Tag Archives: constituencies

Blatant corruption as Jenrick and fellow Tory Berry allocate millions to each other’s constituencies

Robert Jenrick: he reckons it is ‘perfectly normal’ for ministers to corruptly funnel money from their own department’s funds into their own constituencies.

“Perfectly normal” is it, Robert Jenrick?

If you are utterly corrupt, it might be perfectly normal to allocate millions of pounds from a regeneration fund to your fellow MP’s constituency in return for him giving £25 million to yours. Not if you’re honest!

Jenrick tried to brazen out the Labour Party’s accusation against him when he appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show:

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has dismissed Labour’s call for an investigation into the award of a £25m regeneration grant to his constituency.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show the decision to give the money to Newark, Nottinghamshire, had been taken by fellow minister Jake Berry.

Mr Jenrick said he had himself decided to grant funds to a town in Mr Berry’s constituency under the same scheme.

He called this “perfectly normal” and accused Labour of “distraction”.

The £25m was awarded to Newark under the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund, set up last year to help places that had “not always benefitted from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas”.

Here’s a clip of him doing just that:

Jenrick is the Secretary of State for Housing and Berry is a minister within the same government department.

The public has already passed its own verdict on whether the decisions were corrupt – and both Jenrick and Berry have been found lacking:

There will be no inquiry into this and neither Jenrick nor Berry will face the sack, or even any disciplinary action. Boris Johnson’s government doesn’t believe it is accountable to the public.

They’ll probably divert attention by claiming the controversy is about something different. Jenrick has already tried:

He added: “This is perfectly normal. Ministers don’t get involved in making decisions for their own constituency.

“But neither should their constituencies be victims of the fact that their MP is a minister.”

That is not the issue. Just to spell it out so it is perfecly clear: The issue is that ministers from the Ministry of Housing have colluded to funnel cash from that ministry’s Towns Fund into their own constituencies.

Jenrick’s passion for corruption is already well-established – remember the controversy over his decision to help Richard Desmond avoid paying £50 million to a community where he wanted to build a new development that did not conform to planning rules.

Now we may add Berry to our ever-growing list of corrupt Tories.

Source: Robert Jenrick dismisses call for constituency fund probe – BBC News

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The Conservatives are using Facebook to recruit racists

Can there be any other interpretation of this Tory campaign to build support in constituencies where the Labour MP has only a small majority?

They have been using Facebook’s facility to provide targeted – and therefore under-the-radar – advertising to attract voters in 19 Labour marginals.

And the line they have taken is hatred of foreigners.

We should not be surprised. It comes from the party that gave us racist vans telling people of foreign descent to “go home” in 2013, and followed it up with the Windrush scandal that is still rumbling on, two years after it was revealed.

Now they are stirring up offence at Labour MPs in Bedford, Coventry, Warwick, Newport and elsewhere by highlighting their opposition to the Tories’ Immigration Bill at the start of the month.

But they aren’t doing it honestly. Their campaign doesn’t say, “Your MP opposes our restrictions on care workers.” That would be honest.

Bear this in mind:

A study by the organisation First Draft which fact-checked Conservative targeted Facebook ads at the general election found that 88 per cent of them were misleading or dishonest, compared to none for opposition parties.

No – the Tory campaign says, “Your MP just voted against ending free movement.”

It shows how brainwashed some of the UK’s racists have become. They think ending free movement between nations is a good idea because it stops foreigners from coming to the UK and don’t spare a second’s thought for the fact that it means they can’t easily go abroad, either.

The Tory ads go on to engage interested racists in a data collection exercise that asks them to fill in a survey that even the Independent describes as “spurious”, with questions like, “Do you support strengthening our immigration system?”

The fact is that our immigration system no longer needs strengthening as there is now little reason for anybody to want to come to our used-up and ruined civilisation.

Would you want to come to work in a country where the jobs don’t pay and you’re subjected to racist abuse every day of your life?

Even education is a no-no nowadays, as even the biggest of our universities are finding. Who would want to educate themselves at the same place that produced prime muttonhead Boris Johnson?

But that won’t occur to the racists being targeted by the Tories as – at least in the educated opinion of This Writer – racists are simply not intelligent enough to think about this issues.

So we can see where this is leading.

The Tories will use their ad campaign – costing how much, I wonder? – to build up a database of useful idiots.

Then, when there’s an election, they’ll start sending these allies targeted messages, weighted to cause the maximum resentment of their Labour representatives.

This will be calculated to go viral, with these people mentioning the attack lines to their mates at work, online and even in the pub if it’s fully open by then (but nobody will mention the restriction being due to Tory idiocy).

The intended result is obvious: Labour loses those constituencies at the next election.

And what is Labour doing about it?

Under Keir Starmer, that party has stopped advertising on Facebook altogether – in an attempt at solidarity with Black Lives Matter after the social media platform was accused of failing to do enough to remove hate speech and racism, and after Starmer was caught badmouthing the anti-racist movement.

Good going, Clueless Keir!

On the other hand, the new New Labour leader has launched a social media campaign claiming that the party is “Under New Management” in a betrayal of all the socialist party members to whom he promised to continue the popular policies of Jeremy Corbyn.

He probably expected it to soar but it has sunk like a ton of bricks:

And what are we to conclude?

Simply this:

Labour under Keir Starmer will give constituencies away to the Tories because he is too busy chasing away his core support to fight their lies.

Source: Tories running targeted anti-immigration ad campaign against Labour MPs in marginal seats | The Independent

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‘Red Wall’ communities to be hit harder by coronavirus recession than the South

Pittance: count your coppers if you live in the North of England or the Midlands – the Tories will starve you of cash and favour the South East as they try to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

Everybody in the former ‘Red Wall’ constituencies must be feeling properly humiliated now.

What a bunch of chumps. They voted Tory because they wanted to “Get Brexit Done” and now they find that the only things being “done” are they themselves.

Perhaps they’ll console themselves by thinking that even a Labour government would not have been able to stop Covid-19 ravaging the UK – but that’s only because the Tories, who they helped vote back into government, had failed to make the proper preparations in good time.

Whichever way you look at it, it seems everyone in those constituencies who switched their vote to Tory is about to get their just desserts. Let’s hope they learn their lesson, which is: never ever vote Conservative.

My sympathy goes out to everybody in the North who didn’t vote for the Tories but will suffer just as much as those who did.

Communities in the North will be hit more than twice as hard by the economic impacts of coronavirus than parts of the South, a new report has found.

The recession caused by the crisis, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak this week acknowledged would be “the likes of which we have never seen” will see an average fall of 12 per cent in permanent losses in economic output over the next five years across the so-called Red Wall, the Centre for Progressive Policy found.

It means areas in the North and the Midlands would be hit harder than communities in the South East, which would see average losses of five per cent.

The Red Wall crumbled at the 2019 general election in the face of the Conservatives’ advance, and the party has pledged to “level up” prosperity across the UK.

We can see very clearly that the Tory pledge to “level up” prosperity across the UK was never serious.

Source: ‘Red Wall’ communities to be hit harder by coronavirus recession than the South, report finds | Yorkshire Post

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Good news: plan to gerrymander constituency borders for Tories is scrapped

Boris Johnson’s government has given up a plan to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons.

The Tories have been trying to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 since David Cameron slithered into Downing Street in 2010.

The aim was to change constituency borders in order to deliver Conservative-voting majorities to most UK Parliamentary seats for the foreseeable future.

That plan was hatched when the Conservatives were unable to achieve a majority by themselves; Cameron’s first ministry was a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg (who?).

But now, with the help of the Brexit-related division Cameron created in his second ministry, Boris Johnson has a huge majority of Tory MPs supporting him.

Ironically, he is saying the Brexit-related workload has pushed constituency reorganisation off the agenda.

Notice that the threat is still there – the Tories are still planning to create constituencies with near-equal numbers of voters, and you can bet they’ll rig it so the majority of voters in the majority of constituencies are theirs.

Like the SNP’s David Linden, This Site welcomes the government’s “screeching U-turn”.

And I agree with Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society who said: “The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the Commons, so this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters.”

Source: Plan to cut the number of MPs axed over ‘Brexit workload’ – BBC News

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More than half Tory candidates in NE England live hundreds of miles from their constituencies

Aren’t candidates in general elections supposed to live in – or at least near the constituencies they want to represent?

According to Pride’s Purge, many of the Conservative candidates in North East England live hundreds of miles away, in the south.

They are strangers who have no idea of the issues facing people in the North East – placeholders put there to do Boris Johnson’s bidding instead. So why would anybody vote for them?

The article states:

“The Tories … are probably hoping no-one has noticed that more than half of their candidates – 13 to be exact – live hundreds of miles away from the constituencies they’re hoping to win and represent:

Newcastle Central
– Tory candidate Emily Victoria Payne lives 275 miles away in Westminster
Newcastle East
– Tory candidate Robin Gwynn lives 294 miles away in Surrey
Newcastle North
– Tory candidate Mark Guy Lehain lives 230 miles away in Bedford
North Tyneside
– Tory candidate Dean Spencer Carroll lives 232 miles away in Shrewsbury
South Shields
– Tory candidate Oni Boghene Oviri lives 310 miles away in Croydon
Blaydon
– Tory candidate Adrian Norman Spencer Pepper lives 278 miles away in Westminster
Gateshead
– Tory candidate Jane Emma Macbean lives 266 miles away in Chesham
Easington
– Tory candidate Clare Ambrosino lives 278 miles away in Hammersmith
North Durham
– Tory candidate Ed Parson lives 285 miles away in Sevenoaks
North West Durham
– Tory candidate Richard John Holden lives 100 miles away in Clitheroe
Houghton and Sunderland South
– Tory candidate Christopher John Charles Howarth lives 274 miles away in Kensington
Sunderland Central
– Tory candidate Tom D’Silva lives 298 miles away in Kingston
Washington and Sunderland West
– Tory candidate Valerie Margaret Allen lives 162 miles away in Warrington

“Probably not all that surprising that a posh, southern-England based party like the Tories finds it impossible to persuade real north-easterners to represent them.”

And if real north-easterners don’t want to represent the Tories, then real north-easterners don’t want to vote for them. Right?

Source: More than half Tory candidates in North East live 100s miles away from constituencies | Pride’s Purge

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Tacky Tories send ‘begging letter’ alongside postal votes in marginal constituencies

 

True to type: Postal voters have complained that they have received a ‘begging letter’ from Boris Johnson, full of false or disputed claims.

Postal voters in marginal constituencies have been infuriated after they received a “begging letter” from the Conservatives with their ballot packs.

It is illegal to send out such material in postal ballot packs – they must only contain a ballot paper, postal voting statement and instructions.

It would seem to This Writer that the Tories have simply struck lucky in the timing of their appeal to postal voters, as political parties often time the delivery of their leaflets to arrive concurrently.

But it is disturbing that this phenomenon – a letter from Boris Johnson – seems to have been restricted to voters in marginal constituencies.

The letter itself is riddled with claims that have either been proved inaccurate or have been called into question.

It promises better hospitals – but the Tory funding promise only provides for repairs to six hospitals, not the building of 40 new hospitals as Mr Johnson has claimed.

It promises an extra 20,000 police officers – but with natural wastage (retirements and resignations) these will not even cover the losses of the 21,000 police that the Tories have removed.

It promises to increase funding for schools to £5,000 per secondary pupil and £4,000 per primary pupil – but in fact only 18 constituencies will receive this, 13 of which were held by Tories before the general election. Most will suffer a loss.

So people would be more justified in complaining that the begging letter they have received from the Tories is full of falsehoods.

Source: Fury as postal votes arrive with Tory ‘begging letter’ signed by Boris Johnson – Mirror Online

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Nigel Farage admits he was offered a peerage 48 hours before Brexit U-turn

Nigel Farage: You know the saying – everything before the ‘but’ is meaningless.

This is revealing:

Nigel Farage claimed he was offered a peerage 48 hours before blinking first in his Brexit stand off with Boris Johnson.

The Brexit Party chief was forced to scrap plans to stand candidates in hundreds of seats amid mounting warnings he risked scuppering EU withdrawal.

He claimed he was offered a peerage on Friday night – just two days before his screeching U-turn boosted the Prime Minister.

Mr Farage says it had no effect on his decision:

But he denied the Christmas bauble was behind his decision – and vowed to snub the offer.

But is he protesting too much?

Source: General election: Nigel Farage admits he was offered a peerage 48 hours before Brexit U-turn – Mirror Online

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These stupid Tories thought we wouldn’t know they’ve fiddled the Universal Credit rollout to help their electoral chances

David Gauke [Image: Daily Mirror].

Another Tory lie: They told us they wouldn’t pause the rollout of Universal Credit until it was fixed but in fact they have – in their own constituencies.

It seems the rest of the country can suffer, but people living in areas that voted for Theresa May, David Gauke and Iain Duncan Smith are to be cushioned from the worst effects of the Tory persecution of the poor.

This is attempted election-rigging, of course.

By giving preferential treatment to people in their own constituencies, Theresa May, David Gauke, Iain Duncan Smith and others are hoping to improve their chances in future elections.

There should be a law against it.

What they’re actually doing, though, is showing the whole of the UK that Tories look after their own and throw everybody else to the dogs; primarily Labour-voting areas next-door to the Tory constituencies have to put up with “unreformed” Universal Credit and the longer wait for payment.

And they thought they’d get away with it.

It seems Theresa May is so stupid, she doesn’t understand that we check every announcement, every change, her government makes – because we know they try to fiddle the system to their own advantage, hiding their dodges from the public by simply not mentioning them.

We catch them every time.

The Tories are secretly pausing­ the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit in Theresa May’s constituency.

They are also delaying the benefits shake-up in the constituencies of a string of top Tories, including that of Work and Pensions Secretary­ David Gauke , under fire First Secretary of State Damian Green and UC’s architect Iain Duncan Smith .

The announcement was slipped out the day after Chancellor­ Philip Hammond refused to pause the programme in the rest of the country.

The document titled “Universal Credit Transition Rollout Schedule” was published on the DWP website the day after the budget, replacing a previous version.

It lists the point at which UC will be rolled out in each JobCentre.

However, an analysis of the new timetable, comparing it to the previous rollout schedule, showed that Maidenhead, Ashford, Hemel Hempstead, Walthamstow and Redbridge Job Centres Plus will all now delay the roll out by three months.

These cover the bulk of the constituencies of Maidenhead, Ashford, South West Hertfordshire and Chingford and Woodford Green.

The move means that all three Work and Pensions Secretaries who designed and implemented the Universal Credit across much of the country will all see it delayed for their own seats – until the reduced waiting time and other reforms are in place.

Only South Oxhey, a small, working class and generally Labour-voting area of David Gauke’s constituency will continue to have Universal Credit imposed on time.

The other Job Centre Plus in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which serves Labour seats rather than Iain Duncan Smith’s seat, will implement UC earlier.

Last week the Government caved in to pressure to cut the waiting time for first payments from six to five weeks.

But it will be too late for struggling families at Christmas as the change will not come in until February.

Source: Calamitous roll out of Universal Credit is being secretly delayed in Theresa May’s backyard – Mirror Online


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Lobbying Bill rethink – another Tory ‘bait-and-switch’?

Listening on lobbying: Andrew Lansley proved exactly how trustworthy he is with the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Now he stands ready to hear concerns over the Lobbying and Transparency Bill.

Listening on lobbying: Andrew Lansley proved exactly how trustworthy he is with the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Now he stands ready to hear concerns over the Lobbying and Transparency Bill.

It seems we have all been victims of a Parliamentary stitch-up.

Everyone who was getting hot under the collar last week, because the Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill seemed to be attacking the fair and proper work of charities and other organisations, probably breathed a sigh of relief when the government announced it would scrap plans to change the way campaign spending is defined.

The Bill would have restricted any charitable campaigning which “enhances the standing of parties or candidates”, in the full year before an election, to £390,000. That’s a 70 per cent cut – plus it would now include staff costs.

The BBC reported that Andrew Lansley has tabled a series of amendments, including one reverting to the wording set out in existing legislation, defining controlled expenditure as any “which can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure electoral success”.

What the BBC does not say, but is clarified in the government press release, is that “the Bill will still bring down the national spending limit for third parties, introduce constituency spending limits and extend the definition of controlled expenditure to cover more than just election material, to include rallies, transport and press conferences“.

In other words, this is a very minor change. Spending is still restricted during election years (and almost every year is an election year); the work of trade unions will be savaged – in a country that already has the most savage anti-union laws in Europe; and all organisations will still have to watch what they say about anything which might be considered an election issue.

Want to campaign to protect the NHS, introduce fair taxation, fight poverty, improve public health or education, reform the financial sector or civil liberties, or fight the privatisation agenda? Then your budget will be scrutinised and you may not go over. And don’t forget there will be limits on spending within constituencies.

This still means that smaller organisations will enjoy greater influence than larger ones and – perhaps most telling of all – it does not clarify the position with regard to the corporate media. Will the mainstream press be curtailed? Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp UK and the Daily Mail Group spend far more than £390,000 every day, and on material that absolutely is “intended to promote or procure electoral success” – for the Conservative Party. Does anybody seriously believe the Tories will enforce action against their supporters?

One tangential element that this does clarify is the BBC’s political stance. Its story makes no mention of the more-than-100 other amendments that have been proposed for the Bill – possibly because they were put forward by MPs who aren’t in the government. Nor does it mention any of the technicalities that water down yesterday’s announcement. Instead, the BBC presents it as a victory for charities, who are getting everything they want. They aren’t.

It’s another Tory ‘bait-and-switch’ trick.

Doubly so, in fact, because this little circus has diverted attention away from the other aspects of the Bill – its clampdown on trade unions and the fact that it does almost nothing to address lobbying, which was supposed to be its reason for existing in the first place!

Joint co-operation between various trade unions will be made more difficult – to such an extent that the Trade Union Congress will effectively be banned in election years (meaning almost every year).

All unions with more than 10,000 members will have to submit an annual ‘Membership Audit Certificate’ to the Certification Officer in addition to the annual return which they already make. The Certification Officer will have the power to require production of ‘relevant’ documents, including membership records and even private correspondence. What is the rationale for these draconian provisions when not a single complaint has been made to the Certification Officer about these matters?

Is the real motive behind this section of the bill to help employers mount injunction proceedings when union members have voted for industrial action, by seizing on minor if not minuscule flaws which the Court of Appeal would previously have considered ‘de minimis’ or ‘accidental’? Isn’t this about inserting yet further minute technical or bureaucratic obstacles or hurdles in the path of trade unions carrying out their perfectly proper and legitimate activities?

And what about the potentional for ‘blacklisting’? If union membership records are to be made publicly available, as seems the case, then it will be possible for businesses to single out job applicants who are union members and refuse them work.

And then we come to the matter of lobbying itself.

This Bill still does not do what it is supposed to do. A register of consultant lobbyists is not adequate to the task and would not have prevented any of the major lobbying scandals in which David Cameron has been embroiled.

Practically all forms of lobbying, including direct donations to political parties by corporate and private interests, will remain totally unaffected by the legislation and corporations could sidestep it easily, simply by bringing their lobbying operations “in house”.

No less than 80 per cent of lobbying activity will not be covered by the bill – and it must be amended to cover this percentage. The only lobbyists that will be affected are registered lobbying agencies, who will presumably suffer large losses as their clients leave. Perhaps the real aim of this part of the bill is to stop lobbying from organisations that don’t have enough money to make it worth the government’s while?

How does this bill prevent wealthy individuals and corporations from buying political influence through party political donations – direct donations to MPs who then coincidentally vote in ways beneficial to their donors – or directly to political parties, such as David Cameron’s “The Leaders Group”?

How will it stop paid lobbyists like David Cameron’s election adviser Lynton Crosby from having influential roles in politics?

How will it stop people with significant lobbying interests, like George Osborne’s father-in-law David Howell, being appointed as advisers and ministers in areas where they have blatant conflicts of interests with their lobbying activities?

How will it increase transparency when it comes to which organisations have been lobbying which politicians on particular issues?

It won’t.

Nor will it stop lobbyists targeting ministers’ political advisers (SPADs), as was witnessed in the Jeremy Hunt Sky TV affair.

Or prevent corporate interests being invited to actually write government legislation on their behalf – for example the ‘big four’ accountancy firms, who run many tax avoidance schemes, actually write UK law on tax avoidance.

An adequate register would cover all of the above, including details of all non-Parliamentary representatives seeking to influence members of the government, how much they paid for the privilege, and what they expected to get for their money.

Then we will have transparency.

Britain’s worst idlers – the MPs who wrote Britannia Unchained

I have been saddened to learn of two events that will take place in the near future: The death of The Dandy, and the publication of Britannia Unchained.

The first needs little introduction to British readers; it’s the UK’s longest-running children’s humour comic, which will cease publication (in print form) towards the end of this year, on its 75th anniversary. The second appears to be an odious political tract scribbled by a cabal of ambitious right-wing Tory MPs, desperate to make a name for themselves by tarring British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”.

The connection? Even at the end of its life, there is better and more useful information in The Dandy than there will be in Britannia Unchained.

The book’s authors, Priti Patel, Elizabeth Truss, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore, and Kwasi Kwarteng, all members of the Free Enterprise Group of Tory MPs, argue that British workers are “among the worst idlers in the world”, that the UK “rewards laziness” and “too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work”.

They say the UK needs to reward a culture of “graft, risk and effort” and “stop bailing out the reckless, avoiding all risk and rewarding laziness”.

Strong words – undermined completely by the authors’ own record of attendance at their place of work.

Chris Skidmore’s Parliamentary attendance record is just 88.1 per cent – and he’s the most diligent of the five. Kwasi Kwarteng weighs in at 87.6 per cent; Elizabeth Truss at 85.3 per cent; and Priti Patel at 81.8 per cent. Dominic Raab is the laziest of the lot, with Parliamentary attendance of just 79.1 per cent.

To put that in perspective, if I took more than a week’s sick leave per year from my last workplace, I would have been hauled up before the boss and serious questions asked about my future at the company. That’s a 97.9 per cent minimum requirement. Who are these slackers to tell me, or anyone else who does real work, that we are lazy?

Some have already suggested that these evil-minded hypocrites are just taking cheap shots at others, to make themselves look good for promotion in an autumn reshuffle. Maybe this is true, although David Cameron would be very unwise to do anything but distance himself from them and their dangerous ideas.

I think this is an attempt to deflect attention away from the way the Tory-led government has mismanaged the economy, and from its murderous treatment of the sick and disabled. As one commentator put it: “They get a token Asian, a token African, a token Jew, mix in the middle class/grammar school rubbish propaganda, and suddenly they are just ordinary people? No they are not; they are stooges for the ruling elite.”

Britain doesn’t reward laziness among its working class. What it rewards is failure by managers, directors of industry, financiers. These people continually increase their salaries and other remuneration while their share prices fall, their dividend payments are lacklustre and shareholder value is destroyed. What have they given shareholders over the past 10 years? How many industrial or commercial leaders have walked off with millions, leaving behind companies that were struggling, if not collapsing? Does the criticism in Britannia Unchained apply to senior executives and bankers?

Our MPs are as much to blame as big business. They vote themselves generous pay, pensions and extended vacations (five months per year). They never start work before 11am, never work weekends (or most Fridays, when they are supposed to be in their constituencies, if I recall correctly). They enjoy fringe benefits including subsidised bars, restaurants and gyms. They take part-time directorships in large companies which take up time they should be using to serve the public. Only a few years ago we discovered that large numbers of them were cheating on their expense claims. They take more than £32,000 in “Resettlement Grant” if we kick them out after one term – which, in my opinion, means all five authors of Britannia Unchained should be applying for it in 2015.

These are the people who most strongly represent the ‘something-for-nothing’ sense of entitlement the book decries.

Have any of them ever worked in a factory or carried out manual labour? I’ll answer that for you: With the exception of Elizabeth Truss, who did a few years as a management accountant at Shell/Cable and Wireless, none of them have ever done anything that could be called real work.

In fact, the people they accuse work very long hours – especially the self-employed. When I ran my own news website, I was busy for 12-14 hours a day (much to the distress of my girlfriend). Employees also work long hours, get less annual leave, earn less and pay more – in prices for consumer goods, taxes and hidden taxes – than most of Europe. Average monthly pay rates have now dropped so low that they are failing to cover workers’ costs, leading to borrowing and debt.

Are British workers really among the laziest in the world? Accurate information is hard to find but it seems likely we’re around 24th on the world league table. On a planet with more than 200 sovereign nations (204 attended the London Olympics), that’s not too shabby at all.

Interestingly, the European workers clocking on for the fewest hours are German. Those lazy Teutons! How dare they work so little and still have the powerhouse economy of the continent?

If so many are reluctant to get up in the morning, why are the morning commuter trains standing room only? Or have the Britannia Unchained crowd never used this form of travel?

It seems to me that Britannia Unchained is just another attempt by the Tory right to make us work harder for less pay. The Coalition is currently cutting the public sector and benefits to the bone, while failing to introduce policies that create useful employment, and trying to boost private sector jobs. The private sector has cut wages and pensions. The result is higher unemployment and benefits that cannot sustain living costs, creating a working-age population desperate for any kind of employment at all (even at the too-low wages already discussed).

And let’s remember that Conservatives want to remove employment laws to make it easier to dismiss employees. In other words, they want a workforce that will toil for a pittance, under threat of swift dismissal and the loss of what little they have.

Why do they think this will improve the UK’s performance?

We already work longer hours and have less protective legislation than in Europe (such as the European Time Directive). But we are less productive in terms of GDP than their French and German counterparts, who work fewer hours and are protected by the likes of the ETD.

France is more unionised than we are, yet its production per employee is higher.

The problem is poor management and bad leadership. Poor productivity is almost always due to poor investment and poor training. Workers are abused when they should be treated as an investment. They lose motivation and when managers get their decisions wrong, they blame the workers.

Working class people are sick of grafting for low pay and in poor working conditions, to be exploited by the types of people represented by the authors of Britannia Unchained.

Is it any wonder we feel de-motivated?

I started this article by linking The Dandy to Britannia Unchained, noting that one was coming to the end of its life in print while the other was about to be published for the first time. I’ll end by pointing out a quality they have in common.

The Dandy is closing because it represents ideas that are now tired and out-of-date. Britannia Unchained should never see publication – for the same reason.