Tag Archives: discount

Labour will discount leader election votes AFTER they’ve been cast – won’t that encourage vote-RIGGING?

The right-wing Labour leadership has put itself in a proper dilemma, thanks to the candidacy – and popularity – of Jeremy Corbyn.

Look at the denial of comedian Mark Steel’s application to become a Labour supporter – and vote for Corbyn – because he does not “support Labour values” – this is a man who wrote newspaper articles in favour of Labour, doorstepped members of the public to encourage them to vote Labour, and actually voted Labour himself.

It seems that, because he admitted he’d vote for the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas if he was in her Brighton Pavilion constituency, he’s out. That’s a comment in favour of a person, not a party.

Is his endorsement of Ms Lucas then really the reason he got the boot? Or is it because he supports Mr Corbyn now?

That is the question that will be worrying many dedicated Labour supporters who have signed up in good faith, in order to do the same.

Now, the Labour leadership has said it will remove “infiltrators'” votes, even after they have been cast. The Daily Mirror reports:

The party will carry on vetting people right up until the September 10 voting deadline to stop ‘stooges’ and ‘entryists’ taking over the race.

Insiders say that means they will tell independent vote-counters to strip out individual ballots if they suspect foul play – for example if a Tory stooge mocks Labour by posting their paper on Twitter.

This plan is wide-open to abuse. What’s to stop right-wingers, neoliberals, Blairites (or whatever else you want to call them) from looking at votes, thinking, “These people voted for Corbyn – they’re disqualified”, and finding a reason for the decision later?

Conversely, there is nothing to stop Corbyn-supporting voters from making that accusation right now. The decision brings the election into disrepute.

The decision has been attacked by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group – which partly owns the company running the election – as it said Labour should delay sending out ballot papers for a few days.

This would have been a better choice – and it counts against Labour’s leaders that they did not support it.

The current system of weeding out members of other parties is working perfectly well. This Writer took part in the process, here in Mid Wales, and managed to identify Conservatives and Greens who were trying to skew the process.

I also recognised the names of many genuine Labour supporters who will certainly vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Their applications have been accepted and their votes will be counted.

By the time the count takes place, though, will the entire process have been discredited beyond redemption?

I am seriously considering writing a letter to Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNichol, about this issue. Perhaps other Labour members, of long-standing in the party, may wish to do the same.

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Today’s Tories don’t know people want MORE social housing, not less

[Image: Cornwall Council (of all places!)]

[Image: Cornwall Council (of all places!)]

The Tories seem to be suffering from cognitive dissonance – an attempt to believe two opposing ideas at once.

Not only have they forced people to pay an unwarranted and crippling ‘bedroom tax’ for living in social housing with more bedrooms than they have decided – arbitrarily – are necessary (and let’s not forget that these were the only homes available for most tenants, due to the appalling shortage of social housing created by Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ policy)…

Not only that, but they are planning to make the situation worse for social housing tenants in the future, by extending ‘right to buy’ into housing association properties!

Let’s make something perfectly clear: Housing association properties are not government assets. They belong to private companies whose commercial well-being depends on rental income.

Many housing associations – if not all – have been hit hard by the Bedroom Tax, which makes it more difficult for tenants to meet their rent-paying obligations.

This means that the proposed sale of housing association properties – at discounts of between £77,000 and £102,000 would cripple those organisations’ ability to replace the stock they would lose.

This is a policy designed to deny cheaply-rentable housing to people who need it in the future. It is also designed to boost the more expensive private rental market; according to Tax Research UK, half of all former council properties sold by right-to-buy tenants are now in that sector.

It would also lead to a rise in house prices, as people taking advantage of the offer move to sell their homes on, at a profit. This will make housing less accessible to the poor, and the buildings more available to private landlords, who can then charge higher rents – possibly to the very people who just sold the properties.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party Manifesto, launched yesterday (Monday), includes a whole section on “Building new homes”.  On page 46, it refers to “getting the public sector building again. We will build more affordable homes by prioritising capital investment for housing and by reforming the council house financing system.”

Does this mean Labour will be encouraging the building of more council houses again?

That would be terrific.

Especially for the hundreds of thousands who have been pushed towards poverty by the Bedroom Tax.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tax the rich? Hardship payments for benefit claimants? Sorry Nick – we believed you once before

Nick Clegg: He must have had his forked tongue in his cheek when he wrote the Liberal Democrats' latest list of pledges.

Nick Clegg: He must have had his forked tongue in his cheek when he wrote the Liberal Democrats’ latest list of pledges.

The Liberal Democrats have launched a desperate attempt to win back voters, packing their General Election manifesto with meaningless pledges.

Why are they meaningless? Because the Liberal Democrats, under the same leader (Nick Clegg), made pledges to us before the 2010 election – having already hammered out an agreement with the Conservatives that meant they would not be able to honour those commitments.

There is evidence that teams representing the Tories and Liberal Democrats negotiated what would be in a coalition agreement on March 16, 2010 – and abolishing student tuition fees, a principle Liberal Democrat pledge, was not part of it.

In this light, how can we believe Liberal Democrat plans to push for higher capital gains tax, bringing it more closely in line with income tax? How can we believe they would change tax relief for entrepreneurs, so it does not provide a tax loophole for the super-rich – or even the modest plan to cut tax relief on pensions from £1.4 million to £1 million? And how can we believe they will restrict access to “non-dom” tax status for foreigners living in Britain who do not pay tax on their earnings abroad?

The BBC has an even more hard-to-believe report that the Liberal Democrats will cut the Winter Fuel Allowance and free TV licences for better-off pensioners, in order to pay for a 66 per cent discount on bus travel (in England only) for young people aged 16-21.

This is doubly insulting to our intelligence. Firstly, a concession on bus fares is no consolation for the tripling of student tuition fees in which the Liberal Democrats participated after promising to abolish them instead – and don’t they know that means-testing benefits to discover who deserves them is not a simple matter? It is complex and costly – as Alex Little told us only a few days ago.

This comment of his is particularly apt: “Old Tories are often popping up to say they don’t need their £250 winter fuel allowance. It may be true that they don’t need it, but their motives for mentioning it are so these things will be means tested, the budget will be slashed and then they think they can ask for lower taxes, or more ‘contributory benefits‘ (code for benefits not available to the ‘undeserving’ who’ll need to rely on charity).”

The Liberal Democrats are being more than a little disingenuous with that promise, then.

And does anybody really think the plan to decriminalise possession of restricted drugs for personal use will ever happen? The Liberal Democrats know their performance in the Coalition means they won’t win any elections soon and are hoping to be part of another hung-Parliament alliance. This means they would be sharing public office with one of the other parties who, they state, have “blighted” UK drugs policy with “kneejerk prejudice and the wish to appear tough”. This is another pledge they can make safely, knowing it is never likely to happen.

You’ll notice, also, that the Liberal Democrats say next to nothing about the National Health Service – that foundation stone of British fair play and decency that they allowed the Conservatives to sell off to private companies (in which many of them are shareholders) in order to make a profit from the suffering of the sick.

They will increase its budget in line with inflation so the private companies leeching off of it won’t lose profit. How caring of them.

To cap it all off, Clegg repeated what has become the Liberal Democrat mantra ever since he first used it in December 2012: “Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling people to get on in life.”

It’s the ‘party message script’, you see. Back in 2012, he added: “We will stay the course on the deficit. We will cut income tax bills and help with childcare bills. We will invest in boosting jobs and we’ll reform welfare to get people into work.”

Considering his party’s record on those matters, there is certainly no reason to buy any of what he’s peddling today.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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