Congratulations to Tom Pride for pointing out this travesty:
When it comes to fighting terrorists, Nigel Farage’s team and UKIP supporters seem to think our heroic police are an “embarrassment” to the country.
Farage’s head of communications is someone called Dan Jukes.
Jukes sarcastically tweeted yesterday that British police are no match for terrorists after officers were seen dancing at a Manchester parade:
And when Farage supporters crawled out of the social media woodwork to call British police officers an “embarrassment” – Farage’s hand-picked communications director agreed:
Our police might be able to dance. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be able to boogie on over to the most brutal looking terrorist or criminal and put them in their place at the drop of hat if called on to do so.
This is why politics needs the social media – you can’t trust the mainstream news sources to provide balanced coverage any more.
They attack sites like Pride’s Purge, claiming they are produced by people who are “not proper reporters”, and then published biased material like this.
And then they claim – with ever-more improbably vehemence – to be impartial!
It’s all just further proof that This Writer – and I am a “proper reporter”, by the way – was lucky not to have been employed by BBC Online back in the 1990s.
I work in the social media, where high-quality news reporting remains the norm, not the exception.
What’s happening with the BBC?
They seem to have come over all right-wing tabloidy.
A bizarre report by the BBC today claims the UK economy will be given a £135bn annual boost’ by a hard Brexit.
In its article, the BBC extensively quotes infamous Thatcherite economist Patrick Minford, who is the lead author of a report urging the hardest of hard Brexits from pro-Brexit campaign group Economists for Free Trade.
[But the BBC has been] completely censoring failing to mention any of the extremely negative consequences of the group’s proposals, as predicted by Professor Minford himself.
Namely, for example, that the hard Brexit proposed by the group will eliminate UK manufacturing.
And the BBC report also completely omits the fact that Professor Minford is happy to see the UK car industry “run down” after a hard Brexit.
Or that – according to Minford – there will be large increases in wage inequality after a hard Brexit. Or to put it another way, poorer workers will be paid less.
Minford’s methodologies have also been widely debunked – something else the BBC fail to mention.
Why doesn’t the BBC report the stated negative affects of a hard-Brexit, as stated by hard-Brexiters themselves?
Anyone who thinks David Cameron’s promise of a five-year ‘tax lock’ is a good idea must need psychiatric help.
Cameron promised to introduce a law banning income tax, VAT or national insurance increases in the next parliament if the Conservative Party is elected back into office, clearly in the belief that anybody on average wages or less is too stupid to know what this means.
We know better, don’t we?
We know that taxes are set according to each income group’s ability to pay. This means that people in the lowest taxable bracket pay the lowest amount, as they need most of the money they earn in order to pay their way. The amount of tax then increases by increments up to the highest earners – who take home considerably more than they need to survive, and who can therefore afford to contribute a much larger amount with no impact on their quality of life.
We also know that a five-year ‘tax lock’ will not affect the lowest-earning people at all. Nobody earning up to £10,600 pays any tax at the moment, so a freeze on nothing is still nothing.
What will it do to the people in the highest tax bracket? Well, it depends what they earn and how fast their pay increases, doesn’t it? Let’s have a look at the handy guide to average UK pay rises, created by fellow blogger Tom Pride last November:
So the director of a FTSE 100 company, paid the average amount of a mere £2.4 million, would have contributed 45 per cent in tax, or £1.08 million in the 2014-15 tax year. Over a five-year period, if that person’s income continued to rise at 14 per cent, then by 2020 – at a 45 per cent tax rate – they would pay a total of £8,138,360 in tax over the years until 2020. That’s certainly a respectable figure.
But Labour has proposed an increase in the top rate of tax, back to 50 per cent. Under the same conditions, this would mean FTSE 100 directors earning £2.4 million in the tax year 2014-15 would pay £9,042,623.
That’s a difference of £904,263; nearly a million pounds each.
This writer doesn’t have current figures for banker salaries and cannot, therefore, work out how much tax they would pay – but you can see for yourself that the difference between the two scenarios is likely to come to several million pounds per top banker.
Those people don’t need that amount of money in order to survive. The cost of living in the UK is less than 1/50 of what the FTSE directors take home, let alone the bankers. But David Cameron wants them to keep that money.
Meanwhile the UK Treasury goes without millions of pounds that could be used to help balance the national deficit, pay off the national debt, and boost the economy.
We’re back to ‘Starve the Beast’ economics again. The nation’s finances can go to Hell, as far as Cameron is concerned. He wants to starve the Treasury with tax cuts for the rich – either actual cuts or de facto cuts like his ‘tax lock’ – and then claim that public services cost too much and will have to be scrapped or sold off to rich corporations in return for donations to the Conservative Party – as we have seen in the years of the Coalition Government (most obviously in the case of the NHS).
Unless you are a banker, an FTSE100 director, or a member of Parliament, you would be mad to support such a wasteful and selfish plan.
The 2015 UK election campaign is likely to be a hotbed of political humour and Vox Political needs a good laugh. Please send us any likely candidates for laughter so we can pass them on to the general public.
Mark Walker had published a link to the offending article on his Facebook page; it was originally shared by Greek neo-Nazis, Golden Dawn.
According to Tom, “Walker refused to apologise and blamed the press for exposing his far-right racist views.”
As one Vox Political commenter put it: “It’s crazy. Surely the Parliamentary candidates should be the *outstanding* talents in their party, but they’re making, proportionally, even more foot-in-mouth blunders than the rest of UKIP.”
“Which – considering the Germans have been bleating on and on and bloody on about how the Greeks should honour their present debts – is a case of breathtaking hypocrisy writ large, I’d say.”
He’s got a very good point – look at this report (from the Torygraph) of German sabre-rattling against the new Greek government, which is determined to reverse austerity measures imposed on the country and to renegotiate (read ‘cancel’) its debts:
“Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said Greece is legally bound by its agreements. ‘There are rules, there are agreements. New elections change nothing,’ he said.”
So the will of a country’s people counts for “nothing” then?
It seems the German government has just put its foot in its massive ministerial mouth.
To be perfectly honest, I’m a little surprised this kind of prejudice still exists in Britain today.
The full article is on Pride’s Purgebut it’s worth adding Beastrabban’s comment on it: “This is quite astonishing, considering that Britain has already had one Jewish prime minister, at least by heritage, in Benjamin Disraeli [it seems likely that Ed Miliband would also claim he is Jewish by heritage, as he is described as an atheist]. Back in the 1990s the Tory party was led by Michael Howard, who was also Jewish. For a very long time the oldest MP in the House of Commons was the venerable Manny Shinwell. In the context of the extreme racism and highly reactionary nature of UKIP as a whole, this is extremely worrying. It’s too much like the cry of the French rightists just before the Second World War, when they campaigned against the Socialist ministry of Leon Blum, who was also Jewish. Their slogan was ‘Better Hitler than Blum!'”
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 Archivesblogger) 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:
And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.
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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