On the Sunday Politics Andrew Neil declared, “Ed Balls has gone all socialist and fiscally conservative in one..political masterstroke? Or a return to Old Labour” Does he not realise it is of course *both* simultaneously? Apparently not. Lord Myner has also labeled Ed’s speech ‘Old Labour’ though in a derogatory way, (how little these creeps know the public mood) and laughably called it the ‘politics of envy’ in The Telegraph,(http://www.leftfutures.org/2014/01/the-50p-tax-rate-a-welcome-blow-against-the-entitlement-culture/). The dividing lines are really starting to be drawn.
The super rich Nu-Tories and their Blairite lackeys really get their knickers in a twist over top tax rates, (I wonder why). Not only do they idiotically brand it as generating insignificant savings while insisting on the paramount necessity of cruel cuts to important public service (http://www.leftfootforward.org/2014/01/how-insignificant-really-is-50p-tax-revenue/) they also hysterically claim this move is somehow a dogmatic Stalinist conspiracy. Little is mentioned of how Margaret Thatcher’s top income tax rates were in fact far higher for almost the entirety of her premiership. Nine out of eleven years in fact. That well known Soviet propaganda machine The Mail On Sunday informs us only 17% of the electorate show any sign of opposition to the rather mild proposal. In short, it’s really no big deal. Even conservative Peter Oborne who voted for this awful Tory party in The Telegraph declares his support for the policy and calls George Osborne’s economic policies “squalid, immoral and disgusting.” and suggests his party has totally “lost the plot” (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100256699/lets-support-ed-ballss-50p-tax-rate-instead-of-george-osbornes-shameful-attack-on-the-poor/
There are now unbelievably over a thousand food banks open in the coalition’s Britain, (http://www.greenbenchesuk.com/2014/01/a-sad-day-has-arrived-there-are-now.html) but spokespeople for the privatised railways still have the nerve to come on national television and claim despite us paying in some cases up to four times as much as our European counterparts for train tickets, that we should somehow be grateful for this due to the high levels of ‘investment’ we supposedly ‘benefit’ from. Tell it to the judge.
Just as with the alleged ‘economic recovery’ the vast majority are not feeling these mythical improvements to the railways that are as shit, over-priced and unaccountable as ever. The only thing that works about them are the well rehearsed pre-recorded apologise that worthlessly ring out across empty stations throughout the Nation every day on an hourly basis. It seems the coalition believe that just by saying we are ‘better off’ it somehow will make it so. The public do not believe in a made up ‘recovery’ that does not effect their lives at all just as they do not have confidence in a ludicrously expensive railway system that rips them off and does not even function let alone improve. To put this in perspective, our rail fares since January have absurdly shot up a massive three times more than our poor stagnant wages have. In Northern Ireland on the other hand, the railways are in public ownership and the fares have not risen at all. They also have Grammar Schools. But we must of course never mention any of this. We wouldn’t want to upset any liberals or Blairite ultras now would we.
The coalition boast of their proposed HS2 to cover up their failures with the railways, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10597802/Ed-Balls-Hs2-supporters-have-not-won-the-argument.html) just as they wank over ‘Trident’ to mask our ever diminishing navy and woefully underfunded military. Crime figures are ‘down,’ but nobody believes it, not due to paranoia but because of the reality at street level that the molly coddled Etonians in power will never even begin to fathom. In every instance where a Cameroony boasts of ‘recovery’ or shows off a flash new policy, the public ignore the hype and see through the blustering to the concrete reality they experience in the real world. This Government is a pitiful failure and the sooner it is discarded to the rubbish bin in 2015 the better.
In The Independent Owen Jones sets out his ‘Agenda for Hope’: “1) A statutory living wage, with immediate effect, for large businesses and the public sector, and phased in for small and medium businesses over a five-year Parliament. This would save billions spent on social security each year by reducing subsidies to low-paying bosses, as well as stimulating the economy, creating jobs because of higher demand, stopping pay being undercut by cheap labour, and tackling the scandal of most of Britain’s poor being in work. An honest days’ pay for an honest days’ work would finally be enshrined in law.
2) Resolve the housing crisis by regulating private rents and lifting the cap on councils to let them build hundreds of thousands of houses and in doing so, create jobs, bring in rent revenues, stimulate the economy and reduce taxpayers’ subsidies to landlords.
3) A 50 per cent tax on all earnings above £100,000 – or the top 2 per cent of earners – to fund an emergency jobs and training programme for young unemployed people, including the creation of a national scheme to insulate homes and businesses across Britain, dragging millions of out of fuel poverty, reducing fuel bills, and helping to save the environment. All such jobs will be paid the living wage, supported with paid apprenticeships rather than unpaid “workfare” schemes.
4) An all-out campaign to recoup the £25bn worth of tax avoided by the wealthiest each year, clamping down on all possible loopholes with a General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill, as well as booting out the accountancy firms from the Treasury who help draw up tax laws, then advise their clients on how to get around them.
5) Publicly run, accountable local banks. Transform the bailed-out banks into regional public investment banks, with elected taxpayers’ representatives sitting on boards to ensure they are accountable. Give the banks a specific mandate to help small businesses and encourage the green industries of the future in each region.
6) An industrial strategy to create the “green jobs” and renewable energy industries of the future. It would be focused on regions that have been damaged by deindustrialisation, creating secure, skilled, dignified jobs, and reducing unemployment and social security spending, based on an active state that intervenes in the economy, learning from the experiences of countries such as Germany.
7) Publicly owned rail and energy, democratically run by consumers and workers. As each rail franchise expires, bring them back into the public sector, with elected representatives of passengers and workers to sit on the new management boards, ending our fragmented, inefficient, expensive railway system. Build a publicly owned energy network by swapping shares in privately run companies for bonds, and again put elected consumers’ representatives on the boards. Democratic public ownership instead of privatisation could be a model for public services like the NHS, too.
8) A new charter of workers’ rights fit for the 21st century. End all zero-hour contracts, with new provisions for flexible working to help workers. Allow all unions access to workplaces so they can organise, levelling the playing field and giving them a chance to improve wages and living standards. Increase turnout and improve democratic legitimacy in union ballots by allowing workplace-based balloting and online voting.
9) A universal childcare system that would pay for itself as parents who are unable to work are able to do so, and which would take on the inequalities between richer and poorer children that begin from day one.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/owen-joness-agenda-for-hope-we-want-a-fairer-society–and-heres-how-we-can-achieve-it-9086440.html)
I concur totally with many of the points though the last one woefully misunderstands how to solve the problems of the undermining of marriage and family breakdown. Still, it is good a mainstream voice has even began to raise issues of rents, housing, deindustrialisation, wages, the railways and worker’s rights, topics not sexy enough to grace our papers very regularly at all that care more about old Lib Dem Lords cringey flirtations or the powder that goes up celebrities noses.
Talking of celebrities, I caught Rufus Hound on the Jonathon Ross show the other night and was glad to hear he is standing for NHAP, (a party I almost joined myself) at the European elections. It was no big surprise that Jonathon Ross didn’t have a clue about the party, and with this revelation finally perhaps the BBC and main channels might have to give them or the privatisation of the NHS in general some coverage at last. It is true that Labour will repeal the disgusting and unpopular Health & Social Care Act, but in 1997 New ‘Labour’ also promised to ‘abolish the Tory internal market in the NHS’ and they did, they renamed it the ‘labour internal market’ and actually altered nothing. Due to the suspicion created by Anthony Blair’s double standards people still distrust the Labour leadership despite almost all the Blairites having cleared off to worship their natural leader in Cameron (http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2014/01/blairite-openly-endorses-cameron.html) and the remaining few having no influence at all.
Still, people’s misgivings are understandable so NHAP has it’s place for now and a popular actor/comedian raising their profile and NHS issues in the media can only be a good thing. Further coverage will help to apply pressure on the Labour leadership to defend our services. Rufus Hound is also right in seeing that the EU is the root of many of our problems and in fact will make NHS privatisation permanent due to the EU/US ‘trade deal’ (http://nhap.org/privatisation-will-be-irreversible-unless-the-nhs-is-exempted-from-the-eu-us-trade-deal/).
And what of the Greens lately? I had the stroke of bad luck in coming across the ‘Molly Scott Cato’ creature on the Sunday politics, (another typical greasy Oxford PPE tree-hugging bore who’s moved to Stroud cos she heard it was ‘zany’ in the guardian- when will these well fed hippies fuck off out of my town?) She spent much of the interview agreeing weather was ever changing, unpredictable and explaining we couldn’t ever know the causes of such things but then simultaneously claiming she *did* know it all, that all these topics were a ‘closed question’ and anybody questioning any of her mistaken polemic was ‘paid for by the oil companies.’ Oh my aching sides, all she needs is a turquoise shell suit and she could be the next green to be interviewed by Wogan, (her ex-colleague David Icke may have been expelled from the party, but who’s looking nutty now?).
She refused to talk about jobs or immigration, (these are non-issues for people who spend their time writing a blog called ‘Gaian economics’- that’s not satire, google it) but she went gleefully straight onto the ‘problem’ of ‘overpopulation.’ Molly’s ‘organic’ laid back appearance may make her seem like a harmless granola head, but when she started talking of ‘dealing with the problem’ of numbers of human lives it truly sent shivers down my spine.
This comes alongside right-wing rentagob Katie Hopkins’ recent comments that people on benefits (that is, mainly working people) should be “stopped from breeding.” She concluded the only problem with her dream would be that it would be “difficult to enforce.” Millionaire footballer Joey Barton has also, supposedly in jest, called for people to require a “licence for breeding.” I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the green parties misanthropic impulses are no different to that of far-right Nazis or far-left Soviets (and out of touch loaded celebs as we can see). They lack morality and have no problem with malthusian ideas such as the denial and sterilisation of the poor, both state sanctioned and encouraged mass abortion, or the legal snuffing out of the old, infirm and disabled (how else are you going to stop all us scummy plebs from procreating eh Molly?) to defend and worship their false idea of mumma Gaia. They are dangerously misguided idiots and genuinely hate the working class and anyone who cannot afford to eat the ‘right’ green-labeled foods or shop in posh organic boutiques. No party angers me more. I better stop before I have a hernia and keel over. Though the greens would no doubt love that. One less human for them equals one less ‘problem’ to ‘deal with.’ Unbelievable.
Update 28/01- Read afew worthwhile thoughts on Ed Balls’ speech here: (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/28/50p-tax-kill-business-kleptocracy-inequality-captains-of-industry?CMP=twt_gu) and here- (http://labourlist.org/2014/01/what-a-difference-two-years-make/) and the ‘recovery’ – (http://labourlist.org/2014/01/this-is-good-growth-but-its-unbalanced-growth-too/)