Tag Archives: Sir George Young

‘National shame’ of rough sleepers will continue because the Tories don’t care

Who said homeless people were what you stepped over, on your way to the opera?

Ah yes, it was Sir George Young, formerly the Conservative Party’s Chief Whip (not to be confused with Lord Young, mentioned in the article excerpt below).

His attitude epitomises Tory carelessness about those who don’t have a place to live, even though it has been proved that finding a home for such people is cheaper on the state than leaving them to fend for themselves.

But then, we all knew the Tories don’t want to help people. They want to feel superior.

Who can imagine the thrill of superiority that rushed through the Tories and their supporters when a homeless man actually died during the recent cold snap?

Arguments that homelessness is due to immigration are, of course, nonsense. Houses aren’t rationed because foreign people are taking them; they are rationed because this keeps prices artificially inflated and provides nice profits for Tory landlords (many of whom, it seems, have Parliamentary seats).

So don’t expect the Conservative Government to jump at any initiatives to end homelessness. They like putting people on the streets.

Ahead of an opposition day debate … on homelessness, Labour pledged to double the number of homes ringfenced for rough sleepers and expand the Clearing House scheme run by St Mungo’s charity for the Greater London Authority.

The scheme, set up by then Tory housing minister Lord Young in 1991, provides 3,750 flats in 40 housing associations across London for homeless people.

Labour said in government it would extend this to cities like Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester, and create 4,000 permanent new reserved flats or houses for rough sleepers, let at affordable rents to British nationals or others eligible for social housing.

The party called on Theresa May to back the scheme by striking a deal with housing associations to make the homes available now and by funding replacements.

Source: Labour calls on Theresa May to end ‘national shame’ of rough sleepers | Left Foot Forward

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Lord Young – a talking example of why working people should never vote Conservative

Unrepentant: Ignorant old Tories like Lord Young cannot see anything wrong with starving workers - and, through lack of tax revenue, the benefits bill - to make fat profits for greedy business bosses. The families of all those who have died because of these policies might have a different point of view.

Unrepentant: Ignorant old Tories like Lord Young cannot see anything wrong with starving workers – and, through lack of tax revenue, the benefit budget – to make fat profits for greedy business bosses. The families of all those who have died because of these policies might have a different point of view.

Apparently we are living in an excellent time for businesses to boost their profits – because labour is cheap.

That is what Lord Young, who advises David Cameron on enterprise, told the cabinet yesterday (May 11). His words make it crystal clear that working people who vote Conservative are classic examples of turkeys voting for Christmas. They beg to be exploited.

He said low wage levels in a recession made larger financial returns easier to achieve – in other words, he actually admitted that bosses could use the current state of the UK economy, as caused by his own government (not the previous Labour administration, for reasons we’ve covered in the past), to push workers’ wages down and keep more moolah for themselves.

Vox Political has accused the Conservatives of exactly this behaviour in the past, but we never expected to see a member of the government admit it so brazenly.

Perhaps this is more of the government’s pet ‘nudge’ theory at work. We have seen that benefit increases have been lowered in order to instil fear of destitution in the jobless, and in those who have low-paid jobs. Now, businesses are being urged to capitalise on this, exploiting their workforces with the obvious threat: “There are plenty of other people out there who’ll do it for less!”

Let’s just back this up with some statistics, courtesy of The Guardian , shall we? UK employees’ average hourly earnings have fallen by 8.5 per cent, in real terms, since 2009. That’s adjusting for inflation, and the newspaper got its figure from the Office for National Statistics.

Meanwhile, the 1,000 richest people in the UK are now worth more than £414 billion – up more than £155 billion in the three years to December 2012. And in April, the Tory-led government gave those people a £100,000 per year tax cut.

Lord Young is not to be confused with Sir George Young, the Tory Chief Whip who once famously said “the homeless are what you step over when you come out of the opera” – but he is cut from the same cloth.

He had to apologise after telling the Daily Telegraph that “for the vast majority of people in the country today, they have never had it so good, ever since this recession – this so-called recession – started”.

For this reason it is easy to suggest that he would have stepped over the body of Stephanie Bottrill, had he been the first to find it.

Oh – do you think that statement goes too far? Please, reserve your judgement until I have explained my reasoning.

Like so many members of the Tory government, this is a man who absolutely point-blank refuses to understand the relationship between the decisions he makes and the conditions in which the majority of us are forced to live.

This former advisor to the Prime Minister on health and safety laws has advocated relaxing them, ignoring the fact that this will increase the likelihood of work-related injury that makes it impossible for people who need the money to go to work.

This enterprise advisor was asked to conduct a “brutal” review of the relationship of government to small firms, presumably with a view to cutting off as much public assistance for small businesses as possible.

This former chairman of the Manpower Services Commission advised the late Baroness Thatcher on unemployment, and we may take it that it is due to this advice that joblessness skyrocketed during the Thatcher years.

He refuses to see that his attitude is causing the problem: By ensuring that Britain’s labour market remains “flexible” (read “low-wage”), he ensures that the national tax take remains far lower than it should be; low-paid workers form the overwhelming majority of the workforce. In turn, the low tax take means the government cannot pay off its debts and provides it with an excuse to cut public spending – especially on benefit payments.

Stephanie Bottrill had an auto-immune system deficiency, Myasthenia gravis, which meant she was permanently weak and needed constant medication. Doctors said she was too ill to hold a job, but she never qualified for disability benefits.

She committed suicide because she could not afford the cost of living after the Bedroom Tax was forced on her, and it has been said by others that she died for want of £20 per week.

It is the attitude of Tories like Lord Young that has deprived her of that money – and ultimately, of her life.

With friends like these, this dog of a government has had its day

Exactly who does support David Cameron’s government these days?

He’s got Tory ‘grandees’ like Lord Tebbit calling it a “dog”; he’s got the 2010 intake of Tory MPs rebelling against him – presumably in the belief that they’ll have more chance of promotion through backstabbing than waiting for him to shuffle them into his ever-growing Cabinet; and he’s got Cabinet members who are themselves liabilities.

I suppose he should count himself lucky he’s got the support of all those corporate doners, pouring millions into Conservative Party funds in return for the billions of pounds worth of government or NHS contracts he’s been handing out to them (and the devil take the public, who won’t benefit at all).

The ‘youth revolt’ might be a serious threat to Cameron’s authority, but it is the attack from Tebbit that will be the most damaging. At a time when polling shows only one per cent of the population believes the Coalition is likely to be more competent than Labour, he made it perfectly clear that he thinks Cameron doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“This dog of a coalition government has let itself be given a bad name and now anybody can beat it,” he wrote in an Observer column.

“The abiding sin of the government is not that some ministers are rich, but that it seems unable to manage its affairs competently.”

This is an attack that the coalition will find hard to disprove, especially after Cameron’s hastily-announced plan to force energy companies into putting everyone on the lowest possible tariffs (of which the Energy Secretary and department apparently knew nothing). “Back-of-the-envelope” policymaking, as Ed Miliband might say.

“It has let itself be called a government of unfeeling toffs,” said Lord Tebbit.

Again – impossible to deny. Look at the Comedy Chancellor, Gideon George Osborne, sitting in a First Class train seat with a standard class ticket. One wonders if this will re-ignite the debate over rail ticket pricing – as they are clearly too costly even for a millionaire like him…

And then of course there’s Pleb-gate, or Gate-gate – the saga of the short temper and long decline of now-former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. Whether he actually called a Downing Street police officer a “pleb” or not is immaterial, and has been ever since it was first reported; that was the moment the public made up its collective mind and Cameron should have known it. Instead he hung on to a lost cause, dragging his entire administration down as the story dragged on.

Mitchell’s replacement is Sir George Young, a man who is on record has having described the homeless as “What you step over when you come out of the opera.” He has been described on the Void blog as “a stuck-up, not so nice but dim, advert for class war” and as a “chinless f*cking wet-wipe”. In other words, he’s likely to be even more unpopular than Mitchell.

Lord Tebbit, who – we are told – represents a growing number of senior Tories who are questioning whether Cameron has the qualities necessary to lead a government, said Cameron must impose “managerial discipline, not just on his colleagues but on himself.”

He continued: “Had Mr Miliband concentrated his fire on a long list of muddles – from the proposed sale of our national forests to the BAE and energy policy muddles of recent days, it would have been far worse.”

With respect, Lord Tebbit, Mr Miliband didn’t have to – you did it yourself.

And with friends like these, Cameron doesn’t need enemies. The Nasty Party’s reputation for back-stabbing is well-deserved.