Tag Archives: 2015

Tories besieged as 80,000 demonstrate against government policies of cruelty

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A familiar sight: The Boys in … Fluorescent Yellow were a prominent part of the anti-Conservative demonstration – whether they wanted to protest against the Tories or not.

It has been dubbed an anti-austerity march, but that would be doing the variety of protests and depth of feeling a disservice.

The anti-Conservative event in Manchester city centre today (Sunday, October 4) attracted at least 80,000 people (don’t believe the estimates of 60,000 – police always round down by thousands) from all walks of life and for many reasons.

It was an overwhelmingly good-natured event, as the following photos demonstrate – but, as usual, there were still a few people who had to try to spoil it for everyone else.

So one conference delegate was hit by an egg, and several journalists were left shaken after a handful of idiots spat on them, calling them Tories.

Maybe they felt justified attacking the Torygraph‘s Kate McCann (they weren’t) but what they thought they were achieving by attacking the Huffington Post‘s Owen Bennett or Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick is anybody’s guess – both the HuffPost and C4News have supported critics of the Conservative Government with fair reports.

Meanwhile, the venue for the Conservative Party conference, and the nearby Midland Hotel, have been surrounded by a so-called “ring of steel”. This indicates that the 12,000 Tories who have gathered in Manchester for their annual party conference may be thinking that holding it in an anti-Tory stronghold might not have been such a good statement of power and indifference to protest after all.

Inside, Tories are dedicated to pushing through their new Trade Union Bill, which will restrict industrial action and make it possible for employers to hire agency staff during strikes; and David Cameron announced on TV earlier in the day that the Tories will go ahead with cuts to in-work tax credits. He said they were part of a package that will make people better-off, but you’d be a fool to believe him.

 

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sent a message of support to the tens of thousands of demonstrators.

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Junior doctors marching in Manchester.

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Campaigners against NHS privatisation. Notice the ‘pig’ poster in the background – that’s a story David Cameron won’t be living down any time soon.

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The Student Assembly Against Austerity was marching against racist scapegoating.

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Iain Duncan Smith might deny the accusations, but the people of the UK can make up their own minds.

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The Tories would have you believe this is the ugly face of popular protest in the UK today. What do you think?

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The marchers lined the streets of Manchester.

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Surrounded by yellow flags, teachers were speaking out for education and saying no to austerity in the Manchester sun with ATL Union.

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Get the message?

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Protesters confront Conservative Party delegates.

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Reinstated PCS rep Candy Udwin with colleagues from the National Gallery in Manchester.

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This Conservative ended up with egg on his face after brandishing a picture of Margaret Thatcher at the crowd…

 

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… and this is how at least one of his colleagues saw fit to respond.

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Osborne’s last budget says more in its omissions than in its announcements

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Did we just have the worst-ever Budget from Britain’s weakest-ever Chancellor? All the indications suggest it.

George Osborne stole his best ideas from the Labour Party and claimed he was trimming his planned austerity back – raising mockery from those who said he was running like a rabbit from Labour’s “back to the 1930s” attack.

“George Osborne blinked,” said Paul Mason on Channel 4 News. “He looked at the scale of austerity he promised in December and realised it wasn’t going to be that popular.”

Did he, though? An alternative view might be that he has been trying to trick us – setting out a plan that suggests a horrific level of cuts at first, then claiming to relent and suggesting that he will inflict less damage and spend lots at the very end of the next Parliament.

So his promise is hideous suffering for four more years, with the vague possibility of greater spending at the end of it – if all has gone well.

Based on his current record, that’s a promise George Osborne can’t keep. Did he balance the books in this Parliament? No. Did he cut the deficit without cutting frontline services? No. Did he balance austerity fairly between the poor and the rich? No – the poor have taken a hugely disproportionate amount of the pain while the richest in the UK are now twice as rich as they were in 2009; for them, we have been in an economic boom.

What a shame those "naughty Trotskyites" (thank you, Mike Collins) at the Torygraph had to burst Osborne's balloon by pointing out the huge growth of the national debt on his watch.

What a shame those “naughty Trotskyites” (thank you, Mike Collins) at the Torygraph had to burst Osborne’s balloon by pointing out the huge growth of the national debt on his watch – more than £517 billion so far, which is more than every Labour government in history.

Labour’s bank levy and the changes to pensions that would have funded Labour’s tuition fees cut were stolen by Osborne. This is why Labour has been keeping future policies quiet – to prevent such things from happening. In making these moves, Osborne has helped Labour because critics of Labour’s failure to announce policies in advance will now have to shut up.

He said living standards would be back where they were in 2010 by the end of the current financial year – but using a scale (Real Household Disposable Incomes) that is disputed, and in any case is only a projection. According to the Mean Income scale, we’re nowhere near.

And Osborne’s claim assumes that household incomes will rise by no less than 3.1 per cent this year. Unlikely!

And remember – as Mr Mason put it: “Prices are falling because of oil prices and potential deflation; it’s not because a load of bricklayers and plumbers and taxi drivers are putting down their prices – and wages up.”

He repeated the claim that he has halved the deficit – but this is as a proportion of GDP. What if we have another economic shock (as seems likely) and GDP drops? Suddenly that figure won’t look as good. In money terms, the deficit has come down by around one-third to something like £90 billion a year. This means Osborne hasn’t even achieved what the previous Labour chancellor, Alistair Darling, said was possible in 2010 – and Labour would not have caused anything like the misery George Osborne’s party and the Liberal Democrats created for people on housing benefit, the sick, the disabled, and low-paid workers.

He didn’t mention the huge budget cuts to come over the next five years (if we get lumbered with more Tory rule) – worse than “anything over the past five years”

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As the BBC’s Robert Peston tweeted: “If Tories win, OBR says ‘sharp acceleration’ in pace of cuts to day-to-day spending on public services & admin 2016-17 & 2017-18.” In those two years – under Tory rule – we would get double the amount of austerity cuts that we’ve had at any point in the last four. We don’t even know where those cuts will happen.

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It is important to note that we won’t get cuts on anything like this scale under a Labour government, according to shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

In the meantime, Osborne has managed to pull a few rabbits out of his hat:

  • The tax allowance has been raised again, lifting more low-earners out of paying Income Tax. But those working part-time on low wages, including most apprentices and people who are self-employed, are already unlikely to pay income tax and will miss out entirely on the benefits of this tax change.
  • Meanwhile the threshold at which people will pay tax at the ‘high’ 40 per cent rate will also rise, meaning people earning up to £42,384 will get a massive tax break.
  • Beer duty is being cut again.
  • There will be a new savings tax break, meaning more than 90 per cent of savers won’t pay tax on this money.
  • And Osborne is launching a new ‘help to buy’ ISA for people trying to get on the property ladder.

All of these remove income from the Treasury, meaning the austerity measures Osborne plans to introduce will be more severe than you may be expecting. Note that the high-earners benefiting from the rise in the tax threshold will profit again – they can’t be hurt by cuts to benefits they don’t receive.

And what about tax dodging? Osborne omitted his failure to tackle this issue from his Budget speech. Perhaps this is because the wounds inflicted by the HSBC scandal are still too raw; perhaps it is because everybody knows Osborne and the Coalition have re-written tax law to make avoidance much easier for the filthy rich and the corporates. 38 Degrees caught the mood in a nutshell:

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Regarding the ‘help to buy’ ISA, it’s notable that Osborne didn’t mention the lack of new homes built since 2010.

150319budget2Osborne did not mention the Coalition government’s disgraceful treatment of the National Health Service at all. There will be no new money for the service. His omission prompted the following – scathing – response:

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However, as Mark Ferguson of LabourList pointed out on Twitter: “Cameron again takes credit for more doctors. Now it takes seven years to train a doctor. So those are Labour’s doctors.”

Oh, and there was a sideswipe at the SNP. North Sea oil revenues have taken a vertiginous tumble as a result of the cut in oil prices, meaning investment has also declined markedly. Osborne has cut the supplementary charge and introduced investment incentives to prop up this income stream, in a move that Tom Bradby describes as “trying to shoot SNP foxes”.

On employment, Osborne quoted his claim that there are 1.9 million new jobs and the jobless rate is at 5.3 per cent. He omitted the figures on how many are zero-hours (1.8 million in a snapshot taken last August) or off the dole due to sanctions. The number of people unemployed and not claiming JSA is at its highest level ever, as this graph shows:

[Thanks to Bernadette Meaden for this information.]

[Thanks to @InclusionCESI for this information.]

So, as one commentator put it, the Tories go into the 2015 general election with debt, in-work poverty and net migration higher – and the NHS in crisis compared to 2010.

Labour’s Michael Dugher followed up on this with: “Are the Tories really going to run on ‘You’ve never had it so good’?”

He has offered a few small freebies in a lame bid to influence the vote, hoping all the while that you won’t ask questions about the important economic issues he hasn’t bothered to mention.

Not only are we at the end of a zombie Parliament, but its own chancellor has crippled it in its final lurch to the election.

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UKIP will ally with Tories in return for 2015 EU referendum

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So there you have it – straight from the Fuhrage’s own lips: UKIP would go into Coalition with a potential minority Conservative government – on the sole condition that a referendum on EU membership takes place this year.

The fact that there are no other conditions will confirm, in the minds of many critics, the claim that UKIP are just Purple Tories – Conservatives who have disguised themselves in order to win voters.

Should you vote UKIP? This handy chart will help you decide. Just click on it for a larger, more readable version.

Should you vote UKIP? This handy chart will help you decide. Just click on it for a larger, more readable version.

The party’s only two MPs are Tory defectors, after all. Its financial policies might as well have been written by the same person who writes the Tories’ financial policies (someone from PricewaterhouseCoopers, probably), and its policy on the NHS seems to be the same as that of the Tories too – say one thing before the election and do something completely different afterwards, if possible.

The only question now is, how many UKIP supporters will defect back to Labour or another real party of the people?

They can’t stay with UKIP if Farage is prepared to betray them and allow another five years of Tory rule – including the end of our human rights, further destruction of the NHS, and more deaths of people trying to claim benefits in the Kafka-esque system created by Iain Duncan Smith.

According to the BBC, “The UKIP leader said the terms of his deal with the Tories would be ‘very precise and simple.

“‘I want a full and fair referendum to be held in 2015 to allow Britons to vote on being in or out of the European Union,’ he said.

“Mr Farage went on to say that if Mr Cameron agreed to the terms, there was ‘no question that UKIP would not do a deal’.”

It should be noted that current polls show the majority of British people believe we are better off inside the European Union than out of it.

So a vote for UKIP is a vote for another pointless referendum that merely confirms the current situation, followed by five more years of utterly unfettered Conservative Party dictatorship.

UKIP supporters: Is that what you really want?

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Survey says SNP to stay sidelined after general election

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Supporters of the Scottish alternative – the SNP – could be in for a shock after the general election, as it has been revealed that voters don’t want that party to be involved in any possible future Coalition with either Labour or the Conservatives.

According to leading poll firm YouGov*, less than one in three of Tory or Labour voters who expressed a preference (29 per cent) said they would support a deal between the party they supported and the SNP in order to form a government.

The same poll showed that this figure reduced to less than a quarter of all respondents (regardless of voting intention), who were asked whether they thought it would be “a good or bad thing” if the SNP was part of a Westminster coalition government after the next election. Only 24 per cent of those who expressed a preference thought it would be “a good thing”. The rest clearly thought SNP participation would be “bad”.

This is a blow to the credibility of the SNP, which has been campaigning partly on the basis that the current situation – with most Westminster seats held by Labour – had left Scotland without a voice in a Conservative-run UK, and hardly heard when Labour were in office.

(It’s an argument that could be fought simply by pointing out that Labour established the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, without which the SNP is unlikely to have been able to gain the popularity it has today – but never mind that. If people aren’t willing to pay attention, they’re not going to.)

Now it seems clear that any party entering into a coalition with the SNP will only do so against the express wishes of the electorate, meaning a Scotland that votes SNP is likely to find itself even less relevant to the UK than before.

This is the clearest evidence of what the rest of the UK thinks about Scottish nationalists and their behaviour since the independence referendum last September.

For the SNP, the message is: You want to sabre-rattle for independence? Fine. Do it north of the border and keep your noses out of our business.

For Scotland as a whole: If you want to be part of UK politics, vote for somebody who wants to be part of the UK.

It seems that, for Scottish nationalism, British voters’ patience has run out.

*A vocal minority of commenters has recently called into question the validity of Vox Political‘s information. If they want to question this one, they should take it up with YouGov.

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Auschwitz image: Did Tom go too far?

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It’s a matter of judgement, isn’t it?

The image above is the parody of the Conservative Party’s infamous ‘Road to Recovery’ poster showing the railway line leading to the World War II extermination camp at Auschwitz, as tweeted by fellow blogger Tom Pride with the words, “The new Tory campaign poster featuring a German road’s a bit controversial”.

The tweet worked on several different levels: It referenced the fact that all three claims made on the original poster were inaccurate – in effect, the Conservative Party lied to the public with its very first piece of campaign material; it also acknowledged the fact that the road in the original picture was not British, as had been claimed by George Osborne on Channel 4 News (and this blog has covered reporter Cathy Newman’s surprise on finding out this was not true), but was a road near Weimar in Germany – another Tory lie; and it also made a strong point about the future the UK might face if voters allow themselves to be persuaded into supporting the Tories, based on this lying campaign.

It is also worth drawing attention to Vox Political commenter (and The Critique Archives blogger) Martin Odoni’s reaction to the revelation about the origins of the Tory poster’s image: “I’m no believer in omens or sympathetic magic, but, after all the economic hardship of the last seven years, that is really bad symbolism. I mean, don’t we remember what economic chaos and an evil, fanatical Chancellor did to the Weimar Republic?”

This writer received several versions of the Auschwitz railway image after publishing an article on the Conservative campaign poster.

Tony Dean commented with a simple reference to this one:

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And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.

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Neither picture has appeared on Vox Political before because this writer considered them a step too far. The comments were published and readers were free to click on the links if they so desired.

I exercised my judgement and that was my decision.

It seems that Nottingham Labour councillor Rosemary Healy has been suspended because she neglected to make a similar judgement call.

As a follower of Tom Pride on Twitter (and there’s nothing wrong with that; Tom’s articles and tweets often provide an oasis of amusement for those of us who are struggling against the harm being caused every day by the Coalition Government) it is entirely possible that she retweeted his picture automatically, in the belief that her own followers would enjoy some sharp humour.

Alas, the humour was too sharp for some, and crossed the line of good taste in their opinion.

Was Cllr Healy wrong to retweet this image? On balance, she probably was. As a councillor representing the Labour Party, it could be argued that she should not be re-transmitting messages that could be interpreted as making light of a very dark period in human history.

Could be argued. Could be interpreted. It’s a matter of judgement.

It could also be argued that the tweet, and the image, make a deadly serious point about the reality of Conservative government. Many parallels have been drawn – accurately (before anyone starts wrongly invoking Godwin’s Law) – between Conservative-led Coalition policy and the actions of the Nazis (who came to power after the failure of the German republic identified with a town called Weimar, let’s not forget).

Remember Vox Political‘s articles about chequebook euthanasia? That information has been sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office in support of the bid to have the Freedom of Information request on ESA claimant fatalities since November 2011 honoured at last; and it has been sent to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, whose investigation into the effects of withdrawing benefit from claimants began in earnest this morning (January 7).

There is a deadly serious (and the word ‘deadly’ is used advisedly) side to Tom Pride’s tweet; there usually is.

However, UKIP supporter ‘Guy Ropes’ sent this blog the following comment today: “Is it correct that a Labour councillor in the Midlands has tweeted an alteration to a Conservative poster that is so insensitive I’d be disappointed if you even tried to talk about it much less defend it. Thankfully his branch have suspended him. I’m not sure – even if they tried really, really hard – that the BNP could conceive of something so tasteless. So how about calling a truce – instead of slagging people and parties off, let’s stick to discussion of policies.”

The problem here is misinformation. The councillor is accused of creating the tweet (and gets a sex change in the process). The tweet is described as tasteless, indicating the commenter has not considered the serious points on which this article has elaborated. And there will be no truce because no hostilities have been declared. It seems Mr ‘Ropes’ has an issue with this blog’s policy of debunking false claims – such as those in his comment.

So, yes – Cllr Healy showed an error of judgement and should not have RT’d the tweet, given her position; and no – the tweet itself is not “insensitive” or “tasteless” in itself – in the judgement of this writer.

We need bloggers like Tom Pride to bring these connections to our attention.

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Road to ruin: Tories’ campaign poster is electoral suicide

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The Tories have fired the first shot in the 2015 general election campaign – and it’s a dud.

Their brand-new campaign poster shows a road stretching out through the (presumably British) countryside, and bears the slogan, “Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy”. It’s eerily reminiscent of the poster for the 1978 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind – and there’s about as much chance of our economic chances improving under the Tories as there is of alien visitation.

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Perhaps the Tories are trying to evoke another image from popular culture:

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Either way, they are definitely trying to promote a fantasy.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the actual poster:

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The claims beneath the slogan are questionable at best; at worst, outright lies.

“1.75 million more people in work.” Are they? Is that just the number thrown off Jobseekers’ Allowance? Or is it the number of people claiming to be self-employed and claiming tax credits, rather than go through the sanctions minefield that is a JSA claim under the Tory-led Coalition government? Is it the number of people in part-time or zero-hours work?

How many of these people are actually able to pay Income Tax – and thereby contribute to the Coalition’s stated main aim of deficit reduction – as a result of their employment?

“760,000 more businesses.” Are there? As above, how many are people claiming to be self-employed in order to receive tax credits rather than claim JSA? And how many businesses have been ruined over the course of the current, Tory-led, Parliament? Here’s a clue:

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That doesn’t look too good, does it?

(Admittedly this graph only runs until 2013 but if one considers the number of new self-employed enterprises – 408,000 in the year to August 2014 alone – and the fact that self-employed income has dropped by 22 per cent since 2008-9, it is possible to work out the facts behind the Tory spin).

“The deficit halved.” Even the BBC have had a go at this! Radio 4’s Six O’clock News contained a segment in which this claim was examined and found wanting, in strict mathematical terms. This is because the deficit stood at around £150 billion when the Tory-led Coalition took over, and is likely to be around £100 billion on election day, May 7. This suggests that just one-third of the deficit has been eliminated.

But even this isn’t the whole story. Michael Meacher MP will happily tell you that the policies of the last Labour government account for around £38 billion of the eliminated deficit leaving George Osborne responsible for around £12 billion of savings. Looking at the number of benefit-related deaths caused by his colleague Iain Duncan Smith’s policies alone (more than 10,000 but the DWP still won’t release the figures), we have to ask: Was it worth it?

The claim that the deficit has been halved is justified with reference to economic growth; because the economy has grown, the deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is smaller. But this means the Tories have used a fallacious argument to make their point; having referred to the deficit in money terms for the last four and a half years, they have had to try ‘moving the goalposts’ (that’s the actual name for this fallacy) in order to make it seem that they have achieved more.

Releasing this poster on an unsuspecting population at a launch in Halifax, David Cameron made it clear that he wanted the Conservatives to be judged on their economic performance. Perhaps he is forgetting that the Tories’ economic performance has been absolutely awful.

Together with George Osborne, he promised in 2010 that the Coalition would eliminate the deficit within its term of office. That time is almost up and it is clear that any government formed after the election will inherit a deficit of at least £80 billion. This government has failed to keep its promise.

Not only that, they promised that the national debt would begin to reduce by the end of the current Parliamentary term, and this has not happened. The national debt is still rising. It currently stands at more than twice its level when the Coalition took office. Mr Osborne is responsible for more debt than every Labour chancellor in history – put together.

And the national debt is still rising!

In fact, all the financial pain endured by ordinary people over the years since May 2010 has been for nothing. Most working households have suffered a real-terms income drop of £1,600 per year – increasing beyond £3,000 per year for those on benefits.

But life has improved for some, hasn’t it?

The richest people in the UK have doubled their wealth since 2009. They have enjoyed huge tax cuts – both in Income Tax and Corporation Tax – the tax companies pay on their profits – while changes made by Osborne to tax law have opened up huge new tax loopholes, allowing them to turn the UK into another tax haven and – again – pay fewer taxes. As pointed out on Charlie Brooker’s ‘2014 Wipe’ (and visible in the video posted on Vox Political yesterday), the current Parliament has seen a transfer of money from the poor to the rich, the like of which is unprecedented in recent years.

That’s right – rich UK citizens have benefited from the Conservatives’ policies. Debt reduction hasn’t had much to do with their plans.

This blog has argued in the past that the current government has been about selling off state assets to private enterprises, in order to create gratitude to the government of the time that is expressed in the form of donations to party funds. The Conservative Party has certainly benefited from this, and has a huge ‘war chest’ of cash to spend on the upcoming election as a result.

And we must also consider the number of millionaires in Cameron’s cabinet, and the Conservatives’ wider circle of acquaintances. Have you ever heard of a kleptocracy?

It’s a form of political corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with the pretense of honest service. Doesn’t that remind you of the Conservative-led Coalition government?

Voting for the Conservatives is the last thing anyone would do, if they want a more prosperous United Kingdom.

And one last thought: Who wants the Tory version of a stronger economy at the cost of human lives? It’s only money, but more than 10,000 people have died because of Tory policies aimed at enriching their friends. It is a price that nobody should be forced to pay.

This writer got all of the above from the Tories’ new election poster.

David Cameron said it was “firing the starting gun” for the election.

It was the political equivalent of shooting himself in the head.

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10 objectives for Labour for 2015 – Michael Meacher MP

no to austerity

What should be the 10 pledges that Labour should make to maximize its vote for 7 May 2015? asks Michael Meacher in his latest blog piece.

If you want to know what he says about them, visit his blog but the 10 points can be summed up neatly as:

1. End austerity.

2. Revive British manufacturing.

3. Revive full employment.

4. Introduce the Living Wage, across the whole of the UK.

5. End in-work poverty.

6. Tax excessive wealth.

7. End and reverse privatisations and outsourcing within the NHS.

8. End the ‘Free Schools’ project.

9. End tax evasion.

10. Build more social housing and impose rent controls on private landlords.

Some of these – like the Living Wage, wealth taxes, NHS re-nationalisation, ending Free Schools and the social housing plans – are already Labour policies, built into the party’s plans for government following the general election on May 7 next year.

All of them follow the rough outline of the problems facing the UK that Ed Miliband sketched out in 2012 or 2013: That the decline in living standards must be reverse; that the economy must be properly re-balanced to create a fairer and more equal society (David Cameron and George Osborne lied when they claimed they were going to achieve this; they never intended to do anything of the kind); and that the tax system must be overhauled to ensure that, in a tough economic climate, everybody pays their fair share into the Treasury, and everybody receives their fair share in return. We have seen, recently, how the poorest pay the most in taxes and receive the least in return, thanks to the machinations of the Tories and Liberal Democrats; this proposes a restoration of a fairer society.

This blog is often criticised for defending the Labour Party above all else, or in the face of the facts about it. A commenter did so only today, in fact (Boxing Day).

But here’s the thing: UKIP has turned the European Union into its great enemy, claiming that leaving the EU will make everything all right. Living standards will not improve one iota as a direct result of such a move; in fact they’ll probably decline.

If you’re in Scotland, the nationalists have turned Westminster into their great enemy, claiming that leaving the UK will make everything all right. Can you guess what effect that would have on living standards? None – or more decline; they lost a referendum about it but still they persist.

The Conservative Party has turned the Welfare State into the enemy, claiming that cutting public spending on the benefits that help keep many people alive and well will make everything all right. That argument doesn’t even stand up to the most superficial examination yet still they make it. Perhaps they want to discover if we really are gullible enough to accept it.

Labour is the only party to have correctly identified the real problems facing the country, and to be actively seeking real solutions, it seems.

But is Michael Meacher proposing the right solutions? Is Ed Miliband?

Let’s have your opinions (but please support them with some reasoning; we laugh at unsupported, bald statements here).

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POLL: UKIP to prop up Tories in order to get EU referendum?

Purple Tories: If the Daily Mirror is correct, then Nigel Farage has confirmed that a vote for UKIP will also be a vote for the Conservative Party at the 2015 general election - IF the Tories agree to rush an in/out referendum on the EU out to the public that summer.

Purple Tories: If the Daily Mirror is correct, then Nigel Farage has confirmed that a vote for UKIP will also be a vote for the Conservative Party at the 2015 general election – IF the Tories agree to rush an in/out referendum on the EU out to the public that summer.

According to today’s (Monday) Daily Mirror, Nigel Farage has admitted that UKIP will merrily support a Conservative government after next year’s election – if it gets the necessary number of MPs – if David Cameron holds his promised in/out EU referendum next summer.

The announcement should not come as any surprise, even though Farage himself has claimed he would never do a deal with the Conservative Party. Most of UKIP’s leading members are former Conservatives and the party has a wholly right-wing agenda.

Many commentators have expressed the belief that UKIP would join the Tories in government if they had the chance – now Nigel Farage has named his price.

Why not? David Cameron offered a bribe to the electorate at the Tory conference a couple of weeks ago – why shouldn’t UKIP expect him to bribe them as well, if that’s what it takes to stay in power?

According to the Mirror, “Labour said his comments on a hung Parliament come as no surprise.

“’UKIP is a party joined at the hip to the Conservatives by Tory policy, Tory politicians and Tory money,’ blasted Shadow Cabinet Minister Michael Dugher.

“’They are more Tory than the Tories.’”

But what do you think of all this? Here’s the poll:

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Seat choice for Boris is an admission of Tory weakness

borisjohnson

In typical cowardly Conservative manner, Boris Johnson has decided to apply to be that party’s candidate in the stronghold seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip at next year’s general election.

The seat is currently held by Sir John Randall with a majority of 11,216. He will be retiring at the next election, making room for Johnson, who is currently Mayor of London.

Johnson will have to go through a selection procedure but there can be no doubt about the result. The decision encourages us to draw two conclusions:

  • Firstly, Boris is not as popular as the public is being led to believe. If he was, the Tories would be setting him up to take a seat from another party.
  • Secondly, the Conservatives believe the electorate of Uxbridge and South Ruislip are easily-manipulated ‘sheeple’ who will do whatever they ask. If you live in that constituency, don’t you find that assumption insulting?

It also means the next MP for that constituency will be decided, not by its electorate, but by a selection committee of around five or six Conservative Association grandees. Is that democracy?

According to a BBC News report, Johnson said he hoped to “make his case” that he was the best person to represent the constituency – to the Conservative selection committee, as the following comment clarifies.

He added: “I’m sure there will be plenty of excellent candidates, and I hope very much to make my case to the association.” [Italics mine]

To the association. Not to the constituency. It’s a mockery of democracy. A “demockery” – as a Vox Political correspondent in Mid Wales wrote in a letter recently.

If Johnson really wanted to prove himself, he’d go and fight Nigel Farage in Thanet South.

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