Tag Archives: Europe

Here’s the shocking reason your Tory government is more guilty of attacking press freedom than Extinction Rebellion

Dictator: despotic governments attack press freedom – and they do it quietly, while claiming to be doing the exact opposite. That’s exactly what your Boris Johnson-led government has done – and why this image is appropriate.

So much for Boris Johnson’s (and Priti Patel’s) comments about the Extinction Rebellion blockade for Rupert Murdoch’s print works being an attack on the ‘free press’.

On the day before they were making these attacks, the Council of Europe – that the UK founded – issued a formal warning that the Conservative government is a threat to the freedom of the press:

The Council of Europe issued the Level 2 “media freedom alert” after Ministry of Defence press officers refused to deal with Declassified UK, a website focusing on foreign and defence policy stories.

The new alert, issued by the organisation on Friday, was classified by the watchdog as an “act having a chilling effect on media freedom” and put under the “state” category – because the British state was the source of the threat.

It seems the only reason the government was refusing to comment to Declassified is that the Tories were retaliating against previous reporting that was critical of the government’s use of its armed forces.

Writing to urge the government into a rethink, the International Press Institute stated:

“It goes without saying that the exclusion of a media publication by a government ministry due to its investigative reporting would undermine press freedom and set a worrying precedent for other journalists whose job it is to report in the public interest on the British military. Criticism should be no reason to discriminate against a media publication.

“In contrast, tough journalism by outlets such as Declassified UK on matters such as the UK’s foreign and military affairs, uncomfortable though it often may be for those in power, is crucial for a transparent and functioning democracy.”

So your Tory government had deliberately and silently sabotaged the workings of “transparent and functioning democracy” by restricting press freedom on the day before it accused XR of the same thing with a public and popular demonstration.

Source: Council of Europe issues media freedom alert over UK government blacklisting of investigative journalists | The Independent | Independent

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Why can’t the Tories admit they made UK a Covid-19 deathtrap for the sake of a bit of cash?

Simple Simon: your life is in the hands of people like bubble-brained housing minister Clarke.

Conservative self-justifications for stupid behaviour get increasingly more ridiculous by the day.

Tory housing minister Simon Clarke has admitted that the UK has a “unique vulnerability” to Covid-19 infection because it is a “global travel hub”.

And this is true: it is believed there was no single “patient zero” who brought the virus into the UK.

Instead, as many as 1,300 separate individuals carried it here with them, according to major research by an organisation calling itself the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium (Cog-UK).

Those initial cases came mostly from European countries; the pandemic may have started in China but the UK wasn’t infected by people travelling from its point of origin.

What’s unbelievable is Mr Clarke’s next claim: he denied that this showed strict quarantine rules should have been applied in March (This Writer would have suggested earlier than that) to prevent the infection getting in.

Bear in mind that Covid boffin Neil Ferguson has said that locking down the country just one week earlier would have halved the UK’s death toll. Quarantining visitors to the UK should have been part of that.

But Mr Clarke said the decision to allow travellers into the UK without any check on whether they were carrying Covid-19 for nearly three months after lockdown started was “proportionate in terms of trying to maximise savings of lives and the economy”.

We can disregard the claim about “savings of lives” – it simply isn’t true; the UK has the highest death rate, in proportion to the size of its population, in the entire world. That is due to Tory recklessness.

So what’s the real justification for the Tories’ reckless decision to allow Covid-19 into the UK, ending tens of thousands of innocent lives?

It’s the other “saving” that Mr Clarke mentions: “the economy”.

Yes, the Tories decided it was worth risking all our lives, just to make a few more farthings for themselves and their filthy business friends.

It’s also the reason they are easing lockdown restrictions long – long – before it is safe to do so, according to the standards they themselves put in place.

They see other countries, that enacted all the precautions they didn’t, recovering and starting to resume trading with the world and fear that they will lose more filthy lucre if they don’t do the same.

Your life is worthless to them if you aren’t putting money in their offshore bank accounts. Remember: Tories consider you to be nothing more than livestock.

That is why they are eager to risk a massive second wave of infection, with even more deaths, just to be able to say that they are trading with the world again.

Mark my words.

Boris Johnson is eager to infect you for the sake of some favourable publicity and a bit of cash for his party’s donors.

Source: Coronavirus: Minister says UK has world’s second-highest death toll because ‘we are a global travel hub’ | The Independent

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His policies gave the UK the worst death toll in Europe but Hancock wants critics to modify THEIR tone

Matt Hancock: there’s a problem with his tone.

If anybody needs to modify their tone, it is Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

He was challenged in the House of Commons to acknowledge that the government’s lack of testing for the coronavirus had led to unnecessary deaths – and he responded by saying the questioner should modify their tone.

That was a big mistake – because the person asking the question was Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, who has been working as a doctor in an Accident & Emergency unit, treating coronavirus patients, while Hancock has been sitting in Downing Street with his thumb up his posterior, making up test results by any means he could.

Here’s the exchange:

Dr Allin-Khan later said she would “not watch my tone when dozens of NHS and care staff are dying unnecessarily,” according to Sky News.

And she’s right, by the way – the UK government’s testing strategy has been non-existent.

We’ve heard all sorts of targets, ranging from 250,000 a day to just 10,000 and back up to 100,000. None of them were reached by the Tory government when they were supposed to be.

Last week, Hancock lied to the nation, claiming that he had managed to reach his personal target of 100,000 tests a day by April 30. He had not. His figures included tests that had been mailed out but not used.

And these included multiple tests sent to individual homes with no return address, that subsequently had to be destroyed.

The daily testing total since April 30 has fallen back below 100,000 and you will have noticed that Hancock’s answer in the video clip referred only to a “capacity” of 108,000 tests per day.

That’s less than the number he claimed were carried out on April 30. This wretch just contradicted his own lie!

Worst of all – and underlying this argument – is the fact that the UK’s coronavirus death toll is now the worst in Europe:

The government’s tally of fatalities across the UK reached 29,427 for those who tested positive for coronavirus, exceeding the 29,029 recorded in Italy – until now Europe’s worst-hit country. Italy’s total does not include suspected cases.

Newly released data from the Office for National Statistics showed that 29,648 deaths were registered in England and Wales with Covid-19 mentioned on the death certificate by 2 May. With the addition of the official death figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland, this was calculated to take the UK’s toll to 32,313.

The true figure is likely to be significantly higher due to missed cases and a lag in reporting.

I wonder what the totals look like when differences in population – numbers and composition – are taken into account?

I reckon that would make the UK look much, much worse.

And the liar Matt Hancock wants an NHS doctor to modify her tone.

He has managed to be both unaccountably arrogant and irresponsibly pathetic at the same time.

Source: Calls for inquiry as UK reports highest Covid-19 death toll in Europe | World news | The Guardian

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The ultimate insult: Tory privatisation means European state-owned rail firms profit – not you

[Image: TSSA Union.]

We’ve established that the citizens of the UK – whether we use trains or not – are subsidising rail companies by nearly £4 billion a year.

We’ve also established that £3.5 billion of that money is used as profit by the railway operating companies.

Now you have proof that most of the £3.5 billion goes to German, Dutch and French nationalised railway services. It makes their services better while we are given trash.

This is the ultimate result of Conservative privatisations. They LOVE it!

Tories don’t care where your money goes, as long as you don’t have it, or anything like decent services or a decent standard of living.

That’s why they intend to continue privatising your assets and services, until foreign nationalised industries control everything (apart from, maybe, the courts and defence, if you believe David Cameron).

If you think about it, the Tories are making sure that Germany won the Second World War after all – 70 years after the event.*

Even if you can’t accept that, ask yourself whose side the Tories are really on.

It will never be yours.

Here’s the TSSA video that hammers the point home:

British taxpayers are paying for nationalised rail services in Europe, and the French, Dutch and German people would like to say thank you.

And it’s nothing to do with us still being in the EU.

As ticket prices skyrocket again today, a new video points out the absurdity at the heart of Britain’s privatised railways.

Huge chunks of Britain’s rail operating companies are now owned by the French, Dutch and German governments.

A chunk of the profits made from hiking fares in the UK are paid in dividends to state-owned companies such as Keolis, Arriva and Abellio.

Source: British taxpayers are subsidising European train fares and it’s nothing to do with the EU

*This is not to suggest that the Nazis could ever be said to have won World War II. If you want to find anything corresponding with Nazism in Germany or the UK, your best bet is – again – the Tory government.

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A Conservative victory: Now our suffering begins in earnest

150508NHSgone

If you thought you had it bad under the Coalition then, as someone once said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

The Conservative victory in last night’s election has left many of us reeling – not just because of its disastrous implications for the future of the UK and its citizens, but because nobody saw it coming.

Some have blamed ‘shy’ Tory voters. These are selfish little liars who skew the polls by denying any intention to vote for the Nasty Party. In the case of yesterday’s vote, many will have done so against their own best interests.

So why did they do it? The most likely reason being touted overnight is the success of the Conservative Party’s big scare tactic: The lie that Labour would go into a coalition with the Scottish National Party in the event of a hung Parliament. Cameron made vague claims that this would hit everybody in the wallet and Middle England – already burdened by a £4,000 per year loss of earnings thanks to Tory austerity – turned into a tribe of ‘shy’ Tories.

With the polls duly skewed, there was no way for Ed Miliband and Labour to know that their strategy wasn’t going to work for them, so they carried on. Britain fell into the Tory trap and now David Cameron has a slim majority.

And we are all in deep, deep trouble.

For supporters of the SNP, the disappointment must be the most bitter. Still, they supported a party with the most contradictory message of all – vote SNP in Scotland because Labour is bad, so that the SNP can go into coalition with Labour MPs from everywhere else because Labour is good.

It seems likely the most straightforward reason they voted SNP is because they had been whipped into a frenzy of righteous indignance about the independence referendum, believing the SNP propaganda that Labour was “in cahoots” with the Conservative Party – not just over the referendum but on general policy as well; ‘Red Tories’ was the SNP brand on Labour.

(Of course, others responded by labelling the SNP ‘Tartan Tories’. It is ironic that all this bickering resulted in the real Tories seizing power.)

So Scottish voters believed an SNP lie about Labour, and the knock-on effect was that English (and some Welsh) voters were convinced by a Conservative lie about Labour and the SNP. This created a domino effect which eventually meant that every single Scottish seat could have gone to the SNP, and the UK would still have ended up with a Tory government.

Is Nicola Sturgeon proud of herself? She seems to be. One is led to wonder how her party will respond to Tory legislation, when Parliament resumes.

Interestingly, Jon Craig (of Sky News) tweeted: “Tory at East Renfrewshire count: ‘Nicola Sturgeon has won more votes for the Conservatives in England than she has for the SNP in Scotland.'”

If anything, the election has demonstrated that Conservative/Coalition policy has created an atmosphere of division in the UK, greater than at any time in our history. Nationalism is on the rise, with Scotland keen to secede from the union and the UK as a whole heading for a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union.

The SNP result should also signal the death-knell of the First Past The Post voting system in this country – although its demise is likely to be protracted (the Tories will fight tooth and nail to keep it). Where’s the fairness in a system that can deliver 56 seats to the SNP with 1.5 million votes, and only one seat to UKIP, with nearly four million votes?

(This Writer supports neither party, as previous articles on this blog make all-too-clear. Facts are facts.)

It will also be interesting to see what impact – if any – the Coalition’s ‘individual voter registration’ has had on the number of people who voted. Also, how many people didn’t bother to vote “because it never changes anything”?

Come to that, what about all those people who were forced to move out of affluent areas because they couldn’t pay the Bedroom Tax (which will, of course, continue)? Did they move into Labour constituencies?

We could be looking at interference in the electoral process on an industrial scale.

150508careless

Feel free to disagree with the free pass this image gives to Scottish voters if you like; the claim about voters in England is absolutely on the button.

Overall, the situation is best summed up by ‘Grumpy David’ on Twitter: “Seriously, who’s looked at the last five years and gone yeah, more of that please?”

What of the future?

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK tweeted that a Tory victory would mean neo-feudalism is on its way in England, the union will be broken (with Scotland seceding), and the UK will leave the EU. He also predicted an economic crisis within a year.

Europe will be a major issue for the Conservatives now. With no Liberal Democrat partners to blame for government decisions, Cameron will be exposed to attack from his own backbenchers – many of whom are raving Europhobes.

Everyone on benefits will suffer, including those in work. Rachel Martin tweeted: “If exit polls are accurate I advise you not to be poor, not to be ill, not to be old and not to be in need of a job.”

The Tory victory means the end of the welfare state as we know it: People who deserve compassion will get none. Instead they will suffer £12 billion of cuts. Many thousands will die for the sake of a few pennies.

And the NHS? Privatised. With the provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that will lock that privatisation into international law. Here’s Jacob Richardson: “Imagine seeing rape crisis shelters being closed and children’s palliative care being sold off to Virgin Healthcare, and wanting more of it.”

Workers’ pay will take a hammering – and our ability to protest and get a fair deal will be removed, along with the rest of our rights according to the Human Rights Act. They will be replaced by a ‘Bill of Rights’ telling us more about what we can’t do than what we can.

The Labour Party will need to get its act together quickly. Probably the best thing to do is get right back out to the general public and get confirmation of why the vote went to the Tories. Was Labour policy too close to the party’s arch-rivals, as some have surmised? Did people feel Labour wasn’t offering a genuine alternative? There will be a conflict between the neoliberal Blairites and traditionalists, and it is important that traditional Labour wins. If there’s one thing to learn from the SNP victory, it’s that a genuinely left-wing, anti-austerity platform delivers a massive victory at the moment.

The Liberal Democrats have been destroyed as a Parliamentary political party – and rightly so. The message for others to take away is that any form of compliance with Conservatives is fatal. The Tories will shift blame for anything bad onto their partners and contrive to win more votes.

UKIP is also a spent force. Despite increasing its vote share, its representation in Parliament has been halved. Voters will see this and abandon.

The SNP has taken on the role that the Liberal Democrats enjoyed at the 2010 election. They were the darlings of the voters this year but will lose out when it becomes clear that they cannot deliver a single promise – and, in fact, their victory in Scotland ensured that they would not be able to do so.

Finally, what can we do – the public?

We need to watch the Conservatives – and any of their known collaborators – hawkishly. We need to build up information about them, their policies, and any other interests – including and especially those that are less than legal (and there will be a lot of this). They won because the public believed them. It is important to undermine that trust with the facts.

We need also to ensure that the Liberal Democrats do not stage a comeback. That party betrayed the people and must be consigned to history. Again, we need to monitor the behaviour of its members and work to make sure the public is not gulled into a false sense of trust.

And it would be good to start thinking about the kind of country we would create, if we had the chance – and what steps we could take to build it. This may seem like pie-in-the-sky at such a dark point in our nation’s history, but it is only with careful and clever planning that anybody achieves anything.

We are in a very dark pit at the moment – dug for us by the Conservative Party. At least we can take heart that, from here, the only way is up.

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Cameron’s cowardice should not cancel leader debates

150119leaderdebates

What’s the current situation on the political parties’ ‘leader debates’? Is Cameron still playing chicken and using the Green Party as a human shield?

The last this writer heard was that he was saying he wouldn’t turn up if Ofcom didn’t let the Greens take part, as the Green Party is now the fourth largest in terms of membership (behind Labour, the Conservatives – who could be lying about theirs, and the SNP, having overtaken UKIP and the Liberal Democrats).

Ofcom seems to be saying the Greens don’t qualify because they don’t have enough MPs (which seems strange, as it seems perfectly willing to let UKIP take part and it only has one more MP than the Greens).

Is that about right?

It’s rumoured that Cameron has cold feet about the debates because of what happened in 2010, when ‘Cleggmania’ (briefly) swept the nation and everybody including himself seemed to be saying “I agree with Nick”. His advisors are allegedly telling him that Clegg’s performance in the debates seriously damaged his standing and prevented him from gaining an outright victory in the election.

(This may seem odd, as the Liberal Democrats in fact lost five seats at the election, but we need to remember that – in the First Past The Post system – it seems likely that LD candidates took votes from Conservatives, allowing others to take marginal seats).

It seems likely Cameron is also in fear of Nigel Farage, who is generally accepted to have beaten Clegg in televised debates about the European Union.

The other three leaders who were set to take part in the debates have called for them to go ahead, with Cameron ’empty-chaired’ – a podium should be put out for him but left vacant to show he has opted not to participate.

This would still leave the other parties without a voice in the debates and – considering their popularity – that’s clearly wrong.

Perhaps these debates should go ahead, with only the Labour, LD and UKIP leaders if Ofcom won’t bend.

If so, then the other party leaders should consider alternative strategies.

Is there any reason they should not record their own responses to the questions asked in these debates – and the issues raised by them – and make those responses available to the public, via the media broadcasters, newspaper websites, YouTube and the social media?

This would give a certain unfair advantage to the Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the National Health Action Party, FUKP and whoever else, because they would have advance warning of the questions before starting, and would know what the other leaders had said – but it does seem fairer thanaltogether  denying them a chance to put their cases forward.

In this scenario the only loser would be David Cameron who, fittingly, would have denied himself the chance to speak while allowing it to everyone else – poetic justice for a man who has tried to gag political debate in the run-up to the election.

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Auschwitz photo-op visit reveals Cameron at his cynical worst

'Arbeit macht frei': Roughly translated, it means 'Work makes you free'. David Cameron will be familiar with that phrase as it is a favourite of his Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jun/16/lawrence-mead-tough-us-welfare-unemployed

‘Arbeit macht frei’: Roughly translated, it means ‘Work makes you free’. David Cameron will be familiar with that phrase as it is a favourite of his Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jun/16/lawrence-mead-tough-us-welfare-unemployed

Is this writer the only person who finds it more than a little sick that David Cameron visited Auschwitz on the International Day of Human Rights? What was he doing – taking notes in order to ensure that he can do a better job?

The parallels between what the Nazi regime did there, to anybody it considered subhuman, and what Cameron’s government has been doing to anybody it regards similarly are becoming so obvious that you would need to be a deaf-blind animal to miss them.

It is physically sickening to read about him lighting a candle at a memorial for holocaust victims and promising that proposals for a permanent British memorial to victims of the Nazis will be revealed next year, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the extermination camp, while his government continues to deny the fatal consequences of its own policies.

In Nazi Germany, people who were sick, disabled, or belonged to a foreign race were deprived of their human rights and shipped off to concentration camps like Auschwitz, if they weren’t “euthanized” at home under the Aktion T4 programme.

Here, people who are sick or disabled are subjected to a humiliating test intended to deprive them of the financial support they need to survive, and to implant the suggestion that it would be better all around if they simply took their own lives. Immigrants are depicted as a threat to the British way of life and the livelihoods of the indigenous population – but this means that people who were originally of a foreign race, but whose families have lived here for generations, and are British citizens themselves, are also likely to be targeted by the ignorant and easily-led.

It is due to the policies of Cameron’s government that the United Nations has launched an investigation into  “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

Cameron himself has promised that, if a Conservative government is returned to office next May, he will strip every British citizen of their human rights by repealing the Human Rights Act that confers on us the legal protection available to every other human being in Europe. Instead he will throw us the scraps contained in his miserable ‘Bill of Rights’, that is notable more for the rights it forbids than any it permits.

Pay particular attention to the fact that Cameron is proposing to legalise torture in the UK.

And there he is, using what was probably the greatest human tragedy in history as the backdrop for a cynical and hypocritical photo opportunity.

Words cannot describe the contempt that we should all feel – as a matter of duty as human beings – for such a vile abomination as Cameron, and anybody like him.

“Lower than vermin” is no longer sufficiently pejorative.

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Nailed! Czech minister’s immigration tweet belongs on #CameronMustGo

A battle won: Tomas Prouza's tweet that killed Cameron's credibility on immigration.

A battle won: Tomas Prouza’s tweet that killed Cameron’s credibility on immigration.

He’s had a rotten week but that’s no reason to sympathise with David Cameron.

It is the result of years of bad decisions and many hope that he continues to have similar rotten weeks in the future.

The last nail in the coffin came – appropriately – from Europe. Cameron’s had one disappointment after another from the continent this week, ranging from the revelation that his Home Secretary has been hiding the facts about immigration to the revelation that the number of foreigners coming to the UK has increased since his Coalition government came to office.

Yesterday (Friday), Cameron hoped to turn the tide with a hard-hitting speech proposing that the influx of immigrants might be slowed by a pledge that they would only be allowed to claim benefits after they had been in the UK for four years.

We can only imagine Cameron’s pride at having outlined a solution – as we can only imagine what he felt when the Czech Republic’s Europe Minister, Tomas Prouza, responded by posting a picture of Czech pilots serving in the RAF during the Second World War, with the message: “These Czechs ‘worked’ in the #UK for less than four years. No benefits for them?”

You can read more in the Huffington Post‘s article.

Cameron came to office promising to bring immigration down – “no ifs, no buts”. Now, according to that news medium, his words are “dead and buried”.

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The promises of Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats – what are they worth?

Not a lot, if this cartoon from the Telegraph is worth anything:

libdempromises

Of course, Torygraph reporters are probably aware that Nick Clegg secretly agreed to go into coalition with the Conservatives back in March 2010 – two months before the last general election (the so-called negotiations after the poll resulted in a hung Parliament were a sham) – and it was at this time, not in May, that the Liberal Democrat promise to abolish further education tuition fees was dropped.

Clegg went on to run a relatively successful campaign (as far as these things go for the Lib Dems) on the back of that promise – a promise he had already broken.

Now he’s accusing his Conservative Coalition partners of following a “serve the rich, smash the poor” agenda since they got into office. He was a willing part of that agenda.

In The Guardian on Saturday, his excuse was that the Tories had “mutated almost out of recognition” since the Coalition agreement was signed. This is not true. The Tories we have seen since then are the Tories we recognise. David Cameron’s “compassionate Conservatism” was the lie.

“We went in with partners who told us they were green, but they are not. They told me they weren’t going to bang on about Europe, but it’s all they bang on about. They said they believed in civil liberties and they want to trash them,” said Clegg.

“I can understand why they have done it. They are in a complete blind panic about UKIP, but I like to think we have not raced across the political spectrum like that.”

Wrong again. The Tories are in a panic about UKIP (see yesterday’s article on the Hunting Act) but that has little to do with the policy areas Clegg was highlighting. Tories always want to trash civil liberties; they always trash the environment – one of their first planned acts was to sell off all the common land in the UK; and they always, always “bang on” about Europe. Even if they weren’t so bitterly divided about it, they would use it as a distraction technique to dupe voters.

[Image: Another Angry Voice.]

[Image: Another Angry Voice.]

Now the Tories have ‘scooped’ the Lib Dems by claiming they will increase the tax-free personal allowance for low earners to £12,500 per year, something Clegg was planning to announce as one of his own party’s policies – and something to which UKIP beat them both.

Labour has ‘scooped’ the Lib Dems on the NHS, with a pledge to increase funding by £2.5 billion per year, knocking Clegg’s £1 billion promise into the proverbial cocked hat. Labour is also promising to introduce a ‘Mansion Tax’, stealing another well-known Clegg aspiration (and did you see how the Tories responded to that? Hypocritical, when one considers their rabid support of their own Bedroom Tax).

One has to wonder what he has left to say.

“Sorry” might be a good start.

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Do YOU feel as prosperous as you were before the crisis?

[Image: David Symonds for The Guardian, in February this year.]

[Image: David Symonds for The Guardian, in February this year.]

Britain has returned to prosperity, with the economy finally nudging beyond its pre-crisis peak, according to official figures.

Well, that’s a relief, isn’t it? Next time you’re in the supermarket looking for bargains or mark-downs because you can’t afford the kind of groceries you had in 2008, you can at least console yourself that we’re all doing better than we were back then.

The hundreds of thousands of poor souls who have to scrape by on handouts from food banks will, no doubt, be bolstered by the knowledge that Britain is back on its feet.

And the relatives of those who did not survive Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal purge of benefit claimants can be comforted by the thought that they did not die in vain.

Right?

NO! Of course not! Gross domestic product might be up 3.1 per cent on last year but it’s got nothing to do with most of the population! In real terms, you’re £1,600 per year worse-off!

The Conservatives who have been running the economy since 2010 have re-balanced it, just as they said they would – but they lied about the way it would be re-balanced and as a result the money is going to the people who least deserve it; the super-rich and the bankers who caused the crash in the first place.

You can be sure that the mainstream media won’t be telling you that, though.

Even some of the figures they are prepare to use are enough to cast doubt on the whole process. The UK economy is forecast to be the fastest-growing among the G7 developed nations according to the IMF (as reported by the BBC) – but our export growth since 2010 puts us below all but one of the other G7 nations, according to Ed Balls in The Guardian.

And it is exports that should be fuelling the economy, according to JML chairman John Mills in the Huffington Post. He reckons the government needs to invest in manufacturing and achieve competitive exchange rates in order to improve our export ability.

“Since most international trade is in goods and not in services, once the proportion of the economy devoted to producing internationally tradable goods drops below about 15 per cent, it becomes more and more difficult to combine a reasonable rate of growth and full employment with a sustainable balance of payments position,” he writes.

“In the UK, the proportion of GDP coming from manufacturing is now barely above 10 per cent. Hardly surprising then that we have not had a foreign trade surplus balance since 1982 – over thirty years ago – while our share of world trade which was 10.7 per cent in 1950 had fallen by 2012 to no more than 2.6 per cent.”

All of this seems to be good business sense. It also runs contrary to successive governments’ economic policies for the past 35 years, ever since the neoliberal government of Margaret Thatcher took over in 1979.

As this blog has explained, Thatcher and her buddies Nicholas Ridley and Keith Joseph were determined to undermine the confidence then enjoyed by the people who actually worked for a living, because it was harming the ability of the idle rich – shareholders, bosses… bankers – to increase their own undeserved profits; improvements in working-class living standards were holding back their greed.

In order to hammer the workers back into the Stone Age, they deliberately destroyed the UK’s manufacturing and exporting capability and blamed it on the unions.

That is why we have had a foreign trade deficit since 1982. That is why our share of world trade is less than one-third of what it was in 1950 (under a Labour government, notice). That is why unemployment has rocketed, even though the true level goes unrecognised as governments have rigged the figures to suit themselves.

(The current wheeze has the government failing to count as unemployed anyone on Universal Credit, anyone on Workfare/Mandatory Work Activity and anyone who whose benefit has been sanctioned – among many other groups – for example.)

You may wish to argue that the economy is fine – after all, that’s what everybody is saying, including the Office for National Statistics.

Not according to Mr Mills: “The current improvement in our economic performance, based on buttressing consumer confidence by boosting asset values fuelled by yet more borrowing, is all to unlikely to last.”

(He means the housing bubble created by George Osborne’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme will burst soon, and then the economy will be right up the creek because the whole edifice is based on more borrowing at a time when Osborne has been claiming he is paying down the deficit.)

Ed Balls has got the right idea – at least, on the face of it. In his Guardian article he states: “We are not going to deliver a balanced, investment-led recovery that benefits all working people with the same old Tory economics,” and he’s right.

“Hoping tax cuts at the very top will trickle down, a race to the bottom on wages, Treasury opposition to a proper industrial strategy, and flirting with exit from the European Union cannot be the right prescription for Britain.” Right again – although our contract with Europe must be renegotiated and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement would be a disaster for the UK if we signed it.

But none of that affects you, does it? It’s all too far away, controlled by people we’ve never met. That’s why Balls focuses on what a Labour government would do for ordinary people: “expanding free childcare, introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax, raising the minimum wage and ending the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts. We need to create more good jobs and ensure young people have the skills they need to succeed.”

And how do the people respond to these workmanlike proposals?

“You intend to continue the Tories’ destructive ‘austerity’ policies.”

“The economy isn’t fixed but you broke it.”

There was one comment suggesting that all the main parties are the same now, which – it has been suggested – was what Lynton Crosby told David Cameron to spread if he wanted to win the next election.

Very few of the comments under the Guardian piece have anything to do with what Balls actually wrote; they harp on about New Labour’s record (erroneously), they conflate Labour’s vow not to increase borrowing with an imaginary plan to continue Tory austerity policies… in fact they do all they can to discredit him.

Not because his information is wrong but because they have heard rumours about him that have put them off.

It’s as if people don’t want their situation to improve.

Until we can address that problem – which is one of perception – we’ll keep going around in circles while the exploiters laugh.

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