Tag Archives: Brown

Gordon Brown is yesterday’s man – but he still has good points to make about the Budget

Gordon Brown: his heart is in the right place but his ideas are rooted in an ideology that doesn’t work.

Does anybody care that, according to Jeremy Hunt’s own projections, by 2026 his government will have made us all much worse-off than we were in 2019?

Gordon Brown does – apparently. But the reaction he received from some people when he wrote about it in The Guardian suggests that they think he’s responsible.

Maybe it’s true that his New Labour governments didn’t make the changes that were necessary after 18 years of Thatcher and Major-style neoliberalism, and paved the way for a further 15 years in which the Tories have been able to destroy what was left of the way of life that had made the United Kingdom worth inhabiting.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

His factual points are all worth taking in because they contribute to a State of the Nation-style snapshot of what the UK is today. And it is horrifying:

271,000 homeless people

400,000 children who sleep without a bed of their own

14 million condemned to damp or substandard housing

7.5m UK households in fuel poverty

Food prices in the shops have risen 18% in a year, with many basic items shooting up by twice as much – baked beans up 35%, ketchup up 39%, tomato soup up 73%

9.7 million adults already skipping or cutting back on meals

Six in 10 adults unable to afford other basic essentials

A record 2.1 million people are using food banks

There are 14.4 million living in poverty, including 4.2 million children, the vast majority of whom are in families where the breadwinner is on low pay

As Brown put it at the top of his piece,

Poverty will last until doomsday if this Conservative government is all that confronts it.

The so-called “budget for growth” [is] more accurately titled the “budget for growth in poverty”

The point of his piece was that cleanliness is the next thing the Tories have rationed, with hygiene poverty leading to the rise of so-called “beauty banks” to run alongside the already-infamous food banks.

He was calling on retailers and manufacturing companies to offer up surplus goods and to consider special production-line runs of unbranded toiletries to ease the crisis.

But this is just – as current Labour leader Keir Starmer would put it – “sticking-plaster politics”. It’s putting a plaster over the wound but not healing it.

Businesses can certainly do much more to ease the crisis that the Conservatives have deliberately created to distract the young and the poor from their strategy to divert public funds into the hands of the old and the rich.

They can provide better pay and conditions, and opportunities for career growth that make it worthwhile. These tactics will reap huge rewards for them as, freed from the stress of poor health due to bad nutrition and harmful work practices, and unburdened by the mental ill-health caused by continually having to find ways to make ends meet, employees’ productivity will soar.

That is the best way out of the hole Hunt has dug for us. Indeed, it is the only way, as his government is absolutely determined not to help.

Source: Jeremy Hunt has left the UK to rot in poverty. So we must take matters into our own hands | Gordon Brown | The Guardian


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Liz Truss didn’t lie about being the first PM from a comprehensive school. She’s just lazy

That’s not a good quality for a prime minister to have!

Thanks should go to Professor Tim Wilson for unearthing the facts that Liz Truss is not the first UK prime minister to come from a comprehensive school background.

Theresa May went to Wheatley Park Comprehensive School (although it had been a grammar school previously), and Gordon Brown attended Kirkaldy High School, also a comprehensive.

Prof Wilson suggests that this should not be held as an example of Truss lying; instead, we should see it as proof that she doesn’t do her research properly and is merely lazy:

Sadly, this could be seen as an example of a classic Tory tactic: the double-bind.

If she succeeds at her job, they’ll say what a great example she is, coming from such a disadvantaged background that she had to go to a comprehensive.

If she fails, they’ll say it was because she went to a comprehensive and the education system needs overhauling to bring in private education providers and end this blight on our children.

It’s what they usually do – right?

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Labour grandee calls for abolition of the House of Lords

Gordon Brown has published a document calling for a wide range of reforms of the way the UK is governed, including better tax-raising powers for devolved governments and abolishing the House of Lords, to be replaced with an elected constitutional guardian.

Watch:

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Former PM says current PM and candidates must set emergency budget – or lose moral high ground

Gordon Brown: his heart is in the right place. Sadly, he is appealing to people who don’t have any heart at all.

Inflation is set to hit 13 per cent in October, with energy bills expected to rise to £3,600 a year – and neither Boris Johnson nor the candidates to replace him are doing a single thing about it.

That’s the reason former prime minister Gordon Brown has intervened to demand an emergency budget to tackle the rocketing cost of living – or condemn millions of blameless people to a freezing winter of “dire poverty”.

He has a point – according to The Observer, more than four million households are likely to spend a quarter of their net incomes on energy.

Mr Brown said:

“The more the Conservative leadership election heats up, the more the remaining candidates have resorted to claiming the moral high ground. Raising debt is ‘immoral’, Rishi Sunak is saying. ‘High taxes are immoral,’ retorts Liz Truss. But there is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty.

“Boris Johnson, Sunak and Truss must this week agree an emergency budget. If they do not, parliament should be recalled to force them to do so.”

The problem is that neither Johnson, Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss could care less.

Johnson is on his way out of mainstream politics, having made a horse’s ass of his premiership.

Sunak and Truss are campaigning to be prime minister – but only among members of the Conservative Party who, historically, don’t have any time for the troubles of the people who make their money for them.

And the Conservative majority in the House of Commons is high enough that none of them need to worry about what happens to the electorate before an election that could happen as late as the end of 2024.

In fact, considering their recent record, it would probably benefit the Tories if a few million more poor people bite the bullet before that poll happens.

If you think they wouldn’t let that happen, where were you during the Covid-19 crisis?

So, given the situation as laid out by Mr Brown, what do you think will happen?

Will Johnson, Sunak and Truss get around the table and put together a package of measures that will save millions from poverty or worse – at some slight cost to the nation (and to certain businesses that are making money hand over fist)?

Or will they carry on their own sweet way, all oblivious to the suffering that they have – let’s face it – caused?

My money’s on the latter.

Source: Gordon Brown: ‘Set emergency budget or risk a winter of dire poverty’

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Radio 4’s Martha Kearney tries to tar Gordon Brown over MPs’ second jobs – and fails

Gordon Brown: this is apparently the only image of him in the Vox Political archive – and is about as clear as Martha Kearney’s perception of him.

Here’s more evidence that the BBC is heavily Tory-influenced – and now we can mark down Martha Kearney as a Tory/Establishment mouthpiece, if we hadn’t already done so.

Former New Labour prime minister Gordon Brown appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (November 10), where he made the following statement:

In response, Ms Kearney tried to catch him out:

Here is the correct interpretation of that incident:

Yes indeed; she was trying to smear an honest man – and (even though he wasn’t a proper socialist) a better prime minister than anybody we’ve had since.

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It’s not the DWP’s envelopes that need changing, but the attitude behind them

Kiss of death: for benefit claimants, letters from the Department for Work and Pensions – no matter what colour the envelope in which they arrive, cause more problems than they solve. It isn’t the packaging of the letters that is the problem, it is the content – and the malice of the people writing it. [Image: www.disabledgo.com]

Can you believe the Department for Work and Pensions is planning to change the colour of its envelopes from brown to white, to encourage disabled people to open its letters?

Officials have apparently discovered the existence of “brown envelope anxiety”, which is a nervous condition triggered in some people whenever they receive an envelope of that colour – denoting a communication from an official source – through the letterbox.

They have wrongly deduced – probably from the name of the condition – that merely changing the colour of the envelope will magic away the anxiety.

How stupid can they be?

As a friend posted on Facebook,

It’s not the envelopes that need changing, DWP and Tory government, it’s your inhumane assessments processes that cause untold harm and distress to many.

I have a total fear of the postie coming to my house; that’s a huge trigger for me, let alone what’s put through the door.

[It’s about] living with never knowing when the review will come up and living with constant financial insecurity and the amount being taken away and leaving you destitute and probably homeless.

To add insult to injury, DWP officials think people with brown envelope anxiety will be more likely to read their white-envelope missives immediately if they print on the front: “IMPORTANT INFORMATION INSIDE. PLEASE OPEN.”

In fact – as they would know if they had asked any experts instead of listening to the tweeting birds inside their empty heads – this is more likely to trigger an anxiety (if not a heart) attack.

Rather than reading the contents of these white envelopes and responding to the Job Centres, it is more likely that overworked doctors will be examining the recipients’ vital signs – if they manage to get to a hospital in time.

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#BringBackBrown: ex-PMs endorsement of Rashford school meals petition sparks support

The secret of great political drama – as with comedy – is timing. And the timing of Gordon Brown’s political intervention is very dramatic for Boris Johnson.

The former Labour prime minister, who was in office between 2007 and 2010, has declared his support for footballer Marcus Rashford’s petition for schools to provide free meals to children whose families are stricken with poverty – possibly because of Tory Covid-19 restrictions.

Johnson has already refused Rashford’s demand. As far as he’s concerned, poor people’s ankle-biters can starve.

Or, if you want a less partisan view, here’s The Independent:

Poorer pupils will not receive free meals during school holidays, No 10 insists – putting Boris Johnson on a fresh collision course with footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United star has launched a fresh campaign to help hungry children, calling for vouchers for October’s half-term break and at Christmas.

The England striker stepped up his campaign by launching a Commons petition, saying: “Whatever your feeling, opinion or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault.”

The petition is also calling for free school meals to be extended to any household which receives benefits – to help a further 1.5million under-16s, during term-time.

But the [prime minister’s] spokesperson said: “We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic, when schools were partially closed during lockdown.

“We are in a different position now. Schools are back open to all pupils and do not regularly provide food to pupils during term-time.

“We believe the best way to support families outside of term times is through universal credit, rather than schools subsidising meals.”

It’s easy to punch holes in this statement – but I don’t have to.

Mr Brown appeared on the BBC’s Breakfast News to say that he has signed Rashford’s petition, and he was delighted to explain his reasons:

Politely and calmly, he absolutely shredded the Tory prime minister’s statement:

It’s clear that Naga Munchetty had been told to end that segment of the interview, giving the government the last word, but Brown wasn’t having any of it. He explained exactly why the statement was nonsense and put the ball back very firmly in Boris Johnson’s court, saying it is for the (current) prime minister to answer this – not a stooge.

Then the most successful UK chancellor of the 21st century (still) levelled his verbal guns on current chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying – effectively – that his economic plans are nonsense. And, again, he was making perfect sense:

The interview has sparked a surge of support for the former chancellor and prime minister, whose calm, reasonable delivery prompted nostalgia for the days when the government was run by reasonable people who understood how a country works, rather than by populist prattlers whose only concern is making a fast buck for themselves:

Perhaps we need more interventions like this – to put Johnson and his hysterics firmly in context.

God knows, we’re not getting it from Starmer the Abstainer.

Source: Boris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals to half-term and Christmas holidays | The Independent

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#DonaldTrump accused of launching US version of #HitlerYouth

It seems the UK’s Johnson government isn’t the only political organisation copying whole chapters from the Nazi playbook.

US President Donald Trump has announced a plan to set up what critics have already dubbed his own version of the Hitler Youth – the scheme that was used to indoctrinate millions of German youngsters into Nazism in the 1930s and 40s.

The plan was announced in a Constitution Day speech at the White House Conference on American History at the National Archives Museum. Here’s CNN:

“We must clear away the web of twisted lies in our schools and classrooms and teach our children the magnificent truth about our country. We want our sons and daughters to know that they are the citizens of the most exceptional nation in the history of the world,” Trump said.

The President also called The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at teaching American students about slavery, “toxic propaganda.”

In an apparent countering of the project’s narrative, Trump announced that he would be establishing a “national commission to promote patriotic education” called the 1776 Commission.

Apparently he said he wanted to counter “the liberal indoctrination” – mark that word – “of America’s youth”. But isn’t “indoctrination” exactly what he’s planning to do to them?

That’s another classic ploy of the Johnson government – doing something questionable but accusing somebody else of the crime.

It didn’t work – as these tweets demonstrate:

It seems Trump wants to create a new generation of stormtroopers for his far-right ideology.

Hitler’s version of that was nicknamed the Brown Shirts.

Perhaps we could call anyone who signs up to this the “Brown Shorts”?

In all seriousness, though, this is a terrifying development.

It shows that the most powerful nation on the planet is on the brink of totalitarianism. Will its citizens choose sanity in the election this November?

Source: Trump rails against the ‘liberal indoctrination of America’s youth’ in latest culture war salvo – CNNPolitics

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