Tag Archives: socialism

Here’s why we don’t have an entirely neoliberal government even though it’s run by neoliberal people

Here’s an interesting debate thrown up by the controversy over pay rises for HMRC and the NHS:

You’ll be aware that the discussion is about the perceived unfairness of HMRC employees receiving a 13 per cent pay increase while NHS workers get just one per cent.

Over in the comment column of the Vox Political Facebook page, a reader suggested, “Surely at a time of wage reduction, more jobless, food banks, child poverty, a pandemic and low inflation we should not be talking about wage rises. There will we hope be a time and place for that in the future.”

I replied: “When we have a good socialist government in Westminster? I’m glad you agree that it won’t happen until then.” He hadn’t made any such suggestion but I was trying to prompt debate.

He then responded with a link to an Independent article from 2017 in which columnist Ben Chu suggested that it is wrong to attach labels like “capitalist” or “socialist” to our political parties because their policies today cannot possibly correspond to what those words originally meant. “That is if we understand what socialism really is,” he stated.

Interesting point!

Let’s see if you agree with my response:

This article from 2017 is an incredible piece of work. About the only part with which I could agree was the claim that it is wrong to say a Tory government is entirely capitalist or a Labour government entirely socialist.

The Tories are capitalists, though (or more accurately, neoliberals). And Jeremy Corbyn was a socialist, although many of his MPs weren’t.

The government is a mixture of the two because change doesn’t happen overnight. Labour governments of a socialist persuasion have implemented socialist policies and Conservative governments since 1970 have done their best to dismantle them while remaining on the good side of public opinion.

That’s why we have the social democracy that we have; the policies implemented by previous governments that are not repealed by their successors remain in effect, no matter whether those successor administrations approve of them or not.

The amount of socialism exhibited by any government may be gauged by the amount of benefit to the people. So, for example, Norway provides a huge amount of benefit to its people and may be considered to be at the better end of the scale. The United States provides much less and may be considered to be at the worser end. The UK would be closer to the United States.

We won’t see an end to wage reduction, more jobless, food banks, and child poverty while we have a Conservative government because those are all results of capitalist (in reality, neoliberal) Conservative policies. They can only come to an end when a socialist government ends them.

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The Anna Rothery scandal suggests Labour is a sexist and racist institution under Starmer

Anna Rothery: her socialism is probably the reason she has been dropped as a Liverpool mayoral candidate. But the decision is also sexist and racist – and that is how Keir Starmer’s Labour party should now be described.

How is this an improvement?

Let’s go through the information we have, and please correct any errors.

There will be an election to fill the role of executive Mayor of Liverpool after Joe Anderson retired under a cloud.

The Labour Party held a selection process using an all-female shortlist which produced three candidates, including current Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Anna Rothery.

However, examination of Ms Rothery by party leaders revealed that she is:

  • female
  • black, and
  • socialist.

It seems that these are considered undesirable elements in Labour candidates under Keir Starmer’s leadership.

This may come as a surprise to many, especially as he should have expected a selection process that demanded that all candidates are female to produce candidates who aren’t men.

The selection process has reopened. It seems clear that the aim is to parachute in a candidate who is as neoliberal-blue as Starmer himself – in denial of Liverpool Labour members’ right to a free and democratic selection.

But the fact is that he will have eliminated a black woman to do it.

Therefore it is possible to claim that Starmer’s Labour is prejudiced against women and against people of colour: he and his party are sexist and racist.

I am reminded that his forerunner as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, suffered years of attacks, both in the media and by backstabbing right-wingers within the Parliamentary Labour Party, based on fabricated accusation of anti-Semitism.

So I ask:

How is genuine racism and sexism better than fake anti-Semitism?

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These young ladies of Brexit need to be seen to be believed

I promise this is not a send-up and these people are for real.

Watch the video embedded in Kerry-Anne Mendoza’s tweet. You won’t need to go very far into it to get the gist:

Alice and Beatrice Grant (for those are their names) have been getting roasted online ever since this went out.

They are genuine Farage fangirls who, let’s be honest, don’t seem to understand much of what they’re on about.

This Mail article gives a little more background:

“The two young women are in fact sisters Alice and Beatrice Grant, aged 17 and 15, privately educated granddaughters of the late industrialist and former Governor of the Bank of Scotland Sir Alistair Grant.”

Oh right, so a background like that should give them a qualification in … Capitalism, not Socialism. I’d have thought so, anyway.

“The girls argue that what Britain needs is a swift No-Deal exit from the EU. In their eyes, Nigel Farage is a hero for standing up for Britain and fighting for British independence from the ‘corrupt EU’. And while they are still too young to vote, they have little time for those who doubt they are the genuine article.”

The piece goes on to say the girls like to spend their spare time looking for vintage clothes in charity shops. Personally, I see them more as looking in shops like “I Saw You Coming” from Harry and Paul. On the subject of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, here’s one Twitter user’s response to Alice and Beatrice:

Here’s a comment on their style of autocue-reading (if it was even that sophisticated).

Obviously, as Brexiteers, they’re fans of UKIP’s new leader, Dick Braine, too:

https://twitter.com/Kit_Zongo/status/1161569658543194112

It would be beneath This Writer to suggest that the only reason these girls have been put forward as faces of Brexit is the fact that they’re easy on the eye.

But we can all agree – can’t we? – that it wasn’t for their intelligence.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Theresa May vows to ‘defeat socialism’ and Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘populist politics’ – at exclusive banquet for the very rich

Theresa May: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are exploiting populist politics” [Image: Pool New/Reuters].

She just can’t stop putting her foot in her mouth.

I wonder that nobody questioned the wisdom of attacking the so-called “populist politics” of Mr Corbyn at an exclusive dinner to which only very rich people are invited.

Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party states repeatedly that it is “for the many” – but Mrs May made her speech at an event that was open only to those who could afford the £15,000 admission fee.

That’s more than most people earn in a year.

The “free trade” and “economic liberalism” extolled by Mrs May are Tory myths. She is taking the UK into an era of highly-taxed trade, thanks to Brexit.

And what about her “rules-based order”? Tories belong to the party of deregulation. Their relaxation of the rules allowed the Grenfell Tower fire to happen, and it is on their orders that Carillion collapsed.

Mrs May’s claim that a Labour government will cause a run on the pound is rich; she has started several, simply by making speeches.

Her claim about capital flight – businesses and wealth deserting the UK – is already coming true due to Brexit (so, again, the Tories are responsible).

And Labour’s plans for re-nationalisation will return the profits from water, energy and rail companies to the United Kingdom after decades in which we paid for other nations to prosper.

She could not have made a better case for electing a Labour government.

Theresa May has pledged to “defeat socialism” as she attacked Jeremy Corbyn for exploiting “populist politics”.

Amid an increasingly divided Tory party, the Prime Minister has attempted to rally flagging Conservatives by turning her fire on the Labour Party.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Black and White Ball on Wednesday night, May was expected to contrast Labour’s left-wing agenda to her party being champions of “free trade, economic liberalism and the rules-based order”.

Source: Theresa May Promises To ‘Defeat Socialism’ And Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Populist Politics’


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The Coalition is hoodwinking us towards totalitarianism. Will the ‘People’s Assembly’ halt this?

Wise words: The 'People's Assembly' hopes to stir people out of their apathy and encourage them to oppose the right-wing, ideologically-driven and austerity-led destruction of British society. Are you interested, or is it too much like hard work?

Wise words: The ‘People’s Assembly’ hopes to stir people out of their apathy and encourage them to oppose the unelected and unmandated right-wing, ideologically-driven and austerity-led destruction of British society. Are you interested, or is it too much like hard work?

“The people are not ready to embrace Socialism and may never be ready.”

“What, a cobbled together bunch of leftie socialists?”

“It will take more than a few breakfast TV celebrity socialists turning up in community centres to shake people awake, and armchair socialism – like conservatism, capitalism, fascism, communism and any other political ism that involves a minority seeking to impose its will on the masses down at their local community hall – is the last thing that anyone needs.”

“It would just be a talking shop of unelected and ‘celebrity’ allegedly left-wingers, who like to hear the sound of their own voices. It does not have any democratic structure, and would just be a sort of an admiring glee club, that would allow its supporters to have the illusion that something is being done.”

“Even if you got five million people to march through London protesting over the austerity program, the Palace of Westminster wouldn’t hear it.”

These are just a few of the negative responses to a recent article by Owen Jones, on the forthcoming meeting of the ‘People’s Assembly’, organised by the new socialist organisation Left Unity. None of them are saying anything we haven’t heard before. It seems the constant refrain, to which the British people sing along, is “Don’t bother trying to change it; there’s nothing you can do”.

This is, of course, lazy nonsense. You hear it from people who genuinely can’t be bothered and, more perniciously, from supporters of the status quo (in this case, the Coalition or UKIP) who know that a discouraging word at the right moment can nip a potential rival organisation in the bud. It’s called conditioned helplessness, and I’ve discussed it before.

Remember, the ‘People’s Assembly’ has not had its first meeting yet. Already people are trying to tell us it is a failure, a “talking shop” for “armchair socialism” that would not be heard in the corridors of power.

I wish I could attend, but geographical issues and other responsibilities mean this is impossible (I live in Wales and have responsibilities as a carer).

One thing we should all remember is that this is a socialist movement, not the creation of a political party. We already have a democratic socialist political party, although our Labour members of Parliament seem to have forgotten that (here’s a clue, folks: Read the top line on the back of your membership cards). They appear to be taking the soft option and following the Coalition narrative. But that’s no reason to let them get on with it.

It seems to me that the ‘People’s Assembly’, like the Left Unity organisation that is staging the event, will work best putting pressure on systems that are already in place. Labour presents the best chance we have for ousting the Tories and their little yellow helpers, without putting something equally right-wing in their place. People of good faith just need to encourage the Party to do the right thing.

And that is: Ditch all the idiotic follow-my-Tory-leader austerity-driven policies announced in recent weeks. Austerity has failed as a way of balancing the books; it was never intended to do so in the first place. Ditch the divisive Tory-soundalike rhetoric that shows Labour also wants to blame the poor for problems that they never created. Clear private sector ‘advisors’ out of Labour Party meetings and thinktanks – corporate influence will only benefit corporations and their shareholders; they have the Conservatives for that.

Adopt the line taken by Michael Meacher MP: “We will end austerity”.

Devise new policies for health, workplace safety and social security that will aim to prevent not only workplace-related sickness and disability, but also congenital conditions that blight lives. That will bring down the bills for health and social security far more than misplaced attempts to punish those whose ill-health is already an unjust punishment, as they have not committed any crime.

Reconsider policies relating to business. Labour has long since admitted that nationalisation of all industry does not work, and it doesn’t. But there are some services that should be run – as a business, perhaps, but under the authority of the state – in the national interest. These are the public utilities – water, electricity, gas. Possibly rail transport as well, because the current privatised situation is costing the taxpayer far more than when the service was nationalised.

Encourage self-employment where practical. People can only be assured of the ability to sustain themselves if they own the means of production. The best way to do that is to work for themselves. For businesses involving more than a single trader, encourage mutualism or co-operatives. This is the best way to ensure that all workers get the most benefit from the products of their labours. With employees encouraged to put more effort into their trade by the promise of getting more out of it, progress towards meeting and exceeding the Living Wage seems more likely.

And support new technologies, especially those that are environmentally-friendly. This is where many of the new jobs will be generated and the UK has delayed its support of these advances for far too long.

I don’t think these are impossible ambitions.

They can be achieved if the progressive members of British society get their act together and stand up for them. And let’s all admit it, they would be much healthier than the cuts that have spawned a continuing storm of protest ever since the Coalition first inflicted them upon us, just because most of us are poorer than they are.

I can see a willingness to take part in this activity, all around. I recently commented on attempts to silence progressive thinking in the letters page of my local newspaper – that has only happened because people (not just me) were willing to put pen to paper and say they think the Coalition has got it wrong.

People are realising that they can’t expect their political representatives to do the right thing without being told what it is. What’s holding them back is the concern that this is a minority view. That is why they may welcome an umbrella organisation like Left Unity and the ‘People’s Assembly’, to show them they’re not alone.

I would like to say that in Central Hall, Westminster, on Saturday but I can’t be there.

Would anybody like to say it for me – or something better?

Or shall we all just sit back in our armchairs and mutter, while the country goes to hell in a handbasket?