Tag Archives: austerity

Shock for Tories as they learn austerity affects THEIR voters too

Steve Baker: the pro-austerity, pro-Brexit High Wycombe MP is claiming surprise that his constituents are starving, and trying to blame it on Covid-19 rather than the policies he wholeheartedly supported.

Tories like Steve Baker, whose High Wycombe constituency has been found to be suffering high levels of poverty-induced hunger, are trying to blame it on Covid-19.

This is not true.

And the falsehood should be pointed out to them.

Yes, the claim that “Mother” puts, below, is correct:

But High Wycome – and Buckinghamshire in general – were identified as suffering from these problems eight years ago. That’s long before anyone ever heard of Covid-19:

So it seems that Tom Bradley has the right idea:

It seems some Tories are using the revelation (in fact nothing of the kind, as the information has been available since 2013) to call for the loss of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift” to be rethought.

Doubtless they will want more for their constituencies as well.

But can you see what this means, for austerity-loving economic incompetents like Rishi Sunak?

He’ll say the money will have to come from somewhere else, and will cut vital funding to constituencies that haven’t voted Tory. See if he doesn’t!

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Rishi Sunak is trying to create another Great Depression. Here are his (bad) reasons

Tweedledum and Tweedledumber: Rishi Sunak wants to cut Covid-19-related spending before the pandemic is over. He’ll cause another huge recession – and more deaths – and Boris Johnson will let it happen because he is too stupid, or too greedy, to care about the harm it will do.

This is worrying from Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK.

He reckons Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is either so stupid that he wants to kill off even more of us with Covid-19 for the sake of a few extra coppers in cash…

… or he’s so stupid that he thinks the economy will get a huge boost if he puts it into another disastrous recession – possibly even a depression (which is worse).

All the noises Sunak is making at the moment are about stopping Covid-19-related government spending – indicating that he’s putting the Treasury into “full austerity mode”, as Mr Murphy puts it.

He wasn’t calling for a relaxation of Covid-related travel regulations because he thinks the pandemic is over – it clearly isn’t. But he’s indicating that he thinks he is because he wants to stop spending money on it…

… even though all the money he spent on it was specifically created for that purpose and hasn’t done any harm at all as it has washed through the country.

What a strange man.

Mr Murphy continues:

Sunak wants furlough to end, even though he knows this will significantly increase unemployment.

Sunak wants to cut universal credit even though his own backbenchers are indicating this will result in very real hardship in the UK.

Spending cuts are to be demanded.

He goes on to say that this is about maintaining ‘The Treasury View’ as put forward by Winston Churchill in 1929 – a false argument that there is only a limited amount of money and if the state uses any of it, then investment – and growth – by the private sector cannot take place.

It is a completely false view to take:

Churchill spoke when we were on the gold standard. But now we have a fiat currency, and the only constraint on the money supply is full employment at a living wage, which we are very far from achieving.

What is more, there is not a shred of evidence that there is any shortage of capital available to business right now. All business is absent of is ideas.

And to suggest the state does not add value in this era is an insult.

Churchill was economically incompetent.

His decision to follow ‘The Treasury View’ drove the UK into the Great Depression of the early 1930s.

Now Sunak wants his own great recession, whether working for Johnson or in his own account, given that his ambitions are so obvious.

And it seems clear that Boris Johnson is going to do everything he can to help. Already travel restrictions are being lifted.

Not only will the economy bomb, but Tweedledum and Tweedledumber are literally inviting more Covid-19 variants through the UK’s front door, and thousands upon thousands of us may suffer and die as a result.

Source: The UK cannot afford Sunak: he is a massive threat to our well-being

Three reasons Keir Starmer is a Conservative, not Labour politician

Starmer is showing his true colours.

He has provided three examples of his personal political beliefs, within a single day, that show he is a Conservative and is therefore leading the Labour Party under false pretences.

Firstly, there is his decision to return Labour to the Conservative, neoliberal economic policies of the New Labour era, that lost the party two general elections in 2010 and 2015.

Secondly,

Yes, it’s true.

Finally, his social politics is positively fascist:

The only reason I can see now for people to vote for him or the party he is defiling with his presence is, they think the only choice is between him and the Conservatives. These are the people whose argument is, “What, you think the Tories are better?”

It seems we all have to take a broader perspective.

If Labour is now the same as the Tories, we’ll have to find someone else to support.

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Labour backs away from credible opposition by copying Tories on economics

Annaliese Dodds: do you really think you could trust this woman with the economy?

Keir Starmer’s Labour has announced that its new economic policy is to copy the Conservatives. Why not? Starmer’s copying the Tories in everything else!

Starmer, now well on his way to infamy as the worst leader in the more-than-100-year history of the Labour Party, may have turned the announcement over to his shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, but it has his naive pawprints all over it.

Because it’s yet another example of an inexperienced politician, who doesn’t stand for anything apart from grabbing power for himself, blowing in the wind.

The Financial Times gave the game away.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will signal on Wednesday that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sorry, what? “Hard-left” policies?

Corbyn was never hard-left and the author of the FT piece – Chris Giles, whose criticism of the Tories over the number of people dying due to Covid-19 has been exemplary – should know better. Perhaps he is being led by his ideological nose.

If Corbyn had been hard-left, he would have been demanding the nationalisation of everything and the end of individual property ownership. Hard-left policies require everything to be owned by the state and he never advocated that.

Corbyn’s policies were most similar to those of the Scandinavian countries – and anybody with an eye on international affairs will know that, economically, those nations are much more stable than the UK; their people far more prosperous. The UK would have been better-off under Corbyn’s economic policies.

But Starmer wants to turn his back on them because he is a Conservative at heart.

The trouble is, we already have a Conservative Party in the UK. Returning to the policies that lost Labour two elections (in 2010 and 2015 respectively) will not help a Labour leader who has failed to win a single victory against Boris Johnson’s inept and imbecilic Conservatives.

But that is exactly what Dodd’s is announcing.

In the annual Mais Lecture, she will cloak Labour’s strategy to become the UK’s next government in the latest thinking from international organisations such as the IMF, which recommends waiting until unemployment falls and the recovery is complete before thinking about the sustainability of public finances.

So, it’s back to austerity for Labour. That will be a long wait.

The best way to increase employment is to invest in it – not to leave everything to the market. That is hard-right neoliberalism and Labour should not have anything to do with it. Sadly, Labour members elected a Conservative as their party leader and he is imposing hard-right Conservative policies on them whether they want them or not.

The fact that he lied, lied, and lied again to get himself elected only partially excuses them (as it was clear that he was lying).

Strangely, in her speech, Dodds will distance herself from the economic programme Labour put forward in the run-up to the 2019 general election, that offered spending increases of £83 billion – a modest amount in comparison with the hundreds of billions splurged by Boris Johnson in the last year.

Instead, she will align Labour’s economic policy with that of the Tories, while referring to “responsible” policies no fewer than 23 times. There is nothing “responsible” about Conservative economic policy, or about aligning with them.

There’s an easy test for this. Conservative neoliberalism has been the dominant economic policy in the UK since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected into office.

At that time, a family of four could afford to pay the mortgage on their house together with all household bills including groceries and vehicle running costs, from the wages of just one parent – and still had enough left over for a holiday away from home during the summer.

Is that possible now?

No, it isn’t. Most of us are much worse-off after 41 years of this nonsense – apart from people in positions of extreme power, including MPs like Starmer and Dodds.

So perhaps there is an intention to help in this policy change. Starmer and Dodds are planning to help themselves.

Their predictable lapse into neoliberalism has been greeted with a chorus of derision from everybody who understands what it means:

Who would? The voting public certainly won’t.

Source: Labour signals end of Corbyn era in setting out economic vision | Financial Times

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#DavidCameron says austerity made us better-prepared to tackle #Covid19. Phew, what a loony!

… and now we can add “the victims of Covid-19” because he dismantled the systems that had been in place to handle a pandemic infection of this kind. He has come out from under his rock to try to make you think he did some good. Don’t believe a word of it!

Can somebody please put David Cameron back in his box?

He turned up out of nowhere to criticise Boris Johnson for planning to break international law – something that Cameron himself did on a regular basis – and now he seems to think he can run around pronouncing judgements on all and sundry as if he still matters.

He wants us to think that his austerity policies made us better-prepared to tackle Covid-19, when in fact they crippled the UK’s response.

Worse still, he personally presided over the dismantling of all the contingency plans and teams that had been set up to cope with a pandemic disease of exactly this kind.

According to The Mirror:

Mr Cameron argues that cuts introduced when he came to power in 2010 did “fix the roof when the sun was shining”.

He added: “Covid-19 was the rainy day we had been saving for.

“Our actions meant that the next but one administration was able to offer an unprecedented package of measures to prop up the economy.

“I sat watching Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s press conferences thinking how vital it was that we had taken those difficult decisions when we did”

Experts… have said that budget cutbacks left parts of the Government – including the NHS, under prepared for the crisis.

Mr Cameron also rejected the idea that the UK was unprepared for a pandemic, claiming that as a PM the prospect of a disastrous event like a pandemic “is never far from your mind”.

He added: “I knew a pandemic would come one day, possibly sooner rather than later.

“That’s why I made it a ‘tier one risk’ at the National Security Council.

“We also established a sub-committee to deal with Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies.

“The accusation – which is partly accurate – is that subsequently not enough was done to prepare specifically for what followed.

“But this is what strategists mean when they talk about ‘known unknowns’.

What arrogant nonsense.

In fact, Cameron deliberately dismantled the UK’s capability of handling Covid-19 – as I pointed out back in March:

“The government has devised strategies to deal with such a threat. The problem is, they are all out of date.

“Oldest of them all is the guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic,  last published in 2008. This has never been updated since the Conservatives took over responsibility for it.

“The last strategy written specifically to deal with pandemic flu was published in 2011 – the same year David Cameron’s Conservative-led Coalition government closed the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, which was tasked with tackling this type of crisis.

“It may explain much that the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public, was written in 2012 and is now wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people get their information.

“In October 2016, David Cameron’s now wholly-Conservative government carried out an exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the United Kingdom. Exercise Cygnus showed that such a pandemic would cause the country’s health system to collapse, due to a lack of resources.

“The Chief Medical Officer of the time said that a lack of medical ventilators was a serious problem that should be rectified, but in 2017 this advice was ignored by the Department of Health under Jeremy Hunt – because it would cost too much. The government was committed to austerity policies, remember.”

That is the legacy of Cameron’s austerity.

It seems clear that he has only come back in a vain attempt to whitewash himself after the facts were publicised.

Don’t let him fool you.

Source: Austerity made UK better prepared to tackle Covid-19, David Cameron claims – Mirror Online

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Austerity made UK less-prepared to tackle Covid-19 crisis, health expert says

This isn’t rocket science.

Of course austerity contributed to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic found the UK’s Tory government sitting on its collective thumbs.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, director of University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, said that the lack of financial support given to the health and social care systems during the 2010s is partly to blame for the overwhelming issues now facing the country.

I’ve got an infographic about that. Let’s see…

Sir Michael was particularly sharp about the cuts to social care:

“We’re terribly worried about the health of workers in social care. The reduction in adult social care spending over the last decade was 7 per cent in real terms. But in the most deprived 20 per cent of areas the reduction was 16 per cent. In the least deprived 20 per cent the reduction was 3 per cent.”

And of course the coronavirus has hit the most deprived areas the hardest. You see how this ties together?

“So there’s a clear line between our lack of preparedness in the healthcare system, in the social care system and in community resources more generally – the decline of support for the voluntary sector – a clear line between austerity and our lack of preparedness to cope with this pandemic.”

Sir Michael went on to say that rather than being “the great leveller”, as some have described the coronavirus pandemic, he believed it had instead exposed “underlying health inequalities” and amplified them.

He’s saying that, since they came into office in 2010, the Tories have been using well-known funding inequalities to make deprived areas less able to cope with a crisis like Covid-19.

They may not have had a pandemic in mind (although that’s debatable) but the result is the same:

His comments followed a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that found that people living in the most deprived areas of England have experienced coronavirus mortality rates more than double those living in the least deprived areas.

For those deaths involving Covid-19 that took place between March 1 and April 17, the mortality rate in the most deprived areas was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population.

By contrast, the rate was 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived areas.

So there’s a clear link: more than twice as many people have died in deprived areas than in affluent places – because of Tory austerity policies that hit the poorest much harder than the rich.

Source: Coronavirus latest: Britain’s lack of preparedness for tackling Covid-19 crisis linked to austerity, health expert says | inews

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UN poverty expert condemns UK coronavirus response as ‘utterly hypocritical’

Philip Alston: he warned us all about the Tories before but they were voted back in because people didn’t listen.

How else would you describe the way the UK’s Tory government threw away austerity the instant the well-being of the rich was threatened?

Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, made a good point when he pointed out that the harm caused by austerity policies of the last 10 years cannot be undone – but the policy itself was reversed the instant it seemed likely to harm the rich.

He told The Guardian:

“My thoughts of course hark back to the sense of how utterly hypocritical it is now to abandon ‘austerity’ with such alacrity, after all the harm and misery caused to individuals and the fatal weakening of the community’s capacity to cope and respond over the past 10 years.

“And of course, many of the worst and most damaging aspects of ‘austerity’ cannot and will not be undone. The damage caused to community cohesion and to the social infrastructure are likely to prove permanent.

He said that globally “the most vulnerable have been short-changed or excluded” by official responses to the disease:

“The policies of many states reflect a social Darwinism philosophy that prioritises the economic interests of the wealthiest while doing little for those who are hard at work providing essential services or unable to support themselves.

“Governments have shut down entire countries without making even minimal efforts to ensure people can get by.”

The Tories would undoubtedly argue that they have indeed made efforts to ensure people can get by… but some would argue that those efforts have indeed been minimal.

Across the UK, people who claimed Universal Credit because their income dried up in the lockdown have found their five-week wait for benefit cash has culminated in a cheque for no money at all.

Others have been unable to claim the benefit because they don’t meet the government’s criteria.

And of course Boris Johnson won’t agree to a Universal Basic Income that will help everybody – and will be cheaper to administer than UC. Why? Because he likes to keep people poor and – if possible – push them into debt.

Look at the other coronavirus-related policies and you’ll find that most of them aren’t working – at least, not the way we were led to expect.

And now there’s huge pressure to sway public opinion in favour of lifting the lockdown so we can all go back to work, making profits for the rich again – before their income is harmed as that of the poor has been.

Put it altogether and it seems Mr Alston has a very good point.

Source: UK coronavirus response utterly hypocritical, says UN poverty expert | Politics | The Guardian

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Coronavirus lies: the government’s plan is falling apart – and Johnson only has himself to blame


So much for the big lockdown.

It transpires that, when Boris Johnson told us all to stay in our homes, huge numbers of us were being told by our employers that they couldn’t.

Construction companies are telling their workers to work because they have contracts to honour and Johnson hasn’t said a single word that would release them of their obligations.

A commenter to This Site told me about an electrical goods manufacturer – making non-essential products – that has told employees they must continue working.

That means many will be using public transport, possibly mixing with people who are infected – all for the sake of some shareholder’s profits.

The government is, in fact, saying people should go to work if they can’t work from home – but that’s just causing confusion, apparently.

Oh, incidentally, you know the government promised to pay 80 per cent of people’s wages if they stayed at home?

It turns out that’s only if employers agree to it. If they decide to lay you off instead, there’s nothing Johnson can do about it.

And we’re seeing that many of the problems with the Tory lockdown are due to their own austerity policies of the last 10 years.

So, for example, after depleting constabularies across the country of more than 20,000 beat bobbies, they now expect the 120,000 or so who remain to enforce a curfew on more than 65 million people – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the foreseeable future.

They can’t be everywhere. And we’ve established that the people of the UK are completely incapable of following a simple instruction, so wherever the police aren’t around to make sure we’re all behaving, we probably won’t be. And that’s creating a risk of contagion.

Perhaps Johnson should have given us instructions we could trust from the start.

Today (March 24), Matt Hancock has appealed for a quarter of a million people to volunteer to help out a National Health Service that was failing to cope with everyday demands on it before the coronavirus crisis hit it.

Notice that these will be volunteers – in other words: unpaid. This is now the land of Do-It-Yourself healthcare.

He reckons more than 11,000 former NHS workers have volunteered to go back and help out, which he says is fantastic. I say: Is that all?

Who else does he expect to come forward and what possible reason could unskilled people have for putting themselves in danger?

And has he yet realised that we needed all the immigrant workers who have been discouraged from coming to the UK by the “hostile atmosphere” (of racism) that his party has nurtured, and by Brexit?

We have every right to be disgusted by this.

The Tories have spent a decade stripping the country of the ability to cope with an emergency like Covid-19 and – now that it has arrived – they want us to sort it out for them – for free.

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Thinking of voting Liberal Democrat? Think again – for all our sakes

You may be getting tired of this image, but it adequately describes the Liberal Democrat offer to the electorate.

The Liberal Democrats are apparently enjoying a surge in support in marginal London constituencies – why? In office, they were a disaster for the UK.

Do people really have such short memories that they have forgotten the legacy of the Coalition government? Liberal Democrats helped ruin the UK – especially for young voters such as those who are being targeted by the party now.

As Rhiannon Lucy Coslett points out in The Guardian, the very first thing the Liberal Democrats did in government was renege on their election promises.

Where they had promised to abolish tuition fees, they tripled those fees instead. Current Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson gleefully supported this policy.

The Liberal Democrats also supported the Tory imposition of austerity on people whose income fell below a certain level. Young people most of all.

For further details of Ms Swinson’s “record of shame”, see:

Result: “Now, there are homeless people everywhere, food bank use has skyrocketed, the housing crisis has worsened, the right is now the far right, zero-hours contracts are common, and just over half the country [actually just over half those who voted] has voted to take away its citizens’ ability to live and work in 27 European countries.

“Racism has become normalised. An MP has been murdered, many others threatened and harassed. Disabled people, migrants and black British citizens face a hostile environment.”

These are consequences of Liberal Democrats in government, made possible by people voting for the Liberal Democrats.

Now, the Lib Dems are promising to revoke Article 50 and put a stop to Brexit. They know they will never take enough Parliamentary seats to make this possible.

But they also know that it will take votes away from Labour – online tactical voting tools are advising people to vote Lib Dem in marginals where Labour has the only candidate that could beat the Conservative, according to the 2017 results.

This means that, in many constituencies, a vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a Conservative government.

And we can see that the Lib Dems would support the Tories more than Labour. Jo Swinson loathes Jeremy Corbyn, even though – as Ms Coslett notes – Labour is offering what the Liberal Democrats said they wanted: a second referendum. She adds:

“Her party is not focused on reversing generational injustice; on the contrary, it has enabled it. The Lib Dems – with Swinson as a coalition government minister – were happy to work with the Conservatives to slash benefits, cut social care and play havoc with the health service. Their political conscience only seemed to return when Brexit threatened their world view and their interests. Ideologically, they largely overlap with the vanishing “moderate” wing of the Tories – whose MPs are now defecting to the Lib Dem party.”

The message is clear: If you vote Liberal Democrat, you will get Tory. For young people, that is tantamount to self-harm.

Also: what’s this about new evidence which confirms that the Liberal Democrats sold voter data to the Remain campaign in 2016 for almost £100,000 being withheld from public scrutiny by the Information Commissioner’s Office?

And what’s this about the Liberal Democrats spamming voters with junk mail?

As I write this, the infamous Liberal Democrat policy – of putting bar charts on election literature claiming that their candidate is the only one who can beat the incumbents – is being ridiculed on the BBC’s Politics Live.

It seems they have been printing bar charts showing them as the biggest party in particular constituencies – by omitting the parties that had a higher vote share than them. The example quoted is notable for failing to show the Labour and Brexit Party vote.

So: take the evidence as a whole, rather than just Lib Dem literature, and the accurate picture of the Liberal Democrats is of a party that will promise anything to get into power and then break all those promises without compunction; a party that will lie to the electorate in order to secure votes; a party that will enable the Conservatives to get back into power, even though the majority of its supporters hate the Tories; and a party that will sell all our young people down the river once again – if it gets the opportunity.

You’d have to be crazy to vote Liberal Democrat.

Spread the word.

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Terrible Liberal Democrat policy blunders: they’d impose permanent austerity

Evolve Politics has called this one right, I’d say.

Starting from the terrible position into which the Tories have plunged us – huge and increasing national debt, with profitable public services privatised – it would be impossible for them to provide the investment we need and meet their “budget surplus” rule.

It’s playground economics – and may be worse even than the Tory economic plan revealed by Sajid Javid a few days ago.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed Labour’s plans to invest in public services and promised to put Britain into a state of permanent austerity if they win power in the upcoming General Election on December 12th.

Announcing the party’s economic vision at a speech in Leeds yesterday, the Lib Dem’s Deputy Leader, Ed Davey, hit out at Labour’s promise to pump investment into the NHS and other public services by labelling the plans as “fantasies” which would wreck the country’s finances.

Davey also promised that, if they attained power, the Lib Dems would implement a fiscal rule which would compel them to run a permanent 1% budget surplus at minimum.

Davey’s fiscal rule pledge would mean that, under the Lib Dems, spending on public services would remain permanently lower than the amount brought in through tax reciepts.

The Lib Dems’ plans would effectively prohibit the party from providing any extra investment into public services, such as the NHS or schools, unless the government were able to raise more money through tax rises or spending cuts elsewhere – even if the services were in desperate need of extra funds.

Source: Liberal Democrats pledge to implement PERMANENT AUSTERITY if they get into government | Evolve Politics

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