Gary Lineker sparked a row by showing compassion [Image: BBC?].
It’s amazing that, in the UK, in the 21st century, we have to defend a man against members of Parliament and a national periodical… for showing compassion.
Incredibly, Gary Lineker has been attacked by Conservative MPs – and The Sun, which should not be called a newspaper – for tweeting that the treatment of young refugees has been “hideously racist and utterly heartless”.
The Sun responded with a vicious personal attack, calling Lineker a “leftie luvvie” and demanding that he be thrown “out on his ears” from the BBC.
Tory MPs also got in on the act, presumably because they have nothing better to do than attack decency wherever they see it.
To understand their attitude, read this article on freedom of speech (but be warned: some of the language is extreme).
Fortunately for us all, there is an excellent opportunity to tell The Sun – and the others – exactly what you think of them.
The Sun is a sponsor of the National Television Awards, in which Mr Lineker has been nominated in the ‘Presenter’ category.
There is still time to vote for him – in protest against his treatment by The Sun – and, like many other social media sites, This Blog urges you to do so.
Here’s an example of the British Far Right at its worst. Before the Beast blogged the following about him, the name of Joshua Bonehill was already known to Yr Obdt Srvt – he is due in court soon, for creating a website in a friend’s name and using it to claim the other person was a paedophile.
A nasty piece of work indeed – but don’t take this writer’s word for it; here’s the Beast:
Remember Joshua Bonehill? Tom Pride over at Pride’s Purge blogged about him a year or so ago. He’s the Hitler wannabe, who boasted at he had at least 20,000 + followers on Twitter. He was trying to set up his own Far Right party and was appealing for men to join his ‘Leader Guard’. This was to be the new Praetorian guard to march with and protect him as Fuehrer of the new British extreme Right. Mr Pride was alarmed as one of his Twitter followers was a British army colonel.
I thought that Bonehill and his dreams of Nazi Fuehrertum were so bonkers that it had to be a wind-up. Surely someone, who was so obviously trying to be early 21st Century’s Britain’s own Adolf couldn’t possibly be serious?
I was wrong.
Last week was Holocaust memorial week, and the country remembered the liberation of the Nazi Death Camps and the almost unbelievable horror that was perpetuated there. The surviving inmates, some well into their nineties, told their stories.
At the same time this was going, Bonehill was planning a Nazi march against the 20,000 strong Jewish community of Stamford Hill in London.
Think that’s bad? Try this list from the anti-far right site EDL News:
Bonehill attempted to organise a demonstration in Cardiff last year under his National British Resistance Political party. The party consisted of two other people, one with learning difficulties who he scammed for £500. He did not show up, neither did his friends.
His Woolwich Strong t-shirt sales scam saw him allegedly net over £1000. According to our sources, none of the money has been given to the Lee Rigby fund. A grand total of £5 went to Help for Heroes and then rest he put down as administrative costs.
Bonehill’s online popularity seems to stem from spending lots of money buying Facebook likes and Twitter followers from countries such as Pakistan, India and Turkey in order to make himself look more popular. Much of that money went down the pan recently when both Twitter and Facebook kicked him off their networks.
According to locals, Bonehill is allegedly banned from a large supermarket chain nationwide for getting drunk and trying to defecate in the aisle of the cosmetics department, before being forcibly removed by security guards. We cannot corroborate this story ourselves but a number of witnesses have confirmed the story.
Bonehill has a conviction for using his Conservative party membership card to break into a police station and steal uniforms. When caught he assaulted a police officer.
He is allegedly banned from the Mermaid pub in Yeovil after one of the barmaids had him up against the wall by his throat and threw him out for reasons we are unable to disclose. Again, a number of local people have confirmed this.
Drink seems to be a major factor in Bonehill’s life according to most people we spoke to which explains the online bravado exhibited.
He is awaiting sentencing on five charges of harassment and two charges of malicious communications arising from undertaking lengthy and concerted campaigns branding as paedophiles, people who disagreed and outwitted him online (no hard task).
The boss of parcel delivery firm City Link, John Moulton, announced on Christmas day that it has gone into administration. The firm employed 2,727 staff – none of whom knew anything about this until they saw it on the news (if they saw it there).
The image above is a clever response, courtesy of ‘nutfree’, spotted on the social media. The comment alongside it was: “Wonder if the Tory Party will refund the £450, 000 City Link head John Moulton has bunged them over the years to help pay outstanding wages to staff?”
We’re all about the money: David Cameron is in the Middle East, hawking our jet fighters to foreign powers.
It’s a matter of priorities.
On the left hand, we have the Labour Party, campaigning strongly for the so-called “living wage” – an earnings level for British workers that will provide enough for them to look after their families, heat their homes, feed their kids, care for their elderly relatives and plan for the future (as Ed Miliband was set to say at a speech today).
On the right hand, we have Conservative leader (and comedy Prime Minister) David Cameron, off on a junket to the Middle East in a bid to sell Typhoon fighter jets to Arab nations.
… Because that always works well for us, doesn’t it? (/sarcasm)
Conservatives have been selling weapons to foreign countries for decades. We know that 16 British firms were listed as having supplied arms to Iraq (the information is in a 12,000-page dossier the Iraqis kindly supplied to the UN in 2003). It has been alleged that one of the arms dealers involved in those sales was Mark Thatcher, son of the former Conservative Prime Minister. It’s a certainty that these companies were making their sales while the Conservatives were in power during the 1980s and 1990s, and probably benefited from Conservative government trade missions.
Perceptive readers will, at this point, assert that Labour governments have also sold to foreign powers, and this is true. I have been able to find evidence of sales to India and to Israel during Tony Blair’s controversial premiership.
It’s a very murky subject and nobody in British politics can say their hands are clean.
The best I can suggest is that Labour didn’t sell arms to anyone who was likely to use them on British citizens. The Conservatives were indiscriminate (and we know – or at least have good reason to believe – that arms sold to Iraq were indeed used against British soldiers).
Cameron himself has already earned adverse media coverage for selling arms to countries with questionable human rights records – in other words, those that might use those weapons on their own citizens. He has tried to talk these claims down –
– but it is telling that he has made damn sure there will be minimal media coverage of this trip. Downing Street has spent two years trying to restrict media access to the PM’s overseas visits, making him the only G7 leader who is not accompanied abroad by a full press corps. The preferred total is just one broadcaster (presumably, one who has been specially selected by Downing Street and who is, therefore “one of us”).
The deals Cameron hopes to make are said to be worth more than £6 billion to the UK. However, considering this government’s miserable record in tackling tax evasion and avoidance, one wonders how much of that will make it into the Treasury.
Contrast this secrecy with the full-on publicity campaign for the living wage, under way courtesy of Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, here in Blighty. The living wage is £7.45 per hour (outside London; £8.30 within the capital) – only a little more than £1 above the minimum wage, but it could make a big difference to workers across the country.
For every £1 spent in the private sector on getting workers up to the living wage, around 50 pence of that would come back to the government in savings on tax credits and benefits, and in higher tax revenue. In other words, it would help pay off the national deficit and debt.
“The living wage isn’t an idea that came from politicians,” says Mr Miliband in his speech today. “Or from academics in thinktanks.
“It came from working people themselves. People who recognised that they were giving their all for organisations that could afford to pay just a little bit more to give dignity to them, but who weren’t doing so. People who recognised that their firms might be more likely to succeed if they did.
“Our economy is not working for working people but just for a few at the top – a few taking ever-more of a share of the national cake, while other people struggle more and more to make ends meet.
Mr Cameron’s arms junket is living proof of the truth of those words.
Postscript: In his speech, Mr Miliband lists Labour councils that have introduced the living wage. I’m happy to add that Powys County Council, although independently-run, has pledged to research the possibility of introducing the living wage at the earliest opportunity.
When Mr Cameron’s housing benefits cap takes effect, along with the increased council tax bill for those on benefits, how long will it be before working-class Tories find their representatives have forced them out of their homes?
It’s the kind of ignorance that could kill off the Working-Class Tory.
We all knew David Cameron had his head in the clouds (or where the sun doesn’t shine) when he asked what hard-working people were meant to think when they see individual families getting up to £60,000 of housing benefit. I believe the Conservative Party has yet to provide proof of the claim.
The fact is that a huge amount of new housing benefit claimants are in work themselves – so Mr Cameron’s argument was utterly defeated before he had even uttered a word of it.
Today (Monday) the National Housing Federation has stated that a failure to build new houses has led to an 86 per cent rise in working people claiming housing benefit between May 2009-2012, as rents and mortgages have soared.
An extra 10,000 new claims are being made each month.
The solution is simple; I’ve pointed it out in this very blog, many times – cap rents.
Instead, Mr Cameron said he was capping housing benefit, meaning hard-working families will have to tighten their belts and cut back even further on their other outgoings, just to keep a roof over their heads. They might not be able to afford to heat their home as well as last year (I doubt a working family qualifies for the Winter fuel allowance). They might not be able to eat as well as they did last year, as food prices are rocketing. But don’t worry – their landlords will carry on doing just fine, thank you very much!
(Until the family’s earnings can’t be stretched any further and they are forced out and – because the rent is too high for anyone else, the property becomes vacant and derelict. Landlords: Isn’t it wiser to make rents affordable and at least have some regular income from your property?)
In his speech to the Conservative Party conference, Mr Cameron said: “Because of our welfare cap, no family will be getting more in benefits than the average family earns.”
But it seems the average family doesn’t earn enough to stay off benefits! So what, exactly, was Mr Cameron saying, there? That he’s putting the average British family into an ever-decreasing recursive benefit loop?
The worst nonsense was the choice he said we give our young people today: “Choice one: Work hard. Go to college. Get a job. Live at home. Save up for a flat […] Or: Don’t get a job. Sign on. Don’t even need to produce a CV when you do sign on. Get housing benefit. Get a flat. And then don’t ever get a job or you’ll lose a load of housing benefit.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Since people with jobs are on housing benefit, we already know this was a pile of hooey, but we also know that he’s capping that benefit, so people with jobs are going to lose a load of housing benefit as well!
“And we’re going to look at ending automatic access to housing benefit for people under 25 too.” So, if you’re aged under 25, Mr Cameron is pulling the ground out from beneath your feet, before you’ve even got on your feet!
And let’s not forget the threat of the Localism Act, which will add to the council tax bill payable on your home. If you are in a working family that receives housing benefit, you will most likely be in receipt of council tax benefit as well, and this means even more money will have to come from your tight budget, as of next April.
So here’s my question, for anyone who still thinks they’re a working-class Tory: When all these cuts and new taxes have done their worst to you, and you’ve moved back to live with mum and dad (or gran and grandad) simply to have a (rather overcrowded) roof over your head, and the next election rolls around, are you really going to tell me that you think David Cameron’s Conservative Party is your best choice?
One suspects the on-screen caption was more apt than the BBC intended.
David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference may go down in history as the worst drivel ever coughed up over the public by a British national leader.
I was going to write a serious article about it but, on reflection, I have decided to mock and insult him pitilessly, interspersing my disdain with some medicinal doses of cold hard truth – and a few tasty pics from Facebook and Twitter.
Where to begin? Let’s go for the biggest groaner. Yet again with your disabled son, Mr Cameron? “When I used to push my son Ivan around in his wheelchair, I always thought that some people saw the wheelchair not the boy. Today, more people would see the boy and not the wheelchair – and that’s because of what happened here this summer.” He was referring to the Paralympics but what people saw was an overprivileged toff who took disability benefits for his son when he didn’t need them and is now cravenly using the deceased child’s memory to score points, while depriving the sick and disabled of the money they desperately need in order to survive. Did he really think anyone watching that, with an ounce of sense, would not be sickened to the pit of their stomach by his bare-faced, self-satisfied hypocrisy?
It’s the sort of line that forces me to agree with the Tweeter who typed: “I’ve got a great ‘Cameron’s speech’ drinking game. As soon as he starts to speak, drink bleach.”
There was a big lie about the NHS: “We made a big decision to protect the NHS from spending cuts.” In fact, in the current financial year, his government cut NHS spending by something like £25 million, and I believe he is also rationing access to treatment. He recently announced £140 million of new funding – but neglected to trumpet to the rooftops the fact that it’s in LOANS, so any organisation taking it would have to pay it back, presumably with interest.
He said the number of doctors, dentists, and midwives has increased – and this is true. But if you factor in the number of nursing staff that have been cut (there are now fewer than in 2010) then the number of full-time equivalent, professionally qualified staff in the NHS has risen by just a fraction of one per cent since the coalition took office. Hardly a ringing endorsement of his policies, is it?
Cameron: “So be in no doubt: this is the party of the NHS and that’s the way it’s going to stay.”
Twitter: “There isn’t a god or Cameron would’ve been struck down.”
Even the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders was looking askance at this: “Cameron talks about the NHS but can they tell us how many of the Cabinet have private health insurance?!”
Cameron: “Aspiration is the engine of progress… That’s why the mission for this government is to build an aspiration nation.”
Twitter: “‘Aspiration Nation’ sounds like the title of one of Grant Shapps’ motivational courses!”
Cameron: “Line one, rule one of being a Conservative is that it’s not where you’ve come from that counts, it’s where you’re going.”
How many Conservative Prime Ministers came from Eton, then, ‘Call-Me-Dave’?
Cameron: “We don’t preach about one nation but practise class war…”
Twitter: “…says head of government of private-school-educated millionaires making big cuts to public services for the poor.”
Could this possibly be the conference pass that Andrew Mitchell famously hasn’t used this year?
He said we need businesses investing and taking people on. To do that, they need low interest rates so they can afford to take out a loan, and confidence that it’s worth investing.
Big explanation follows, courtesy of Ramesh Patel in the Huffington Post: “The real reason why our borrowing costs have fallen and remained low since 2008 is because the demand for bonds has risen and there is a an expectation that it will remain high because the markets expect the UK economy will remain stagnant.” That’s STAGNANT. Not “on the rise”, as Cam would have us believe.
“Consumers and businesses are not spending. As result, saving levels have risen, which has increased the demand for bonds [loans made for a fixed period of time at a fixed interest rate] and increased their price. There is an inverse relationship between the price of bonds and their yield-return or interest rates. Hence, if a £1,000, 20-year, bond is at an interest rate of 5 per cent, you would receive a return of £50 per annum. Now suppose the demand for bonds rises because more people are saving. Lets assume it rises from £1,000 to £1,500. With the interest rate remaining the same, the return will also remain the same at £50. Hence, the new effective interest rate falls because £50/£1,500 = 3.33 per cent.” So interest rates have dropped because the price of bonds has risen – but that won’t help anyone take out a business loan – and if you don’t believe me (as Dave repeated several times during his oration), just you go out and try it!
He said it was essential to get the deficit down, and the Tories’ deficit reduction plan is “the very foundation” of their growth plan.
This is nonsense. Back to Ramesh Patel: “A government that attempts to reduce its spending during a recession engages in a self-defeating activity. Rather than increasing its income, it increases its deficit and debt. Quite simply, cutting spending results in increased unemployment, which increases its benefit spending. As a consequence, consumption spending is reduced, which results in lower income or GDP. Austerity has never worked.”
Just so. Austerity has never worked. It isn’t like a household reducing its spending to increase the amount of money it holds; the opposite holds true in national economics. Cameron (and his chancellor, GideonGordon George Osborne) knew this before they got anywhere near Downing Street and have been stringing you along for two and a half years.
Do you need more convincing? Here we go – he said “The damage was worse than we thought, and it’s taking longer than we hoped.” It wasn’t. He inherited a growing economy, with falling unemployment. It is his government that dragged the UK back into recession. Borrowing is up by 22 per cent so far, in this year alone, because of his policies. His claim that he has cut the deficit by a quarter in the past two years is nothing more than a lie.
It certainly isn’t why interest rates are at record low levels. Mortgages might be low as a result but how many people really benefit from that? Businesses don’t have the confidence to invest – or the wherewithal, since the banks are stubbornly refusing to pay out, no matter what Cam the Sham’s government does. Sadly, more than 33,000 businesses have gone bust since the 2010 general election.
On employment, he said more than a million new jobs have been created in the private sector. What he FAILS to say is that they are mostly part-time. Those people will be topping up their income with government benefits – creating more government borrowing. And what about the unemployment figures – especially among young people? More than a million are out of work. We’ve got 1.49 million men out of work and 1.1 million women unemployed as well.These are atrocious figures – the worst since, well, the last Conservative government.
His attack on Labour was a child’s argument. He called Labour the party of “one notion” (see what he did there, mocking Ed Miliband’s “One Nation” statesmanship?) – borrowing.
But wait. His government is currently borrowing £802 every second. And I repeat: Government borrowing has increased by 22 per cent since the beginning of this financial year alone.
“We’re here because [Labour] spent too much and borrowed too much.” If Labour’s record was so bad (its borrowing record is in fact better than that of the Tories), why was Osborne promising to match Labour’s spending plans, right up until 2007? I think the only conclusion we can form is that Mr Cameron will say anything if he thinks it will appeal to the masses. Truth or fact have nothing to do with it.
The vacuousness of the argument he picked with Ed Miliband, over tax, defies belief! He took issue with Mr Miliband for saying a tax cut was like the government writing people a cheque, saying “If we cut taxes, we’re not giving them money – we’re taking less of it away”. What’s the difference? They’ve still got more of it than they would have had otherwise! Arguing over semantics is not an election-winning strategy.
This was Cameron’s defence of the cut in the top rate of tax, from 50 per cent to 45 per cent. He said: “It’s their money.” Was he saying the super-rich should not pay any tax at all, because it’s “their money”, not the state’s? In that case, what about the rest of us? Is the money we earn “our money” and should we then, also, be exempt from tax?
If so, then good luck paying off that huge deficit you’re building up, Dave – not to mention the benefits bill you’ve been steadily increasing over the past two and a half years!
I sometimes wonder if he knows anything about the real economy at all.
Oh look! I just unintentionally echoed something Mr Cameron said! About Labour?!? Deluded isn’t the word. If it weren’t for the deadpan, funereal seriousness of his delivery, this could be a comedy skit.
He talked about the threat of wealthy businesspeople moving to other countries, which – guess what, Dave? – they never, ever do.
He said the rich will pay a greater share of tax in every year of this Parliament than in any one of the 13 years under Labour – but has never produced any figures to back up this claim. How are we supposed to believe him?
He went on and on about the need to build more homes but declared no new policy.
On welfare, he referred to individual families in receipt of up to £60,000 in housing benefit. Who are these people and where in the country can they possibly live? Has anyone EVER received that much? I want to see Conservative Central Headquarters produce the evidence RIGHT NOW!
He said it’s an outrage, conveniently ignoring the fact that NOBODY RECEIVING HOUSING BENEFIT ACTUALLY SEES A PENNY OF IT. It obviously goes to the landlords. But his plan to cap housing benefit won’t harm landlords – they’ll just evict the tenants for being unable to pay the rent.
Why not cap RENTS instead? That is the real solution. But then, as somebody mentioned on Twitter, this isn’t about helping people in need – it’s about turning central London into a poor-person-free zone.
Oh yes, and somebody should really make it clear to Mr Cameron that 93 per cent – the overwhelming majority – of new housing benefit claimants are in work. What does this say about the kind of work available in Cameron’s Britain? To me, it says that it doesn’t pay enough for people to survive. He should be asking why the government is effectively subsidising these employers when they should be paying a proper living wage! (A living wage? Isn’t that a… Labour idea?)
On his state-sponsored slavery Work Programme, he said, “Work isn’t slavery; it’s poverty that is slavery.” Firstly, when it’s compulsory, unpaid work, I think Mr Cameron will find it IS slavery. Especially when it’s the kind of work that helps the firm but not the worker, who can be slung back on the dole after a few weeks, and another slave – sorry, worker – pulled out of the line to do the same ‘training’. Secondly, the Child Poverty Action Group tells us that, thanks to Mr Cameron’s policies, child poverty in the UK is set to rise by 800,000 by 2020; this is the biggest increase in generations and Cameron’s comment on that was “it’s us, the modern compassionate Conservative party, who are the real champions of fighting poverty in Britain today.”
There was more – much more – of this tosh but I can’t be bothered any more. You get the idea. If you want to see what someone from Eton has to say about the state education system, go to the Tory website and read it yourself – if you can stomach it. Let’s just say the point at which Cameron started attacking teachers who choose to work in the toughest schools was the moment when one man, whose girlfriend is a teacher, gave up all attempt at calmness and started screaming swearwords in response.
There was no mention of the police at all. We know he’s cutting the force nationally by 15,000, though – let’s face it, the billboard with his face on it made his intentions perfectly clear!
The verdict? One Tweeter typed: “What an absolutely vacuous, empty tokenist deluded speech riddled with lies, mistruths and divisive barrel-scraping spin.”
My favourite is this. It’s short, pithy, and to the point: “One of the worst dictator speeches since 1945.”
But I’ll leave the last word to Ed Miliband, who delivered his critique of Mr Cameron and his party in advance, during last week’s Labour conference:
Shall we play a game? This one’s called join-the-dots. I didn’t really like it when I was younger and I doubt that you will, after you see the picture we’ll be creating.
We’ll start here: The government wants to cut another £10 billion from the welfare budget – that’s the bit of public spending that keeps millions of people off the streets, if only on the breadline. The government could, alternatively, try stimulating the economy to make that money in taxes, but policy seems to be pushing hard the other way, as we’ll see shortly.
So: cuts are coming. How to perform them? Draw a line to where the government announces it wants to break the link between benefits and inflation, and link them to average earnings instead.
George Osborne thinks this is a good idea because inflation hit 5.2 per cent last September, much higher than rises in earnings – remember, the man who won’t do what his initials demand (GO) has kept public sector wages frozen for the last few years and private sector wages are also stagnant. As a result, Gideon has been paying out more than he thinks he should to people who, honestly, deserve a break from his miserly administration.
Now draw a line to the results of the NatCen survey that came out earlier this week, stating that people do not want to see more money being spent on welfare than is being spent already. This is the excuse that Mr Osborne wants to use – he can say there is polling evidence that puts significant numbers in support of an end to so-called benefits uprating. Never mind that only 3,000 people were asked or that none of the main parties ever intended to increase the proportion of government spending that goes on welfare; this is his justification and he’s sticking to it.
I wonder what will happen if wages start to rise faster than inflation? Will the Nasty Party write a new clause into the contract, that benefits should rise along with inflation or wages, depending on which is lower? Officials have already stated that they do not want a huge increase in benefits if wages start to climb sharply, so they are already working on ways to ‘fix’ the linking mechanism. Evil, isn’t it?
Never mind; the current plan uses wages, so now draw a line to this: The government still wants to introduce regional pay settlements for the public sector. The Tories – sorry, the Coalition – believe that national pay settlements inflate public sector wages in certain parts of the country far beyond what their private sector counterparts can manage. They also believe that forcing regional settlements on us will save them a fortune in salaries.
Think what this will achieve: The ghettoisation of much of the UK. With regional pay deals, people will have less money available for things other than necessities, meaning fewer trips to the shops (which have already suffered thanks to the idiotic VAT increase to 20 per cent, which cut a large chunk of growth out of the economy). What happens then? The shops shut and their suppliers go out of business too. More people end up on benefits and looking for work.
You see, this right-wing government does not accept the simple fact that welfare benefits help keep the economy stable. Yes, government spending increases as payments are made, but businesses keep their customers, the economy stays afloat and the country as a whole avoids a terminal spiral of decline.
Cutting welfare, thereby reducing the incomes of society’s poorest, creates fiscal hindrance. As billions of pounds (£10 billion in this case) are taken from the active economy, businesses lose customers and lay off staff.
In a recession, increased welfare spending benefits national income so that each pound is worth £1.60 when it has worked its way through shop tills and paycheques. When welfare is cut, this works in reverse, so cutting £10 billion from benefits will increase the UK’s recession by more than one per cent.
This means a longer recession, a larger deficit and more debt. (The above information courtesy of the False Economy website, which has produced a handy factsheet for you to download, keep, and show to anyone spouting Tory propoganda)
Now draw a line to: The government wants to cut more money from the welfare budget.
Look at what you’ve drawn. A big, fat zero.
This is what the government’s plan will achieve for the people, and economy, of Britain.
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