Yearly Archives: 2014

One day in the life of a blogger – kittysjones

141231stopcyberbullying

WARNING: CONTAINS VERY STRONG LANGUAGE.

Many of you should recall VP’s article A few words about respect, in which Yr Obdt Srvt appealed for a little more common decency from commenters – especially those claiming to be supporters or representatives of UKIP, the SNP or the Green Party.

That article was prompted partly by personal experience and partly by that endured by fellow blogger kittysjones, whose Greens: the myth of the “new left” debunked attracted an unprecedented amount of vitriol. When Ms Jones pointed this out, some of her more vocal antagonists challenged her, claiming in effect that she was making up claims about the strength of the attack on her.

One day in the life of a blogger is the result – and makes both grim and humorous reading.

It can’t slip under readers’ radar that spurious claims of libel by Ms Jones (“You’ve defamed the character of an identifiable group of which I am a member”) sit next to genuinely questionable claims by commenters themselves (“And the ‘spook of the year award’ goes to Sue Jones (below). She hosts a blog under the name of ‘kittysjones’ which she uses to disemminate fabrications against organisations on the left. She appears to being ‘run’ by Scotland Yard’s Confidential Intelligence Unit. Remember her role is to collect information about you and to spread lies and plant false stories about the British left, as can be seen in her latest blog entry. Now she’s been ‘outed’ her capacity to do harm will soon thankfully be over – hope she spent her ’30 pieces’ wisely”) – that’s the humorous part.

Also – perhaps unintentionally – humorous is the comment “you deserve a kicking and thats what you get. its overdue. many of us hate you and your lame posts about labour but you never stop. labour are fascists with neoliberal policies and your to stupid a bint to see it. now shut the fuck up”, made by someone hiding behind the pseudonym ‘growsome’. Perhaps this person should take their own advice, ‘grow some’ him- or herself and post under their own name next time.

Other comments from pseudonyms included “You think you seen bulling and threats but you aint seen nuthing yet. thats a promise. you cant hope to get away with drivel like this and not expect a payback. they are coming” from ‘copthis’, and “You dont know when to shut up do you. People like you get what they deserve and you will. We will make sure. Best put your time in looking after that Jones family. You never know whats around that dark corner do you” from ‘peekaboo’.

It seems Ms Jones had to turn to Facebook for comments under the posters’ real names – such as this gem from Francis Farmer: “Sue Jones your full of shit …. fuck you, you lying shit cunt.”

Finally – you’ll be stunned to read this – Ms Jones noted: “Other comments were rather more crass and vulgar, I’ll spare you those.

So there you have it. Point made, it seems.

However there is another aspect to these comments that needs to be drawn out, which is simply this:

Not one of the comments quoted here had anything to say about the content of Ms Jones’ Green Party article.

And that tends to indicate that the VP article made a very good – and timely – point too.

On that bombshell, VP wishes those of you who are capable of it a very happy – and civilised – New Year.

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Top pay unrelated to performance, just greed – Michael Meacher MP

The problem in a nutshell - and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

The problem in a nutshell – and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

Research on top executive pay over the last decade has found that it had little or no correlation with key performance indicators that companies highlighted to shareholders, according to Mr Meacher.

The research … undertaken … over the 10 years from 2003 to 2013 at 30 of the FTSE-100 companies… found that executive managers’ pay is still determined by simplistic measures that bore little relation to long-term drivers of companies’ value.

As a result, over a period when average incomes across the nation have now fallen in real terms close to 2003 levels, total chief executive remuneration has increased by two-thirds from £2.4 million in 2003 (£46,150 per week) to £4 million in 2013 (£76,900 a week).

Even that was only the average at the top. Heads of healthcare groups were paid £7.3 millions a year in 2013 (£140,385 a week), and oil and gas chiefs – predators on rising energy bills for ordinary households – managed to scrape a living on just £5.7 millions a year (£109,615 a week)!

And the Tories bitch when Labour says the income of these parasites must be capped! Read the rest on Mr Meacher’s blog if you’ve got the stomach for it.

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Miliband’s New Year message hits the nail on the head

What a relief to see Ed Miliband putting out a New Year message that clearly shows, not only that he understands the problems facing his Labour Party, but he also understands how to frame his appeal to the people.

One fact that has become perfectly clear over the last year or so is that many readers of this blog have serious doubts about Mr Miliband and the party he leads. The perception is that he has been seduced by the Tory ‘deficit reduction’ narrative.

This writer has held concerns that Mr Miliband did not realise that the only argument he really needs to use is that of history – that it was the Labour Party that set the UK on three decades of continual growth after World War II.

How refreshing, then, to hear the Labour leader say: “This coming year we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, when our parents and grandparents overcame the most daunting odds to rebuild.

“After the war – badly battered and deeply in debt – Britain rose again.

“We built the NHS, a modern welfare state, homes for people to live in, and still dealt with our debts.

“We set the stage for a generation of progress for working people.

“Today’s challenges are different – but if we could walk through those fires, we surely can meet the problems of our time.”

He’s right, but there will be critics who won’t accept these words. They’ll say that the answer lies in further austerity – in withdrawing the cash that forms the lifeblood of the British economy and is needed to bring growth to the system as it flows through. They’re wrong, but to understand why, we need to examine the historical context provided by Mr Miliband.

So let’s put some flesh on the bones provided by his speech.

141231real-gdp-growth-55-14-600x567

“UK national debt peaked in the late 1940s at over 230% of GDP. From the early 1950s to early 1990s, we see a consistent decrease in the debt to GDP,” according to the Economics Help website.

It continues: “The main reason UK debt to GDP fell in the post-war period was the sustained period of economic growth and near full employment until the late 1970s. This growth saw rising real incomes which in turn led to higher tax revenues and falling debt to GDP ratios.”

“Sustained economic growth” – Ed Balls has made it clear that he intends to stimulate the economy, if Labour is elected into government in May (despite the interruptions of such interviewers as Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4’s The World At One – she insisted that such plans were irrelevant in the short term and demanded that he tell her what he was going to cut, completely missing the point).

We all know the Conservative-led Coalition ran a policy that stalled the economy for three years. The only reasons it is improving now are the fact that every economic downturn eventually reaches its lowest point and picks up again, plus the economic bubble that George Osborne created in the housing market.

“Near full employment” – Labour has made a return to full employment one of its policy goals. Detractors will say we’re close to that already; the difference is that Labour intends to achieve this with what this blog considers to be proper jobs – not zero-hours contracts or part-time fiddles.

“Rising real incomes” – Under the Coalition, incomes have stagnated, with most families having to endure a real-terms income drop of £1,600 while the richest one per cent have doubled their wealth. Labour plans to raise the minimum wage and push for the Living Wage wherever possible – as a start in its programme to cut income inequality.

“Higher tax revenues” – George Osborne has affected surprise that his policies have led to lower Income Tax returns, but it seems clear that this is an act; the plan was to engineer a drop in tax receipts, in order to justify further cuts to social security and public services. Labour’s plan would reverse this trend.

“Falling debt to GDP ratios” – The Conservative-led Coalition has overseen a catastrophic increase in the National Debt, while continually claiming that the economy is safe with them; because of this, we can look on the 2015 General Election as a measure of our own gullibility. Labour’s plan would bring prosperity back to the UK, allowing us to pay off our debts – just as we did after the Second World War.

Needless to say, the BBC News report of Mr Miliband’s speech completely missed all of these points.

Back to Economics Help: “Note – Debt to GDP fell, despite higher real government spending on the newly formed welfare state and national health service. In fact government spending as a percentage of GDP rose from around 35 per cent of GDP in the early 1950s to the high 40 per cents in the 1970s.”

You see, debt isn’t a problem if you’ve got the economic strength to deal with it. The Coalition has weakened the country; Labour would build up our muscle again.

Another feature of the post-war period was high tax rates – but perhaps that’s a story for another time.

Miliband’s message is a solid statement of hope for the future. Cynics will try to shoot him down – but they’ll need far more substantial arguments than any seen so far.

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London’s New Year fireworks display is ticketed – to keep out the riff-raff

Most of the people watching the fireworks in this picture won't have tickets for this year's event and will be excluded from the best vantage points "to prevent overcrowding". But is the real reason to keep them away from the rich?

Most of the people watching the fireworks in this picture won’t have tickets for this year’s event and will be excluded from the best vantage points “to prevent overcrowding”. But is the real reason to keep them away from the rich?

Londoners: You elected a Tory Mayor – what did you think would happen?

It seems he has ordered that this year’s New Year fireworks will be a ticket-only event and you will be excluded from public streets – streets your tax money maintains – so that the rich don’t have to be jostled by you.

The display this year is the first-ever such event for which tickets have been sold, and it seems clear that you can thank Boris Johnson for that.

He’s the man who wants to keep you out of the best vantage points along the Thames; those are reserved for the rich.

“It is hoped the move will prevent overcrowding on the night, an issue that has plagued the event in recent years,” the Daily Mirror has reported in surprisingly mild fashion. This clearly means Mr Johnson hopes ticket prices will keep the hoi-polloi away.

Superintendent Robyn Williams told the paper: “Our advice is not to travel into London if you don’t have a ticket. If people are still considering coming to see the fireworks it will be extremely difficult to get around.

“Areas will be cordoned off for those with tickets and Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square will not this year be featuring large viewing screens.”

It’s a form of apartheid; the less affluent are being shunted out of their own city.

This writer’s only question is: Will Londoners meekly accept this treatment?

Or will we see fireworks in more ways than one?

Keith Joseph and the Tories’ Eugenicist Hatred of the Working Class – Beastrabban\’s Weblog

Keith Joseph Pic

Joseph was Thatcher’s mentor in the Tory party, and an enthusiastic supporter of Milton Friedman’s monetarism and the Chilean dictator General Pinochet. Although he guided Thatcher and served in her cabinet, he never actually became prime minister himself because of a speech he made about the poor in 1974, writes the Beast.

Joseph’s view was that there were too many of them, who were too poorly educated, breeding too young. Too many of their children were mentally retarded, and they were thus a danger to solid, genetically and morally superior middle class folk.

Joseph’s opinions are extremely worrying, because of the way they suggest a coherent political view that sees the poor and disabled as a positive threat to be removed.

This is the man whose ideas formed the bedrock of Thatcherism and all Conservative ideology that has followed it. Read this important article on Beastrabban\’s Weblog and make sure you’re informed about what the Tories are really doing.

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No surge of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants after controls lifted – Guardian

[Image: BBC.]

[Image: BBC.]

The lack of a surge in migrants from the two EU countries after seven years of transitional controls were lifted on 1 January 2014 confounds predictions by Ukip’s Nigel Farage and others that 5,000 Romanians and Bulgarians would arrive “each week, every week” for several years, according to The Guardian.

The Oxford University-based Migration Observatory said the growth in the Romanian and Bulgarian populations of the UK had remained at the same steady pace for the last seven years.

A quarter of a million Romanians and Bulgarians are now living and working in Britain, more than 80% of whom arrived before labour market restrictions on migrants from their countries were scrapped 12 months ago.

The full article is on The Guardian‘s website – give it a visit.

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The unfairness of government cuts: Labour councils more affected than Tory

141230spendingpower

Thanks to Scott Nelson for the above image, which is self-explanatory.

One has to wonder what Cambridge’s Labour council has, that has kept it in the money. A university?

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Tories to slash welfare by £21billion a year to help reduce deficit – Express

A clown.

A clown.

Reposted here purely because of the comment from cartoonist Gary Barker on Twitter: “Cos it’s worked so well so far. What a clown.”

Chancellor George Osborne indicated he was planning to unleash a fresh raid on benefits to help salvage the nation’s financial fortunes, according to the Excess.

Mr Osborne said he was not prepared to raise taxes or borrow more money to achieve his goal over the next five years, admitting that “difficult decisions” are going to be required.

“Cos it’s worked so well so far.” Gary is right. What a clown.

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Letwin, the Poll Tax, and the never-changing Tories – The Labour Party

David Cameron’s policy advisor – Oliver Letwin – explicitly suggested that Scotland be used as a testing ground for the introduction of the poll tax, papers released under the 30-year rule have revealed.

The Cabinet Office minister emerges in official papers publicly released today (December 30) as the man who single-handedly kept the idea of the poll tax alive in the mid 1980s despite attempts by two senior ministers to strangle it at birth, according to The Guardian (and many other news sources).

“’If you are not willing to move to a pure residence charge in England and Wales immediately, you should not introduce a mixture of taxes but should rather use the Scots as a trail-blazer for the real thing,’ Letwin told Thatcher in a memo written in November 1985. Letwin, whose parents knew Thatcher, had got his job on the recommendation of the cabinet minister Sir Keith Joseph.”

This is interesting. Letwin got his job via the Old School Tie/Old Boy Network (in Thatcher’s case… no, it would still be the Old Boy Network), and his sponsor was Keith Joseph, one of the architects of Thatcherism, the strain of neoliberal ideology that had as its main aim the removal of any security – job, life, or health – for working class people, along with the crushing of the trade unions who had crusaded for that security (see previous articles on this site).

He then decided to use that position to lay into Scotland, and now he’s David Cameron’s policy advisor. Let’s hope any Scottish readers are paying close attention; do you really want to do anything that may lead to this monster getting back into Whitehall?

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, reacting to the revelations, said: “Oliver Letwin was a key architect of the poll tax – so enthusiastic about it he pressed Margaret Thatcher to push ahead with its introduction. Over the years he has called for further privatisation of the NHS and for public expenditure at 35 per cent of GDP. Today he is David Cameron’s policy chief at the heart of his Government. It seems that the Tory Party never changes.

“With a tax cut for millionaires and a secret plot for another VAT increase if they get in again, you just can’t trust the Tories on tax.”​

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Evictions by bailiffs increase by 50 per cent as cost-of-living crisis bites – Labour Party

The only eviction most people want to hear about.

The only eviction most people want to hear about.

New analysis by Labour of Ministry of Justice figures has revealed that evictions from rental properties are at their highest since they were first measured over a decade ago, according to the Labour Party.

  • The figures show that in the 12 months to September 2014, there were 41,195 landlord repossessions by county court bailiffs, an increase of 49% on the same 12 month period to Sept 2010. This would have seen an estimated 90,000 tenants lose their home.
  • The 11,100 landlord repossessions by county court bailiffs in the latest quarter (3-months to Sept 2014) was also the highest quarterly figure since 2000.
  • The number of claims issued for possession by landlords has also risen dramatically by 27% to over 170,000 in the 12 months to September 2014 when compared with the same period to Sept 2010.

 

Other housing facts:

  • The Government has presided over the lowest levels of housebuilding in peacetime since the 1920s.
  • The Government’s Bedroom Tax affects over 600,000 social tenants.
  • 9 million people, including over 1 million families, now rent from a private landlord.
  • Working people are £1,600 a year worse off under David Cameron’s government because for four years wages have lagged behind price rises.

To see what Labour’s shadow housing minister has to say about all this, give the party’s press site a visit.

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