A JustGiving page has been set up to help Myleene Klass pay her mansion tax after she took Ed Miliband to task about the scheme on ITV’s The Agenda.
The Littlewoods designer seemed to think the Labour leader’s pledge to impose a £250/week tax on properties worth more than £2million was unfair: “In London, which is where 80 per cent of the people who will be paying this tax actually live, have you seen what that amount of money can get you? It’s like a garage.”
Here’s Mr Miliband’s deadpan response: “”I totally understand that people don’t like paying more in tax.”
Myleene’s ill-judged words sparked a swift backlash, and now a JustGiving page has been set up to help her pay the bill, if a Labour government is elected next year.
The text reads: “Help Myleene Klass pay her Mansion Tax. Myleene is a struggling mother with a fortune of £11m who needs our help. Please be generous.”
More seriously, on Twitter, another person wrote: “Myleene Klaas don’t like the idea of having to pay #mansiontax. Is she even aware of the effects of #BedroomTax?”
This is the heart of the matter, of course. The Bedroom Tax has forced many families out of London – exactly as intended by the Conservatives – leaving the UK’s capital to become a playground for the rich.
Labour’s mansion tax plan will redress the balance by making it just as hard for the rich to live there as it is for the poor – unless prices come down, allowing the poor back in.
Myleene clearly had not thought that far into the matter.
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.]
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).
What do you think of the Labour Party conference this year? It’s a loaded question and one that is bound to elicit loaded answers.
The propaganda machines of the other parties have been working overtime to discredit Her Majesty’s Opposition, with Scottish people who wanted independence (the minority, let’s remember) claiming Labour lied to them, UKIP supporters adamant that the party is full of child abusers (based on a BNP propaganda website, which should tell anyone with a brain all they need to know), and of course the Tories doing what they usually do – blaming all the country’s problems on the last Labour government while stealing the family silver.
You never hear ‘No’ voters saying Labour lied, do you? You never see UKIP supporters complaining about racism in their own party. You never see Tories calling for genuine reform that helps the 99 per cent, rather than the tiny minority that they represent.
So let’s look at what Labour is proposing. Let’s make a list – because, you know what? Mrs Mike was watching coverage of the conference yesterday, and even she tried to tell Yr Obdt Srvt that Labour wouldn’t keep its promises. If we have a list, we’ll be able to check the promises against what they do, after a Labour win next May.
So let’s see what Ed Miliband promised. He outlined six “national goals”, and he called for 10 years in which to hit them. You may very well ask: Has he been reading Vox Political? Recent comments questioning Labour’s intentions have been answered with the simple observation that it takes time to change the direction in which a country is travelling (or in the UK’s case, lurching), and Miliband’s words echo that sentiment. He can’t do everything in one day. It does take time. Let’s look at those goals.
Halve the number of people in low pay by 2025, raising the minimum wage by £60 a week or more than £3,000 a year.
Ensure that the wages of working people grow with the economy (something that is glaringly missing from the Conservatives’ ‘economic recovery’, meaning that – for the vast majority of us – it isn’t a recovery at all). Miliband said: “What’s amazing… is that statement, that goal is even controversial. It used to be taken for granted in our country that’s what would happen.” He’s right – look at today’s article from Flip Chart Fairy Tales that Vox Political re-published.
Create one million jobs in the green economy – neglected by the Conservatives – by 2025, committing to take all the carbon out of electricity by 2030; start a Green Investment Bank; devolve powers to communities to insulate five million homes by 2025, saving energy and heating costs
By 2025, ensure that as many young people will be leaving school or college to go on to an apprenticeship as currently go to university. It really is as though he’s been reading Vox Political. A long-standing gripe of this blog is that governments have concentrated on academic achievement while neglecting the education of people who have more practical aptitudes. This is a very welcome change.
By 2025, be building as many homes as we need, doubling the number of first-time buyers in the UK. Vox Political would prefer to see far more social housing; perhaps this will come as well but it wasn’t part of Miliband’s promise. Nevertheless, the pledge to build 500,000 new homes should make housing more affordable again for people who aren’t spectacularly wealthy or don’t have wealthy family members.
Finally, to create a world-class 21st century health and care service, funded by a clampdown on tax avoidance including tax loopholes by hedge funds that will raise more than £1 billion, proceeds from a mansion tax on homes above £2 million, and money from tobacco companies. Total: £2.5 billion (per annum, it seems). Some have said this is not enough when the NHS is facing a £20 billion shortfall but we must remember that this deficit only appeared recently and could be the result of Tory scaremongering, or the private companies introduced by the Tories leeching money out of the system to fatten their shareholders. More details were due from Andy Burnham today (Wednesday).
Oh yes, you see Andrew Lansley’s hated – Yr Obdt Srvt really cannot find the words to show how vile this diseased piece of legislation really is – Health and Social Care Act will be repealed by a Labour government. If you don’t care about any of the other measures, you should vote Labour for that reason alone.
So those are his six goals. But what’s this?
“It is time we complete the unfinished business of reform of the House of Lords so we truly have a Senate of the nations and regions.” Considering the way Cameron has been packing it with Tory donors, rather than people of any expertise (as it is intended to contain) this can only be a good thing.
“And it is time to devolve power in England.” What a blow against the Tories who have been claiming Labour want to delay or destroy such a process! Miliband is talking about “devolving power to local government, bringing power closer to people right across England”. That seems to be an indication that he wouldn’t create a new, expensive English Parliament but would give power back to the current councils – power that has been leeched away from them by centralising Conservatives and the previous, neoliberal, incarnation of Labour.
There’s more. He wants constitutional reform. But unlike David Cameron, who wants to impose changes from above, so that they only benefit people who are already rich and powerful, Miliband wants to make it a matter of public discussion. Those who can’t be bothered to take part will only have themselves to blame if they don’t get what they want.
There were promises on foreign policy – to stand up for the UK in Europe, in contrast to Cameron’s strategy which Miliband blasted: “When David Cameron comes calling, people don’t think he’s calling about the problems of Britain or the problems of Europe. They think he’s calling about the problems of the Conservative Party. And here’s the funny thing… If you’re elected the Chancellor of Germany or the Prime Minister of Italy or the President of France, you don’t really think you were elected to solve the problems of the Conservative Party.”
More solid was the promise to recognise the state of Palestine and actively seek a solution to the problems of that part of the world we might call – in an attempt to be fair – the Holy Land: “I will fight with every fibre of my being to get the two state solution, two states for two people, Israel and a Palestinian state living side by side.” Many detractors have wrongly claimed that Miliband is a Zionist, determined to support the Israeli government’s use of vastly superior firepower to eliminate Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank; they had better think again – and look very hard at David Cameron, whose government has done as little as possible to protest at what has been happening.
And Miliband also said he wanted Labour to fight discrimination against same-sex relationships around the world. That may not seem as important to some people, but in some places it is just as easy to be killed by homophobia as it is to be killed because of your religion. Personally, Yr Obdt Srvt finds same-sex relationships unattractive – but it takes all sorts to make a world.
That makes six more goals! Double the value.
These are all good aims. All of them, if seen through, will be good for the UK.
So there’s your checklist, with 12 – not six – goals on it. If you support Labour next year, you’ll be able to check Miliband’s progress against them and you’ll have a chance – halfway through his 10-year plan – to stop him if he’s not making it happen.
Alternatively, you can say to yourself – as Mrs Mike did last night: “He doesn’t mean it. They’re all the same. It’s not worth voting,” or any of the other things the Tory campaign chief Lynton Crosby would like you to believe, and you can sit on your thumbs at home. That would be a vote for the Conservatives to carry on raping your country and ripping you off.
If Labour win in spite of people like that, then they will still benefit from the changes Miliband wants to introduce, along with the rest of us. If the Conservatives win because of those people, then we will all lose – apart from a miserably small band of super-rich, super-selfish, super-arrogant and entitled exploiters who tell Cameron what to do.
Framed that way, it isn’t really a choice at all, is it?
The end of austerity should be Labour’s flagship policy, according to Michael Meacher MP. Don’t get too excited – Labour has to get into office first, and we’ve no idea how bad the Conservative-led Coalition will wreck the systems of government before May 2015.
This is turning into a very bad weekend to be a Conservative.
The Nasty Party has lost control of 10 councils, with hundreds of councillors unseated. Its claims about people on benefits are falling flat when faced with the facts. It has fallen foul of UK and EU law with its fake psychometric test, which turned out to have been stolen from the USA. Its claim that Labour has no policies has proved to be utterly unfounded.
… What was that last one again?
Yes, you must have heard at least one Tory on telly, rabidly barking that Labour can’t criticise the Coalition if it doesn’t have any policies of its own. Those people were not telling the truth – even though they probably thought they were (poor deluded fools).
Repeal the Health and Social Care Act (otherwise known as the NHS privatisation Act)
Build 125,000+ homes
Regulate private rents
Promote a Living Wage for public sector workers and shame the private sector into following that lead
Offer a minimum 33-40 per cent cut in tuition fees
Limit rail fare increases to one per cent
Reimpose the 50p rate of income tax for the super-rich
Impose a mansion tax on the rich
Repeat the bankers’ bonus tax
Reverse the bedroom tax
Scrap Workfare and replace it with a ‘compulsory’ Jobs Guarantee (I’m not too keen on this one but it’s been promised)
Offer a VAT cut or a ‘temporary’ VAT holiday
Implement the High Pay Commission report in its entirety
Scrap Ofgem and bring in proper energy price regulation
Break up the banks and set up a National Investment Bank, and
Support mining communities and clean coal technology.
In his article, Mr Meacher suggests that Labour needs to go further, with a really strong hook on which to hang all these policies. He suggests the following:
We will end austerity.
Yes, I thought that might stun you. Let’s have it again:
We will end austerity.
Now that you’ve had time to get used to the idea, I hope you’re applauding as much as I was when I read the article. Why not end austerity? The squeeze on public spending and services that David Cameron and his Boy Chancellor imposed in 2010 has not worked at all. There is now no basis for it – I wrote to Mr Osborne, requesting information on the other foundations of the policy after it was revealed that his main justification contained a huge error, and he has not replied, so clearly he has nothing to say. Its loss will be unlamented and can’t come soon enough.
There’s more in the article so I invite you to visit Mr Meacher’s site and read it yourself.
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