs of modern day lifeless ‘professionalism’. It is all appearance, with very little meaning behind it. It is a religion unto itself. Allow me to give you some examples I once noted down having seen on a company mission statement:

“Our team works to prioritise mission-critical web-readiness, leveraging cross-platform web services.”

– I have studied this wording for quite some time, and I’m still unable to tell you what it means. I think it means; “We update our website a lot.

Orwell once took this beautiful line from Ecclesiastes:

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

– And transformed it into modern, business-English:

“Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.”

If we take a look at language we’re so used to hearing from the business community, from politicians, and from those who are speaking from a position of considerable privilege, we can easily note that the rhetoric tends to reflect the prevailing social and economic centres of power, used – among other things – to water down injustices within that particular system. Words and phrases are used to subtly promote the prevailing structure. The Liberal Democrats have taken to using the word “fair” to describe policies that do not fix inherent problems (like housing shortages) but do such untold damage to those who at the bottom, that repeating the word “fair” over and over seems like nothing more than an insecure exercise in trying to convince themselves of what they’re saying.

Conservatives are wonderful at claiming to be a Party willing to take “tough decisions“. As if that’s an inherently good thing. As if “tough” translates to “right“. It ignores ideology, if you claim the decisions were tough. You might envisage the millionaire Chancellor weeping as he signs off on cuts to disability funds for the most vulnerable, as if his anti-social security ideology isn’t a factor. It’s no different to Republicans in the US claiming it a tough decision to strip women of reproductive rights. Or slave owners in the Antebellum South claiming it’s a tough decision to whip their slaves. Those with the privilege do not get to claim a decision that perpetuates that pivilege, whilst oppressing those already oppressed, is “tough“.

In the business world, “End of play” suggests a sort of child-like fun that you must be having. ‘Flexible accumulation‘ used to suggest an inherent and unavoidable part of the system that means of production, of distribution, and so labourforce (people) are in fact all unimportant in themselves – secondary – to the most important aspect of life; the accumulation of capital (which, oddly, is deemed a natural ‘good’). And so as language analysts suggest; if workers are convinced of their own nature as ‘flexible’ they are more likely to accept that their jobs are part of that ‘flexible‘ cycle, willing to work longer hours for less. If you tell a worker he or she is ‘expendable‘ or ‘worthy, until the boss deems otherwise‘, you’re unlikely to inspire much loyalty (a loyalty, the boss isn’t obliged to reciprocate). ‘Flexible accumulation’ is a very subtle threat, hidden behind more creative language. Just today, we read that the Institute of Directors has responded angrily to suggestions that zero-hour contracts be banned, insisting that it risks the UKs ‘flexible’ labour market. Another way to describe a ‘flexible‘ labour market, is job insecurity. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; anxiety, depression, and poor health increase dramatically in those people who consider their job to be insecure. This, to the Institute of Directors, is an unimportant consequence of a “flexible labour market“.

Burst bubble” denotes something out of anyone’s control, and so those who were at the very centre of the financial crash are exonerated by a linguistic con-trick. Those who suffered the most from the impact of the “burst bubble” tend to be those with very little political or economic power, and so it is easy to transfer the blame from those at the centre of the bubble, to those who were reliant on the bubble. The rule of divide and conquer. Ensure those on incredibly low wages, with a falling standard of living, and insecure jobs (flexible workforce) believe it is the fault of those who are poorer than they, rather than those with the power and the wealth. The poor must be ‘scroungers’ or they are ‘leechers’ or they are ‘Welfare dependent’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘immigrants taking our jobs’.

We are bombarded with how ‘the markets‘ will react, to any social or economic change. ‘The markets‘ are treated as a mysterious, God-like entity that must be obeyed. A new Theology. Milton Friedman appears like a Prophet promising “freedom” but delivering destitution. The ‘Market‘ God is treated as if infallible. As if perfect rather than what they actually are; indifferent, amoral. For example, if I were to drive my car a mile away to the shop, I must buy a car, I must buy insurance, I must pay my road tax, I must buy petrol, I might choose to buy a new CD for the car, or an air freshener. Doubtlessly, driving a mile down the road to the shop contributes to the growth of ‘the markets’. Or, I could choose to walk the mile to the shop. I am benefitting the environment this way, it is far more healthy for me to do this, and yet, I contribute nothing to the growth of ‘the markets’ this way. In this example, my health and the health of the environment are less important, than pollution and laziness. The Institute of Directors, who care little for the health of humanity, would be thoroughly unimpressed if I were to walk to work. But for the thriving of Capitalism, especially after such a risky crises, the language used to portray ‘the markets’ must be positive and lofty at all times, whilst those that fall victim to the insidious side of market forces, portrayed as weak, lazy, and a burden. By dehumanising the most vulnerable, people are able to turn their heads when harsh economic violence is conducted against them.

We are told that policy must be directed to benefit those we now consider “job creators“. They are our saviours. We are indebited to those people. As if their money is how wealth is created. As if they don’t just ride the tide of demand. We have called it supply-side, we have called it trickle-down, now the rhetoric has moved on to labeling anyone with money as a ‘job creator’. We are told that if we do not cut taxes for the richest, whilst slashing social programmes that those taxes fund, the ‘job creators‘ will all leave. And so, they must be given the biggest Welfare payment of all; a massive tax cut. This is the real something-for-nothing society, because the obligation for someone who has used a well funded public system and social security safety net and framework in order to gain great wealth, to pay back into that system in order for the next generation to be afforded the same opportunities, is cut the moment a government give into the threat of leaving if taxed. The poorest do not have that option.

Interestingly, through all the media hype and demands of “catching” Welfare cheats, alongside exaggerated shock stories of parents claiming millions in Welfare, for their 40 children, in their 140 bedroom house, and their Spanish beach home, all paid for by your hard work!!!!!…. only £1.2bn was lost to Welfare fraud in 2010/11, which is 0.8% of the total benefit expenditure. If the total benefit expenditure was a £1 coin, less than 1p would be lost to fraud. By contrast Vodafone (that’s one company, not an entire Nation) was allowed to write off its tax bill of £6bn. That’s six times more than that lost to Welfare fraud across the whole country. Rather coincidentally, the head of tax policy at Vodafone is a man named John Connors. Connors used to work at HMRC and enjoys a close relationship with current head of HMRC, David Hartnett. They go for cosy lunches together, and then they casually wipe £6bn from the Nation’s second largest company on the Stock market’s tax bill. Unsurprisingly, Hartnett is the most wined and dined civil servant in the country, by corporations. I’m sure it’s just because he’s such a nice guy. Yes. That must be it.

The Conservative Party does not like talking about individual cases of those suffering intensely due to Tory budget cuts. Iain Duncan Smith, when presented with families struggling to live, started his answer with “this is typical of the BBC“.
In March 2012, according to figures by the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities registered 48,510 households as homeless, representing a 14% leap. The largest in nine years. A report from the same department also showed the number of people sleeping rough had jumped by a fifth, in a year.
Leslie Morphy the Chief Exec. of Crises said:

“Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.”

Similarly, the Chief Exec. of Shelter, Campbell Rob said:

“These figures are a shocking reminder of the divide between the housing haves and have nots in this country,”

Similarly, Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link said:

“This comes at a time when reduced funding has already hit services and further cuts are expected this year. Our research indicates that there are now fewer projects, fewer beds and more of our members are turning people away because they are full.”

– With overwhelming evidence, and statements from those whose lives are dedicated to helping the most vulnerable, wishing to highlight the situation, you’d think the government might firstly accept their is a problem given that the 7th largest economy in the World has a rising homeless population, and secondly, set out just what the government intends to do about this horrendous situation. Instead, Grant Shapps said:

“the debt-laden economy we inherited is leaving a legacy of hard-up households across the country”.

During the Mick Philpott murder case, George Osborne echoed the sentiments of the right winged Tabloid press, when he hinted that the murder of children, could in any way be linked to the concept of Welfare. Social security under attack politically, needed a rhetorical bedfellow, and it was handed it with the Philpott case. Tory Councillor John Bell, ran with this:
Untitled-6
– The manipulative nature of the rhetoric is evident when we note how the Daily Mail dealt with the case, in its story:

“Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born of welfare dependency. The trial spoke volumes about the sheer nastiness of the individuals involved. But it also lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers — of whom there are not dozens, not hundreds, but tens of thousands in our country.“

– The suggestion being that there are two groups of people in the UK; those not on any form of Welfare, and those on Welfare who are also potential child killers. The Daily Mail headline that day, above a picture of Mick Philpott was simple:

“Vile Product of Welfare UK.

– Yet, when Stephen Seddon murdered his parents for his £230,000 inheritance, the Mail did not suggest this was the ‘vile product‘ of the concept of inheritance. When the Mail editors got hold of the Philpott story, their main objective was to further the demonisation of Welfare. Nothing more. Any tenuous link was going to be drawn. Capitalism, that inevitably leads to the necessity of social security is not to blame, for the Daily Mail. That social security itself, is to blame.

When the Shropshire millionaire Hugh McFall murdered his wife and daughter, the Mail said:

“Detectives believe the mild-mannered family man snapped as he struggled to cope with spiralling debts…..Last night his sister Claire Rheade said: ‘It’s unbelievable – he doted on his family, he would never harm them. ‘He was a gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly.’ ”

– Note the rhetorical differences.
The Philpott case: “evil“, “sheer nastiness“, “grotesque“, “scroungers“, “bleak”.
The McFall case: “mild-mannered“, “family man“, “doted on his family“, “never harm them“, “gentle man“, “wouldn’t hurt a fly“. They mention his “personal spiralling debts” as a catalyst. Here, they limit responsibility to he alone. They could call the McFall murders a “vile product of Capitalism“. They don’t.

To water down injustices within the system, whilst promoting the prevailing order, it is necessary to inflict linguistic damage upon those considered ‘outside’ of the system. Those who lose out. Those on the receiving end of the injustices, because to face up to the injustices puts those who gain the most, in a threatened situation. Marx was convinced that the injustices would eventually manifest in the collective consciousness of the oppressed, which in turn, would lead to revolution. Marx faltered in his underestimating oppressive discourse and how it becomes so ingrained into the social fabric (especially if it is repeated over generations) so as to threaten opposition by stigmatising it as much as possible. It represents a narrowing of both social, and political discourse. You can usually tell just who benefits the most from the prevailing rhetoric of the day, because they’re the ones with the power.


The November 30th Strikes

November 23, 2011

Conservative Party hypocrisy reached a new high today, when The Sun published an article in which David Cameron calls on public sector workers to defy their unions, by not going on strike on November 30th. The phrase the Prime Minister used, which really quite sums up the sort of post-modern irony that seems to run the veins of the Coalition, was a beautiful:

“most did not vote for this”

He is of course referring to the vote for public sector strike action on the 30th November over pension reform.

Unison vote: 245,358 voted in favour, 70,253 against.
National Association of Probation Officers Union: 80% vote for strike action.
The National Union of Teachers: 92% in favour.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union: 4 to 1 in favour.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP): 86% In favour.
Society of Radiographers (SOR): 84% in favour.
Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP): 64% in favour.
Among others.
Over three million will strike. The Prime Minister believes it is illegitimate to strike, because most public sector workers didn’t vote in the ballot. This of course, simply adds to the breathtaking level of hypocrisy in the Prime Minister’s already weak argument.

It is true that most public sector workers didn’t vote. Even so, the unions that did have a huge turnout, were almost identical in respect to results, as those with low turnouts. For example, whilst Unite only managed a 31% turnout with a result of 75% in favour; the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) managed to get 66% turnout with a result of 86% in favour. Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) managed a turnout of 66.3% and a vote of 79.19% in favour. I’d say it’s pretty conclusive. But it strikes me as insanely ironic that Cameron would even have the nerve to bring up democratic legitimacy. The irony is beautiful. The turnout for the public sector strike vote among unions was around 27%. Pretty small overall. That being said, only about 2% actually voted against strikes. A stark contrast to the 67.6% of people who voted for any Party other than the Conservative Party in 2010. If we’re talking legitimacy after a vote, I’m pretty sure I know which is truly illegitimate, given the scale of reform since 2010.Let’s apply Cameron’s wording to the election and its aftermath:

The tripling of Tuition fees.

“most did not vote for this”

The abolition of 150 PCTs/Control of budget handed over to GP consortiums.

“most did not vote for this”

Rise in VAT, which the Tories said “We have no plans for” and the Lib Dems described as a “Tory bombshell waiting to be dropped”.

“most did not vote for this”

Radical pension changes.

“most did not vote for this”

On the last point, the radical pension changes can not in any light be considered ‘fair’. If we look at what the Government is saying; that a teacher retiring on £37,000 will now get a pension of £25,000, as opposed to £19,100 under the current scheme… sounds like a pretty good deal. But here’s the problem; for a pension of £25,000, the NUT says a teacher would have to work to 68, rather than 60 for the pension of £19000. What this means is if a teacher were to retire at 60 under the new proposals, he/she would receive £13,800…… £5300. Work for eight years longer, pay more, get less. That’s the new scheme.

Danny Alexander told the House of Commons on the 2nd November:

“Yes, we are asking public service workers to contribute more. Yes, we are asking them to work longer, along with the rest of society, but we are offering the chance of a significantly better pension at the end of it for many low and middle income earners.”

– Interestingly, this is nonsense. The document that Alexander is referring to, is the ‘Public Sector Pensions: good pensions that last’ (what a vomit-inducing title), in it we are given the example of a 40 year old male civil servant with 18 years of service, and would only have to work 18 months more – to the age of 61 years and 6 months – to get his existing pension deal. If he were to retire at 67, he’d have £3700 more than under the current scheme. Here’s where it is nonsense. Channel 4 pointed out that if you use the calculator on the Civil Service website, that man would actually only take home £2,567 more. 30% less than Alexander suggested. To even get near to the same pension as they’re currently due, the average civil service worker would have to work close to five years more than now. In contrast, Downing Street has been redecorated to the tune of £680,000 of public money, since May 2010. Just saying….

Baroness Warsi warned:

“Millions of public sector workers could be forced to strike against their will.”

– Oh the hypocrisy. Thousands of students will now face crippling debts, against their will. A report on Radio Leicester this morning highlighted the problem caused by deep austerity (remember, MOST voted against deep austerity in 2010) by showing that since this time last year, homeless rates have tripled in Leicester. Libraries have closed against their will. By June, 240,000 public sector workers had lost their jobs, against their will. GPs are being handed 80% of an NHS budget, against their will. Baroness Warsi really is a disaster.

Overall, the government intends to increase public sector pension contributions by 3.5% by 2015. The TUC says that this amounts to a 3% wage cut. They call it, a tax on working in the public sector. It essentially raises around £3bn a year. Coincidentally, the Chancellor ruled out a tax on bankers bonuses, that would have raised £2bn a year.

It would appear that the Coalition don’t understand. The High Pay Commission this week found that Executive pay is astronomically high, rising hugely even during recession, whilst the rest of the Country had to deal with rising inflation and flatlining wages, followed now by public sector pension attacks and the burden of the nation’s debt placed onto the shoulders of the Nation’s 18 year olds. Barclay’s bank saw its Chief Executive pay increase 5000% in 30 years, whilst its average employee saw his/her pay increase just 3 fold. In 1980, the average pay of the man at the top was 13 times more than the average employee…. now, it’s 169 times more. Collective, The report ends with:

“Stratospheric increases in pay are damaging the economy – distorting markets, draining talent from key sectors and rewarding failure. There appears to be little truth in the myth that pay must escalate to halt a talent drain in executives.”

– Executive pay is in no way linked to company performance. For example, as share index of FTSE 100 companies rose just 7%, average pay for bosses rose 32%, average pay for their employees rose just 2%. Renumeration committees are sordid little greed affairs, and it all remains very very private. It is wrong. So, given that Chief Execs. of financial institutions; a sector that caused the entire globe to become engulfed in the flames of sovereign debt crises, have been given massive tax breaks, and have seen their pay increase beyond anyone’s idea of a reasonable level whilst they ride the tide of consumer demand calling themselves, quite amusingly, “job creators” at every possible turn to defend their obscene life styles, knowing full well they have a plethora of multi-millionaires in the Cabinet to defend them…… the rest of the working World is expected to sit down, shut up, and take the Tory-led economic raping like a good little bitch.

The 0.1% at the very top, are taking even more, funded by cuts to wages like that of the public sector pension reforms. Teachers and nurses are funding the luxurious lifestyles of Britain’s banking chiefs. The Government absolutely fully supports this.

This is why I fully support the strikes next week.


Tea Party: Pro-death.

September 14, 2011

The Republican debates have been quite an eye opener. I knew that those who subscribe to the Tea Party way of life, are pretty vicious in the ideological leanings, but I didn’t really know to what extent their bile was able to rise. It turns out, they are an utter disgrace. A cancer on the fabric of society. The worst type of person. The reason I take such a strict approach to the Tea Party, is that they are extremists. My staunch and outspoken Atheism takes the shape of a bullet aimed at the incompatibilities between dogmatic ideology and the humanity as a collective entity looking to survive.

The Tea Party simply represent a vicious dogmatic obsession with their ideology, which happens to be unabridged Capitalism. An ideology that insists massive Corporations are “job creators” (a phrase I hate. Demand creates jobs. Not Corporations). The Tea Party is a representation of everything that is wrong with the right wing.

During a debate, Ron Paul was asked a question about a man who has a good job, but has no medical insurance, and ends up in a coma, what should happen? Predictably, Ron Paul doesn’t particularly answer the question, he just insists the guy SHOULD have medical insurance. I am fully aware that right winged Americans believe healthcare is a luxury rather than what I believe it is; a necessity. But what struck me, to the point of speechlessness, which slowly became a distinct sense of disbelief and disgust, was when the guy asking the questions said “Should we let the man die then?” to which the Tea Party audience, yelled “Yes!!
– This mentality, is extremist. It is taking an ideology to the extreme. Capitalism, like Socialism, when taken to its limits, is extreme ideology; in this case it becomes extreme when it decides who lives and who dies. Ron Paul started his question, by suggesting that any form of tax payer funded healthcare is Socialist, and that’s bad. This is a rather extreme position, because it fails to take into account results. The system is judged on how strictly it adheres to its ideological dogma, rather than the success or failure.

Money, in a Capitalist society is based on nothing. Actually it is based on debt. So its power comes from a collective concept of what it means. Life on the other hand, is not a concept. It transcends ideology. It is far more important than ideology. The ideology requires a constant insistence that what we own, is what makes us who we are.

So, let’s look at the results of two rather polarised healthcare systems. The UK has a Nationalised Health Service. In 2009, the US had a largely Private Health Service, in which your ability to pay (a concept) is far more important than your life itself (reality).
Infant mortality rate (probability of dying between birth and age 1 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA: 7

Under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA 8

Adult mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 and 60 years per 1000
UK: 77
USA: 106

Case detection rate for all forms of tuberculosis (%):
UK: 94
USA: 89

Per capita total expenditure on health at average exchange rate (US$)
UK: 3285
USA: 7410

Life expectancy at birth (years)
UK: 80
USA: 79

General government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure.
UK: 15.1%
USA: 18.7%

A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is.

It isn’t just when compared to the Nationalised health system of the UK. The Nationalised health system of Norway provides equally as disastrous results for Tea Party enthusiasts. When a man is ran down by a car, and the first thought in the collective mind of a Capitalist society is “oh my god!! I hope….he has insurance”, who then walk away when it turns out he doesn’t, one has to ask ourselves how far they are willing to go? Is collective policing wrong? Should we have fire insurance? If our house is burning down, and we’re too poor because our insurance bills include health, road, and police, should we just accept that the fire department shouldn’t be burdened with our current predicament? Should we expect to get arrested for leaving our house if we haven’t paid our road insurance? How is that freedom? That seems to be to be substituting the ‘tyranny’ of Government for the tyranny of big business – a real tyranny because it has unaccountable, unelected powers. A two tier society, in which you’re absolutely second class if you are not propertied, is my idea of hell.

According to a World Health Organisation ranking list of 2000, the US Health System ranks 11. The UK 18th, and the USA…… a pathetic 37th. Even though, the US spends most per capita than any other Nation in that ranking list. Above the US, ranks Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, UAE, Andorra and Malta. The most powerful Nation on Earth, has a worse healthcare record, than Saudi Arabia; a desert. Japan is number one for Life Expectancy and 70% of healthcare costs in Japan are paid by the Government. The cost of an MRI scan in Japan is $US 98. In America, it is $US 1500. There is no excuse for it. A healthcare system based on the ideological position that a doctor should check your insurance before he saves your life, is doomed to fail every time. A system should be judged not on its allocated “ism” but on its success. Private health insurance is not benefiting mankind. It benefits one or two wealthy people, and a host of United Health shareholders, with private health insurance money then ending up in Rick Perry’s campaign pot.

It is interesting to note that the same group of people cheered in delight last week, as it was announced during a debate that candidate Rick Perry has overseen 234 executions in Texas since becoming Governor. It would seem that State sponsored healthcare that ultimately (as shown above) saves lives is Socialist and evil, whilst State sponsored murder is a perfectly acceptable way to spend tax dollars. This includes the execution of Cameron Todd Willigham, a man who was accused of setting fire to his family home, killing his three young children. Before he was executed, a scientist wrote to the parole board to point out the flaws in the original case against Willingham. Perry ignored the concerns, and Willingham was executed in 2004. In 2005, an investigation was set up by a new 9 member Texas Forensic Science Commission. Just before they started their hearings into the case, Perry fired all 9 members. Another nine of the USA’s top fire scientists say the science was faulty in convicting Willingham. It is quite possible that Willigham was innocent. People in that crowd last week, cheered the death of at least one innocent man. Pro-life apparently. What a disgrace to humanity.

If anyone tells you that the US healthcare system is the best in the World; be sure to point out that it isn’t. That it isn’t even in the top ten. Or top twenty. Or top thirty. That it barely reaches the top 40. That your children are more likely to die young in the US, than in the United Arab Emirites or Macau (I’m not even sure where Macau is). But be sure to let them know that if they want to execute someone based on flimsy science, Texas is the place to be!

The great Gore Vidal once said:

Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

– This is true of the religion of American Capitalism.

I truly feel for America if a Republican ends up in the White House.


The curse of Letwin

August 1, 2011

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

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

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

“some real discipline and some fear”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Neoliberal Attack…

July 13, 2011

Religious people are far more likely to engage in conversation about religion with me, after I mention that I have studied Philosophy and take an interest in Theology. I think they presume I will agree with their thoughts and perhaps provide reasoning to their illogical beliefs. I think they imagine that one can only speak with conviction on matters of religion, if one is religious in an academic sense. The same is true of many walks of life, not least the public sector in England. Because Tory MPs are essentially a part of the public sector, they seem to believe they have the right to talk of all public sector workers, as if they’re the official spokespeople for the public sector.

On Question Time last week, John Redwood, Tory MP for Wokingham appeared delighted as he informed the audience that as a public sector worker, he would be working longer and putting more money into his pension pot as a result of his Government’s reforms, and he was proud of it. The reason John Redwood can seem so pleased with himself that he is accepting the changes to his pension and retirement age, is because on top of the £65,000 a year he earns as an MP, he also claimed a hell of a lot of money, that regular public sector workers could only dream of. Yet, Mr Redwood seems to think his claims were perfectly reasonable, as suggested on his own personal blog:

In 2007-8 I claimed a total of £105,917. This made me the 19th cheapest MP, claiming around £40,000 less than the average. One fifth of that claim was the mortgage interest costs, the Council Tax and service charge and maintenance on a bedsit flat in Pimlico. It is entirely used to enable me to work longer days in London when there is important Parliamentary business. During my ownership it has only been slept in by myself. I do not need it for any other purpose. The deposit and repayments of capital are of course paid for out of my taxed income.

– We should be thanking him, for claiming in one year, more than a teacher is likely to earn in five years. We should be happy that tax payers money is going to fund the “maintenance” on his Pimlico flat. We should be grateful that the money spent on his mortgage interest (tax payers money) will go to buying a flat he can then sell when he retires, making a handsome profit, and giving nothing back to the public, whilst his party continue to force harsh austerity. One does wonder what the purpose of his 2004/5 claim of £13,305 for his luxurious house in Berkshire (a £1,000,000 estate which he fully owns), including £168 and £112 for his lawn to be reseeded, and how that is “entirely used to enable me to work longer days in London when there is important Parliamentary business” was needed for, but nevertheless, i’m sure it’s just as noble as the necessity of “maintenance” claims on the MILLIONAIRE’S flat in London. Thank you John “Jesus Christ” Redwood. You are a hero.

A man in the audience pointed out that the Private Sector has forced through harsh pension reforms, and so the Public Sector should do the same and “modernise”. The audience were alive with cheer! But it got me thinking; why is it always the public sector that is made to look as though it is in the wrong, like a Soviet leftover, trailing behind the private sector. People seem happy to accept the notion that if the private sector is screwing people over, then so should the public sector! Why is no one arguing that the private sector should be actively forced to lift itself up to the level of the public sector? As far as I can discern, over the past twenty five years it has been an out of control short-term wealth obsessed private sector that has been so majestically out of control, that when the bubble finally cracked, the public sector had to take the hit.

Let’s look at examples of the private sector providing a “modernising” model that the public sector ought to apparently follow:

Lloyds TSB is currently 43.4% owned by the taxpayer. Yet, its new Chief Executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio received a signing on fee of £4.1mn in shares, £516,000 in money, and an annual salary of £1.6mn with a yearly bonus of £2.5mn.

A wonderful company named Trafigura, in 2010 leased a ship called the Probo Koala to a company called Compagnie Tommy, with the intent to dump toxic waste at a waste disposal sight in Amsterdam. The site raised their prices by 20 times that quoted, because the toxic waste was deemed to be far more dangerous that Compagnie Tommy and Trafigura first suggested. So, a new company set up on the Ivory Coast agreed to take the waste, for a very cheap sum. Trafigura did not investigate just why this new company was offering to take the waste for such a cheap price. After the waste was dumped, ten people died from poisoning, and over 100,000 became ill. Trafigura said they’d tested the waste, and it wasn’t toxic, and that they had no idea why so many people became ill. The Dutch tested the waste and found it contained two tonnes of Hydrogen Sulfide. A killer gas. Trafigura spent three years publicly denying the waste they dumped in a poverty stricken area of Africa, was not enough to kill people. Suddenly, Trafigura offered to pay a massive amount of compensation of Euro152,000,000 to the Ivory Coast (which didn’t go to the victims) with the instruction that on acceptance of the compensation, they couldn’t be prosecuted or causing death in the courts. The reason they did this, is because The Guardian obtained – through Wikileaks – private company emails from Trafigura in which they quite plainly accept, as early as 2006 before they’d even chosen the Ivory Coast to dump the waste, that the waste was indeed dangerous.

According to the Guardian, Diageo PLC, the company that makes Guiness, in 2009 paid as little as 2% tax on its profits, despite racking in £2bn in profits. Diageo pays its Chief Executive £3.6mn salary. To fill this gap, it takes 20,000 ordinary British households per year.

The term “Modernising” has come to mean subtle privatising of key services in recent years. An economic laissez faire that apparently promised to solve all of our problems. The outsourcing of cleaning from NHS to private companies with £94mn worth of contacts, led to such declining standards between ’83-’00, that an extra emergency £31mn was injected into cleaning in the NHS, with the a Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT), set up to visit hospitals to ensure standards were being met; the Private sector had failed. By 2000, only 20% of NHS Trusts had achieved an acceptable level of cleanliness.

The banks aren’t the only sector that have required government bail outs in recent history. In 2002, British Energy (privatised under the Tories) had to approach the government for a £410mn bail out to finance its debts.

News of the World. I believe this doesn’t need elaborating on.

Private sector bonuses and high CEO pay, is more harmful to you and I, than highly paid private sector bosses. When money accumulates in the hands of very few people within the private sector (we spend more in the private sector, than on taxes), the cost gets passed on to us. The Bush tax cuts, along with the deregulation of the financial sector didn’t go toward greater investment, it went to increasing the pay and bonuses of those at the top, and the cost was passed on to us, through the creation of a very easy credit system. We all know how that turned out.

British Airways, under the incompetent management of Willie Walsh faced massive fines (record breaking fine actually) for price fixing, long drawn out industrial disputes with the cabin crew which the media helped by describing the cabin crew as greedy, despite 2000 of their workmates being laid off, the company making huge losses, and Willie Walsh taking in a 6% inflation busting pay rise, taking it to £743,000 and £1.1mn in deferred share bonuses. Enough to keep at least ten people on at BA, who otherwise lost their job. The media will never paint the boss as the greedy incompetent bastard in this kind of dispute. It will always find a child at Heathrow, crying, because the cabin crew strike means he wont see his mummy this Christmas. The media do not tend to side with the unions, they never will, and so neither will the ill-informed public.

Do we need to even mention the banking system? A particularly ironic take on this whole new “private good public bad” era of austerity we are living in.

Thankfully we have the Government’s new corporate team, who will help him “stand up to business”. On the panel, inevitably, is Philip Green, Topshop mogul who owns Taveta Investments, which he put in his wife’s name, who happens to live in Monaco, thus avoiding £285mn in tax. He also paid his family £1.2bn, taken from a loan in the name of his company, thus cutting Corporation tax because the loan’s interest charges were offset against profit. Oh and he also uses sweatshops in Mauritius, whilst claiming his obscene bonuses are justified because he “takes risks”. Another on the panel, is Justin King, Chairman of Sainsbury’s. In his first year, he received free shares worth over £500,000, whilst axing the £120 christmas bonus for his staff. After his staff didn’t receive their christmas bonus, King awarded his wealthy finance director £357,000 worth of shares. King was also offered 1,000,000 free shares, if he met specific targets the year before. He didn’t meet the targets, the company’s profits fell 2.9% and yet he still took home 86% of the promised shares. He will be given the same year on year, on top of his £500,000+ a year salary.

We all know that the private sector has the potential to deliver fantastic opportunities, despite the fact that its raison d’etre is unjustifiable power and wealth in the hands of people who simply injected the first dose of capital required to kick start the specific business, as if that initial injection of capital somehow creates a universal, unbreakable law, like gravity, that requires the majority of the subsequent profit and the decisions required to move the business forward, be placed in the hands of the person who injected that capital. It’s a bit of a flawed and odd concept that people just tend to accept. But, it does create opportunity (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only way of creating opportunity). The downside, is unregulated greed. The public sector is a constant target of abuse from the source of that greed, and the politicians that the greed of the private sector can buy. Corportocracy at its finest and most dangerous.

Isn’t it about time a Politician had the balls to stand up and say the Private Sector over the past thirty years has spiraled disastrously out of control, and perhaps needs to be able to pay people a decent living wage, as opposed to bringing the public sector down to the unacceptable level of the private sector?


This could be 1983

May 13, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • A place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

    February 25, 2011

    Born like this
    Into this
    Into these carefully mad wars
    Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
    Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
    Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
    Born into this
    Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
    Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
    Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
    Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

    – Charles Bukowski

    Whilst David Cameron continues to sell arms to violent nations, ignoring the fact that hundreds of fellow Brits are stranded in Tripoli, I thought I’d give you a bit of context on how Tories tend to view those who don’t own a great deal of wealth. Tory Peer Lord Lang, The Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business appointments has announced that the committee that looks into business employing former ministers, said that he would only accept people to his panel:

    “who had experience and proven success in a relatively important profession or trade – somebody who had achieved distinction – rather than a waitress or bus driver.”

    – A beautifully elitist attitude if ever I saw one.

    One should also bring into view, the alleged fraudulent behavior of Lord Lang in the past. He is a part-time director of Marsh & McLennan, a US company, and the World’s biggest insurance brokers. In 2004 they settled out of court, for massive fraud. They had moved clients toward insurers who Marsh and McLennan had payoff agreements with. They also solicited rigged bets for insurance contracts from those insurers. The CEO resigned and they settled out of court.

    Another bad news week for the economic situation. Osborne must be wondering how long he can keep saying “obviously these figures are concerning” before he starts to realise he’s absolutely to blame.
    Firstly, over here in the U.K, the government and it’s slightly more mental-than-usual support base spent Monday singing the praises of the horrifically dogmatic Libertarian George Osborne because public sector net borrowing showed a £3.7bn surplus. Rising VAT and raping public services of all funds brought in more money? Who’d have thought it!!! Of course there would be a surplus rise. I am not sure why that’s even news. I don’t think that most Tory supporters understood the point of public sector net borrowing and how it is funded.

    This is evident with today’s announcement, that the UK economy shrunk worse than expected in the final sector of 2010. Initial reports said the economy shrunk by 0.5%. Comically, Osborne (remember, this man is our Chancellor) blamed the snow. Now it turns out the economy shrunk by 0.6%. If you look at the ONS figures from 2008 recession, to now, it tells quite an impressive story. Recession struck, and GDP fell massively. From 2009 to the end of 2010, the economy was growing and actually recovering substantially. And then Tory policies took hold, and the economy is shrinking again. The ONS figures show that if we don’t experience some sort of miracle bounce, we are about to hit a double dip recession very soon.

    To give you a bit of context, since mid-2010, construction output has fell 2.5%, household expenditure fell 0.1%, utilities output fell by 4.6%, mining output fell by 4.5%. Here is the graph:

    Anyone who looks at this graph and believes the Government know what they’re doing, is seriously deluded.
    If you look at employment figures, they were recovering up until the last quarter of 2010. Now, they are worsening. It isn’t surprising given that the Government has decided to kick another 40,000 people out of work at the NHS. The cutting of simply back office staff (as if that’s a good thing anyway) is ridiculous, it will hit front line services.

    Predictably Danny Alexander at the treasury couldn’t answer why the situation was worse than previously expected, without starting his sentence with “Well, we inherited…blah blah utter bollocks“.

    This of course wont affect Gideon Osborne, who is a trust fund baby. He will never be insecure. He will never struggle. This is because Osborne is set to inherit a 15% stake in a wallpaper and fabrics company called Osborne & Little. He is worth £4,000,000. Despite this, he flipped his second home in order to pay less capital gains tax. The Lib Dems found that Osborne owed £55,000 in Parliamentary expenses abuses on his second home. Quite comically, he spent £47 of taxpayers money on a copy of a DVD of his own speech on “value for taxpayers money“.

    As the misery is spreading, due to the less fortunate being expected to pick up the bill for the extravagances of the very fortunate, there is wonderful news for the banks. RBS, despite recording a loss of £1.1bn, gave out bonuses close to £1bn for 2010. Apparently nothing has changed since 2007. But then it isn’t surprising, we apparently as a nation collectively decided that to beat right winged economics and its massive failings, we need more right winged economics.

    This is even more evident in the U.S. After the Republicans in Congress decided they will be forcing through some incredibly steep spending cuts, and a very weak Obama tacitly accepting, the Wisconsin assembly have voted to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

    What a horrible World we live in, when we decide it is more important for the owners of capital to treat humanity as a commodity, than it is for those people to live securely.

    Essentially, what the Governments of the UK and US are telling us, is we do not understand what is best for us. What is best for us, apparently, is letting the private sector exploit as much as it wants, without us being able to stop it. They have cleverly managed to take a crises caused by Neoliberalism, and use it to push through some of the most Victorian style Neoliberal reforms we’ve ever had the misfortune to have forced upon us. The market doesn’t set wages. The base rate is set by very greedy employers. For this, unions are essential. I would urge all public sector workers in Wisconsin to collectively walk out. Let’s see just how unimportant Republicans think you are then.

    Don’t let them tell you it is democratic. Being controlled by one CEO whom you cannot overthrow no matter how much you value your 2nd Amendment right to bare arms against tyrants, a CEO who is not accountable to you and whose main function is profit; being controlled by him, is not democracy and it is not freedom. It is Corporate tyranny.

    Meanwhile David Cameron gave us his multiculturalism is dead speech, in which he mentioned the words “muslim” and “Islam” 36 times, in a 20 minute speech. Racism has always been a tool used by the fortunate to stifle collective action.

    Thomas More once commented that

    In fact, when I consider any social system that prevails in the World, I can’t, so help me God, see it as anything but a conspiracy of the rich to advance their own interests under the pretext of organising society. They think up all sorts of tricks and dodges, first for keeping safe their ill gotten gains, and then for exploiting the poor by buying their labour as cheaply as possible.”

    When you analyse the rhetoric, it would appear that Thomas More was correct. The pretext of organising society after the financial crash has run thusly:

  • The Financial institutions should be bailed out.
  • The Public Sector should pay for the failings.
  • People will lose their jobs as a result of cuts.
  • Benefits for the unemployed must be cut, even as six people chase one job.
  • Help the one person who gets the job, fuck the other five.
  • Massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
  • Play on racial tensions.
    One wonders how it has managed to get to this point. But it isn’t new. Racism has always been played upon, during time of crises.
    During the American Civil War, very wealthy white Southerners managed to convinced poor white Southerners to go and fight for their right to keep black slaves. Why? How were they convinced that slavery would be beneficial to everyone? Well, they weren’t convinced. Racism was played up and the economic consequences were played down. If you convince a bunch of poor white people that those who are “racially inferior” want to be treated equally, and how they will infiltrate your kids school with their “barbaric culture”, you are very carefully constructing a social narrative that ignores the fact that the rich white folk, simply want slavery to save money on labour costs. If you can employ a black slave to do your work for free, you’re not going to employ the poor white person, regardless of how low you’re allowed to pay him. Slavery screwed over poor white people and poor black slaves. The only people who benefited, were the rich white people. And yet, poor white people were willing to die to perpetuate a system that held them back.

    This critique can be applied today. Somehow workers have been convinced, through constant negative media attention, that Unions are a great evil that need to be purged. It’s madness. During the British Airways strike, the media and so the mindless public at large took the line that the Union was to blame for the problems. The management who were screwing over both the workers and the customer were largely treated like the victims. The CEO of BA Willie Walsh had recently been forced to make BA pay the largest fine in Aviation history, after he was found guilty of price fixing. Somehow, the wealthy have managed to convince the workers that it is in their best interests, not to fight for better pay, and better conditions, and health benefits. We have been convinced, that exploitation and overbearing tyrannical management, is great for everyone. It is very U.S orientated approach to society. Which is kind of funny. America has weak unions, and strong anti-union laws. You’d think, under the rhetoric and the narrative that unions are a great evil, that America would be a pretty happy society…

    The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development conducted vast research into which countries people feel the happiest living in. It is all subjective, the people were asked if they thought their lives were predominantly affected by positive or negative experiences. Sample questions included:
    Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesterday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday?
    They quizzed 1000 15-100 year olds, from 140 Countries.
    Surely, with all that Capitalism and so little union involvement, America should be steaming ahead? Far ahead of those EVIL SOCIALIST OPPRESSIVE EUROPEAN States weeping uncontrollably in their Government-run lives, right?

    As of 2009, here is the top ten happiest Countries out of the 140 polled:

    1. Denmark
    2. Finland
    3. Netherlands
    4. Sweden
    5. Ireland
    6. Canada
    7. Switzerland
    8. New Zealand
    9. Norway
    10. Belgium

    Their governments probably forced them to be happy, whilst talking through the Telescreen in the wall. Note that Canada is sixth.

    Perhaps it is all because whilst the happiest people in Denmark enjoy their EVIL SOCIALIST Government forced happiness, the US citizen, in his plethora of freedom, is working hard!!!
    Well, no.
    Firstly, Denmark’s unemployment rate is at 2%. Far far below the UK and US levels.
    Secondly, 9th place in the list, Norway has GDP per capita nominal of $84,543. Denmark has GDP per capital nominal of $55,113.The US has GDP per capita of $47,132. The US lags behind Sweden and Switzerland on this as well. The UK meanwhile lags behind Belguim, Singapore, Belguim, Japan. All figures from the IMF.

    As far as public debt goes (Osborne always mentions, as do most Tories, just how badly in debt we are, verging on Greece) as of 2009 figures, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, the UKs public debt as a percentage of GDP is 68.10%. Greece’s is 144.0%. Here is the list of Countries in between the UK and Greece, for public debt, along with their debt as a percentage of GDP:

    Iceland 123.80, Jamaica 123.20, Italy 118.10, Belgium 102.50, Singapore 102.40, Ireland 98.50, Sudan 94.20, Sri Lanka 86.70, France 83.50, Portugal 83.20, Egypt 80.50, Dominica 78.00, Nicaragua 78.00, Israel 77.30, Germany 74.80, Malta 72.60, Hungary 72.10, Austria 68.60, United Kingdom 68.10.

    Perhaps the UKs GDP itself is awful? What with Labour OVER SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!1111
    Oh wait, no, we have the sixth largest economy in the entire World. Our little island, is the sixth largest economy in the World. Greece, is 31st.

    Perhaps our debt is the worst we’ve EVER known? It must be pretty bad if we’re privatising absolutely everything and kicking thousands out of work?

    Okay that’s only 100 years.
    What about in the larger context?

    So it turns out the Nation’s debt, is still at one of it’s all time lows. Which begs the question, why do we believe the bullshit that has spread? The bullshit of a dire economic situation, is used purely to further the cause of an ideological attack, and nothing else.

    It is amazing. We are further empowering the financial institutions that are responsible for the problems. None of them have faced criminal charges. In the 1970s the power of the labour movements was clearly defined as the problem. Today, the problem is clearly the power of finance capital. And instead of putting a foot down and regulating the power of finance capital, we are loosening the chains even greater. Crises in this case, is inevitable. We will have another crash. But whilst we have a politics (not a democracy) funded and run by the very very wealthy, there can never be change.

    Private funding of political parties and inherited wealth from Stock Market speculation, are the great evils and the most anti-democratic and dangerous ideals of our generation.

    Politically, the left is week. They are in a daze because they have spent the past ten years being the Right. Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor cannot complain, he spent his years in office given up economic power to the financial sector. It is as if the political left (I make a distinction between the left, and the political left, because the political left is really the centre-right) doesn’t understand why its unwavering support for Thatcherite policies, has failed so miserably. It is odd, because our Political Left is still scared of certain lexis. Socialism is considered a dirty word and Capitalism is considered a golden word. Why? Capitalism failed everyone other than the very wealthy. Labour politicians do not like to be seen to align themselves with unions? Why Tories have no problem aligning themselves with greedy tax avoiding billionaires who endulge in questionable and often unethical business practices. Those businessmen represent a very narrow group of people. Unions represent thousands upon thousands of people who would be far worse off without the many industrial gains that have been made over the past century, thanks to collective bargaining.

    We need a strong united academically gifted Left for the theory, and a strong united working people’s party for practice. Note, this does not mean a local Socialist party….. they are all, as far as I can see, still living in 1917.

    So it turns out, all is not as dire as it seems. The multiculturalism card, I maintain, is being used to ensure a division between the lower classes who will be losing out whilst the rich class will benefit greatly. If we are inspired to concentrate on Nationality and Culture rather than the fact that the Polish worker, the Pakistani worker, and the British worker are all being massively screwed over, we wont rise up and fight back. Attacks by Unions as being attacks on the British public will be further propagated. As if it is their fault. It is a smoke screen designed to make us forget about the fact that the very people and the very economic ideology that got us into this mess, are going to be the ones who benefit the most.

    The Big Society will rescue us though, so it’s okay.
    (ignore the fact that according to Voluntary Sector Cuts, £53,000,000 has been cut from their budgets).

    Student strikes.
    General strike.
    Union united.
    Mass protests and rioting.

    Libertarianism must be fought against as if it is a foreign invader. Our children do not need to be born into “a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes“.


  • Cameronism

    February 21, 2011

    Neoliberalism: The tyranny of Big Business, under the mask of “Freedom“.

    I have always wondered how the very fortunate manage to convince the very unfortunate that perpetuating that system is to everyone’s benefit. Thatcher managed to convince a mass of people that the Unions were evil, and were strangling the Country. She killed off the Unions, and bosses began the biggest exploitation effort since the 19th Century. Jobs shipped abroad daily, wages kept lower than ever before, and homes repossessed with the homeless rate doubling. How were people convinced that that was a good thing for the Country? Northern England still hasn’t recovered from what she did. It would seem that if you add the words “freedom” and “giving power to the people” to the end of a speech that is essentially going to destroy those people, you will have convinced them.

    One has to wonder, if this was a people power thing, why not mention it during the run up to the election. Such a social and class engineering project doesn’t come into being over night, it takes years of planning. They knew this would be the case. So why not mention it, if it’s so great? I’d suggest because if a political party was to suggest privatisation of the NHS and the public services, before an election, they would be so massively unelectable, they would have no MPs left. So, the answer is to manipulate a population into voting for you, and then systematically destroy their life.

    The fact remains, no one has given the Tories a mandate to do this. They did not win the election. More people voted for a slower reduction of the deficit, and less cuts. More people voted centre and centre-left political parties, than who voted for the Tories. Economically, if not socially, the Tories have no democratic right to be doing what they are proposing to do.

    Any time mass privatisation is suggested, the phrases “more power to the people” and “freedom” are banded about. I am always very suspicious of this, because it never quite turns out that way. It was “freedom” that drove Thatcher to privatise British Gas and the railways. British Gas is now run by one CEO who rises prices in line with an increase in oil prices, but then when the oil price lowers, he keeps British Gas prices high, raking in massive profits. For charging customers obscene amounts of money for no legitimate reason, boss of Centrica (which runs British Gas) was Knighted for “services to business“. The Chief Exec, Sam Laidlaw (who went to Eton, unsurprisingly) increased the cost of gas for consumers by 35% in 2006, for no reason whatsoever, and made record profits, when asked about it, he answered “Well, I am not about to apologise for making a healthy profit“. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    One wonders how long they can keep blaming Labour, given that unemployment and the deficit were shrinking in May 2010. They’re now both on the rise.

    David Cameron does not have the mandate to be privatising the entire public sector. And yet, in the Telegraph today, he shamefully used his dead son as justification for the most worrying of plans I’ve yet to hear him say:

    And though I was always so grateful for the tremendous care my eldest son received, I never understood why local authorities had more control over the budget for his care than Samantha and I did.

    I never understand why my boss, where ever I choose to work, has the right to be as rude and obnoxious and speak down to us as he so wishes. But apparently that’s “freedom“. What a wretched freedom it is. Allowing business the freedom to dictate terms and conditions for its workers, with absolutely no balance, is not freedom. Replacing democratic oversight with a dictatorial boss whose only objective is to make more money, is not freedom.

    I would never use a dead relative to promote a political agenda. He should say it like it is; Cameron and Osborne are Libertarians. It is why there is a mass of tax cuts for the very wealthy whilst the public sector is being gutted. It is why the banks are not being hit. It is why he is demolishing the NHS and the public sector as a whole. It is something beyond scary.

    “Instead of having to justify why it makes sense to introduce competition in individual public services – as we are now doing with schools and in the NHS – the state will have to justify why it should ever operate a monopoly.”

    What the hell? Damn right you should have to justify privatisation, logically because you are changing the system. You have to justify why you are changing the system. But mainly, because it has never fucking worked as promised in the past. The Tories privatised the railways, and now no one can afford to go anywhere. The Tories sold off the Council Houses, effectively entirely privatising the housing system, and now no one can afford homes. The Tories privatised electricity, and now old people die because they cannot afford to heat their homes in winter. So damn right you have to justify why you are handing even power to big business. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    One of the most worrying aspects of these proposals, is that the White Paper will lay out plans to make the proposals irreversible. Cameron said the Government would:

    “make it impossible for Government to return to the bad old days of the standard state monopoly”

    It is an ideological attack. It is Social engineering on a grand scale. Because those of us on the Left would argue that the bad days, especially where British Gas and the railways are concerned, and looking at the private health service in America; revolves around the private sector. It has to be resisted. By making this right wing plan irreversible, he is ironically presiding over the biggest Government in decades, because he is forcing Right Winged tyranny on those of us who oppose it completely. He is effectively banning the Left Wing. What if the Labour government had given more power to the Unions, and made it irreversible? Surely we’d be hearing how Orwellian that actually is?

    What if recession hits again. Which it will. It means that the only legal response, would be to do nothing. Keynesian economics would be entirely banned. What basis do they have to ban it?

    The difference is, the power. The Unions represent hundreds of thousands if not millions of ordinary people. Their power is legitimate, if we are talking about giving power to ordinary people. Syndicalism, is not a bad idea. Giving power to a very narrow set of businessmen is not, and could never be considered the height of human freedom.

    It amazes me that we have got to a position where we are being convinced en masse, that privatisation is “handing power back to the people“. It is such a falsity that it is almost funny. When we elect a politician, we know their face, we know their name, and if we don’t like them, we vote them out. By privatising the public sector, they are practically selling democracy to the man with the most money and calling it “power to the people“. We are getting to the stage where local representatives cannot do a thing, because their power is being handed to faceless businessmen, who we do not see, ever, never mind elect. Corporations act as little Stalinist States, where money is forced upwards, from the bottom. Those at the very top are always going to want more. Those at the bottom are always going to be squeezed for as much productivity and as little money as possible. We are therefore ruled by a Stock Market system, that relies on very very dodgy deals that have no social benefit whatsoever. Has it enriched our lives thus far? Longer working hours, ever more slimy bosses with a deluded sense of superiority? Stagnating wages with no real chance of an increase? Unions unable to exercise any power? An out of control financial sector? No housing? Gas and electricity more expensive than ever before? Less job security and more worry than ever before? I have argued previously that Democracy and Capitalism are entirely incompatible. This proves it. We are not a Democracy. We are wholly run and controlled by the power of big business. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    Orwell’s worry about an overbearing Government should not come to symbolise just the abstract concept of a State. Corporations are just as dangerous.

    There is a reason why the Public and Private sectors are separate. They have different values. Profit seeking should never place itself in the public sector.

    It took a Labour backbencher, Labour MP Chuka Umunna, to force Barclays to admit that it had only paid 1% Corporation Tax in 2009, even though it made profits of £11.9bn. That is absolutely obscene and completely unjustifiable. Unless you’re a Tory, obviously. Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays told the Treasury Select Committee that Barclays paid £2bn in taxes in 2009. It turns out he was very misleading, because those taxes are payroll taxes and its employees National Insurance. It paid just 1% Corporation Tax. It is paying bonuses worth £3bn. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    If that wasn’t enough, Barclays (remember, the tax it saves, is obviously for our benefit, for the people!) helps to fund Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe. It lent £750mn to Zimbabwean officials who had siezed land from White farmers, in 2007 alone, in order to “boost farm production“. Didymus Mutasa, the National Security Minister of Zimbabwe got a large chunk of Barclays money, even though he masterminded the ousting of white farmers….. who were left homeless. Mugabe has three farms, that he was able to take over, thanks to the funds from Barclays. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    If you’re disabled, tough. If you’re a child in a low socio-economic area, tough. If you want a borrow a book from a library, tough, it’s closed, fuck off. If you’re the CEO of a tax avoiding, corrupt regime propping up Bank…. great, have a bonus! FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    So that begs the question, why is David Cameron focusing purely on the public sector? The public sector did not fail to the extent that he is suggesting. The public sector didn’t cause the biggest financial crises we’ve ever seen. The private sector has failed miserably, far far worse than the public sector could ever imagine. The private sector created a culture of short term gain at the expense of long term stability. It gave everyone credit cards to artificially inflate demand, to keep wages at the very top getting higher and higher whilst (unsurprisingly) wages for the rest of us stagnated. It is the reason that my boss can keep us on minimum wage, and squeeze extra work out of us, without ever offering a pay rise, and talking to us as if we are socially inferior. It is a class system. The neoliberal system. And it doesn’t work. It is a hopeless, dire, miserable little system.

    David Cameron is focusing purely on the public sector, because like all Tories, he is unable to recognise the absolute failure of the Private Sector, and instead focuses all his energy on attacking the public sector. He constantly mentions benefit fraud, as do most Tory supporters. People cheating benefits is their big gripe. Yet it costs just £900mn a year. Corporate Tax avoidance (like Barclays) cost us £25bn. Get your fucking priorities in order.

    I am unsure how the Liberal Democrats can continue to let this happen. They have no shame. If they keep referring to themselves as Progressives, it is going to be the main source of ridicule politically for years. Freedom, for a left of centre party, should never mean the freedom for big business and a class of business elites, to control every inch of our lives.

    I hope to God that one day humanity opens its collective eyes to the absolute abuses of this horrendous right winged economic system we are force fed. It is not here to work for you and I. It is here to work for a very narrow wealthy elite.

    I smell Class War.

    The Unions, the Student movement, UK Uncut, and anyone who relies on public services, and anyone who hasn’t got an essential part of their soul missing, should fight back. The last thing this Country needs, is Cameronism. I give it a month before England has its name changed to McEngland, or Nike Air England.

    Thatcherism and its supporters like to boast that they beat the dragon of Socialism. The Country and the World will never be truly free until it has immunised itself from the disease of Neoliberalism.

    Neoliberal Democracy: Of the rich, for the rich, by the rich.
    FOR THE PEOPLE!!


    The Pig Society Part II

    February 16, 2011

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

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

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

    Marshall said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Welcome to the Pig Society.


    Why the Big Society is a load of bollocks

    February 14, 2011

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

  • It’s a Tory plan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • O’Reilly proves the existence of God.

    February 2, 2011

    I quite liked this video.
    It is disturbing to my sense of rationality, that Bill O’Reilly is one of the most watched men in America. In this video, he proves the existence of God (in the illogical world of Christian America, if nowhere else) by saying the the tide goes in and out.
    Just incase the American Right decide my EVIL SOCIALIST ATHEIST agenda is misleading, O’Reilly actually said:

    “I’ll tell you why [religion is] not a scam, in my opinion. Tide goes in, tide goes out. Never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that. You can’t explain why the tide goes in.”

    It is been quite some years now, since humanity first discovered why the tide goes in and out. We are pretty certain that it isn’t because of a God in a cloud somewhere using a big sea magnet. I am sure I learnt in very early school, that the tide is controlled by the Moon’s orbit.

    Bill then goes on the defensive:

    You’re calling me a moron.

    Yup.
    That’d be pretty accurate.
    Sadly, I’m sure there are a number of American Christians who sat up during this, and said…
    “YAR! That there is one heck of a good case for Jesus, yes sir! He was all like, what about the tides going out and shit, now i’m no racist but that nigra couldn’t god-damn answer him. Fucking Atheists tryna turn my Kids into an-tie Christian, an-tie- Amerkan pro-gay commies”

    Perhaps O’Reilly was suggesting that the moon is ideally placed to create a tide. I doubt he was suggesting that, because, that’s not what he actually said. But for arguments sake, let’s say he was suggesting the ideally placed moon. It is only ideally placed, because we exist. There is no design or reason behind it. It is just there. It isn’t “perfectly placed” because we invented the concept of something being perfectly placed, purely because we’re here. It is rather vain of us to decide that the chaotic universe, and the size and scale of it, exists, purely for us. There is no reason, or logic, or cause, or meaning. It stands to reason that if a Moon is at a certain location, and the planet is at a certain location relative to its star, and conditions for life exist, then life will pop into existence. It is just how it is. It does not mean it was designed that way at all.

    By measuring the total mass of stars and luminosity in our galaxy alone, there are estimated to be 100 billion stars, plus another estimated 200 million Galaxies. A star is like the Sun, so for every 100 billion stars, let’s say there are roughly 5-10 planets around each one. That would produce around 500 billion planets in our Galaxy alone. Is it not reasonable to suggest that one of those 500 billion might have a Moon placed in a position that has an affect on the liquid of its planet?

    How arrogant one must be, to suggest that this was all created for us.

    That being said, conditions on Earth are not perfect for human existence. They are adequate to say the very least. We have natural resources that are running out, not enough food to feed the World and billions of people live in abject poverty for their entire lives, on very inhospitable land. A cyclone is currently tearing its way through Queensland in Australia, only a few weeks after Queensland suffered severe flooding on a scale unknown to locals. If the Earth is the creation of God, for the intention of housing man, then God is a little bit incompetent.

    We are an insignificant, tiny race of apes, in an unimportant dot on the map of the universe. There is no grand design for this tiny little dot.
    Probability is irrelevant. We are surrounded by absolutely no evidence for the existence of God. Saying “yeah, but you can’t disprove the existence of God” is meaningless. If I see a dog, I shouldn’t be expected to accept the possibility that it might be a monkey. Similarly, I have all the evidence for Natural selection, I shouldn’t be expected, when faced with such a plethora of evidence, to say “yeah, but it might be a God.”

    Now, O’Reilly then uses a classic logical fallacy. If person X cannot prove their position, then person Y must be right in theirs. O’Reilly suggests that because Silverman was too stunned by O’Reilly’s intense stupidity that he didn’t answer him in the millisecond that O’Reilly allows his guests to actually speak, that he must therefore not be able to answer, and so he presumes he is correct.

    O’Reilly then goes on to complain that by saying Religion is a scam and a myth (which it is), American Atheists are insulting Americans. This comes about two minutes before he calls Silverman a “loon“.

    O’Reilly would insist he insults no one (except every week, when he refers to someone new, whom he disagrees with, but doesn’t give them the opportunity to argue their case, as a pinhead). Fox News spent most of 2008 attacking President Obama because Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address. The title of the piece just after the President’s speech was “Obama reaches out: addresses Muslims and Atheists in speech“. As if we’re the “other“. As if we, along with the Muslim community are a problem that needs to be addressed. The Fox host (I don’t know his name, but he looks about 12), said:

    “It surprised me when I heard it, it made me do a double take.”

    Why? Because some people aren’t all absolutely mad Christian Right Wingers? Mike Huckabee on that same show, said that Obama had acknowledged that some people don’t believe in anything….. “but themselves”. So, if I don’t believe in the Christian God, I must be a bit of a narcissist and nothing more. Am I unable to believe in beauty? Do Christians have a monopoly on beauty? When I see something beautiful, must I thank Christians for giving me that sense? Am I unable to believe in love? Must I thank Fox News for how I feel about Ashlee? Without Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, would I just be raping and murdering my way through life? Fox went on to ask if it was offensive to include a reference to Atheists in the speech. As if we’re non-human. We shouldn’t be recognised. But if we dare question religion……. we’re the ones being offensive. The mad World of Fox News.

    Here is O’Reilly again, being insulting toward Atheism. Mocking it. Not logically, with well thought out, reasoned Philosophy; just the ramblings of a mad old hillbilly Christian, who has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about, and is just appealing to his very low-IQ’d viewers. Here, he refers to a sign that was shown by Atheists at Christmas, and says “No God, No Problem; be good for goodness sake” (which is a fantastic and optimistic and not in any way offensive at all; sign) a “dopey sign“. He then says:

    “What is it about Christmas they don’t like”.

    What a ridiculous question. Atheists aren’t attacking Christmas. We still celebrate Christmas. We don’t celebrate it for the birth of Jesus. I’m convinced he didn’t actually exist. We celebrate it, because it is a time when all our friends and family have time off work at the same time, we share gifts, we have a family meal, and we create memories and stories for our children. It is a small break from a very rushed life. We absolutely love Christmas. O’Reilly is trying to spread fear and hate. O’Reilly then, quite brilliantly says:

    “Why do they loathe the Baby Jesus”.

    As if we’re all sitting around, throwing darts at a printed picture of the baby Jesus. We get angry when we see the baby Jesus. Some of us can’t control that anger, and we actually vomit.

    He then ponders how Atheists sell Atheism by “running down a baby, it’s just a baby”. That’s not what any Atheist has ever done, in the history of the Catholic Church allowing Atheists to exist without being executed for it. Nor is it what the poster is actually saying, or even alludes to. I’m not sure how more manipulative one massive twat could actually be.

    Some equally as vacant Fox presenter tells O’Reilly that the sign is a:

    “direct and deliberate smear against Christianity”.

    In other words, anything that remotely questions a socially prevailing belief system, must be an attack on it. Atheists should all keep quiet, we shouldn’t question, we shouldn’t be allowed to present an alternative. We should accept that homosexuality is a disgrace because the Bible says so, we should accept that abortion doctors deserve to be shot, we should accept that the Pope shouldn’t be brought to trial for covering up child sex abuse, we should just accept that schools in America teach Christianity as fact and evolution as theory, and just ignore it, because the Christians’ point of view is far more valid and reasonable, simply because it is based entirely on tradition; another logical fallacy.

    She goes on to say:

    “What comes with Christianity are traditional values”

    Really? Is that so? And what are those traditional values? Burning witches? Beheading perceived “heretics”? Hanging gay people? Fucking children? For every positive value one can loosely ascribe to Christianity, it is equally as easy to ascribe a pretty direct link between Christianity and shameful violence and corruption.

    O’Reilly ends the piece by suggesting that Atheists are just jealous because we have nothing, that Christians have Christmas, and we don’t. He asks “what do they have?” and concludes “nothing”. We have wonderment. We have the understanding that nature is so beautiful and creative itself, without the need for a cruel and angry dictator in the sky. We see the stars and stare in awe at how inspiring it all is. We see a slug and admire how this ugly looking thing is so beautiful because it is as evolved as we are. We have Darwin (Not even the baby Jesus is as great as Darwin). But most importantly, we have fact. To quote the brilliant Douglas Adams:

    “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

    I do not accept what Silverman is saying in the first video. He says that he believes people in America only go to Church because their is a social pressure to announce your belief in Christianity, but most people don’t believe it. I’d say that may be true to an extent, but for the sake of O’Reilly thinking Silverman is being insulting, I can go one better and say that those people actually go to Church because they are brainwashed and deluded; uneducated and illogical; unthinking and weak minded.

    If O’Reilly thinks Silverman is insulting toward Christianity….. he obviously hasn’t read my blog.


    Australian Debt

    July 26, 2010

    There is an election here in Australia, whilst I am still here. The choice is between the Aussie Labour Party, whom are currently in power with Julia Gillard as PM, and the Aussie Liberal Party, headed by a man whose head seems to be deflating whilst his ears remain untouched; Tony Abbott. The Liberal Party are the Australian Conservatives.

    What i’ve noticed from watching the PM and the opposition, is that the same empty rhetoric is used here, as it is in the UK. Gillard keeps using the phrase “hard working families“. Abbott keeps whinging on about “Labour’s debt“. It is the same bullshit. However, unlike the UK, the Australians don’t seem to be falling for the “WE MUST CUT THE DEBT NOW!!!!” nonsense put forward by Tony Abbott. In fact, Abbots’ own website points out that Labour are putting the debt up by $100,000,000 a day, every day.

    One of the issues that both the UK and Australians don’t seem to want to deal with, is the amount of easy credit available which has, over the past twenty five years in the UK caused much of the issues we’re now faced with. Essentially, what happened during the Thatcher years, was that her “trickle down theory” was an absolute failure. Whilst the wealth of the top 1% increased dramatically, the wealth did not trickle down. Wages stagnated, and have done ever since. The problem with that is, wages create the disposable income, and so if wages are not increasing, then eventually the wealth of the very few was going to hit a brick wall. The answer to that problem, was easy credit. Here have a piece of plastic with the River Island logo on it. You now have an easy £250 that you don’t have to pay back for two entire years! Have a credit card with a low interest rate. Have a house, and pay very little back. Until crises hit, because people couldn’t afford to pay it back. Suddenly, personal debt is at an all time high, no body has any money, the Government has to step in to stop the further abuses of banks and other places offering easy credit, and prop up a failing economy, and suddenly Conservatives are blaming the Government for the problems for not regulating private business affectively enough, whilst quite confusingly here in the UK electing a government dedicated to deregulation and further freeing up private business and banks to be as greedy as they so wish, which is exactly the reason we are in this mess. To cut a long story a little bit shorter……….. never ever elect Conservatives/Liberals/Republicans/Right wingers of any kind. Individual debt now accounts for a massive amount of the debt crises, across the World.

    Australia hasn’t been free either, from the adverse affects of banking deregulation. Deregulation in the 1980s in Australia, seemed to have allowed Banks the freedom to offer ridiculous loans, lower their rates, whilst at the same time reducing the security they needed to back the loans. So, when rates suddenly shot through the roof across the financial sector in 2007-8, the banks ran up losses into the billions. Deregulation failed the banking industry and so failed the consumer. It isn’t a surprise either, given that in 1991, an Aussie Parliamentary Inquiry into the Australian Banking Industry chaired by Stephen Martin found that freeing up the financial sector had not delivered the promised benefits to average Australians.

    Australia hasn’t escaped the easy credit problem. In 1980, the average Aussie Household had debts of around 40% of their income after tax. Today, it is 158% average debt. Which suggests that easy credit has become the norm in Australia too. Which means, lower interest rates don’t make much of a difference, and feel just as harsh as they would have felt when they were higher, in the 1980s.

    Back to National debt.

    The UK is not in a position to need to cut the deficit immediately, as suggested by the Tories, because we are the fifth largest economy in the World, we have a triple A credit rating, the third largest reserve currency in the World, and if we have enough money to spend £888m on subsidising the arms trade and a further £6bn a year on a 20 year old paranoia deal with Trident, we aren’t about to suddenly go horrendously bankrupt. The Tories are simply waging ideological warfare, there is no other reason.

    The Liberals in Australia are mounting the same attack on Australia, for ideological reasons. Australia is not in a debt crises by a long shot. National debt as a percentage of GDP for Australia, stood at 17.6% at the end of 2009. That puts Australia below every European Country with the exceptions of Estonia and Bulgaria, as well as below the USA, the UK, South America, Canada, and most of Africa. In fact, they stand at the 108th out of 129 in the ranks of worst Government debt as a percentage of GDP. That is pretty amazing. No Australian banks collapsed during the crises, and they came out of it pretty strongly, given that by May 2010, unemployment peaked in Australia, at 5.3%. In the UK, in May 2010, unemployment hit 7.8%. In the USA in May 2010, unemployment hit 9.3%.

    Australia, is not in a debt crises. It does not have to submit itself to deep cuts and years of misery. Its growth forcasts are excellent in comparison to the rest of the World. It didn’t have to bail out half its banking system, and it is well below the average debt to GDP ratio. Labour has not left Australia in a mass of unsustainable debt. The State of Victoria has a AAA credit rating. New South Wales has a AAA credit rating. In fact, Australia as a whole is 10th in the list of the least risky countries to invest in. It ranks above the UK, and the USA, as of March 2010. The Country Risk Survey studies the economic and political risks for investors wishing to invest abroad, out of 185 Countries. Australia, is the tenth best place in the World to invest in, according to the Survey.

    Australia can afford to spend money to secure a strong recovery, and to provide necessary funding to keep key infrastructure strong. When an economy is struggling a little, we cannot rely on the private sector to provide the education and the healthcare and the levels of policing required to deal with a down turn in economic fortunes, even though it is the private sector that will inevitably benefit from the protections and social infrastructure put into place. Australia can afford it. It can afford to do this, because when Australia is fully recovered from the financial crises, it will remain one of the best countries on the planet to invest in, which will inevitably increase revenue across the board, which can be used to bring down the deficit and then the debt steadily and responsibly rather than deep cuts to key services that are needed the most during difficult economic times.

    The Liberal Party Website describes how they are committed to a strong free market economy. Yet, at the same time, and rather contradictory, the website tells me they are committed to lowering the immigration rate to 1.4% annually. Surely a free market system, requires an outright destruction of all National boundaries; after all, National boundaries are simply left overs from the protectionist days of colonialism, and so it is hugely contradictory to be tightening immigration, yet pledging an era of an economy based on the principles of a free market system.

    The moral of the blog is; do not believe the nonsense right wingers throw at you. Watch their eyes sparkle with joy when they can unload their ideological crap and blame government and the Left for problems caused by the very same people they themselves set out to protect, every time they gain a little power. Australia doesn’t need a Thatcher.


    The logic of incentive

    July 16, 2010

    According to our financial experts, the reason we couldn’t punish bankers, and curtail the bonus culture, or slap a tax on banking bonuses or transactions in the UK was because the “best people for the job, will leave the country“. We were told that the market system dictates that if you take away the incentive, no matter how unjustifiably large those incentives are, the best people will all flee the country to some fucked third World country, where oversight and regulation and taxes are low. It encompasses the entire scope of human nature, and sums it up by telling us that monetary incentives are what ultimately drive us, and anything else would be evil socialism and that government should be off our backs but big business should be allowed to stab as many backs as they wish, because it’s capitalism, so it’s okay. I think that pretty much sums up Friedmanite economic theory.

    The utterly ridiculous Mayor of London, Boris Johnson claimed recently that a 50p top tax rate, and an extra levy on non-doms would force 9000 bankers in Britain to flee the country. Boris’ office said:

    Boris is determined to highlight to everyone, including George Osborne, that this [bonus] tax is already having an adverse impact and should it become a more permanent feature of our tax system it would have an extremely devastating impact on London’s long-term prosperity.

    What interests me, is that Boris, along with every other Conservative both here and America seem unable to admit that London’s long-term prosperity was not attacked by the idea of a bonus tax, but instead by the free ride that the Conservatives gave to bankers, allowing them to gamble horrendously, for twenty five years. Why are they unable to admit that their precious free market system failed miserably? Their logic no longer applies. Johnson should therefore be ignored on this one. Especially given that the Tories matra has been that we are “all in this together“.

    The article goes on to say that Goldman Sachs would consider moving their offices abroad because of a super tax suggested by Alistair Darling, the then Chancellor, earlier this year. This is the same Goldman Sachs who were forced to settle $60million out of court to stop an investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General into whether or not Goldman promoted drastically unfair and impossible home loans across the State. This is the same Goldman Sachs that stands accused of selling dodgy packaged mortgages that they knew were going to fail, to investors, and then betting against them, making a fortune through it, prompting an ex-Goldman worker involved in the scandal to write the book “How I caused the credit crunch“, the same scandal that lead to Goldman Sachs paying a record $550million settlement after being sued by the SEC for fraud. Why are we all allowing ourselves to be held to ransom, by a bunch of criminals? Incidentally, when the 50p top rate of tax finally came into force in April 2010, Goldman did not make good on their threat. They still do business in the UK. Goldman didn’t leave. The 9000 bankers didn’t leave. The Tories, as ever, were wrong.

    Now, ignoring the logistics of moving to another country so quickly, upping your family out of the place they call home, simply because you now only make 1.2million instead of 1.5million in bonuses each year; the apparent science that offering higher rewards will improve performance, is actually flawed and realistically cannot be called a science. It is a manipulation more than anything. A threat. Keep paying us unjustifiably high amounts of money, or we’ll leave, and your country is screwed. It is why politicians are effectively useless, because they have very little say over economic matters. We all know these bankers will not leave the country in one huge banking emigration day.

    A group of economists working out of M.I.T and the University of Chicago conducted an experiment using a number of students. They gave the students a number of assignments, including mathematical and scientific problems to solve. They offered the first group a very small amount of money as an incentive to complete the assignments. They offered a second group a higher amount, and they offered a third group a large amount of money. The theory put forward by the defenders of market principles, or those with free-market-failure-denial would argue that those offered the most amount of money, would perform the best. The reality was different. The students offered the highest incentive, failed miserably. The students offered the medium amount and the students offered the lowest amount both ended up with similar results. Both beating the students offered the most.

    The economists then took the experiment to Madurai, in India, with higher incentives, fearing that maybe there wasn’t enough difference in incentive when the experiment was conducted on students in the US. In India, they offered the first group a weeks wages, they offered the second group; a months wages, and the third group; two months wages. The stakes in India for such rewards, would be far higher than at M.I.T. Again, those offered the smallest incentive performed pretty much identically to those offered the medium sized reward. Those offered the top incentive, did the worst again. So, the higher the incentive, the lower the performance. Why? Firstly, we now have to accept that free market theory is just that; a theory, and whilst some of it is relevant and works well, there is much of it that has failed recently, and analysing the entire process in this way, can only be a good thing.

    It is true that if you don’t give people the money they clearly deserve for the work they have done, they will not perform highly, they will be unmotivated and annoyed. So yes, money as an incentive does work to an extent. The experiment showed that when you give someone a simple task and tell them they will be paid a certain amount for completing that task, the incentive works. But when you give people a difficult task, which requires long term thought, creativity and problem solving skills of the highest calibre, the incentive doesn’t work. I’d suggest the reason for this, isn’t simply ‘human nature’, it is mainly because our society and our universal culture rewards greed and excess and so that trait of greed which exists in all of us, becomes amplified. Human nature is so vastly complex, to sum it up in such a simple way and create an economic system around it, is a problem. And so a highly problematic task, is rewarded in three ways according to the research, and those three ways are personal from than simply the need for money. Those three things are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

    Autonomy states that if you want a difficult and complex task completed, self direction is better. Figuring it out for yourself is far more rewarding than having someone tell you how it’s done, it is far better than having a demanding manager micro-managing your every move. Leave your workers to do the job their way. Social commentator Dan Pink points out that the Australian software company Atlassian tell their employees that on one day of the second quarter, they can spend the next 24 hours working on whatever project they want, with whomever they way, and any way they want, they have to then show their results the following day at a staff meeting filled with drinks and cakes. That one day has lead to huge advances in software fixes and new ideas and creations. This did not involve a promise of a bonus or any extra money. They performed to the best of their ability, without the need for more money.

    Mastery means improving and understanding what we are doing, far better than when we started. I read a lot of history books, not because it is economically valuable, but because I enjoy it, and I like to know that I can debate and talk about historical events with a degree of mastery. People add to opensource, in their spare time for no money reward, but because the work is autonomous, and they improve and learn as they go. What they create, then becomes free, they do not sell it. It is not economically valuable for the individual. Evil Communism at work again.

    Purpose, is pretty self explanatory. A company without its eye on a purpose, becomes pretty dangerous. Now, right winged economics would have us believe that a primary motive for any company should be profit making. This isn’t true. Look again at Goldman Sachs. They took their eye off their purpose to provide sensible mortgages and a helpful responsible banking service, and instead kept their eye firmly on profit, which has been catastrophic. Profit and purpose should be interlinked. Purpose should serve the community, and not just shareholders. There must be a reason for people to want to improve.

    Now, what this all means is that when you combine the three, it is interesting to note that our motives, are based almost firmly on concepts that don’t involve money. Money certainly plays its part, we all want to feel secure, but once we have a degree of security, we are not just consumers nor economic statistics, we have personal reasons for the work we do. If we leave people to it; dress in what makes you feel comfortable, talk in a way that isn’t imposed on you from those above, create, innovate and at the same time laugh and talk, instead of simply saying “look, if you do this, you get $2000, but do it my way. Oh and there’s a really important person coming through the office later, when you see him, make sure you bow and call him Sir, for he is above you.“, you will almost always see better results. Once the boss is off your back and the carrot made out of gold has been put away, and employees are treated like people rather than cogs in a money making machine, you will almost always see better results. The logic is now based on quite strong research. Free market obsessives can no longer claim their way is the only way, and this makes me happy.


    The nature of “Change”

    May 9, 2010

    It amazes me that people actually consider any party; Labour, Tory, or Lib Dem of being the “party of change”. Absolutely unreal to believe that. I voted Liberal Democrat, almost in a moment of madness. I suppose I got caught up in the excitement of the election. It amuses me how many fellow students actually believe they were voting for “change” for the Liberal Democrats. It makes me feel like banging my head against a wall. The same feeling I get when people say “Well Gordon Brown caused this mess, so the Tories have to fix it!!!“. I am actually quite ashamed of myself for voting. I agree with the Lib Dem policy on Trident, and I agree with them on laying the foundations for a Greener economy. I disagree, profoundly with them and the Tories and Labour, on pretty much everything else. But my main issue with them, and my main issue with why they offer no real change, is because they still seem to believe that democracy is only acceptable in the Political sphere, and that the economic sphere is best left to faceless businessmen, as if they know what’s best for the World and the rest of us should just accept it.

    Why was financial reform not at the top of the agenda? Why did centre-left and left wing parties allow the political discourse to become one of the necessity of savage public spending cuts? Why did centre-left and left wing parties allow the discourse to suggest that it is the public sector that is to blame, that government spending is to blame for the deficit? It is because they are not centre-left or left wing parties, they are parties for the rich, by the rich. The Lib Dems offer no real change. They offer the status quo, and the status quo is centre-right.

    Financial deregulation was started by the Conservatives in the 1980s. It continued under Labour. The Liberal Democrats did not oppose it. The Liberal Democrats have no plans to reverse it. What they have basically been telling us for thirty years, is that government spending distorts the market by artificially affecting the demand side of the economy, whereas a bank offering easy imaginary money to stimulate our obsession with debt fuelled consumerism, is perfectly acceptable. They decided that it’s okay for a bank to use our money and our savings, not to invest in productive enterprises that progress mankind, but in totally non-productive speculative gambling and massive monopolising corporate take overs and mergers.

    The very people who got us into the mess over in the private financial sector, are the same people who finance the parties across the World who are now not offering any kind of financial reform to stop them doing it again. A global banking transaction tax is surely only going to end up being passed onto consumers? The financial industry holds us all to ransom. When we hear them say that capital will flow out of the country, and cause investment to drop, if tax is put up……. they’re right. A lot of people dispute it. But they are correct. You almost have to bribe them to try and get them to stay in the Country. Bribing with political power, is usually the way it’s done. If you look at Latin America, what tends to happen when a Latin American government tries to invest in social justice, and attempts to help it’s people through a better standard of schooling and health, is that either America funds a right winged coup (see Nicaragua), or capital flows out of the country, which is then brought to it’s knees, and the Western World blames the evils of Socialism. When in reality, what is happening, is that slowly, politicians have less and less power, they have to give in to the owners of great wealth, otherwise capital flows out, and investment falls. The economic sphere, has the most power, and we have no say over that. Financial speculation has absolutely no social good. It is a cancer on the fabric of society. The financial industry, holds the World to ransom. And until the public have some control over the economic sphere, it is never going to change. The Lib Dems, certainly aren’t going to change it.

    If you think through the logic of this, you’ll see that so long as economic power remains privately concentrated, everybody...everybody…….. has to be committed to the one overriding goal: and that’s to make sure that the rich folks are happy.
    Whenever a reform measure does come along somewhere, they have a big propaganda campaign against it saying ‘it’s going to hurt jobs, it’s going to hurt investment, it’s going to hurt business confidence and so on. That’s just a complicated way of saying unless you keep business happy, the population isn’t going to have anything.

    – Professor Noam Chomsky

    There are no left wing intellectuals left within the political system any more. Politics demands leaders of Parties who pander to the public mood, which is artificially created and implanted, by the media. Immigration is a great example. Migration is caused by global inequality, nothing else. When capital and goods are free to flow across the World, so will human beings. It is our survival instinct at work. And so the only real way you deal with immigration, is to deal with global inequality. Stop the IMF destroying poorer countries with ideological warfare. A global initiative to tackle exploitation. A Global bill of rights ensuring a minimal standard of living for all human beings. In the 21st Century, where it’s considered morally acceptable to allow someone to amass a fortune worth billions of pounds, it seems abhorrent that it is considered morally acceptable to allow another to starve to death as a result of nothing more than this nightmare of an economic system. A Global financial sector regulator that is fully independent of any private interest. To sum up, a Global initiative to create a socially responsible form of Capitalism, rather than a regressive Darwinian form of Capitalism we’ve all had forced down our throats. Global solutions, to Global problems. Politicians across the UK and the World, especially in the developed Nations, pander to idiots, bigots, and xenophobes who do not understand the World, and offer easy and quick Colonian-esque solutions to complex problems. The Lib Dems do not offer any change here either.

    So, who do we vote for, for real change?


    Fox calls UK election!

    May 7, 2010

    It is 2:20am, and we in Britain are in the midst of the results of the election. It looks as if it is going to result in a hung Parliament, which may result in a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition (hopefully). The BBC, ITV and SKY all will not call it. They keep saying it will most likely be hung, and that despite all the money that Lord Ashcroft has spent on the Conservative campaign, they are not gaining the seats they REALLY targeted, such as Tootin.

    However, our crazed right winged friends over in the USA have a different story. They have called it for the Conservatives by a huge majority.
    Sean Hannity on Fox News just this second said:

    “It looks as if the Tories lead by David Cameron are running to victory, a clear message to the World that England is rejecting Socialism.”

    It feels odd to actually be on the receiving end of Fox bullshit. We see it aimed at Obama constantly from Fox, but we in England are usually free from their nonsense. Tonight, it is new. For three reasons.

    Firstly, it doesn’t “look like David Cameron is running to victory” in the slightest. In fact, given how unpopular Gordon Brown is, it must be a complete embarrasment to the Tories that they STILL aren’t able to gain a majority. Against Gordon Brown, an Arab yelling “DEATH TO THE WEST” could have won. David Cameron has taken a poll lead of 19, to 5. That isn’t “running away” with the election, to anyone else other than Fox.

    Secondly, people aren’t rejecting Brown out of a hatred for Socialism. In fact, we kind of like our Socialist traditions. If the Conservatives had said “We plan to privatise the National Health Service”, they’d have lost the election quite horrendously. People are rejecting Gordon Brown because they want a change. They see Brown as the PM who presided over the worst recession in decades. They see Brown as being the PM who allowed the Banks to have a free ride, without Government regulation. So in fact, it’s lack of Socialism, lack of Government oversight, especially over immigration and the financial system, that has drove voters away. I guarantee, people did not choose to vote Conservative lightly. We in the UK, are not like the USA, we do not have this irrational love affair with the free market, we are very suspicious of the markets.

    Thirdly, if the Conservatives do not gain an overall majority, it means that more people voted Labour and Lib Dem collectively, than voted Conservative. Which means more people voted for Left and Centre-left parties, than voted Right winged parties.

    This election is not an outright attack on Socialism. In fact, it’s actually quite offensive to those of us on the Socialist Left to refer to the Labour Party as Socialist. They haven’t been Socialist in over a decade at the very least. A lot of voters, will not vote Labour this time, because of their abandonment of Socialist values.

    Fox are actually using the UK, to scare the US. It’s fucking abhorrent that they are allowed to do that. Hannity said it will send a message to President Obama that the World does not want his brand of Socialism. That isn’t the case at all. If you ask any Brit, they will tell you they despised George Bush, they despised Sarah Palin, and they did, and still do, love Barack Obama. It would be almost unanimous support for Obama. In fact, if you ask the population of the UK, what they think of Fox, they would just laugh at you.

    Back into the land of the normal people, and away from the crazed right winged American idiots, I do envisage a Hung Parliament. Oddly, because Labour are doing far far better than expected, the Tories are not doing as well as expected, and although I voted Liberal Democrat, they appear to be doing horrendously, which has shocked every media network across the UK.

    Economically, i’ve always wondered why people vote Tory, especially after a crash. Individualism vs Collectivism aside, it is financial deregulation started during the 1980s, along with building society sell offs and the removal of reserve assett ratios, that lead to the banks to build an economy based on speculation. Which, caused a sort of financial time bomb. The reason it this was the case, was because of lack of oversight. Now, the Conservative principle, is to remove oversight from the markets. Surely tighter regulation on the financial sector, promotion of responsible social Capitalism, as opposed to all out economic war, further promotion of toxic gambling and failure to do anything about ending this whole obsession with consumerism to the point where even toxic bank assets are for sale (see Goldman Sachs) is the way forward?

    The deficit has not been caused by excessive government spending. The deficit has been caused by an out of control financial sector, that got it’s right to be out of control, from the Conservatives. Surely you have to spend a lot when the private sector fucks up, to keep infrastructure in place and keep interest rates low, but more importantly; to keep people in their homes and jobs? Otherwise, you are throwing people onto the scrap heap. The recession of the 90s, under the previous Conservative Government saw homeless rates double, and suicide rates shot up, because of the lack of help people were getting. How is that the right way to go about recovery? I don’t care if recovery takes a little longer, as long as people’s necessities are protected. The Conservatives do not believe in those basic protections.

    The Conservatives blame government spending fully for the problems. They seem incapable of accepting that the deregulated financial sector is the reason the government had to spend more in the first place.

    By punishing the public sector, for the failings of the private sector, whilst simultaneously ignoring the problems in the private sector, you are simply putting a weakly tied bandage onto a system that will inevitably fuck up again in a few years time.

    It amazes me that the slightly manipulated political discourse of this election has it that the “Welfare State” is the parasite of the economy. It wasn’t the Welfare State that fucked up.

    By spouting about deep public service cuts, what they are essentially saying is the public should pay for the gambling debts of the City of London, which were encouraged by both the Conservatives and Labour over the past thirty years.

    David Wearing a PhD researcher in Political Science at the School of Public Policy at the University College, London said quite rightly:

    ” What we are witnessing here is a unique form of bank robbery: the banks robbing the public of tens of billions of pounds, with our elected politicians driving the getaway car.”

    I hope tonight results in a Hung Parliament, and a Lib Dem/Labour coalition. Anything to keep the Tories out.