Tag Archives: poster

WATCH: ‘Vile, unconscionable and despicable’ – MPs respond to targeting of Stella Creasy by anti-abortionists

Abuse:’ This poster was put up in Stella Creasy’s Walthamstow constituency in what is seen as an attempt to intimidate her.

An anti-abortion group that targeted pregnant Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been labelled “vile, unconscionable and despicable” by Commons speaker John Bercow as MPs vowed to help her take action.

Ms Creasy raised the issue after an organisation called the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) put a poster of her alongside a picture of what it claimed was “a 24-week-old aborted baby girl”, with the claim “Your MP is working hard … to make this a human right” and the address of a website established against the MP.

The abuse targeted at Ms Creasy follows the approval from MPs of her amendment to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland – the only part of the UK where it is illegal. The vote passed by 332 to 99.

She has reported the matter to the Metropolitan Police – only to be rebuffed by officers who say this is a “free speech” issue.

A clearly-emotional Ms Creasy raised the issue with a point of order in the House of Commons, after Prime Minister’s Questions today (October 2).

I managed to capture most of the exchange with Speaker John Bercow on video (I happened to have a camera handy and grabbed it up as soon as I realised what was happening). Apologies for the shaky picture and possible poor sound quality – the camera was hand-held. You may hear voices over the top – they belong to This Writer and Mrs Mike:

The point of order prompted the appropriate Tory government minister to promise action.

Abortion is a sensitive and complicated issue, and I don’t propose to go over all the arguments here.

But I do believe that there are many possible reasons for a woman (or a couple) to consider abortion and if that option is available to them, it is not for anybody else to tell them what to do. It is a matter for their conscience and it should be a human right.

The action of the so-called charity (as you will have heard, it has been refused charity status in the UK) – against a woman who is herself pregnant – is as Mr Bercow described it: vile, unconscionable and despicable. I’m sure many readers could add a few choice words themselves.

It is the sort of behaviour that could affect the health of an unborn baby, contrary to that organisation’s stated aims. Do these people even care about that double-standard?

It has no place in UK society.

Our charities exist to campaign for measures that improve the quality of life – not to victimise people who have done nothing wrong (the fake charity Campaign Against Antisemitism should also take note of this).

The advertising company that hosted the offending posters has agreed to take them down.

Let us hope that the organisation behind it faces legal action (this behaviour is a criminal offence under the Public Order Act) and is chased out of the UK for good.

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Confusion over sign removed from outside Labour conference. Was it anti-Semitic? If so, why?

Is this sign anti-Semitic? It shows Israeli political leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in a plan marked “Israel lobby”, launching “defamation” missles at Jeremy Corbyn, who is speaking on Palestinian rights.

Police have removed a sign depicting Jeremy Corbyn being attacked with “defamation” missiles by Benjamin Netanyahu, while the Labour leader speaks on Palestinian rights. Mr Corbyn himself had complained that it is anti-Semitic but members of the public seem confused about his reasons.

The Mirror reported:

An “anti-Semitic” poster from outside the Labour Party conference has been removed.

The Labour leader said he was “disgusted” that the poster had been put up outside the conference centre.

He said: “We asked the police to remove it and I’m glad they did.

“This kind of antisemitic poison has no place whatsoever in our society.”

Benjamin Netanyahu is depicted flying a plane which represents the Israeli lobby and dropping bombs of “defamation” accompanied by the speech mark anti-Semite, anti-Semite, anti-Semite.

It bore the slogan “IHRA tell the NEC how you feel” referring to the huge row about the party’s refusal to adopt the full internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism.

It suggests that accusations of anti-Semitism in Labour are being created by an Israeli lobby.

Firstly, an aside: one of the reasons I was expelled from Labour was for putting “anti-Semitic” in quotation marks in an article about material that clearly was not. Will Labour complain to the Mirror for doing exactly the same thing? If reporter Nicola Bartlett was a Labour member, would she be expelled? There’s a possible double-standard here, before we even start discussing the meat.

And the meat is a simple question: Is the image anti-Semitic?

Anti-Semitism is hatred toward Jews. If anything, the image is a depiction of hatred toward Mr Corbyn, and toward Palestinian rights. Isn’t it?

My personal opinion is that this is not an attack on Mr Netanyahu and/or the critics of Mr Corbyn he represents because they are Jews. There is no criticism here of Jews who do not wish harm (political or actual) upon Mr Corbyn, and anti-Semitism is a hatred of Jews, because they are Jews. The image would have to attack all Jews. It seems clear to me that it attacks people who call Mr Corbyn an anti-Semite, because they are liars.

The question of whether an “Israeli lobby” has been directing hate, including false accusations of anti-Semitism, at Mr Corbyn and his Labour Party is one that has been asked since the first allegations against his supporters, back in 2016 – and it has never been investigated by Labour, let alone answered.

Middle East news channel Al-Jazeera did investigate, and broadcast a four-part series entitled The Lobby, showing very clear evidence that the Israeli government was interfering in UK politics.

It may seem strange, then, that some have condemned a poster pointing this out. Legitimate criticism of Israel is not to be labelled anti-Semitic, even according to the flawed IHRA definition and examples.

The demand for the poster to be removed has triggered a huge debate on Twitter, with many people asking what is wrong with it:

Consider this dialogue:

That’s right, isn’t it? The missiles in the image are marked “defamation”, and it is true that false claims of anti-Semitism against Mr Corbyn have been made time and time again over the last four years. It is clearly a metaphor.

Then again, can anybody forget Rachel Riley’s comment about Jeremy Corbyn, wishing that someone would “take him out” (if I recall correctly)? She has (falsely, in my opinion) set out her stall as an advocate for Jews in the UK – although I feel certain that a vast majority of the 300,000 or so Jews living here may be extremely unhappy to have this said by somebody who claims to be speaking for them.

https://twitter.com/Norma_Daiquiri/status/1176063989865992192

This refers to a comment by Tracy-Ann Oberman, who was quoted in the Mirror article, claiming she would come to Brighton and rip it down herself if it wasn’t removed. Ah, but young Tracy-Ann doesn’t have a good record on factual accuracy when it comes to anti-Semitism…

I note also that a comment on the Mirror story suggested people should follow certain Twitter accounts including “David Collier, GnasherJew, Emma Picken, Lee Kern”. While I’m unfamiliar with Lee Kern, the other three are notorious troll accounts, part of an organisation known as the “GnasherJew troll collective”. Here’s David Collier, spreading a little unwarranted hate himself:

Most people just responded in confusion:

https://twitter.com/LizstChopin/status/1176068000396566530

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1176091459164016640

There are many, many more such comments.

This is what happens when the Labour Party tries to accommodate hate, rather than addressing it.

I mean, of course, the hatred of the people attacking Mr Corbyn constantly with fabricated claims that he is an anti-Semite.

His capitulation to them – fortunately the only sign of weakness by this hugely popular Labour leader – has merely worsened a situation that reached appalling levels of discrimination with the expulsion of anti-racist campaigners including Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth and – yes – myself.

And when challenged over its attitude, both Mr Corbyn and the Labour Party run away.

I have never had an answer from the party as to why it pursued me as an anti-Semite. That process was started by an official who is now no longer a member of the party and was himself being pursued over allegations that he had leaked (in my case, false) information about anti-Semitism allegations to the press.

So – yes. This sign has exposed the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Not Labour’s failure to deal with anti-Semitism – but its failure to challenge false accusations and the people who make them. That is Labour’s shame today.

The Mirror article and its comments may be read at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sign-taken-down-labour-anti-20146095

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Should this be the new Conservative campaign poster?

It’s certainly time we had honesty from the Conservative Party in its campaigns.

Remember “Britain Isn’t Working under Labour”? They got into government as a result of that, and cut millions of jobs. Millions!

Or how about David Cameron’s airbrushed “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”? He managed to get his foot in the door of Number 10 with that one, in an awkward coalition with Nick Clegg’s Tory Democrats (oh, sorry, were they supposed to be Liberal?) and set about cutting the NHS. Claims that funding has been increased every year are meaningless when all the increases were below-inflation; those are real-terms cuts, as I have written in the past.

So we come to The Pileus’s recent poster for Theresa May’s NHS (above). Already, the information is out of date (the number of NHS hospital trusts unable to cope had reached 66 the last time This Writer saw any figures), but it certainly gives us all an idea of what an honest Conservative campaign poster would be.

What a shame they’ll never produce one.

I also enjoyed The Pileus’s image showing the different party leaders’ relationship to the current crisis – one which may be very useful in the forthcoming by-elections at Stoke Central and Copeland! Here it is:

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Sick Conservative poster compares Miliband to stroke victim – Mirror Online

150430torystrokeposter

This is the image that should be the last nail in the coffin of the Conservative Party’s election hopes.

But the right-wing media will probably work hard to make sure that most people don’t see it.

According to the Daily Mirror, it was published on Twitter by the Conservative Party’s official account for Campden Ward, in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

As the Mirror pointed out, the image “mocks the Stroke Association‘s Act FAST poster – illustrating each of the charity’s three signs of a stroke, ‘Face, Arms and Speech’, with a picture of Ed Miliband.

“The fourth message then declares T stands for: ‘Time to LOL’.”

It seems bizarre that Tories in a ‘safe’ Conservative constituency would want to shoot their party’s foot off in this way, but the evidence speaks for itself:

150430thetweet

The entire Twitter account has since been deleted and the ward’s Facebook page has changed its name to ‘Parks Lnd’.

The Mirror report quotes Labour candidate Carrie Wilson, who wrote: “Utterly disgusted at CampdenWard for taking something as serious as a stroke warning to mock someone.

“It is NEVER okay to use a stroke awareness warning as a joke.”

Hear, hear. Doesn’t this say everything you need to know about the Conservative Party’s attitude to illness and disability? It’s all a big joke to them!

At long last, Conservative policy on sickness benefits is explained.

Is this really an organisation that deserves 280 Parliamentary seats after the general election next week?

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What’s the point of a ‘Cameron’ job that can’t make work pay?

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

There are several reasons we should be sceptical about David Cameron’s pledge to make the UK a nation of ‘full employment’.

Firstly, his campaign poster has lied about his record so far. Why should anyone believe his claims about what he’ll do in the future?

Secondly, everybody knows that the Tories’ rubbish neoliberal ideology demands a large number of people have to be unemployed, in order to keep wages down – and Cameron very much wants the UK to remain a low-wage economy.

Thirdly, look at the jobs he has managed to create: zero hours contracts, part-time work, under-employment rife. If that’s his idea of what we need in order to create full employment, then he should be looking forward to his own P45 in May.

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

Or, as David Schneider put it on Twitter: “Cameron’s promise of full employment to guarantee everyone in the country a job that doesn’t pay enough for them to live off.”

The social media were quick to dismiss this latest nonsense from the PR genius behind “compassionate Conservatism”, “hug a hoodie” and “Green Tories” – remember those flops?

MagsNews on Twitter reported: “Cameron says everything’s wonderful in the jobs market! [Nine out of 10] new jobs are [full-time] jobs. ITV news asks why, if so, tax receipts are so low?!!”

And the Labour Press Team pointed out: “Tory record on jobs: more than 1.3 million people work part-time because they can’t get a full-time job. Tory record on jobs: 3.5 million people in work say they want extra hours. Tory record on jobs: 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in the economy.”

He doesn’t seem to realise what a diabolical mess he has made of the British jobs market – but don’t worry! Here’s a way to clarify matters for him:

Are you stuck in part-time work when you want to be earning full-time wages?

Have you been forced to accept a zero-hours contract, so you don’t know when you’ll be working but can’t claim benefits when you’re not?

Are you on a temporary contract, rather than in permanent work?

Are you earning less than the minimum wage – on a government work programme, for example – or are you earning less than a living wage in a full-time, part-time or zero-hours job?

If so, it’s time to stop calling it a job.

Call it a ‘Cameron’ instead.

“Hello, Bob – how’s it going?”

“Not bad. How about you? Did you get a job yet?”

“Meh. There’s nothing worthwhile to be had. All I got was a ‘Cameron’.”

Even then, he might not get the message.

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Auschwitz image: Did Tom go too far?

150107auschwitz1

It’s a matter of judgement, isn’t it?

The image above is the parody of the Conservative Party’s infamous ‘Road to Recovery’ poster showing the railway line leading to the World War II extermination camp at Auschwitz, as tweeted by fellow blogger Tom Pride with the words, “The new Tory campaign poster featuring a German road’s a bit controversial”.

The tweet worked on several different levels: It referenced the fact that all three claims made on the original poster were inaccurate – in effect, the Conservative Party lied to the public with its very first piece of campaign material; it also acknowledged the fact that the road in the original picture was not British, as had been claimed by George Osborne on Channel 4 News (and this blog has covered reporter Cathy Newman’s surprise on finding out this was not true), but was a road near Weimar in Germany – another Tory lie; and it also made a strong point about the future the UK might face if voters allow themselves to be persuaded into supporting the Tories, based on this lying campaign.

It is also worth drawing attention to Vox Political commenter (and The Critique Archives blogger) Martin Odoni’s reaction to the revelation about the origins of the Tory poster’s image: “I’m no believer in omens or sympathetic magic, but, after all the economic hardship of the last seven years, that is really bad symbolism. I mean, don’t we remember what economic chaos and an evil, fanatical Chancellor did to the Weimar Republic?”

This writer received several versions of the Auschwitz railway image after publishing an article on the Conservative campaign poster.

Tony Dean commented with a simple reference to this one:

150107auschwitz2

And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.

150107auschwitz3

Neither picture has appeared on Vox Political before because this writer considered them a step too far. The comments were published and readers were free to click on the links if they so desired.

I exercised my judgement and that was my decision.

It seems that Nottingham Labour councillor Rosemary Healy has been suspended because she neglected to make a similar judgement call.

As a follower of Tom Pride on Twitter (and there’s nothing wrong with that; Tom’s articles and tweets often provide an oasis of amusement for those of us who are struggling against the harm being caused every day by the Coalition Government) it is entirely possible that she retweeted his picture automatically, in the belief that her own followers would enjoy some sharp humour.

Alas, the humour was too sharp for some, and crossed the line of good taste in their opinion.

Was Cllr Healy wrong to retweet this image? On balance, she probably was. As a councillor representing the Labour Party, it could be argued that she should not be re-transmitting messages that could be interpreted as making light of a very dark period in human history.

Could be argued. Could be interpreted. It’s a matter of judgement.

It could also be argued that the tweet, and the image, make a deadly serious point about the reality of Conservative government. Many parallels have been drawn – accurately (before anyone starts wrongly invoking Godwin’s Law) – between Conservative-led Coalition policy and the actions of the Nazis (who came to power after the failure of the German republic identified with a town called Weimar, let’s not forget).

Remember Vox Political‘s articles about chequebook euthanasia? That information has been sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office in support of the bid to have the Freedom of Information request on ESA claimant fatalities since November 2011 honoured at last; and it has been sent to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, whose investigation into the effects of withdrawing benefit from claimants began in earnest this morning (January 7).

There is a deadly serious (and the word ‘deadly’ is used advisedly) side to Tom Pride’s tweet; there usually is.

However, UKIP supporter ‘Guy Ropes’ sent this blog the following comment today: “Is it correct that a Labour councillor in the Midlands has tweeted an alteration to a Conservative poster that is so insensitive I’d be disappointed if you even tried to talk about it much less defend it. Thankfully his branch have suspended him. I’m not sure – even if they tried really, really hard – that the BNP could conceive of something so tasteless. So how about calling a truce – instead of slagging people and parties off, let’s stick to discussion of policies.”

The problem here is misinformation. The councillor is accused of creating the tweet (and gets a sex change in the process). The tweet is described as tasteless, indicating the commenter has not considered the serious points on which this article has elaborated. And there will be no truce because no hostilities have been declared. It seems Mr ‘Ropes’ has an issue with this blog’s policy of debunking false claims – such as those in his comment.

So, yes – Cllr Healy showed an error of judgement and should not have RT’d the tweet, given her position; and no – the tweet itself is not “insensitive” or “tasteless” in itself – in the judgement of this writer.

We need bloggers like Tom Pride to bring these connections to our attention.

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‘Road to Weimar’ image shows Tories can’t be trusted to tell the truth

150104roadtoweimar

“It’s a British picture, a British road,” George Osborne told Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News. What a shame he was lying.

“Tory road to a ‘stronger economy’ is in fact a road to Weimar?” she tweeted in (mock?) astonishment on Saturday. “George Osborne told me it was British!”

He was lying. Just like the poster was lying in its three claims (most notably that of halving the deficit, which even drew flak from Tory-loving rag The Spectator.

You can watch the moment again, on Channel 4’s own account of how Osborne’s latest lie was exposed.

The article explains that the photo on the much-lambasted Conservative election poster was taken by German photographer Alexander Burzik in 2008, not far from his home town – Weimar.

This leads to the obvious question: If Osborne was not telling the truth about the origin of the photograph, why should anybody believe he isn’t lying about anything else he says?

Note also the last line on the Channel 4 report: “Tonight a Conservative source said that the poster was based on a variety of images, and they had been previously assured that all elements of the photograph were British.”

A variety of images? Not just one, then, as Osborne said. As for the previous assurance – who gave it? George Osborne?

We all now know what his words are worth.

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Fact trumps Tory fiction on the #RoadToRuin ‘Twitterstorm’

You’ll be aware that David Cameron and the Conservative Party metaphorically shot themselves through the head with their very first appeal to the voters in advance of May’s General Election.

Today (January 3) saw a mass movement on Twitter to get the facts of Conservative-led government across to the masses, using images and information to hammer home the realities.

The impact was so great that the campaign’s hashtag, #RoadToRuin, did not just trend in the UK but also in the USA, with around 30,000 messages sent between 6pm and 7pm. That’s 500 every minute.

Let’s have a look at some of them.

We’ll start with the infographics:

ruin1 ruin2 ruin3 ruin4 ruin5 ruin6 ruin7 ruin8 ruin9 ruin10 ruin11 ruin12 ruin13 ruin14 ruin15 ruin16 ruin17 ruin18 ruin19

ruin20 ruin21 ruin22 ruin23 ruin24 ruinsecondlast ruinlast

And here are some of the comments:

Meals on wheels for elderly in 63% decline under coalition, analysis finds. http://gu.com/p/44hjt/tw

Coalition’s VAT rate hike four years ago has cost families an average of £1,800 over four years.

1.5 million people on #RoadToRuin courtesy of the Work Programme.

#RoadToRuin when NHS pay private care home thousands of pounds for two week bed but won’t pay for nursing funding for 95-year-old.

Millions relying on foodbanks because Tories and FibDems put them on the #RoadToRuin.

Tory policy of taking money from public purse into privaet hands is #RoadToRuin.

They said they were “paying down our debts” but we know they haven’t. They said they have halved the deficit but they haven’t.

200,000 people waiting for first PIP assessment on the #RoadToRuin.

Tories will bring more low pay more insecure employment weaker employment rights in return for tax cuts for the rich.

90,000 children homeless, millions of people reliant on food banks; Tories call that a recovery.

2.25 million sanctioned – wiped off statistics. 3.45 million children in poverty. 900,000 use foot banks. Political poverty creation.

Rents and landlords need regulations. Rents are far too high and too many landlords are greedy and/or untrustworthy.

Independent Pay Review recommendations for nurses pay ignored on the #RoadToRuin.

220,000 less meals on wheels served to vulnerable people in 2014 than 2010 because of Conservative cuts.

Public sector workers didn’t cause greed-driven global banking crisis – that was bankers – who are still being rewarded today.

Mervyn King says no-one to blame for financial meltdown. Tory fibbers blame previous government.

After housing costs, 14.6 million (23.2 per cent UK population) in absolute poverty 2012-13, up 600,000. iaf.gd/lts

If you think things are bad now, Osborne still has 60 per cent of his planned cuts to make.

Govt doesn’t want public to challenge their policies in the Court of Human Rights so it wants to scrap Human Rights laws.

UK government to sell Eurostar stake before general election. Selling off family silver is #RoadToRuin.

Austerity is an excuse to shrink the state and sell off profitable public assets like Royal Mail leaving us on a #RoadToRuin.

Iain Duncan Smith to accelerate benefit reforms to stop Labour reversing them fw.to/EM13uib

Povery, hunger, foodbanks, privatisation of OUR NHS, zero-hours contracts, workfare, lies and broken promises!

Two companies to run more than half of privatised probation services. #RoadToRuin or complete insanity?

How many of these new jobs are low paid, don’t reach the tax threshold and have to be topped up by tax credits?

David Cameron is taking UK down a #RoadToRuin by forcing fracking and removing landowners rights.

The Tories scrapped rent controls for housing.

The Conservatives must go because they can never admit they are wrong e.g. badger cull. They will keep us on the #RoadToRuin.

Tories don’t care that we’re on the #RoadToRuin – they already have profitable consultancy positions lined up and the cuts won’t affect them.

400,000 children being taught by 17,000 unqualified teachers. Just not good enough. Failing our kids’ future.

With 400 tankers going to every fracking well every road will be in ruins.

Government is not properly regulating private companies and are allowing private companies to rip off public.

If the Conservatives win in May, our NHS will be lost forever.

If majjority of ‘jobs’ created are unpaid workfare, what happens to existing workforce competing against free labour?

Children shouldn’t go to school hungry or go home knowing they won’t eat till the next day. David Cameron, shame on you.

Tories like to keep us in a climate of fear and insecurity – makes their progress on the #RoadToRuin easier – that is, the road to OUR ruin.

Most of us plebs aren’t too savvy when it comes to economic stats but we know by instinct we’re worse off and being lied to by government.

For generations, people fought for a better world. Much of what they achieved has been undone in five years under the Conservatives.

I wasn’t born at the start of the war yet I paid the war debt down. Why the rush down the #RoadToRuin to pay a debt so quickly? We have time.

Bankers crippled the country. They got off. Decent people suffer.

They are taking away the dignity of the disabled.

Don’t become sick, disabled or old. You will be chucked out of Dave’s limo like a fag end discarded at the traffic lights.

The last word – in this article – goes to Yr Obdt Srvt, because it’s important:

Every Tory campaign statement is a step along the #RoadToRuin – let’s make sure they are ALL debunked as thoroughly as their first poster.

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Road to ruin: Tories’ campaign poster is electoral suicide

150102youmeanthisisntthenewtoryposter

The Tories have fired the first shot in the 2015 general election campaign – and it’s a dud.

Their brand-new campaign poster shows a road stretching out through the (presumably British) countryside, and bears the slogan, “Let’s Stay on the Road to a Stronger Economy”. It’s eerily reminiscent of the poster for the 1978 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind – and there’s about as much chance of our economic chances improving under the Tories as there is of alien visitation.

150102torypostercloseencounters

Perhaps the Tories are trying to evoke another image from popular culture:

150102toryposteryellowbrickroad

Either way, they are definitely trying to promote a fantasy.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the actual poster:

150102toryposter

The claims beneath the slogan are questionable at best; at worst, outright lies.

“1.75 million more people in work.” Are they? Is that just the number thrown off Jobseekers’ Allowance? Or is it the number of people claiming to be self-employed and claiming tax credits, rather than go through the sanctions minefield that is a JSA claim under the Tory-led Coalition government? Is it the number of people in part-time or zero-hours work?

How many of these people are actually able to pay Income Tax – and thereby contribute to the Coalition’s stated main aim of deficit reduction – as a result of their employment?

“760,000 more businesses.” Are there? As above, how many are people claiming to be self-employed in order to receive tax credits rather than claim JSA? And how many businesses have been ruined over the course of the current, Tory-led, Parliament? Here’s a clue:

150102businesses

That doesn’t look too good, does it?

(Admittedly this graph only runs until 2013 but if one considers the number of new self-employed enterprises – 408,000 in the year to August 2014 alone – and the fact that self-employed income has dropped by 22 per cent since 2008-9, it is possible to work out the facts behind the Tory spin).

“The deficit halved.” Even the BBC have had a go at this! Radio 4’s Six O’clock News contained a segment in which this claim was examined and found wanting, in strict mathematical terms. This is because the deficit stood at around £150 billion when the Tory-led Coalition took over, and is likely to be around £100 billion on election day, May 7. This suggests that just one-third of the deficit has been eliminated.

But even this isn’t the whole story. Michael Meacher MP will happily tell you that the policies of the last Labour government account for around £38 billion of the eliminated deficit leaving George Osborne responsible for around £12 billion of savings. Looking at the number of benefit-related deaths caused by his colleague Iain Duncan Smith’s policies alone (more than 10,000 but the DWP still won’t release the figures), we have to ask: Was it worth it?

The claim that the deficit has been halved is justified with reference to economic growth; because the economy has grown, the deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is smaller. But this means the Tories have used a fallacious argument to make their point; having referred to the deficit in money terms for the last four and a half years, they have had to try ‘moving the goalposts’ (that’s the actual name for this fallacy) in order to make it seem that they have achieved more.

Releasing this poster on an unsuspecting population at a launch in Halifax, David Cameron made it clear that he wanted the Conservatives to be judged on their economic performance. Perhaps he is forgetting that the Tories’ economic performance has been absolutely awful.

Together with George Osborne, he promised in 2010 that the Coalition would eliminate the deficit within its term of office. That time is almost up and it is clear that any government formed after the election will inherit a deficit of at least £80 billion. This government has failed to keep its promise.

Not only that, they promised that the national debt would begin to reduce by the end of the current Parliamentary term, and this has not happened. The national debt is still rising. It currently stands at more than twice its level when the Coalition took office. Mr Osborne is responsible for more debt than every Labour chancellor in history – put together.

And the national debt is still rising!

In fact, all the financial pain endured by ordinary people over the years since May 2010 has been for nothing. Most working households have suffered a real-terms income drop of £1,600 per year – increasing beyond £3,000 per year for those on benefits.

But life has improved for some, hasn’t it?

The richest people in the UK have doubled their wealth since 2009. They have enjoyed huge tax cuts – both in Income Tax and Corporation Tax – the tax companies pay on their profits – while changes made by Osborne to tax law have opened up huge new tax loopholes, allowing them to turn the UK into another tax haven and – again – pay fewer taxes. As pointed out on Charlie Brooker’s ‘2014 Wipe’ (and visible in the video posted on Vox Political yesterday), the current Parliament has seen a transfer of money from the poor to the rich, the like of which is unprecedented in recent years.

That’s right – rich UK citizens have benefited from the Conservatives’ policies. Debt reduction hasn’t had much to do with their plans.

This blog has argued in the past that the current government has been about selling off state assets to private enterprises, in order to create gratitude to the government of the time that is expressed in the form of donations to party funds. The Conservative Party has certainly benefited from this, and has a huge ‘war chest’ of cash to spend on the upcoming election as a result.

And we must also consider the number of millionaires in Cameron’s cabinet, and the Conservatives’ wider circle of acquaintances. Have you ever heard of a kleptocracy?

It’s a form of political corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with the pretense of honest service. Doesn’t that remind you of the Conservative-led Coalition government?

Voting for the Conservatives is the last thing anyone would do, if they want a more prosperous United Kingdom.

And one last thought: Who wants the Tory version of a stronger economy at the cost of human lives? It’s only money, but more than 10,000 people have died because of Tory policies aimed at enriching their friends. It is a price that nobody should be forced to pay.

This writer got all of the above from the Tories’ new election poster.

David Cameron said it was “firing the starting gun” for the election.

It was the political equivalent of shooting himself in the head.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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UKIP backlash gains momentum with Farage radio interview

Friends in right-wing places: Nigel Farage with (among others) US right-wingers Ron Paul and James Beeland Rogers Jr. [Image swiped from Pride's Purge.]

Friends in right-wing places: Nigel Farage with (among others) US right-wingers Ron Paul and James Beeland Rogers Jr. [Image swiped from Pride’s Purge.]

LBC radio interviewer James O’Brien’s encounter with Nigel Farage has been gaining attention and approval up and down the UK, after it became clear that the charismatic UKIP leader wasn’t just defeated on many issues – he was routed.

Considering Farage’s own win against Nick Clegg in the televised debates earlier this year, it seems we’ve come to a lamentable situation in this country, where politicians can lose a battle of wits with anyone who has taken the time to do a little research.

That being said, if anyone were to ask who you would prefer to have running the country, it’s unlikely that either profession would figure in the top two.

The interviewer confirmed the findings of many social media bloggers over the past few days, starting with reference to two more UKIP members who had shown their true homophobic and hypocritical colours.

He quoted former UKIP council candidate John Lyndon Sullivan, who tweeted: “I rather often wonder, if we shot one poofter, whether the next 99 would decide on balance that they weren’t after all. We might then conclude that it’s not a matter of genetics but rather more a matter of education.”

And UKIP’s small business spokesman has employed seven illegal immigrants in the last year, said Mr O’Brien.

Farage employed the usual UKIP tactic, which is to demand that the questioner find out “what’s going on in the other parties”. O’Brien put him straight by pointing out that the other parties weren’t the issue at hand.

Later in the interview, he added: “The reason it doesn’t possess the same urgency as the UKIP conversation does is – (a) – the question of quantity; there is simply not the avalanche of bigotry emerging from other parties that emerges from yours, and – (b) – … the opinion polls do not report significant swathes of the country who are fearful that your party represents deeply divisive and racist ideas.”

He was saying it is possible that UKIP is influencing people into adopting those anti-immigrant and racist ideas themselves – and this theory has been borne out by some of the pro-UKIP comments on the Vox Political Facebook page (but you have to catch them quickly, before the perpetrators realise they’ve erred and remove them).

Regarding JL Sullivan, Farage said he wasn’t a councillor but a council candidate, then contradicted himself by saying he had not heard of that gentleman’s name. If that were true, how would Farage know whether he was a councillor or a candidate?

Farage’s assertion that he would face a disciplinary charge on whether he had brought the party into disrepute was punctured by the revelation that his tweet was made in February.

On the illegal immigrants, Farage’s defence was holed by the revelation that his small business spokesman resigned as a company director three days after the immigration raid.

A conversation about Farage’s discomfort, sitting in a train carriage in which nobody else spoke English, was surreal. When I was a student I had the unique pleasure of sharing a carriage with a crowd of French schoolchildren. That was uncomfortable too, but I didn’t attach any unreasonable baggage to it – it wasn’t an indication that French kids were overrunning Britain and it didn’t show that the French were all loud and overexcitable. It was one train carriage and Farage should have more of a sense of proportion.

O’Brien put his finger on the nerve and pressed hard: “The point you’re making is that schools in the East End are filled with children who cannot speak English. .. That’s not true… Children who are typified as speaking English as a second language would include your own daughters… Perhaps [if we checked] we would realise that most bilingual children in this country are children like yours?”

He continued, highlighting accusations of bigotry and hypocrisy: “What the caller asked you was why so many people think you’re racist… and… you talk about children who can’t speak English as a first language without mentioning it includes your own children.”

There was an implication that Farage, who has banned former members of the BNP from joining UKIP in an effort to protect the party from adverse publicity, has himself associated with the far-right organisation; and a question over the far-right parties with which UKIP sits in the European Parliament. Farage said UKIP would not sit with people who didn’t have a reasonable point of view but O’Brien flagged up a member of the group who had said the ideas of Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, Islamophobe, Anti-Semite and anti-feminist, were “in defence of Western civilisation”.

Farage’s paper-thin defence was that the European political discourse was very different to the UK, (again) an admission that his party had encountered problems with “one or two members”, and a reference to problems in other parties (the Conservatives, on this occasion)

O’Brien leapt on this: “Your defence so far is that you’re no different from any other political party and yet your unique selling point … is that you are different.” In addition, he pointed out that Farage refers to “members of the political class and their friends in the media”, while writing columns for the Independent and Express newspapers every week and appearing on the BBC’s Question Time more often than anyone apart from David Dimbleby.

Farage should count himself lucky he was not also asked about his connections with American right-wingers, including Ron Paul (Godfather of the Tea Party) and James Beeland Rogers Jr who, together with George Soros, engineered the British economic crash of 1992.

Farage tried to defend his way of equating Romanians with criminality by saying that Roma people in other countries have been forced into a situation where crime is their only option – and then was forced into a corner when O’Brien mentioned UKIP’s fearmongering poster, that claims millions of potential immigrants are after the jobs of British people. Wasn’t he demonising foreigners by saying they will take all the jobs and push crime up?

“I’m not demonising anyone,” said Farage, then contradicted himself: “I’m demonising a political class that has allowed us to have an open door that allowed things like this to happen.”

“So when I say Romanian and you start talking about people traffickers, why don’t you say people are perfectly entitled to feel uncomfortable about living next door to people traffickers, wherever they’re from?” asked Mr O’Brien. “Why do you say ‘Romanians’?”

Get ready for another contradiction: “I didn’t say Romanians; I was asked… if a group of Romanian men moved in next door to you, would you be concerned, and if you lived in London I think you would be.”

It was while Farage was being questioned on his expenses that Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP’s director of communications and former Daily Express political commentator, stepped in (claiming that O’Brien was over-running, 19 minutes into a 20-minute interview). Mr O’Brien’s response: “Is this a friend in the media or a member of the political class?”

Homophobia, racism, hypocrisy, and an incitement for others to display the same characteristics.

Does this country really need that kind of alternative to mainstream politics?

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