Conservatives are lying to you about ‘making work pay’

Work still doesn’t pay.

Nor will it ever do so, for employees, under Conservative rule.

The fact was hammered home to This Writer at a meeting yesterday, in which it was revealed that half of the UK citizens currently experiencing poverty – according to the poor set of guidelines currently in use – have jobs.

Here’s a little image to cement the message:


[Image: Kate Ever/4UP Politricks.]

Feel free to pass it on. Knowledge is power.

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39 thoughts on “Conservatives are lying to you about ‘making work pay’

  1. Kosko

    So what? Does anyone owe you a living? If you can’t survive its only your fault. Stop moaning and try to fix your life. Why should I pay for your incopetence?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      In case you haven’t noticed, this is about employers failing to pay a living wage.
      If someone is asking me to work for them, taking up my time so I can’t do anything else, then they absolutely do owe me a living. Of course they do.
      If anyone can’t survive because their conditions of employment make it impossible, then it is clearly the employer’s fault and the employer should either pay up or get out of business. Otherwise that person is not an employer but an exploiter.
      Your best option now is to apologise for your offensive outburst and try to fix your own life.
      Why should anybody suffer, just because their employer wants to get rich from the fruits of other people’s labour?

      1. why

        Typical left w(h)inger, ” if you dare have opposite viewpoint to me, apologise” You may well be right in what you preach, but allow others to have a point of view, that’s democracy

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        If I’m right, then the other point of view is wrong. Allowing people to continue being wrong isn’t democracy; it’s foolishness.

      3. Faff

        ‘Typical left w(h)inger, ” if you dare have opposite viewpoint to me, apologise” You may well be right in what you preach, but allow others to have a point of view, that’s democracy’

        Are you incapable of arguing a point without A: resorting to logical fallacies B: exposing your hateful ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude?

      4. David S

        In terms of the old Marxist diatribe against capitalists – “Why should anybody suffer, just because their employer wants to get rich from the fruits of other people’s labour?” – I work in automation, building some quite complicated software that not only replaces human labour, but does a lot of tasks that wouldn’t be possible without automation.

        So you’ll need to change this ‘labour is exploited’ story soon enough, as low skilled work is easily replaced by capital itself, you’ll find that these exploitative capitalists have absolutely no use for these low skilled people – they will be redundant, instead of exploited. But I guess you’ll find another argument against capitalism outside of the exploitation of labour (there will always be something).

        In the mean time, you are perfectly free to set up your own collective inside a capitalist system. There’s nothing stopping you opening up a business or a commune and paying everyone equally, and utilising that huge pool of exploited labour currently in the market, which could obviously achieve more than it is currently (if only the marginal value added from labour was shared around more equally). Why won’t that work? and why will it only work if you coerce everyone else, who doesn’t want this system, to join in?

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        What makes you say it won’t work?
        And what makes you say it will only work via coercion?
        Thanks for the heads-up about the plan to remove more manual labour – a bit pointless in the UK where manufacturing is in its death throes, though.

      6. Stephen Mellor

        @”This Writer”: It’s not just manual labour.

        It’s everything. From dark factories to black-taxi drivers to corporate travel expense tracking tools to travel agents.

        They are all headed to the scrap heap.

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        And you’re delighted.
        Perhaps you don’t understand that the national economy relies on these low-waged people, who have to spend their money rather than hoarding it up.
        Without them doing so, money will stop being pumped through the economy and it will slow down, almost to a dead stop.
        Then where will you Tories be?

      8. Stephen Mellor

        I *am* delighted.

        And so should you be. It will herald the Universal Basic Income.

        Which I would support, so long as it was low and applied only to citizens. And it led to a radical reduction in the machinery of the state.

      9. Mike Sivier Post author

        I am sceptical about the UBI. Not about whether it is a good thing in current circumstances, but about whether it would actually happen here.
        Tories are too keen to keep people down and desperate.

      10. Stephen Mellor

        @David S: I work in the same area, and what you say is true.

        They are *all* going to be out of a job. Then what will their rallying cry be?

    2. Marie

      Kosko, what an odious little person you are! As Mike points out, this is about people working long hrs but still being forced to live significantly below the poverty line as their employers aren’t paying them correctly for their efforts. Aren’t you wondering how that could be allowed to happen in a supposedly civilised society? Can you explain why you think that’s the employees fault (5 million according to figures, so not a small number) – rather than the employers?

      1. Stephen Mellor

        No one is forcing you to do anything. You can choose to work, or not.

        The only “forcing” going on here is forcing the long-suffering taxpayer to support you.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Are you really that stupid? It’s low-paying employers who ask taxpayers to support the people they underpay.
        Nobody can choose to work or not, due to the Conservative Government’s draconian benefit ‘reforms’ – claimants have to take the first job they can do or face sanction. So they are being forced, by the Tories and by these underpaying employers.

      3. Stephen Mellor

        “Low-paying” employers shouldn’t ask taxpayers to support the people they “underpay.”

        Either it’s the clearing price for labour, or it isn’t.

        As Thomas Sowell said: “The real minimum wage is infinitesimally above zero.”

        And, yes, you can choose not to work. But then you have to support yourself, not demand the rest of us to do so.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        What absolute, self-evident nonsense. Why should taxpayers subsidise rip-off employers? Better to turn the back, go self-employed or start a co-operative and drive them into bankruptcy. Then we’ll see what they’re prepared to accept.
        Or will we? Maybe we’ll have to wait until someone has the good sense to reintroduce fairness into our business laws.
        In the meantime, clear off, there’s a good chap. I think we’ve all had enough of your silliness for a while.

      5. Faff

        @Stephen Mellor – If there is no fairness in business and employment law then the social contract breaks and there is no moral imperative hindering the working poor from taking what you have by force. Given that we live in the eighth richest country in the world, surely the better option is to pass law aimed at protecting low paid workers?

        Your nonsense about choice between working/non-working is some of the most poorly thought through rubbish I’ve ever heard. You don;t seem to understand even the rudiments of the argument you’re in.

      6. Stephen Mellor

        @Faff: So ¶1 boils down to “give us more or we’ll take it by force.” At least that’s honest.

        For ¶2, sadly, it is you who don’t understand. It *is* the case that people have a choice on whether to work. Even when the alternative is starvation. That’s the choice approx. 3/4 of the world’s population face daily.

        Why should you be exempt from this economic reality?

      7. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m giving you the right of reply, but I’m also going to butt in.
        If the alternative to an unfair contract of employment is starvation, then the contract has no legal footing. It ceases to be a contract between equals and becomes blackmail.
        But here, in the fifth largest economy on the planet, it is absurd to present starvation as an alternative. Such a contract would make it clear that the employer is taking far too much for himself (if he is not himself too poor to be running a business in the first place). Therefore we can reason that the unfair terms (and any contract which forces an employee into debt is unfair) aren’t presented due to economic necessity but for another reason – to keep the employee down and desperate.

        That is the economic reality that must be fought. If you don’t accept that, I’ll take it that you are one of those who benefits from it and therefore one of those who should be removed from the means of production to make way for a fairer system.

      8. Stephen Mellor

        To make your first statement true, you need to release my note yesterday where I pointed out *again*, despite your determined efforts to misunderstand, that I don’t support *any* kind state support.

        For the second ¶, I’d tend to agree with that. A contract between parties who are extremely unequal is not a proper contract.

        Your third ¶ is another threat. “[R]emoved from the means of production”? So employers should hand over the capital or be shot?

        OTOH, at least we are in agreement that this is “economic reality.”

        Thank god.

      9. David S

        “If you don’t accept that, I’ll take it that you are one of those who benefits from it and therefore one of those who should be removed from the means of production to make way for a fairer system.”

        “removed” eh? You didn’t post my first comment, so I assume you won’t post this – but I am reminded of a quote from the late great Christopher Hitchens “It is only those who hope to transform human beings who end up by burning them, like the waste product of a failed experiment.”

        I think Stephen seems like he’s made the list of people you will “remove” (burn), come the revolution. Likes Hitchens, or Nick Cohen, or countless other socialists-gone-mature, I used to believe in socialism too, until I came to know the ‘authoritarians’ like you, who know that “If I’m right, then the other point of view is wrong. Allowing people to continue being wrong isn’t democracy” – yes I’m sure you wish that you had the democratic power to dis-allow me from being ‘wrong’, but thankfully you don’t – that’s individualist liberty, which thankfully is more prevalent in the western world than your kind of ‘democracy’.

      10. Mike Sivier Post author

        “You didn’t post my first comment” – what a right whinger you are! I hadn’t read it yet, by the time you posted this. Vox Political is hugely popular, don’t you know, and it takes a while to go through all the comments – a necessity because of the irresponsibility of some commenters (you don’t see them because I weed them out).
        On to the main issue. Perhaps you don’t realise or accept it, but the act of trying to coerce employees into accepting low wages not only renders any contract invalid but is in itself an act of violence against another human being. Put yourself in the position of a prospective employee. They see an employer who is raking in huge profits, but who says he will not pay his workforce a living wage and they should go into poverty and debt for him. Would you accept such a situation? In the UK, employers have got away with this vile behaviour because we have a tax credit system that supplements the wages of the very low paid. That means employers are asking the government to subsidise their choice of underpaying the workforce, using public money that could be better-employed on other projects.
        Any employer who behaves that was is doubly a parasite – leeching off the workforce and the state – and clearly does not deserve to be in any position of power.
        My personal opinion is that the only way this will change is if a new government uses the Tories’ own ‘nudge’ techniques to make it impossible for employers to do anything but pay a living wage. No doubt you would complain about such behaviour but consider this:
        When an employer coerces an employee into accepting an unfair contract (because the alternative is starvation) that is an act of unprovoked violence.
        If a government acts to rectify that situation, the employer might complain that this is violence against him – but it is not unprovoked; it has been necessitated by the employer’s own action.

      11. Stephen Mellor

        Then lobby for the removal of all tax credits.

        You’d have my support.

        Oh! Wait! You lot persuaded the House of Lords to keep them!

      12. Mike Sivier Post author

        Remember the context.
        The Conservatives wanted to cut tax credits without bringing wages up to anything approaching the Living Wage.
        Their plan would have been a disaster for low-income employees across the UK.
        It also have killed off the claim that Tories support a “high wage, low tax” economy. Clearly they support starvation wages and low taxes.
        Tax credits must remain until the Living Wage – the real Living Wage, not the Tories’ sick ‘National Living Wage’, which is just a label and nothing of the kind – can be introduced.

      13. Stephen Mellor

        It is not the responsibility of a business to pay an employee so he can live in the style to which he wishes to become accustomed.

        Nor is it the business of government.

        Earn what you wish to spend.

      14. Mike Sivier Post author

        Your initial statement has not been suggested by anybody here.
        However, if an employer wishes to use another person’s time, to such an extent that it would be unreasonable for them to take on other employment (say, an eight-hour working day including half an hour for lunch), then it is the responsibility of that employer to make sure the person they seek to employ is remunerated adequately – covering all their living requirements. That amount is known, and is called the Living Wage.
        People would love to take home as much pay as they wish to spend. Unfortunately employers are keeping that money for themselves in far too many cases.
        You seem blinkered.

    3. fathomie

      No-one ‘owes’ anyone a living. However, they do want your labour to make them rich. That’s how capitalism works. Where it has never worked, is that they get (very) rich, while you stay poor. Unless of course you are lucky enough to live in an area rich with better paid work that fits your skill set. Trouble is, nowadays, no such nirvana exists. If you want to get better paid work in the NW, forget it – it doesn’t exist. Nor does it in the NE, large swathes of the Midlands, large parts of the SW, Wales, and yes, parts of London.

      For the best part of the thirty years after the second World war we had a balance. Moderate employment law, strong Trade unions, and govts committed to the welfare state meant we had full employment, a thriving economy and a good, if not perfect balance between profit margin and wages. The 1979 election changed all that.

      Now we have greedy, exploitative employers, looking for massive profit margins at the workers expense. Successive govts have helped by scrapping employment law, health and safety regs, and making trade unions labour under the toughest anti union laws outside the dictatorships. The net result? Millions living under the poverty line, poorly paid work (they get around the minimum wage by simply giving zero hour or limited hour contracts) with no pensions, no rights, no hope.

      With high rents, social housing being phased out, and private utilities ripping us all off, fuel poverty is now common, while food bank queues are the norm in too many cities. At the same time, the tax payer is expected to pick up the tab for ruthless landlords and low pay employers with housing benefit and tax credits. All this means is that a lot of people, through no fault of their own are piss poor.

      You could have argued, back in the 60’s ‘well there’s plenty of work out there so get off your bum and find it’ but now? Not when employers across the board are paying low wages, and they are all much of muchness – which is the idea. You could have argued back in the 70’s and 80’s, ‘well you can do a course, better yourself and move onwards and upwards’. Not any more. Further Education (adult education) has seen courses slashed since the noughties, adult provision has been all but rolled back to nothing, ‘education for life’ tacitly abandoned, and since 2010, 30,000 tutors have lost their jobs. The Tories apprenticeships have been shown to be totally inadequate, and just another way of getting young people off the dole. Then there’s the ‘well go to where the work is then’ argument. Okay, if you want to pay people London prices for their properties in the North, that sounds fine. Somehow though, I can’t see that idea flying.. In particular when the gap in value is nearly three quarters (more in inner London), and the rents are over double.

      In light of all that, your remark just comes across as totally juvenile.

      The reality is, like it or not, the poverty trap of the Victorian era is back.

      1. Bernie

        Well said Fathomie. I was born in 1953, the 6th child of 7 children. My father was a labourer in a soap factory & my mum didn’t work. We had a council house and although we only could afford meat once a week, never went on holiday, had to wear hand-me-down clothes, had very few toys, I still had a happy childhood. Somehow I don’t think this would be possible today. I’m an English expat living in Munich, Germany, and even here, the amount of honest people working a full time job & still having to receive money from the social is increasing every year. At least the UK has a potentially promising alternative in Jeremy Corbyn, but here in Germany there is no such thing. A couple of years ago I was delighted to livestream UK television. My delight quickly turned to disappointment when I saw how badly the quality has slipped. There are still some great crime series & quiz shows, but the most of the commercials seem to be targeted at 7 year olds with learning difficulties. Every second ad is ambulance chasers or charities begging for money for donkeys, starving children in Africa, horses, dogs etc. (Have you seen how much the managers of these charities earn)? Is it true that TOWIE candidates can only get on the programme if they have previously had a lobotomy? Sorry, I’m rambling.

  2. Michael Broadhurst

    quite right Mike.too many employers think they’ve got a divine right to get rich on the fruits of other people’s labour.

    1. Stephen Mellor


      It’s a freely made contract between the employer and employee. If the employee doesn’t like it, perhaps someone in India might like the job.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, it isn’t. For reasons I’ve already mentioned, exploitation is forced on employees. Perhaps those employers should indeed bog off to another country if they want to exploit people. Here in the UK we should have – and demand – higher standards.

      2. Stephen Mellor

        Oh, don’t worry. They will “bog off.” It’s called “outsourcing.”

        You can “demand” all you want. Eventually, you’ll raise the price of labour and conforming to regulation so high that you’ll go out of business (or demand ever-higher levels of state support–until the state itself is bankrupt.)

        Then you’ll all be out of work, on ever-lower benefits.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        No, if they want to employ outside this country, let them go and make themselves citizens of that country, living by its laws. There’s no reason we would want them here.
        Your argument relies on ever-higher levels of state support, no matter what. It’s the gibbering of a buffoon. Go away and learn how to conduct business properly.

  3. Pat Mcguirk

    The whole system of an elite few who hold all the wealth is based on theft.The working classes of this country (who’s ancestors were evicted from their farms and villages so that the land could be stolen by the greedy landowners while they themselves were forced to find work in the draconian mills or starve) are owed a living by the descendants of those landowners and mill owners who are still exploiting their position to steal more and more wealth from the working classes.

  4. Helen Turner

    Cant believe these people who are not fit to be called members of the human race! Were they all born,reared, schooled, without any money from the state, ie,taxpayers? To say nothing of their health via nhs?

  5. mrmarcpc

    Typical right whingers on here that never see the full picture, only what concerns and matters to them, the rich always get rich off the back of working people and the fat of the land, they don’t earn it, they steal it, they rip people off, pay them a pittance and keep all the cash for themselves, that is capitalism, that is the free market, that is the right wing way!

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