Tag Archives: Amazon

When did you consent to Amazon profiting from your NHS data?

Matt Hancock: as Health Secretary, it seems he has broken data protection laws by handing your information to a commercial organisation that intends to profit from it.

The Times is reporting that the Tory government has handed all your NHS health information to Amazon – free – so that company can make a profit from it.

And they did it without telling you – presumably in the hope that nobody would notice.

How do you feel about that?

When did you give your consent to it?

This is private information which, as a data controller, the NHS should not be passing on to anybody else. That’s the law.

But of course the Tories don’t think that even the laws they write apply to them.

Amazon has been handed the keys to a trove of NHS data it can use to develop products to sell internationally without paying a penny to the UK.

A government contract, revealed under freedom of information laws, shows the partnership goes far beyond the tie-up with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant announced in July.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said at the time the NHS should “embrace” the technology, saying it would cut pressure on GPs and pharmacists. But the contract shows the American tech giant could access more than just NHS website data.

The $863bn company can access “all healthcare information” gathered by the NHS at the UK taxpayers’ expense, including “symptoms, causes and definitions”.

Source: Amazon ready to cash in on free access to NHS data | News | The Sunday Times

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour urges Boris Johnson not to sign trade deal that would aid Amazon destruction

Bolsonaro’s legacy: The fires set in the Amazon rainforest, apparently on the order of the Brazilian president – and the cost to animal life. Boris Johnson seems keen to contribute to this slaughter.

Look at the images above and bear in mind that Boris Johnson may try to sign a trade deal with Brazil that would accelerate the deaths of these animal breeds and the destruction of the so-called “lungs of the world”.

In world trade terms, after Brexit, he’ll be a beggar and not a chooser, meaning if Jair Bolsonaro – the Brazilian president most people consider responsible for the fires destroying the rainforest and its animal habitats as I type this – tells him to sign a deal that increases the harm, he’ll do it.

Labour has appealed to Mr Johnson to show sense, pointing out that “We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.”

But when has BoJob ever shown any sense at all?

Consider this, from the Independent‘s report:

Mr Johnson has refused to join French president Emmanuel Macron and Irish premier Leo Varadkar in threatening to block a South American trade deal if Mr Bolsonaro fails to live up to his commitments to protect the environment.

Stressing his unwillingness to disrupt trade at a time when fears of a global showdown are rising, the PM said that some leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz were using the catastrophic wildfires in the Amazon as an “excuse” to interfere with free trade.

He hasn’t got a clue.

And if he has his way, we’ll all end up breathing ashes instead of oxygen. Who will he blame then?

Source: Labour demands Johnson refuse to sign post-Brexit Brazil trade deal that aids Amazon destruction | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Brazil is burning its way to climate-change apocalypse and the rest of the world is happy to allow it

[Image: Another Angry Voice.]

The people of Brazil seem to have elected a lunatic determined to trigger an environmental catastrophe.

Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to turn his enormous nation into a desert – a dustbowl incapable of supporting life.

That’s what will happen if the Amazon rainforest is allowed to disappear, you see. The soil on which it stands is not rich enough to sustain farm crops for more than one or two plantings at the most. After that, the people of Brazil will be left in the dust.

That’s science.

Mr Bolsonaro seems to be motivated by something else. Greed? It makes no sense.

He can’t make money by burning the forest. Once it is gone, his people will be doomed. And there should be no aid from other countries because they will have brought it down on themselves – and on the rest of us.

I have wondered whether this is a blackmail play – trying to get us to pay him to keep the forest from harm.

But then he would not have gone ahead and started burning it – or allowing it to be burned.

It makes no sense. It is the action of a loon.

So, while I agree with everything Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice states below, I think there is more to it.

I’m absolutely sick of people saying that the “Amazon is burning” as if it’s some kind of unfortunate accident.

Massive swathes of the Amazon are being deliberately burned in a massive land grab by ranchers and loggers emboldened by far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental diatribes and racist rhetoric against the indigenous people and minorities who live there.

This is what happens when extreme-right racist untranationalists cheat their way into power.

For more detail on Mr Bolsonaro’s plans, see this article.

The strange thing is, there won’t be any military intervention by the nations of the West.

It seems that, if fossil fuel isn’t involved, the United States, the UK and the other so-called “great” democracies don’t care.

We certainly don’t care, it seems, about an environmental calamity being committed in front of our noses, despite having declared that the world is in a climate emergency. What hypocrisy.

Six arrested for painting Brazilian embassy red in protest at Amazon deforestation

“Climate-change protesters threw red paint at the Brazilian embassy in London on Tuesday to demonstrate against damage to the Amazon rainforest and what they described as violence against indigenous tribes living there.”

Read more: London climate change protesters daub Brazilian embassy blood red – Reuters

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour would stop tax avoidance – Tories are encouraging it

[Image: Rui Vieira/PA].


John McDonnell has the right idea.

John McDonnell says Labour would hire hundreds more tax inspectors to claw £36 billion a year back from avoidance.

And he believes that figure could go even higher, taking into account schemes used by firms such as Apple, Starbucks, Amazon and Google to beat tax rules.

These international businesses lawfully use complex structures to shift taxable income from the UK to other overseas operations.

HMRC is replacing 170 offices across the UK with 13 larger regional centres to save £83million.

The shake-up means that 5,000 staff unable to relocate are expected to be lost.

Source: Labour to hire army of tax inspectors to claw £36BILLION a year back from dodgers


Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour is following the same plan as England’s football team – to failure

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Labour could be heading for defeat next year, after it set out new policies that have the same chance of success as England’s plan for the 2014 World Cup.

The party put its weight behind a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) that left the public cold. If Labour does not change direction, it seems likely the party will not win the votes it needs to get into office next year – unless its rivals make serious mistakes.

It is a situation almost exactly like that of the England football team.

All right, it’s not a perfect parallel. England got into this fix because it was outplayed by teams with ambitious and flamboyant star players – Balotelli for Italy and Suarez for Uruguay. Labour doesn’t have that problem as the closest equivalent in politics is Nigel Farage.

But, like England, Labour seems unable to defend itself against even rudimentary attacks – partly because leaders have painted themselves into a corner (marked ‘pro-austerity’) and partly because they simply refuse to use the logical arguments. Does anybody remember what a relief it was when, after years of silence in response to Tory claims that Labour caused the financial collapse, Peter Hain finally told Owen Paterson, on the BBC’s Any Questions, “It was the banks that destroyed the economy, not the Labour government – it was the international banking system!”

And where is Mr Hain now? He’s retiring at the next election. The only Labour player who was man enough to fend off this blatantly unreasonable Tory attack and he’s being taken off the field.

Meanwhile, Labour’s leaders continue to make schoolboy mistakes that create the opportunity for the other side to score. Ed Miliband’s publicity-seeking pose with The Sun was a spectacular example; yesterday’s IPPR report was a more subtle one.

The lack of ambition is staggering; it seems that, after four years, the Miliband camp still hasn’t understood that copying Tory austerity will scare voters away. Committing to Tory-imposed constraints that require any new idea to be covered by a cut or a tax increase will just increase the exodus – Labour needs to be ambitious.

Everybody knows now that austerity is nonsense. It’s an excuse to drive money into the hands of those who have too much of it already. After four years of it, we are told that this government is on course to put five million British children in poverty by 2020. Food bank use is at its highest ever. The number of people claiming in-work benefits is at its highest ever because employers refuse to pay a living wage and expect the taxpayer to subsidise them instead; by the time of the 2015 election, working families will be around £2,000 per year worse off than they were in 2010.

You are worse-off under the Tory Coalition. You are worse-off under austerity.

Meanwhile, business bosses and shareholders have been having a spectacularly good time, with incomes skyrocketing. There’s no austerity for the One Per Cent!

Indeed, income inequality has increased hugely to place the UK seventh on the international table, behind the USA (fourth) and Chile (first) – and we all know that Tory neoliberals are huge fans of the systems in those two countries.

incomeinequality

What are the wealthy doing with all the money they have parasitised from the rest of us?

Well, they’re not using it to pay their taxes, that’s for sure!

One of the main plans put forward in Labour’s IPPR report was to save money by means-testing benefits for 100,000 young people – saving £65 million. That’s a pittance compared to the £600 million in taxes that is being withheld by Google, Amazon and Apple, according to an infographic that’s currently doing the rounds.

140620taxcheatinfographic#

Labour is very quiet about that – copying the Tory attitude of diverting people with stories about welfare abuses because Miliband’s know-nothing advisors think being “hard on benefits” is popular with the public, who don’t like “scroungers”.

They’re not intelligent enough to understand that this attitude has been carefully nurtured in the public consciousness by a right-wing, Tory-controlled media. It has nothing to do with reality, in which only a tiny minority of people are in fact defrauding the taxpayer out of benefit money. Lord Fraud – sorry, Freud – was taken to task for this only days ago.

It seems that – like England’s football team – the Labour Party has been off chasing a fantasy. Austerity and the persecution of people on benefits (most of whom are entirely deserving of them, plus massive amounts of compensation for the despicable way they have been treated for the past few years) are Conservative-created blind alleys. In politics, you don’t oppose anybody by copying them.

If Labour concentrated on the real causes of Britain’s problems, the party might have a hope of success.

Otherwise, like the England team, Labour will have to be content with hoping that the Tories make a big mistake.

And, like the England team, they are most likely to learn that this is not good enough.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first, Strong Words and Hard Times
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Further humiliation for Osborne and HMRC over tax avoidance

0sborne has every reason to be red-raced with embarrassment over his pitiful record regarding tax avoidance. Parliament's public accounts committee has done all the hard work for him and he still can't put it into practice!

0sborne has every reason to be red-raced with embarrassment over his pitiful record regarding tax avoidance. Parliament’s public accounts committee has done all the hard work for him and he still can’t put it into practice!

Revenue and Customs bosses, reeling from the broadside they took for claiming the UK’s tax-dodging public enemy number one was a hairdresser from Liverpool, can take no solace from the attitude of Parliament’s own public accounts committee.

Three days before HMRC published its silly little list, the committee called on it to “publically name and shame” all organisations and individuals who sell or use tax avoidance schemes, in order to discourage such activity.

The fact that the organisation has not taken the opportunity to do so serious undermines its position.

Let’s have a look at what the UK Parliament’s website – www.parliament.uk – has to say about the government’s stance, because the criticism is so heavy it’s almost funny:

Tax avoidance—using tax law to gain a tax advantage not intended by Parliament—reduces the money available to fund public services and is completely unfair to the majority who pay the tax due. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimates that in 2010-11 the tax gap due to avoidance was £5 billion. HMRC further estimates that the present total tax at risk from avoidance over time is £10.2 billion.

In Australia, promoters have to get clearance for schemes before they introduce them. An advance ruling system of this type could deter contrived avoidance schemes and increase certainty in the tax system. Australia has also introduced powers to fine those who promote schemes that could not reasonably be expected to work or comply with the advance ruling system.

“Promoters of ‘boutique’ tax avoidance schemes like the one brought to our attention by the case of Jimmy Carr, are running rings around HMRC,” said Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee.

“They create schemes which exploit loopholes in legislation or abuse available tax reliefs, such as those intended to encourage investment in British films, and then sign up as many clients as possible, knowing that it will take time for HMRC to change the law and shut the scheme down.

“Their clients can then take advantage of this window of opportunity to make a lot of money at the expense of the taxpayer, while the promoter simply moves on to a new scheme and repeats the process. It is a game of cat and mouse and HMRC is losing.

It has allowed a system to evolve where the die are loaded in favour of the promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The complexity of tax law creates opportunities for avoidance, there are no penalties to stop people promoting these schemes, and HMRC is ineffective in challenging promoters who are deliberately obstructive or deliberately sell schemes they know do not work. Promoters pocket their fees whether their schemes work or not.

“There is also a lack of transparency that makes it very hard to find out who is involved in marketing or using these schemes. HMRC publicises details of schemes that do not work but does not name the promoters or the clients. We have seen how public anger and consumer pressure can influence large companies, such as Starbucks, to behave more responsibly.

HMRC should publically name and shame those who sell or use tax avoidance schemes in order to discourage such activity. With at least £5 billion lost to tax avoidance each year, HMRC has got to get much more robust in its approach.

“The requirement that promoters give early notification to HMRC of new schemes has resulted in the swift closure of some. But the Department does not know how many promoters simply choose to ignore the requirement. We are also alarmed to hear that promoters are getting off paying fines for not disclosing their schemes by pleading that, in the opinion of a QC, they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for non-disclosure. HMRC is right to explore how to make it more difficult for this tactic to work.

“The number of cases HMRC takes to court is tiny compared to the overall caseload. It must make use of the additional resources it has been given to act much more urgently to investigate and close down new schemes and to bring more cases to court.

“Since our hearing, the Government has announced that it is consulting on draft rules designed to allow departments to ban tax-avoiding businesses from being awarded government contracts. This is a welcome move but we will want to monitor closely how any such rules are applied in practice.”

I wonder if the rules on banning tax-avoiding businesses from taking up government contracts will ever see the light of day?

No wonder Osborne can’t pay his debts – he’s chasing hairdressers for tax-dodging!

tax

It is no surprise at all that the UK has lost its triple-A credit rating from make-it-up-as-you-go Moody’s.

The change has been expected since before Christmas, but that doesn’t make it any less significant. Gideon George Osborne spent the first years of this Parliament using it as a stick to beat Labour – that the UK’s credit rating was the best it could be, thanks to his policies, not theirs.

That was a lie, of course. Others who know more about such matters can better explain the reasons but they have more to do with the value of bonds and savings than anything he did to improve the economy.

Like all credit rating agencies, Moody’s is a group of people who meet every so often and decide on particular countries’ scores, based on nothing more concrete than their own personal opinions. They can’t predict the future; they can only react to the present. That’s why they’re dubbed “make-it-up-as-you-go” at the top of this article.

But you can work out what that means, at this moment in time: 0sborne can’t pay his debts.

That’s astonishing. This is the world’s sixth largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. We make staggering amounts of money every year, so the operative question now is: Why the blazes can’t he pay his debts?

The answer lies in another story that broke last week – HM Revenue and Customs’ list of tax dodgers.

This is the list compiled by HMRC in response to public outrage against the tax-dodging schemes of large corporations like Starbucks, Amazon, the water companies mentioned in this blog before Christmas, Vodafone, Arcadia group and so on.

Who do you think this list marks out as public enemy number one?

A hairdresser from Liverpool.

Apparently this person was scalped of £17,000 for deliberate default. Others include a knitwear firm, a wine firm and a pipe fitter.

Meanwhile the amount of cash seeded away in offshore tax havens by the UK’s super-rich is estimated at £21 trillion. That’s 21 TRILLION – more than enough to pay all of our debts and put us back into surplus.

0sborne continues to use the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms – all of whom operate many tax avoidance schemes for clients – to write the law on tax avoidance; and he changed the law to allow large companies great opportunities to avoid paying tax in the UK.

0sborne himself, remember, was identified as having profited from tax avoidance himself, and in fact offered advice on tax avoidance in a TV interview, while David Cameron’s family made a fortune on tax avoidance schemes.

There is only one conclusion to be reached: The Chancellor is using the HMRC list to laugh at us. He’s mocking the poor, who have to pay tax no matter what. He’s not going to level the playing field because that would harm his own profits and those of his friends.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is deliberately harming the UK economy.

The High Street implosion is just beginning

highstreetI had a look at the BBC News website’s business page yesterday. What do you think caught my eye?

UK retail sales fall in December

It seems sales dropped off by 0.1 per cent (seasonally adjusted figure) last month, while the quantity of goods sold rose (rose? shurely shome mishtake, unless prices have magically dropped) by a worse-than-expected 0.3 per cent.

Isn’t December supposed to be the busiest shopping month of the year, with everyone rushing to buy Christmas presents and get the food in? I know the news wasn’t totally awful – sales were still up 0.7 per cent on the same time last year – but it does look like a darkening of the skies before the storm blows in.

Online sales increased, as one should reasonably expect – this is the current trend. But what I found worrying was the drop in sales of both clothing and food. They did “notably badly”, according to the BBC.

I would have thought these were two sales areas that would be relatively internet-proof. With clothing and food (and furniture), people like to see what they’re getting. They want to test it first, to make sure it fits their standards.

My concept of the High Street of the Future would have included clothes shops (or boutiques if you want to be all King’s Road about it), grocery stores (not necessarily supermarkets – how about farm-gate stores or farmers’ markets?), furniture stores, chemists and hairdressers/barbers. With possibly the odd gadget/technology shop for people who don’t trust the postman with fragile items. Also private doctor and dentist surgeries, for those who can afford to pay for them as the future gets worse for the NHS.

The rest will probably go. Blockbuster is closing 160 stores, according to the BBC business site today. That doesn’t surprise me in the least. Bosses should have seen the writing on the wall, when digital delivery became an option, and diversified into it. They didn’t; LoveFilm and the like took over and that was that. People who like holding physical copies of movies in their hands can get them from the glorified mail-order companies like Amazon, if they don’t mind giving their money to tax avoiders.

That’s why HMV lost the battle last week. Now I see that Game wants to buy some HMV stores. Wasn’t Game itself in danger of going out of business last April? I think it was, and I wouldn’t expect a business bought by such a firm to last very long, for that reason alone.

We have already discussed, in a previous article, the demise of Jessop’s.

To cap it all, panellists on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday said a further 140 UK high street shopping chains were facing severe financial difficulty. One hundred and forty!

And that’s just at the moment.

What will happen after the government’s cuts to benefits kick in, ensuring that the poorest in the country, who use the highest proportion of their money as they receive it, have much, much less cash to spend?

Think of the rise in unemployment, as one retail chain after another hits the dirt. The growth in demand for social security (the government calls it “welfare”) benefits; the need to borrow even more money, increase the national debt even further; the increasing number of derelict buildings as our cities’ shops go empty – along with more and more homes, as families fail to keep up rent payments (their benefits won’t cover it) and they get kicked out onto the street; the lights going off across the UK as the Tory-led Coalition, helped by the Liberal Democrats, turns our home towns into ghost towns.

Let’s pause for a moment to remember that the Coalition government inherited an economy that was growing. It wasn’t booming, obviously, but it was going in the right direction. The very first thing this government did was kill that growth, and much of its economic policy since 2010 has been intended to make sure it stays dead.

To shrink the state. To starve the beast.

To end the social security system.

To privatise the NHS.

To increase unemployment.

To keep wages low – and maybe even find opportunities to cut them.

We’ve got two more years with these chumps in charge. That’s plenty of time to ruin the UK beyond repair – or at least so badly that it will take decades to recover.

I think it’s time to put serious effort into making life as difficult as possible for them. we’ve had a few demonstrations in London over the last couple of years – perhaps it’s time to start putting something up every week, even if it has to start with only a couple of people standing outside the Houses of Parliament with banners saying “Coalition Out” and “Resign”.

If they want information from you, in order to put their changes into practice, find a way to slow the process as much as possible – obviously not in situations where there’s a threat to life and limb, but in other administrative ways, why not? Think of it this way: They want to complicate your life – why not return the favour?

In employment law, there is an offence called ‘Constructive Dismissal’. This is when an employer contrives to make a particular employee’s working life so difficult that he or she is effectively forced out the door. There is no such offence relating to the way a nation treats its government.

I’m not an advocate of violence; I’ll take passive resistance every time.

So let’s constructively dismiss the Coalition.

How about it?

Isn’t it time Labour’s plan for jobs and growth was different from the Coalition’s?

hmv“If you’re a student, and you have to pay a fee to go to university… You end up with a debt of 12,500 quid, you marry another student – £12,500, well, 25,000 quid; you then try to get a house because you want to start a family – that’s 40,000 – you start life with a debt of £60,000! I tell you, it would be great, convenient, to a future employer because someone with a debt of 60,000 quid is not going to cause any trouble; otherwise they might lose their job and so on.” Tony Benn, speaking circa 2002.

One has to admire Tony Benn for his powers of prophecy!

Clearly, he was able to look nearly a decade into the future to foretell the coming of a government for whom the imposition of a £9,000-per-year tax on learning – by universities themselves, not the government itself – was a desirable outcome. Right?

Wrong. He was talking about the introduction of those fees by Labour in 1998. The Labour government increased the amount it was possible to charge in tuition top-up fees in 2004, a couple of years after Mr Benn uttered the words I quote above.

Labour was on the slippery slope, even then. The party of the people had lost sight of the effects such policies would have on them. Why? Because the lure of business-oriented advisors was so strong. “Here’s where the money is,” it seems they were saying. “Come with us.”

What a shame they were talking about money for them, rather than the UK as a whole. Mr Benn’s prediction about student debt was – if I may be so tasteless as to say so – bang on the money and now we’ve got a lot of people labouring (sorry!) under serious debt.

It was a mistake.

Look at the credit boom in the early 2000s, when banks and other organisations were throwing money at people willy-nilly (or so it seems today). We know from analyses made after the 2008 crash that little attempt was made to evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness, and hindsight suggests we should not be surprised that so many of them proved to be completely unable to clear those debts, with many borrowing even more in order to meet the interest repayments they had incurred. Eventually, people started to default, and in huge numbers. What did the lenders expect?

That was a mistake – not just by our (and others’) government, but by the major lending institutions of the UK and the western world.

Look at Workfare. Labour wanted to bring it in, despite the results of repeated studies before the 2010 election that showed workfare programmes did not increase the likelihood of finding paid employment and could instead reduce that prospect by limiting the time available for job searches and by failing to provide the skills and experience valued by employers.

Then the 2010 election happened and Labour got the boot. So instead, the Conservative-led Coalition government brought it in. Interesting, that. It’s almost as if the same people had been advising both parties on employment policy, don’t you think?

We all know the effect of Workfare. By going into organisations – including profit-making companies that are perfectly capable of employing staff in their own right – and providing free labour for them, the government not only stops those firms from actually taking on new staff – it depresses wages by ensuring current staff cannot ask for a pay rise; bosses can now simply give them their marching orders and ask for more support from Workfare.

In a nation that desperately needs to increase its tax income, to pay off a rocketing national debt, that has to be a mistake, right?

Well, no.

We can see that it is planned because the effect of the Coalition’s Benefits Uprating Bill will be the same – by ensuring the unemployed must chase every job available – no matter how low-paid – because benefit no longer covers their costs and they run the risk of losing everything they own, the government is also ensuring that people who are already in low-paid jobs live in fear that their contracts will be dropped in favour of employing people who will take less.

So: not a mistake, after all.

Or is it?

The UK economy has taken three major hits over the last week or so. First Honda cut 800 jobs at its factory in Swindon on January 11, blaming a sales slump across Europe. That’s an effect of austerity – people have less money to spend on cars which, apart from houses, are the most expensive investments ordinary working citizens can make.

Then camera retailer Jessops closed its 187 stores with the loss of 1,370 jobs on the same day – apparently blaming the rise in camera phones. That’s another effect of austerity – people won’t buy specialist photographic equipment they don’t think they can afford when they’ve got cameras as part of their mobile phones; lack of disposable income means they must try to make their purchases wisely.

Now HMV has run into trouble, seeking insolvency protection and putting 4,500 jobs at risk. The 91-year-old record store chain couldn’t compete with online firms such as Amazon, it seems. And no wonder – Amazon is cheaper, people can do their shopping at home and, of course, Amazon don’t pay their taxes.

I reckon that’s around 6,670 people whose jobs are either lost or in serious jeopardy, because of austerity policies fuelled by managers’ greed. It is heads of industry who advise the government, and their advice (as I’ve previously stated) has always been to ensure that workers’ pay is low, so their own salary increases can be high – 800 per cent more over the past 30 years. I keep harping on about that because, as figures go, it’s such a whopper that it needs special attention.

But the policy has backfired because these people have failed to account for the fact that it is the working and unemployed poor who spend most of their money on the products their companies sell. With no money to spare, the companies lose revenue and have to make cutbacks. Now even fewer people are economically active and there is even less money to spare.

More companies hit the wall. Without sincere and concentrated effort to halt the process, a cascade effect could kick in, leading to – as I mentioned only a few days ago – economic ruin.

I take no pleasure at all from seeing my own prediction coming to fruition so quickly.

So, returning to Mr Benn’s comments at the top of this piece, what will Labour – Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – do about it?

And the answer is: More of the same.

What are they playing at?

Labour’s ‘Job Guarantee’ will, according to Boycott Workfare, “give billions of taxpayers’ money to subsidise big private businesses – probably the likes of failing and government contract-reliant A4E, and workfare-users ASDA – helping them to drive up their profit margins. It guarantees to further undermine real job vacancies as companies replace job roles with subsidised compulsory short-term placements.

“Labour, like the Coalition government, also now guarantee to undermine the idea of a living wage, which just two months ago Ed Milliband appeared to champion. After all if a company can get staff forced to work for it, both provided by and subsidised by the state at minimum wage, why pay the living wage?”

In spite of all the evidence, it seems Labour wants to make matters worse.

This is no good at all! When it comes to 2015, at this rate, voters won’t see any difference at all between Labour and the Tories.

It’s time for a complete change of plan. Labour needs to jettison all the nonsense it picked up during the New Labour years – along with any Shadow ministers who are still spouting it – and go back to its roots.

Work out a policy that actually supports industry, employment and prosperity, rather than the fatcats who are clearly corrupting all our politicians.

So, what about it, Ed Miliband?

When is that going to happen?

Or don’t you want to win?