A Twitter user identifying as “Doogs” wittily suggested Mr Dyson was “taking vac control”.
Another, identifying as “Shop Steward” put our suspicions into words: “The thing is he’s a multimillionaire so he could stay here and still make a profit In fact he could stay here, improve workers pay & conditions, and still make a profit …but greed won’t allow that. No, profit must be maximised at all costs because enough is never enough.”
And the blogger Paul Bernal asked the question that formed the basis for this article’s headline:
I’m not sure how many Brexiters moving their money or businesses out of the UK it takes before the voters realise they were being conned.
George Osborne: During the debate on the Charter for Budget Responsibility, one person on Twitter suggested, “George Osborne would be better off coming to the despatch box & folding a towel into a swan than talking economics.”
The only difference is that, in 2015, a Conservative had suggested it.
Tuesday’s ‘fiscal charter’ debate in the House of Commons was full of these hilarious U-turns.
The one that’ll be in all the news media will be John McDonnell’s decision to reverse a policy he announced two weeks ago and oppose George Osborne’s Charter for Budget Responsibility. It is bitterly unfortunate for him that, trying to be heard over the usual Tory catcalls and childishness, he repeated the word “embarrassing” four or five times. That’s what the right-wing media will quote.
And that’s a shame, because he also put to bed – definitively – Tory claims that Labour was responsible for the financial collapse of 2007/8/9 and the global crisis that came with it. He said (boldings mine): “Over six years, the Conservatives have managed to convince many people that the economic crisis and the deficit were caused by Labour Government spending. It has been one of the most successful exercises in mass public persuasion and the rewriting of history in recent times. Today I am going to correct the record.
“The Conservatives backed every single penny of Labour’s spending until Northern Rock crashed.
“The average level of spending under Labour was less than it was under Mrs Thatcher.
“It was not the teachers, the nurses, the doctors and the police officers whom Labour recruited who caused the economic crisis; it was the recklessness of the bankers speculating in the City, and the failure of successive Governments to ensure effective regulation.
“In opposition, this Chancellor and his colleagues wanted even less regulation of the banking sector that crashed our economy.
“The deficit was not the cause of the economic crisis, but the result of the economic crisis.”
John Redwood tried to claim the Tories had warned about the possibility of collapse but, having read numerous accounts of those times, This Writer finds his comment unconvincing. For the record, he said: “I chaired the economic policy review for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor and there was strong advice that tougher regulation was needed on bank cash and capital. We expressly warned that the banks were over-borrowed and over-geared and that the whole system was very shaky, and I remember the Opposition constantly warning about excess debts in the system.”
An economic policy review does not necessarily equate to Conservative Party policy, but nevertheless his claims will have to be checked. Isn’t it interesting that nobody has mentioned this in seven years since the crash happened?
Mr McDonnell also warned us about the consequences of Tory economic policies. Responding to criticism by former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, he said: “His Budgets balanced, but when they balanced, there were 40,000 homeless families in London. People were dying on waiting lists before they got their operations. Those were the consequences of his economic policies.”
He said if he were Chancellor, he would reverse tax cuts that favour the richest.
He would empower HM Revenue and Customs to chase tax avoiders and end the ridiculous situation that allowed Facebook to pay just £4,500 in its annual tax return – less than many low-income earners.
And he would invest in the UK economy to grow us out of debt.
Let’s have another U-turn – the SNP. According to Stewart Hosie, it now opposes the Charter for Budget Responsibility again. That’s nice, after Nicola Sturgeon’s little speech in support of it on May 26.
In seriousness, Hosie gave a cracking little speech. This Writer’s favourite part was the response to Tory James Cartlidge. Hosie said: “I will happily give way to the hon. Gentleman if he can tell me why he is going to support the economics of the madhouse.
Cartlidge’s reply was: “He talks about punishing the poor, but last week the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of workless households is at the lowest level on record. Does that not show that our strong economy is delivering not only stability, but social justice?”
Not according to Hosie! Without hesitating, he said: “I am absolutely delighted when workless households get one or more people into a job and have the opportunity to better themselves, but what I am not prepared to tolerate is people who work harder than us having £1,300 a year cut from their tax credits, which stops making work pay.”
Also U-turning were the Liberal Democrats, whose Tom Brake told the Commons the party would not support the fiscal charter. This is strange, since the Liberal Democrats helped introduce it, while in coalition with the Conservatives before the general election. Now reduced to just eight MPs, it’s a little late for them to have seen the error of their ways.
But the biggest U-turn was, of course, that of George Osborne and the Conservative Party itself. In 2010, quoting economist Willem Buiter, he said: “Fiscal responsibility acts are instruments of the fiscally irresponsible to con the public.” At the time, 181 of his Conservative Party colleagues agreed with him.
Yesterday, he said: “This budget charter provides the discipline we need along with the flexibility we might require” – and again led his Tory colleagues through the lobby in support of his argument, which was a clear and utter contradiction of their position in 2010.
Making hypocrites of themselves yesterday were:
Amess, Sir David
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Bottomley, Sir Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Burns, Sir Simon
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Sir William
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, David T.C.
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Duncan, Sir Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fox, Dr. Liam
Gale, Sir Roger
Garnier, Sir Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Sir Oliver
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Howarth, Sir Gerald
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Jones, Mr. David
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Leigh, Sir Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Osborne, Mr. George
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pickles, Sir Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Syms, Mr. Robert
Timpson, Mr. Edward
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Watkinson, Dame Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wilson, Mr. Rob
I make that 92 Tories who are quite happy to throw their principles to the wind.
Oh… There was a question of whether a large number of Labour MPs would abstain in a gesture of defiance against the party’s new direction, and there were a very few abstainers – 21, in fact.
They were: Rushanara Ali, Ian Austin, Adrian Bailey, Ben Bradshaw, Ann Coffey, Simon Danczuk, Chris Evans, Frank Field, Mike Gapes, Margaret Hodge, Tristram Hunt, Graham Jones, Helen Jones, Liz Kendall, Chris Leslie, Fiona Mactaggart, Shabana Mahmood, Jamie Reed, Graham Stringer, and Gisela Stuart.
Some of these names were expected, such as those of Liz Kendall, Tristram Hunt, Simon Danczuk – all of who have earned rebukes from This Blog for behaviour unbecoming of a Labour MP. Jamie Reed resigned as a shadow health minister, practically the instant after Jeremy Corbyn was named the new leader of the Labour Party. And Gisela Stuart covered herself in ignominy when she proposed a “grand coalition” of Labour with the Conservatives, prior to the general election. The SNP had a lot of fun with that one.
Clearly these chumps are out to cause trouble and their future behaviour – or misbehaviour – should be watched very closely. They need to be told in no uncertain terms that their future membership of the Labour Party may be jeopardised if they continue to be embarrassments.
What do their grassroots members think of these antics?
As MPs prepare to debate George Osborne’s new ‘Charter for Budget Responsibility’ – a legally-binding document demanding that the government must balance the books by the 2019-20 financial year – let us consider his words on the subject in 2010.
In January that year, while he was still Shadow Chancellor, Osborne tried to block Labour’s Fiscal Responsibility Act.
He said: “Let us remember what one of the economists whom the Prime Minister himself appointed to the Monetary Policy Committee has said about the Bill. Willem Buiter has said: ‘Fiscal responsibility acts are instruments of the fiscally irresponsible to con the public.'”
Really? Why is Calamity George trying to inflict one on us all now, then?
Osborne went on to quote Michael Saunders of Citibank, who he described as one of the City’s leading economists, thus: “The government’s plans for legislation to cut the deficit are not convincing and are probably just camouflage – a sort of ‘fiscal figleaf’ – for the lack of genuine action.”
A ‘fiscal figleaf’, indeed! Would the ‘Towel Folder-in-Chief’ apply that title to his own work?
Let us hope that somebody in Her Majesty’s Opposition is as clued-in as the Vox Political reader who pointed out these words to This Writer – and points out to the Conservative Government that 182 Tory MPs voted against a Fiscal Responsibility Act in 2010, after their current Chancellor described such legislation as a “fiscal figleal” and a “con”.
Did they believe Osborne, Buiter and Saunders were right in 2010?
If so, then surely they must believe he is wrong – and hypocritically wrong – now.
Do Tory voters really want this idiotic mob rampaging through their streets and backyards after an innocent creature, intending to rip it to shreds? Well, they support “welfare reform”, which isn’t far from the same.
Some of us knew the Scottish Nationalists were more full of wind than bagpipes, but now we’re all seeing the evidence of it.
It seems the 56 members of the SNP who managed to con their countryfolk into electing them to the Westminster Parliament are set to betray the rest of the United Kingdom in the worst possible way – or betray their own “principled” position – over fox hunting.
Everyone in the UK should be aware, by now, that the Conservative Government is planning to repeal the Hunting Act 2004, in which hunting foxes with dogs was banned in England and Wales.
Scotland banned hunting in 2002, therefore supporters of the SNP merrily told the rest of us that the Parliamentary SNP would be holding to its “principled” position, and would be abstaining from the vote on whether to repeal the ban.
This directly contradicts statements made by party leader Nicola Sturgeon that the SNP would represent the interests of all of the UK. Here’s what she said: “If the SNP emerges from this election in a position of influence we will exercise that influence responsibly and constructively, and we will always seek to exercise it in the interests of people not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK.”
Not only that, but does anybody remember the stink the SNP (amongst others, including notably the Greens) kicked up when the Labour Party abstained from a vote on a moratorium on fracking (in England, not Scotland) in January (this vote was always doomed to failure; Labour was supporting a move to regulate fracking, that would delay any work until after the election)? Or the stench the SNP created over an abstention on a vote (that was actually totally irrelevant) on the Bedroom Tax? These were used very strongly in the run-up to the general election to create the impression that Labour had betrayed the people of the UK and supported the Conservative Party.
In that case, would an abstention on fox hunting not be a similar betrayal of the people of the UK – and support of the Conservatives – by a party that had made a solemn vow to represent the interests of people “not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK”?
Most people in the UK don’t want the Hunting Act to be scrapped. They don’t want hordes of overprivileged stupids riding roughshod across their property, chasing some poor, innocent little creature that will be ripped to shreds if it is caught. Some of us find that barbaric and abhorrent.
Still, supporters of the SNP made it perfectly clear that they were 100 per cent behind an abstention on the “principled” grounds they had mentioned: That the rest of the UK is a foreign country and it is none of their business; their own ban will not be affected.
Then Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The SNP has not yet taken decision on this. We certainly don’t agree with repealing ban.”
Oh! That puts a new complexion on the matter, doesn’t it?
Now they’re damned either way.
If they abstain, they betray Nicola Sturgeon’s promise that the SNP would use its influence “in the interests of people not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK.”
If they vote, they betray the “principled” position claimed by supporters, that they would not vote on matters that do not affect Scotland.
There is no way out of this dilemma.
Now, can you imagine the torrent of abuse that flowed from SNP supporters on Twitter as this matter was tweeted out on Saturday (May 16)?
Don’t bother; here are some examples received just by this writer.
In this exchange, we see SNP supporters claiming that Scotland is a country completely separate from the UK, implying that SNP MPs voting on fox hunting in England and Wales would be similar to French, German or Luxembourg MPs voting on it (the difference being that those really are separate countries, with no representation in Westminster. The SNP has put MPs there, so it has a duty to vote on legislation there):
Here’s a little more on SNP “principles”, claiming the rest of us don’t understand what they are, along with more about the rUK being a foreign country:
Then there are the person attacks. Here are some milder examples that were aimed at this writer yesterday. Notice that very few have anything to do with the subject at hand:
This one is based on the oft-repeated lie that Labour’s support of the Charter for Budget Responsibility was also support for £30 billion of spending cuts planned by the Conservative Party. There is no mention, in any of the charter’s 20 pages, of any spending cuts at all. The Charter has been available for many months – plenty of time for everyone to read it. Therefore anybody suggesting Labour supported any cuts at all, by supporting the Charter, is a liar – including Oscar Carr.
The SNP is, indeed, to blame for the SNP planning to abstain on the Hunting Act repeal. This Writer isn’t causing problems, though – just bringing them to public attention.
They all know This Writer supports Labour – this was a weak attempt to pour ridicule on that party by association.
This one is absolutely bizarre. One can only posit that this person lost the capacity for rational thought.
Nobody mentioned any “wide spectrum” of SNP supporters; the discussion was focused on those involved in the conversation.
This one seems to think Yr Obdt Srvt tweets for the Labour Party:
Finally, here’s someone who’s a bit confused. Presumably they had read the dialogue and presumed that the Hunting Act under (loose) discussion related only to England, because in a weak bid to attack This Writer, they tweeted:
Yes, Mr Buckley. Welsh MPs will definitely vote on the repeal of the ban on fox hunting in England and Wales.
These are just examples – mild examples – of the personal abuse that comes from SNP supporters when anybody dares to question the actions of their party (apart from the last tweet, which was a mistake, made in a mistaken belief). It was time somebody made this behaviour public.
But will the SNP itself do anything at all to bring its supporters’ behaviour back to acceptable levels of conversation? Or does the SNP revel in it?
After all, what could do more to help the cause of Scottish independence than an impression that Scottish people are insensitive, selfish bullies who’ll do their best to batter opponents into submission by whatever means are available?
[Picture: I Am Incorrigible blog – http://imincorrigible.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/evidence-not-ideology-benefit-tourism-the-problem-only-fruitloops-and-tories-can-see/ – which agrees that benefit tourism is a non issue and distraction from the UK’s real problems.]
The UK is to cut the amount of time EU migrants without realistic job prospects can claim benefits from six to three months, according to David Cameron – who seems desperate to take attention away from Andy Burnham’s speech today on the Coalition’s unwanted privatisation of the National Health Service.
According to the BBC, Cameron said the “magnetic pull” of UK benefits needed addressing to attract people for the right reasons.
But the announcement seems to be deliberately confusing.
It seems this restriction will only apply to people born abroad who have had a job in this country and then lost it. They are the only migrant group currently allowed to claim JSA for six months before the benefit is cut off “unless they [have] very clear job prospects”, as Cameron put it in the BBC article.
EU migrants who were claiming benefits in their own countries must fill in an E303 form in order to receive benefits at the destination country – which are issued at the same rates as in their country of origin for a total of three months only. Failure to find employment in that time means the loss of the benefit or a return to the country of origin.
The BBC article is vague about this; it’s as if Auntie – and Cameron – are trying to hoodwink you (shurely shome mishtake? – Ed) into thinking he is restricting benefits for people who come here looking for work, which is something he cannot do.
Perhaps Cameron is trying to avoid the embarrassment created by his last attempt to claim he was doing something about immigration; he announced five proposals, one of which related to all employers (quadrupling fines for those that do not pay the minimum wage), while the other four were already part of the law of this land.
That little Con was exposed very quickly, on this blog and others.
Note also that he is still trying to say people are coming here from abroad in order to claim our benefits.
That is a lie.
From Vox Political‘s article last year: “UK citizens are a greater drain on the state than immigrants from Europe. Between 1995 and 2011 EEA immigrants paid in 4 per cent more than they took out, whereas native-born Brits only paid in 93 per cent of what they received. Between 2001 and 2011 recent EEA immigrants contributed 34 per cent more than they took out, a net contribution of £22bn.”
Considering the timing of this announcement, it seems likely that Cameron wanted something to take attention away from Andy Burnham’s speech on the Coalition’s dirty little backroom deals to privatise more of the NHS, reported on this blog earlier today.
Is anyone else sick of employers bleating that the minimum wage is hindering their business?
They must think we’re all stupid.
A few of them were on the BBC’s Any Answers on Saturday, saying the minimum wage keeps pay down, and that people can’t afford to go to work – especially if they live in London – because their housing costs are paid by benefits. This is nonsense.
The minimum wage is exactly what it claims to be – a minimum. And if people aren’t getting up to work for it because benefits give them more, we can see that it is not enough.
But let’s take this further: We all know that Landlord Subsidy is being restricted – especially in London, where landlords charge more than in the rest of the country. This means that people on low incomes in rented homes will be unable to pay the bills and will be forced to move somewhere cheaper (if they can find it), as intended by our extreme right-wing government.
Where are all these minimum-wage employers going to find their minimum-wage workers then?
Even that isn’t the limit of it, though. We know from such sources as the summer’s excellent Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 that employers have found ways around the minimum wage.
They have taken people on as self-employed contractors who are paid a flat rate for a day’s work – no matter how long that work takes – and being self-employed, these people pay their own taxes and National Insurance, and get no time off for holidays or if they are ill.
They have taken on workers on part-time contracts, meaning reduced or non-existent holiday and sick pay entitlements – and then boosted up their hours to full-time levels with fake ‘overtime’ offers.
They have employed workers on zero-hours contracts, meaning they can demand an employee’s presence at any time and make them work for as long – or short – a period as required. Again, there are no tax administration obligations, NI, sickness or holiday benefits.
The result is very nice for a government of liars such as the current Westminster administration, because it seems they have managed to increase employment (in fact the last figures showed unemployment is greater than at the end of the Labour administration in 2010, but by such a small amount that it’s not worth mentioning).
Production, on the other hand, has remained flat. If more people are in work, it should have increased.
That is how we know we are looking at a con.
If more people are in work but production hasn’t gone up, we must question the incentive for this increased employment. It has already been mentioned: The lack of holiday and sick pay entitlement, National Insurance and tax admin obligations. The larger the employer, the larger the saving – but this doesn’t mean small firms aren’t feeling the benefit.
The minimum wage worker’s income is topped up by benefits – but the government is cutting these back. Landlord Subsidy in London won’t be enough for people on the kind of contracts described here to stay in their homes, and this means a consequent job loss if they have to move out of the area.
Tax credits are being removed; child benefit restricted. Universal Credit (if it ever works) will operate in real-time, adjusting benefits to ensure that low-paid workers remain in an income trap for as long as their wages remain below a certain level.
Employers reap the benefits. But even they are being conned, because this can’t last forever.
Imagine a Britain without in-work benefits but where the living wage has not been introduced nationwide (this will be a reality in a few years, under a Coalition or Conservative government). Workers on the self-employed, part-time or zero-hours contracts described here will not earn enough to survive.
Private debt will increase exponentially, leading to increased mental illness as the stress of trying to cope takes its toll on the workforce. Physical illness will increase as people cut back on heating in their homes and food in their fridges and larders. Result: malnourishment and disease.
What happens then? It’s hard to say. It may be that employers will take on increasing numbers of cheap foreign workers – but there is already resentment at the influx of immigrants from the European Union and this could lead to civil unrest.
It seems likely that the largest firms will leave these shores. If we compare them to huge parasites – and we can – then the host will have been drained almost dry and it will be time to move on and find another to treat the same way. These are the companies who have reaped huge rewards from tax avoidance, aided by the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms – KPMG, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young – who have been writing – into British law – ways for them to get out of paying their share.
The smaller employers might keep going for a while or collapse; it depends how much their bosses save up for the inevitable crash. Deficit financing of their business will support them for a while but, if they don’t have any ideas, they’ll go under.
All because a few very greedy people just won’t pay a reasonable amount for a hard day’s work.
They get on the media, telling us they can’t afford higher wages. In that case, why are they even in business? If they need a workforce of a certain size, but cannot pay a living wage, then they simply should not bother. All they are doing, in the long run, is contributing to a monumental confidence trick that will cause immense harm to the economy and the nation’s health.
Of course, the UK did not always have in-work benefits. People used to be paid enough to make ends meet. We should be asking why that changed and who benefits. A return to that situation would benefit the country enormously – but it isn’t going to happen on the minimum wage, and it isn’t going to happen on zero-hours contracts.
It’s time to name these firms and ask bosses who employ on these terms why those contracts are necessary and why they feel justified in the damage they are causing.
And while we’re at it, it’s time to ask our MPs why they tolerate it, too.
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