Boris Johnson’s hard-right-wing Conservative government has imposed a real-terms cut in payments for people with pensions and other benefits.
From April, payments will be uprated by 3.1 per cent. But inflation is likely to peak at more than twice that – 7.25 per cent is predicted – meaning vulnerable people will struggle.
The cut come on top of the 54 per cent increase in fuel bills that the Tories intend to “smooth out” with a £200 loan that will be demanded back later, even though they will not have the money.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also announced a £150 council tax rebate for people whose homes are in Bands A to D – but this does not help benefit claimants who receive Council Tax Support.
Shall I go on?
Universal Credit was slashed by £1,040 per year last September when the Tories ended an uprating that had been imposed to help people cope with the effects of Covid-19 on employment and earnings.
And a pension increase, approved around the same time, was limited to only two of the “triple lock” conditions because Tories said the third – which would have raised payments in line with the percentage rise in wages – would have led to a rise of eight per cent that they said was artificially inflated because of Covid.
Hindsight shows us that an eight per cent rise would have been appropriate to cope with the huge increases in the cost of living that the Tories have caused with their catastrophic mismanagement of the UK.
Normally one would expect Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to do its job and oppose this oppression of vulnerable people. So, where was Keir Starmer when this cut was imposed?
He was nowhere to be seen.
Starmer had ordered his MPs to abstain and only 13 party members had the courage – and the responsibility – to rebel.
They were Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Ian Byrne, Dan Carden, Ian Lavery, Tony Lloyd, Rebecca Long-Bailey, John McDonnell, Grahame Morris, Cat Smith, Zarah Sultana, Nadia Whittome and Beth Winter.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Andy McDonald acted as tellers for the ‘Noes’, meaning they were unable to vote but it is understood that they would have done so otherwise.
Steve Walker, over on Skwawkbox, has suggested that Starmer is “addicted to absention” because he doesn’t want to stand for anything disliked by the Tory voters he is trying to steal from Boris Johnson.
Steve went on to point out that formerly-Labour voters have decided to “switch off in disgust at the lack of a real alternative” to the Tories.
But it is worse than that. Starmer is alienating a generation from voting.
With no opposition from the so-called Opposition, anybody whose politics is to the left of Mussolini’s has nobody to support and is unlikely to vote for any of the far-right candidates who’ll be paraded by the Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in future elections.
These parties are now so closely-aligned that you couldn’t get a Diner’s Club card between their policies.
There is an alternative – so of course it is being played down by the Tory media.
New left-wing organisations have sprung up and aligned together in what’s being called the People’s Alliance of the Left.
Member organisations include the Breakthrough Party, Northern Independence Party, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and Left Unity – all of whom, This Writer understands, have enjoyed large increases in membership since linking together.
This Site encourages readers who want to support a genuine alternative to research the PAL member organisations and either join or support whichever seems likely to gather the most support in your local area.
Information on PAL is available here.
You can find out about the Breakthrough Party here.
The Northern Independence Party sets out its stall here.
This is the website for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
And Left Unity’s website is here.
PAL’s first Parliamentary candidate is Dave Nellist, who will be standing as the TUSC representative in the Birmingham Erdington by-election on March 3.
If you live in that constituency – or you want to support the candidate and political views that genuinely oppose the current hard-right consensus – please sign up to support Dave.
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