Tag Archives: Britain

After #BorisJohnson complained about lack of cash, he’s had a #trolling from the #ChurchOfEngland

Realisation dawns: as he reads the passage chosen for him at the Battle of Britain commemoration service in Westminster Abbey, Boris Johnson discovers that the Church of England is trolling him.

Whoever chose the reading for Boris Johnson at Sunday’s commemoration of the Battle of Britain is a genius.

The service at Westminster Abbey celebrated the 80th anniversary of the crucial World War II battle:

The UK’s performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson attended and gave a reading – but after he reportedly complained about having trouble making ends meet on his more than £150,000-a-year salary, it seems someone responsible for the order of service decided to have a laugh:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

The church should be giving more of this kind of leadership.

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Why haven’t police arrested Britain First thugs who raided migrant-housing hotel?

Proud of it: the banner seems to set out the Britain First agenda clearly – racism.

Did Theresa May intend our police to be toothless, back when she cut law enforcement numbers by more than 20,000 in 2016 or thereabouts?

Coppers in the UK now seem far more interested in prosecuting parking and speeding offences than in investigating crimes of violence perpetrated against human beings.

How else could one explain the inability of police services across the UK to stop people who are exempt from wearing face masks in shops from being assaulted by their fellow shoppers, who have no right to do so?

And how else could one explain the ability of Britain First “activists” (read: racists) to raid a hotel housing asylum seekers with impunity?

Cheshire Police were called but by the time anybody turned up, the perpetrators of the harassment had long since departed.

The incursion into the privacy and dignity of the people at the hotel has been roundly condemned by right-thinking people – for example:

But it seems clear that people like the Britain First thugs will feel empowered by the fact that they got away with it – and are likely to get away with it if they do it again.

Apparently the Johnson government has offered protection to hotels housing asylum seekers, but can we really believe that?

It is the jingoistic rhetoric of these Tories – and the Tory governments that came before them – that has made these racists feel entitled to stick their faces where they don’t belong.

And look at the recent behaviour of the Home Office, regarding asylum seekers and the people who stand up for them.

It seems likely that Britain First’s “activists” have been doing exactly what the Johnson government wants.

* I’ve put “activists” in quotation marks because it is interesting to note the way the word is being used. The Home Office attacked “activist lawyers” in a hastily-deleted video tweet last week, and now we see the word again here. What are we to conclude from this use of language?

Source: Far-right Britain First activists branded ‘disgusting’ for raiding hotel housing migrants | London Evening Standard

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Is EHRC too busy scrabbling for anti-Semitism in Labour to bother with obvious Tory Islamophobia?

Islamophobia: the creator of this image thought it was bad enough in the Tories under Theresa May. Now, with racist Boris Johnson in charge, who knows how far the rot has gone?

How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?

Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.

It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.

And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.

Does anybody else smell a rat?

According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.

That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?

The allegations include:

  • A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;

  • A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;

  • A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;

  • Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.

The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.

Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,

“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”

The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.

This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.

Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.

Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:

In his article, he wrote:

The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.

Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.

This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.

Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.

One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.

But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:

I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.

Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.

It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.

The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).

But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.

So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.

Source: EHRC Condemned For ‘Failure’ To Act On Tory Islamophobia

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Fraser Nelson’s comedy column about Britain’s well-being makes him a poor Marie Antoinette

Fraser Nelson: Another swivel-eyed loon?

Can you believe this nonsense? Please don’t say “yes”:

You can’t read the article without paying for it, so I haven’t bothered. It’s bad enough that Fraser Nelson has made himself the Tory government’s useful idiot by posting the tweet above.

For balance, let’s have some comments from people who know better than Mr Nelson – who, as editor of The Spectator, should know better himself.

Here‘s Peter Stefanovic: “Is this a joke? 4 Million kids are living in poverty, millions are reliant on food banks, GPs prescribing nutritional drinks to starving patients, homeless dying on our streets, 19 Million Workers now on the edge of poverty & 17 Million people with less then £100 in savings!!!!”

He has produced a short video clip to reinforce his points:

Tom London makes a valid point: “Fraser Nelson is the Louis XVI and Marie Antionette of our times
“All is well with him and everyone he knows
“He chooses statistics which “prove” all is well for the masses too

“He. Has. Not. A. Clue. About. The. Reality. Of. Life. For. Millions. In. UK
“Like most of the MSM & BBC”

Isobel has the ground-level take on Mr Nelson’s claim: “Have you ever read such a load of absolute you are too late for an Honour, hopefully she will be out next time round, don.t stand on one leg will you.”

Tom Pride sums up the way we should all describe Mr Nelson: “Another out-of-touch well-off journalist living in his comfy Westminster bubble telling struggling families how happy they should be feeling.”

But for the most to-the-point comment, let’s look to Helena Bowie, who simply asks: “Who paid you to say that?”

Who indeed?

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Jewish Israeli journalist claims pro-Israel propagandists have ‘taken out a contract’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn being elected

Jeremy Corbyn is supported by significant number of Jews.

One can only agree with Israel-Palestine journalist Jonathan Cook: “Israeli columnist Gideon Levy says what the British corporate media won’t allow: ‘The Jewish establishment in Britain and Israeli propaganda have taken out a contract on [Corbyn], to foil his election’.”

Corbyn is a brave man. He voted in parliament 553 times against his party’s position, and yet he took its leadership by storm… With such a conscience and courage he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere in Israel, apart from Breaking the Silence. In Britain he has a good chance of being elected the next prime minister.

Corbyn has been declared the next enemy of the Jews. Viktor Orban is a righteous among the nations; the American alt-right is the rock of Israel and its savior; Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ leader who called to kill millions “like Hitler,” is a welcome guest in Israel – and Corbyn is the enemy of the people.

The Jewish establishment in Britain and Israeli propaganda have taken out a contract on him, to foil his election: He’s an anti-Semite, Labor is anti-Semitic, Jewish life in Britain is in “existential danger,” no less, as three British Jewish newspapers cried out in a joint editorial.

When an Israeli sniper shoots dead a legless man in a wheelchair, and a nurse – the Jewish people is a partner. Thus Israel’s policy is inflaming anti-Semitism in the world. It may and should be criticized, as Labor does and as Corbyn does, and the gagging, in the form of labeling any criticism as anti-Semitism, is outrageous. It also increases anti-Semitism and the feeling that the Jews are acting like bullies and using their power of emotional blackmail.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn for U.K. prime minister – Opinion – Israel News | Haaretz.com

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Labour MP who made anti-Semitism accusations against Corbyn was funded by Israel lobby

Ruth Smeeth (second from right) meeting Israeli politician Isaac Herzog (third from left) as part of a Labour Friends of Israel delegation [Image: LFI/Twitter].

Ruth Smeeth (second from right) meeting Israeli politician Isaac Herzog (third from left) as part of a Labour Friends of Israel delegation [Image: LFI/Twitter].

For information. As you can see, it seems Labour has more worrying organisations infiltrating the party than Tom Watson’s ‘Trotskyites’:

[A member of] the UK’s Labour Party who played a key role in this year’s manufactured anti-Semitism crisis maintained ties to the Israel lobby once she entered Parliament.

Official records show that Ruth Smeeth was funded by two ultra-wealthy figures from the same pro-Israel organization she once worked for. But these relationships have been overlooked by the British press, which have extensively reported on her allegations of anti-Semitic abuse at the hands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

The register for legislators’ financial interests shows that Smeeth declared a donation of £5,000 ($6,200) from Poju Zabludowicz’s company Tamares Real Estates in June last year. She declared a donation worth £2,500 ($3,100) from Trevor Chinn, former chair of the Kwit-Fit chain of motor garages, at the same time.

Zabludowicz is the billionaire property speculator who was once reported to own 40 percent of downtown Las Vegas. He used his wealth, inherited from his Israeli arms dealer father, to establish BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre.

Chinn, who sits on BICOM’s executive committee, has long been a Labour donor, and has funded leadership rivals to left-wing, pro-Palestinian Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Smeeth was BICOM’s director of public affairs and campaigns between late 2005 and mid 2007.

Before she ran for office in May 2010, she joined the Community Security Trust, an anti-Semitism watchdog charity known to have links to Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Smeeth made headlines in June this year when she walked out of the launch of a report into alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, claiming she had been the victim of bigotry at the event.

The allegations have been exaggerated and weaponized by Corbyn’s political enemies – and in some cases outright fabricated.

In the most high-profile case of fabrication, former BICOM intern Alex Chalmers claimed in February that there was anti-Semitism coming from “a large proportion” of his student Labour club “and the student left in Oxford more generally.”

Source: UK Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was funded by Israel lobby | The Electronic Intifada

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Why wouldn’t Britain arm the Kurds? We’ve armed everybody else in the Middle East!

War profiteer: David Cameron loves selling weaponry to foreign countries. Only a couple of years ago he was flogging Typhoon jet fighters to Iraq's neighbours.

War profiteer: David Cameron loves selling weaponry to foreign countries. Only a couple of years ago he was flogging Typhoon jet fighters to Iraq’s neighbours.

It seems the latest Iraq conflict is all about the money.

According to the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, the UK would “consider favourably” any request for arms from the Kurds in their battle with the extremist militant group Islamic State.

How wonderful for them. Last time anyone asked them, it seemed all these people wanted to do was get out.

They didn’t say they wanted weapons – especially not those supplied at inevitably huge cost by British war profiteers. Maybe the UK is saying no decision will be made on whether to give weapons as gifts or sell them, but consider Britain’s own financial situation. Is this an opportunity to put the Kurds in debt to the British government? If so, how would it be paid? By allowing British industry into their country afterwards, to exploit their people?

That might be better than what IS has to offer, but let’s be honest – last time anyone asked them, it seemed all these people wanted to do was get out.

Mr Hammond has also said, “Iraq now needs to have an inclusive government representing all the people of Iraq so that we can get behind it and push back this terrible threat from IS,” so he doesn’t understand the situation at all.

Iraq was an artificial country from the get-go. Its borders were drawn up by Western world leaders who did not understand the political situation between the indigenous peoples (and didn’t care). It is falling apart now and, for the sake of the future, this is probably just as well. While the threat from IS needs to be remedied, let the borders rearrange themselves in a more sympathetic manner once the dust has settled, otherwise other problems will arise soon.

After all, last time anyone asked them, it seemed all the Kurds wanted to do was get out.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Will you give British sovereignty to a foreign business?

[Image: The Guardian]

[Image: The Guardian]

It is the eve of the European Parliamentary elections. How much do you really know about what your candidates would do – if elected?

Much of the debate so far has focused on personalities rather than policies – but does it really matter that Labour won’t commit to an in-out referendum on our EU membership (which is a UK Parliament issue in any case) if its MEPs do their job properly and defend the interests of the British people in the Brussels assembly?

Does it matter that the Conservatives are promising such a referendum, if they give away your right to a high-quality health service, along with your rights at work, to American companies?

These are the issues that really matter.

A few months ago, Vox Political was running articles on the highly controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States of America. Much of the groundwork has been carried out in secret, hidden from public scrutiny, but the information that has been made available has aroused serious concern that this agreement will weaken existing standards and regulations that protect workers and consumers in the EU.

In particular, the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) would allow any foreign company operating in the UK to make a claim against the government for loss of future profits resulting from any regulatory action by the government, such as new legislation. Such claims would be considered by an unelected, unaccountable tribunal composed of three corporate lawyers whose decisions are likely to favour the corporations and would override national laws.

It is widely believed that the TTIP will be used by our Conservative-led government as a means of locking-in its detrimental changes to the National Health Service.

With this in mind, I wrote to three of the four current Welsh MEPs (the fourth is standing down), asking a few simple questions:

Do you want the health of your constituents to depend on a foreign company’s balance sheet?

Are you in favour of sales or the safety of your constituents?

Do you support attacks on workers’ rights?

Do you support the people who elected you – or are you a puppet of the corporations?

The response from Labour’s Derek Vaughan was characteristically short and to the point: “As you would expect, Labour MEPs oppose the ISDS in certainly anything which would allow the Tories/UKIP to argue for further privatisation of the NHS.

“You may also wish to take this matter up with those who really are the puppets of corporations.”

We’ll come to them shortly. Derek’s answer – though brief, tells you everything you need to know about Labour. They aren’t staying silent (as a recent Liberal Democrat letter asserted) and they aren’t pandering to corporate interests. Labour will defend British institutions against any European ruling or agreement that infringes on them. That’s a promise.

Jill Evans, for Plaid Cymru, had a little more to say: “I share your concerns regarding the TTIP as does the rest of my group in the European Parliament, the Greens/EFA group.

“We are 100 per cent against ISDS as we do not believe that extra-judicial powers should be given to foreign investors. We have been working hard to lobby the Commission to get them to make changes to the TTIP… The TTIP will include a strong focus on … co-operation but the regulatory cultures and social and environmental standards on both sides of the Atlantic are very different; conflicts over GMOs and Hormone Beef are just two examples.

“The TTIP is also controversial from an industrial policy point of view. The two blocs are not complementary, but in fierce competition for global markets and the setting of global industrial standards. Transatlantic cooperation could, however, pave the way for higher global ecological standards and for a faster conversion towards a sustainable green economy. Both the EU and the US need to find new avenues to create social wealth. The task we are set with is trying to find the right balance.”

So Plaid and the Greens are as strongly-opposed to the ISDS as Labour, but acknowledge there are advantages to be had – if this agreement is negotiated by the right representatives. This is why it is so important that you use your vote wisely. A vote for UKIP might seem like a worthwhile protest against the UK’s Conservative government, but what good will it do when the Kippers, who support corporate power, wave through measures to strip you of your rights?

And then we have Kay Swinburne, representing the Conservatives. Her response was the longest of the lot, perhaps suggesting that she knew her party’s stance was harder to justify.

“Transatlantic trade flows (goods and services trade plus earning and payments on investment) averaged $4 billion each day through the first three quarters of 2011. In 2008 EU/US combined economies accounted for nearly 60 per cent of global GDP,” she stated.

“However, for all its value and importance, the EU-US trading relationship still suffers from numerous obstacles, preventing it reaching its full potential to provide growth and jobs. It has been estimated that the deal could bring an extra £10bn to the UK annually, which would give a huge boost to jobs in our economy at a time when we are still suffering with the effects of the economic crisis.”

There is little evidence for this, and even that is poor. The European Commission’s own impact assessment admits that a 0.5 per cent increase in growth would be “optimistic”, and independent research suggests that a meagre 0.01 per cent increase in the growth rate over 10 years is more likely. The North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico led to a net LOSS of almost a million jobs in the US. You have to ask why this MEP is arguing against the facts.

“That is an extra £400 to every UK household and while some reports criticise the economic focus, I would argue that this is exactly the kind of stimulus package we should be focusing on,” she continued. Again, this is inaccurate. Every household will not gain an extra £400 because of business deals carried out between very few, very large, corporations. In fact, much larger amounts of money will go to the kind of people who have too much of it already.

“ISDS is a system that allows investors to initiate proceedings directly against a government should they believe that their property has been expropriated illegally, that is, not in conformance with the laws of that country itself,” she continued, skimming over the possibility that a legal challenge could be mounted against changes in a country’s laws – such as Labour’s planned repeal of the Health and Social Care Act that allowed the creeping privatisation of the NHS, if the Conservatives are defeated in the 2015 UK general election.

“The Conservatives in the European Parliament support the inclusion of an ISDS chapter in the agreement, because even with developed countries it ensures certainty for our investors, including SMEs.”

She does not explain what that certainty may be. Is it the certainty that they can run roughshod over their workers? That their profits will take precedence over our health? What about certainty for our citizens?

“Rest assured that this is not a mechanism that will allow for fundamental laws of the EU, such as the REACH legislation on chemicals or the Tobacco Products Directive, to be overturned by a foreign company.” That does not offer any consolation if the laws of the UK do not remain similarly inviolate.

“The EU and its Member States will and must remain able to adopt and enforce, in accordance with their own and EU laws, measures necessary to pursue legitimate public policy objectives in the fields of social and environmental standards, security, the stability of the financial system, and public health and safety.” This seems encouraging, but is overshadowed by what this Conservative MEP has already stated.

“The European Parliament, as well as the UK Government, will also have to give final approval to the deal.”

This is why we need a sceptical European Parliament, and a critical UK Parliament when the deal comes to Westminster for ratification.

That is the information provided by the Welsh MEPs. Labour and the Green Party will stand up for you, while the Conservative Party and UKIP will stand up for the few.

Put in that way, it isn’t a choice at all.

But is the electorate well-enough informed to make the appropriate decision?

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Why is Labour always offering too little, too late?

Announcement or admission: Labour's announcement, as it appeared on Facebook.

Announcement or admission: Labour’s announcement, as it appeared on Facebook.

A future Labour government would cap rent increases, the party has announced – around a year and a half late.

The Coalition government has chosen to keep Housing Benefit down by making it the first payment to be reduced as part of the benefit cap, and Labour’s announcement should rightly be seen as a response to this.

But the benefit cap was announced in the mists of history, back in 2012 or thereabouts, so why has Labour only just got around to telling us its counter-proposal? The rest of us were screaming it from the rooftops at the time.

Coming so late, it seems less that this policy has been announced, and more that it has been admitted.

Perhaps this is the influence of new election advisor David Axelrod, and maybe it signals the start of regular announcements in the run-up to the general election next year. If so, this would go some way towards saving Ed Miliband’s blushes.

Certainly today we were presented with a 10-step ‘cost of living’ contract, stuffed with promises Labour has made to help beleaguered consumers keep prices down – and these are (mostly) good steps.

First is the popular scheme to freeze gas and electricity bills while the energy market is reformed.

Then there’s Labour’s plan to have 200,000 new homes built every year by 2020, relieving the housing shortage and lowering the cost of a new home.

Next comes the rent cap, plus a pledge to help families that rent plan for the future with new, long-term, predictable tenancies.

There’s the pledge to cut income tax with a 10p starting tax rate. This may be seen as an admission that Labour’s decision to end the original 10p tax rate (even though I seem to recall it was intended to be temporary) was a mistake. But isn’t it better to admit our mistakes, put them right, and move on? The plan to restore the 50p top rate has been lambasted by posh Tories and business executives, who say it won’t achieve anything (they would, wouldn’t they?) but is a good symbolic gesture.

Fifth is a pledge to ban zero-hour contracts altogether. This may seem problematic, as the evidence shows that there are working people who benefit from these contracts’ flexibility. The trouble is that unscrupulous firms were using these contracts to exploit workers who deserved better from them. Labour’s attitude – that these firms will have to manage without them if they won’t use them properly – is a bit ‘nannyish’ but makes a strong point.

Then comes Labour’s pledge to “Make work pay”. Some may criticise the use of words that have been tainted by Conservative spin. The Tories want you to believe that they’ll “make work pay” by cutting out-of-work and in-work benefits, but we all know that this won’t make anybody better-off; quite the opposite. Labour’s idea is to boost the minimum wage and encourage firms that are able, to increase their pay rates to the Living Wage, cutting the benefit bill that way.

Seventh is a little-known plan to cut business rates and make banks lend to small businesses (at least, that’s the only interpretation of “reforming the banks” that makes any sense in this context).

There’s a pledge to give working parents 25 hours’ free childcare (presumably this is per week) for kids aged three and four, and one to tackle abuses of immigrant workers by banning recruitment agencies that only hire people from abroad and pushing Europe for stronger controls. This would present problems for the Conservative-run NHS, as the BBC News has just announced that it is recruiting heavily from Portugal!

Finally we have the weakest promise – the job guarantee for the young unemployed, coupled with more apprenticeships. This has been met with opposition from the very people who were expected to welcome it, as it seems nobody outside the Labour front bench believes it has the remotest chance of success.

Unmentioned is Labour’s plan to change the assessment system for sickness and disability benefit ESA, which earned instant toxicity because it sports only cosmetic differences from the current Conservative scheme that has been fatal for thousands. The plan was announced at around the same time as a Labour inquiry into these benefits called for preventative investment that the party leadership is unwilling to countenance, and a group of mostly-disabled people called Spartacus provided a far more enlightening overview of the problems with the benefit, and the steps needed to remedy them, that clashed with what Labour is saying.

More concerning still is the fact that all of these measures are responses to Coalition policies that have harmed people during the course of this Parliament – or situations that the Tories and Tory Democrats have allowed to continue because they support the overall plan.

Where is the inspiration to transform Britain and return prosperity to everybody, rather than limiting it to people who own smart suits and big houses? When can we expect a hint that this is coming?

Unless you are one of the aforementioned people with smart suits and big houses, the Conservatives sidled into government with a plan to diddle you out of as many of your Parliament-supported rights, privileges and benefits as they could possibly fit into a five-year term in office, all the while telling you it was for your own good.

As you can tell from today’s previous Vox Political article, that has gone astonishingly well for them.

Of course, the Tories didn’t announce this plan, because they knew it would turn the electorate away in their millions – the classic example of this in practice is the way Andrew Lansley was forbidden from mentioning his privatisation plan for the National Health Service, as this would be toxic to the Tory election campaign.

But times have changed. People are suffering. They need Labour to offer something more than a promise to rub ointment on their wounds.

They want to see Labour turn the tables on the Tories. And they want to know how that’s to be achieved.

Saying Labour will “transform Britain” won’t work as we’ve all heard about such miraculous transformations before, and they have always benefited the suit-and-house people.

So come on, Ed.

When can we have it?

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If this is a recovery, why is the patient still on the critical list?

Time ticks on: We are told the recovery is well under way but have yet to enjoy any of its benefits. Why?

Time ticks on: We are told the recovery is well under way but have yet to enjoy any of its benefits. Why?

Official figures say the British economy has grown by 0.8 per cent in the last three months.

The Conservatives are rejoicing over this feeble effort, while saying there’s more to be done; an amazing attempt to travel in two directions at once, that should fool nobody.

It seems the recovery is becoming more balanced, with services, manufacturing and construction all registering expansion.

And it is predicted that the economy will recover to the same level as its pre-recession peak by the middle of this year.

But who, exactly, is this recovery helping?

I’m actually worse-off than this time last year. How is it for you?

My income has not increased appreciably since 2007. Meanwhile the rent has gone up and the costs of energy and groceries have skyrocketed.

The Labour Party has calculated that average earners will be more than £2,000 a year worse-off than they were in 2010, by the time of the general election next year.

What conclusions may we draw from this?

Well, we know that the recession did not harm the richest in society at all. Their profits increased massively, even while the economy was flatlining, because that’s what happens in times of hardship; the poorer, more precarious firms go out of business while the larger ‘fat cats’ mop up the trade those competitors would have had.

If the economy is recovering to its pre-crash level, and average people are worse-off by around eight per cent of their pre-crash earnings (if you say the average wage was around £25K per year), then somebody must have benefited – and the most likely candidates are the same rich businesspeople who were never touched by the recession or austerity in the first place. Also the bankers who caused the mess in the first place.

So we have a situation in which the average earner – who, don’t forget, makes the entire economy work (we spend a higher proportion of our earnings than anyone else – by necessity, and this pushes money through the system and creates economic growth; the very rich hoard their massive wealth, usually in offshore banks) facing increasingly hard times, while the richest enjoy all the benefits.

…and the gap between the earnings of the richest and poorest increases massively…

… all engineered by a government of millionaires who have financial interests in big business and whose political party is backed mainly by bankers.

This has all the hallmarks of a conspiracy.

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