Tag Archives: red

Why did the Tories use Brexit to stab our musicians in the back?

Festival: this site stated before Brexit happened that, if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

This is unlikely to be music to anybody’s ears: not only are musicians facing red tape and costs that make touring in Europe prohibitive after Brexit – it turns out the Conservative government deliberately arranged it that way.

According to the Independent,

The UK rejected an offer of visa-free tours by musicians to EU countries, despite blaming Brussels for what the industry is calling the devastating blow of them requiring permits.

A “standard” proposal to exempt performers from the huge cost and bureaucracy for 90 days was turned down… because the government is insisting on denying that to EU artists visiting this country.

It seems insane. Last year the UK music industry brought £2.9 billion into the country.

Some of that came from tours that went to EU countries. This Writer is willing to bet that more money came from the EU to the UK than in the other direction.

So by denying a reciprocal deal for visa-free tours, Boris Johnson has turned down a huge amount of tax income.

Maybe he isn’t musical.

(More accurately, it seems Priti Patel is the one with the tin ear – as the extra red tape is part of her crackdown on immigration which has introduced tough restrictions on tours by EU musicians.)

If you’re wondering why this is such a problem, the new rules that make touring in the EU under post-Brexit conditions prohibitive are detailed here.

Stars including folk singer Laura Marling and Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess have signed a parliamentary petition demanding visa-free tours, backed by almost 230,000 people.

Burgess explains the problems in another Independent article:

Bigger artists putting on stadium shows will more than likely be able to survive, but anyone below that level will be hit hard. Primarily by, you guessed it, “bureaucracy and red tape”.

Those costs mean that the precarious economics of touring Europe would make it impossible for so many artists starting out. Those artists that are lauded when they make it – those future Florences, Adeles and Eds – are having so many more obstacles put in front of them. It puts the music industry everyone is apparently so proud of under serious threat.

The government has said the Independent‘s story is incorrect and misleading.

But the restrictions have been imposed.

So who, exactly, is misleading who?

And how long will it be before the Tories realise they’ve made a mistake?

Source: UK ‘rejected offer’ of visa-free tours by musicians in EU, despite blaming Brussels for permit blow | The Independent

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Brexit: EU firms refuse UK deliveries (Vox Political Scrapbook)

So much for the big tory “bonfire of red tape”.

It was a David Cameron project, as was the EU membership referendum of 2016. Cameron succeeded in creating more red tape than any previous UK prime minister, it seems.

Oh, and the bureaucracy that he destroyed? That was saving us from the corruption that is now the hallmark of Boris Johnson’s administration.

A growing number of retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to Britain because of the new costs involved in sending packages after Brexit. Companies have said they are unwilling to register for VAT in the UK, with one Dutch firm calling the red tape “ludicrous”.

Brexit disruption means Sainsbury’s has reportedly lost around 700 product lines in Northern Ireland – where it has been forced to stock goods from Spar. And Marks & Spencer said new trading rules in place since Britain left the EU were delaying deliveries of food to its stores in France – where branches had empty shelves on Tuesday.

Source: Brexit news – live: EU firms refuse UK deliveries as Boris Johnson’s India trade trip scrapped

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Musicians: brace yourselves for the hidden costs of EU touring the Brexiteers never mentioned

Festival: if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

As a musician myself – even though I’ve never toured in Europe – this is infuriating.

I know musicians who do gig on the Continent, and the new costs triggered by Brexit are likely to make it impractical for them to continue.

Wasn’t Brexit supposed to make it easier for us all to ply our trades? Do you know anybody who actually and materially benefits from January 1 onwards?

Here’s Howard Goodall to explain the bad news:

Last summer, the arts/culture charity I currently chair – Radnor Fringe Festival – ran an online version of its annual event because Covid-19 made a physical festival with thousands of people standing around shoulder-to-shoulder impossible. It was a huge success.

We’re currently working on making the online festival an ongoing thing, with new content by musicians, artists, actors and so on, to be funded initially by donations.

Personally, I see this as one way for UK musicians to get their sounds out to the Continent while the Brexit insanity holds sway.

It won’t be the same as being there at a gig, but it might be the only cost-effective way of being heard.

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The dehumanisation game: Homeless man sprayed with red paint by thug is found dead days later

This is what happens when you dehumanise people.

You give others an excuse to abuse them and, ultimately, expose them to danger.

That is what happened to homeless Michael Cash, who was sleeping rough in Middlesbrough.

He was captured on a video posted to Facebook, being spray-painted red by a thug. The video was taken by Aaron Jones (pictured above) – although he has denied carrying out the spray attack.

On the soundtrack, a man’s voice could be heard saying, “this is how we deal with the beggars on the street,” and claiming, “he’s not even a beggar”.

Days later, Mr Cash was found dead in a graveyard.

Read about the incident here.

Mr Jones has admitted taking the video but denied responsibility for the death. He said all he was doing was highlighting the problem of people sitting outside supermarkets.

People sit outside supermarkets all the time. Would he and his presumed accomplice have spray-painted a shopper and recorded that? No.

Mr Jones has also requested police protection.

Tough.

There is no way he should receive any consideration from the authorities at all.

He may not have been involved in the death of Mr Cash, but his actions in recording an attack on the homeless man (he can even be heard saying, “There he is, sprayed to death”) may certainly have encouraged somebody else to have committed the crime.

He made it seem acceptable to treat people who sleep rough as less than human – deserving none of the respect that should be accorded to every human being – and therefore made it seem acceptable to abuse this man, possibly to the point of death.

If so, then when the perpetrator is brought to justice, Mr Jones should stand trial alongside that person, as an accessory.

People are people. Wealthy, poor, working, unemployed, homeless or whatever – they all deserve the respect we would wish others to give us.

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Labour’s latest welfare betrayal means the party could change name to ‘Red Conservatives’

Red Tory betrayal: He might as well have said, "We're going to grip the poor by the throat and push them down so far and so hard that they'll never be able to get on their feet again."

Red Tory betrayal: He might as well have said, “We’re going to grip the poor by the throat and push them down so far and so hard that they’ll never be able to get on their feet again.”

The Red Conservative Party has announced a new policy attack on people receiving benefits, in its latest bid to out-Tory the Blue Conservatives.

Ed Cameron announced that he would impose a three-year cap on any welfare spending not linked to the economic cycle, stealing an idea put forward by George Osborne of the original Conservative Party during the March budget.

He also vowed to make people work for two years before they qualify for a new, higher rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance.*

Shadow work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Byrne said the cap would force a Labour government to engage in long-term reforms necessary to bring the welfare bill down.

Neither man actually spelled out which benefits would be affected by the cap.

But Ed Cameron tried to salvage his party’s reputation in the eyes of left-wing supporters by promising to drive down rents and improve pay.

And in a contradictory move, he said he would not abandon the long-standing goal of abolishing child poverty by 2020, even though his new policies mean that, inevitably, more children will suffer poverty through no fault of their own.

Cut through the spin and the above is, pretty much, what has been announced. The Labour Party is becoming even more right-wing, rather than less, as the Tory tabloids claimed when Ed Miliband became the leader.

It seems that failing to reverse the abolition of universal child benefit was just the tip of the iceberg, Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph Miliband, must be spinning in his grave… In fact, he’s probably drilling his way through the Earth’s crust towards countries unknown, in the same way I said William Beveridge must be, after Liam Byrne’s Guardian article on the welfare state in 2012.

What we’re seeing isn’t really a conversion to Conservatism – although the retention of critically dangerous neoliberal elements at the top of the party structure means this will continue to be a threat. It’s actually worse than that.

This is a Labour Party that goes any way the wind blows.

Does anybody remember the great Tony Benn’s comments about politicians being either signposts or weathercocks? It has been mentioned previously, in this blog. He said some politicians are like signposts. They point in the direction they want to travel and say, “This is the way we must go!” And they are constant. Others are like weathercocks; they lick their fingers, find out which direction the political winds are blowing and follow.

The Guardian illustrates that Miliband has become a cock in its article, stating that the new announcement “is seen as critical to Labour being able to claw back its poll deficit on welfare and show its ability to take tough decisions”.

It will do neither.

If Labour wanted to “claw back its poll deficit on welfare” it would be announcing new policies to tackle the causes of unemployment, sickness and disability, in order to ensure that unemployment was never again likely to rise as high as it has. This means helping industry; it means restoring the National Health Service; it means making sure employers – especially the really large ones who think they can get away with anything – conform strictly to health and safety laws and can’t blame employees’ work-based sicknesses on anything other than their own negligence.

It means setting the terms of a new debate on this issue – not meekly accepting the Conservatives’ warped frame of reference.

Because, you see, that doesn’t indicate an “ability to take tough decisions”. Nor does copying an idea already mentioned by a Conservative. Tough decisions are those that the public might find hard to accept at first – about policies that might need to be explained before they are accepted. Labour isn’t making any tough decisions. It is following the Conservative/Coalition example and that simply is not good enough.

The Guardian article says Labour hopes the electorate “will focus on the party’s decision to take a credible and specific stance on the deficit, after three years of low growth, rather than punish Labour for its apparent volte face [about turn] by ending three years of criticism of welfare cuts”.

There is no chance of that happening. The electorate is not stupid and I predict that those parts of it that have supported Labour as a force for working people, those who want to work but are unemployed through no fault of their own, and those who have been invalided out of work, again through no fault of their own, will desert the party en masse. Miliband and Byrne might pick up a few right-wing votes – but not enough to make a difference. They will lose far more than they will gain.

Note particularly that line about “ending three years of criticism of welfare cuts”. They’ve stopped criticising the Conservatives/Coalition about cuts that are literally ending UK citizens’ lives at an alarming rate. That is not – and will never be – justifiable on any level at all.

Let’s not forget that an average of 73 people a week are dying as a result of Conservative/Coalition policies on benefits – possibly many more, as this figure is nearly a year old. A Labour government that would allow this to continue is not an electable Labour government.

This announcement marks the beginning of the Conservative victory in 2015.

Thanks for nothing, Ed Miliband. Thanks for nothing, Liam Byrne.

Shame on you, you sell-outs.

*Interestingly, the Blue Conservative mouthpiece BBC misleadingly reported that Labour believed “only people who pay into the system for more than two years should get Jobseekers’ Allowance” at all! This seems to be an inaccuracy but it is damaging and more people will read it.