Tag Archives: wealthy

Fraser Nelson’s comedy column about Britain’s well-being makes him a poor Marie Antoinette

Fraser Nelson: Another swivel-eyed loon?

Can you believe this nonsense? Please don’t say “yes”:

You can’t read the article without paying for it, so I haven’t bothered. It’s bad enough that Fraser Nelson has made himself the Tory government’s useful idiot by posting the tweet above.

For balance, let’s have some comments from people who know better than Mr Nelson – who, as editor of The Spectator, should know better himself.

Here‘s Peter Stefanovic: “Is this a joke? 4 Million kids are living in poverty, millions are reliant on food banks, GPs prescribing nutritional drinks to starving patients, homeless dying on our streets, 19 Million Workers now on the edge of poverty & 17 Million people with less then £100 in savings!!!!”

He has produced a short video clip to reinforce his points:

Tom London makes a valid point: “Fraser Nelson is the Louis XVI and Marie Antionette of our times
“All is well with him and everyone he knows
“He chooses statistics which “prove” all is well for the masses too

“He. Has. Not. A. Clue. About. The. Reality. Of. Life. For. Millions. In. UK
“Like most of the MSM & BBC”

Isobel has the ground-level take on Mr Nelson’s claim: “Have you ever read such a load of absolute you are too late for an Honour, hopefully she will be out next time round, don.t stand on one leg will you.”

Tom Pride sums up the way we should all describe Mr Nelson: “Another out-of-touch well-off journalist living in his comfy Westminster bubble telling struggling families how happy they should be feeling.”

But for the most to-the-point comment, let’s look to Helena Bowie, who simply asks: “Who paid you to say that?”

Who indeed?

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The poor pay more tax than the rich – and Tories want to cut the highest rate

tax

The UK’s poorest families give more money to the government in tax than any other income group – and almost half of Tory MPs want to increase the inequality by cutting the top rate of tax yet again.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the poorest fifth of households paid 37.8 per cent of their income in taxes last year, while the richest fifth paid 34.8 per cent.

That’s not the whole story, of course – if you’re poor and you pay nearly two-fifths of your income in tax, that leaves very little for necessities like food, water, heat, light and rent/mortgage whereas, if you’re rich and you pay nearly 7/20 of your income in tax, you’re unlikely to be feeling any kind of pinch.

Say a poor family receives £12,000 per year. Tax would account for £2,400, leaving £9,600 for everything else. What’s the earnings threshold for the top tax bracket – £150,000? A family receiving that amount would pay… actually they’d pay 40 per cent of it, according to the law, but that would still leave £90,000 – nearly 10 times as much as a poor family and no problems at all in making ends meet.

It should be stressed that these are only representative figures. To be honest, the statistics are up for question: How many of the top fifth of earners avoid paying tax via legal schemes, designed for this purpose? How much do we all pay in indirect, or hidden, taxation? How many variations have been included in the ONS figures?

George Osborne is said to be considering a cut in tax credits in his July budget, meaning the poorest would lose part of a vital support system propping up their earnings. David Cameron has said he expects employers to increase pay, but he is offering neither carrot nor stick to encourage this, therefore they won’t. So the poor would pay more.

Meanwhile, 160 Tory MPs have demanded that the top rate of tax be cut from 45 per cent to 40, meaning the rich would pay less.

Not only would the poor be plunged further into poverty and debt if these measures were enacted next week, but public services would also take a hammering as income to the Treasury plummeted.

Perhaps the worst indictment of the situation, though, is the fact that – under the last Labour government – the inequality was worse. The poor paid more than 38 per cent of their income while the rich contributed less than 34 per cent.

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The SNP’s great education betrayal

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

Some facts about education in Scotland. SNPfail is a Liberal Democrat site but the information is accurate.

That’s right – betrayal. For all its bluster about free University tuition, the SNP government at Holyrood seems more interested in providing cheap education for the already-well-off than helping the disadvantaged achieve their potential.

Holyrood abolished tuition fees for Scottish universities – but who did that help? According to research by Edinburgh University in 2013, it helped those who were already wealthy.

The report on widening access to higher education was submitted to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) after Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the university principal hand-picked by SNP ministers to review higher education, said abolishing tuition fees has mainly benefited the middle classes.

The report found the lack of fees in Scotland has meant initiatives to widen access have had “lower priority” and less funding.

The amount of grants available to poorer Scots has fallen and the funding packages offered north of the Border are virtually the same, regardless of the student’s wealth.

Meanwhile, there has been a huge drop in the number of students attending colleges since the SNP came to power in Holyrood and inflicted “savage spending cuts”, axing part-time courses which MSPs derided as “hobby courses”. The figures came from the Scottish Funding Council and show that 130,000 college places and teaching staff have been lost.

Those most affected by the cuts are young people who are less academic and are looking for vocational qualifications, and women returners – it was said that 100,000 fewer women were in education as a result of the SNP’s cuts.

And almost 4,000 teachers have been lost since the SNP took office in 2007. The party froze council tax that year, meaning local authorities were forced to make cuts in their spending.

As a result, instead of reducing class sizes to 18, the loss of enough teachers to fill 50 average-sized secondary schools has pushed class sizes to more than 30.

Again, the well-off are the winners. They benefit more from the council tax freeze because it leaves them with more disposable income; lower earners still have to spend most – if not all – of their income on the bills. And wealthy parents can afford to supplement their children’s education with extra, private, tuition – or opt out of the state system altogether and send them to private school.

So the SNP’s education policy is to penalise the poor and reward the rich. So much for that party’s left-wing credentials!

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Soon you will have to prove your nationality before receiving NHS treatment

'Papiere, bitte!' An NHS nurse checks a patient's claim to be British in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat idea of a 'fair' NHS.

‘Papiere, bitte!’ An NHS nurse checks a patient’s claim to be British in the ‘fair’ NHS of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government.

Suppose Michael Schumacher had moved to Britain and had his accident here after new government plans for the NHS were put in place – would he have been refused treatment?

Admittedly, that is a bad example to use. Mr Schumacher is undoubtedly wealthy enough to buy any healthcare he needs, and we should not wish poor treatment on him in any case.

It does show up the poverty of the Conservative-led government’s moral attitude, though. The fact that he is German adds another dimension, in that his people may have a particular aversion to any situation in which their papers are demanded by officials before they are allowed to do anything.

The proposals demonstrate the depths to which the UK is falling under the current despotic, unelected right-wing administration and the petty would-be tyrant at its head. We are drifting ever-closer to totalitarianism and comparisons with 1930s and 40s Germany are becoming ever more accurate.

They mean patients admitted to hospital in an emergency would have to be able to prove they are not immigrants, or be refused possibly life-saving treatment.

Ask yourself this: Before you leave your house, do you make sure you have papers on you that prove your nationality? If it isn’t a part of your daily routine, then under our government of new totalitarians, it will be.

Is this so far from the Germany of 70 years ago, where the phrase “Ausweis, bitte” was not only a part of daily life but a hallmark of the Nazi government?

Do we really want that here? Are we really saying we will allow an unelected regime to impose it on us?

Never mind the pretext that it will save money that would otherwise be spent on people who do not deserve the care and will not pay their debt – this is about our freedom.

Do you want to trade your freedom for a saving that isn’t even worth very much – around 1/240th of the yearly national deficit at the current level – and will not benefit you in any way at all?

The government says nobody will be denied medical care – but it also said it would not impose a top-down reorganisation of the NHS, and how long did that promise last? Andrew Lansley had been working on it for many years before that infamous campaign announcement was made, but was under orders not to speak about it until a Conservative-led government was firmly installed in office and nobody could do anything to stop it.

The government says the changes will ensure that the system is “fair” – but then, this government has a strange notion of fairness. According to David Cameron, it is fair to deny life-saving benefits to the disabled and long-term sick in the name of deficit reduction, while granting huge tax breaks to the spectacularly wealthy that ensure the deficit will not go down.

I don’t even know what my NHS number is – but soon I will have to, in order to satisfy Britain’s new immigration officials, otherwise known as doctors and nurses.

Perhaps the government is hoping to make a saving by scrapping the UK Border Agency that Theresa May has so hopelessly failed to reform into an effective force (but I doubt it). Perhaps she was wrong to criticise the previous Labour administration about it as harshly as she did.

Perhaps they will use the money they save to buy jackboots.

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Membership figures prove Tories really are a minority party and neo-liberalism has failed

Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Picture: Daily Mail!]

Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Picture: Daily Mail!]

The Conservative Party has released details of its membership, after it was claimed that people were leaving the party in droves.

It had been suggested that membership had dropped below 100,000 and, while the figure quoted is in fact 134,000, it is still pathetically low for a party that claims to speak for a nation of 60 million.

Worse than that, it seems membership has halved under the leadership of David Cameron; in 2005, 253,600 members voted in the leadership contest between him and David Davis.

The party itself claims 174,000 members – but this includes ‘friends, non-member donors and others’ in the numbers. In other words, people who are not members of the Conservative Party – and that figure is another dumb Tory lie.

Let’s hope this puts to rest once and for all any argument against Vox Political‘s long-held position that the Conservative Party is an ever-more rightward-leaning minority interest organisation, upholding the interests of the very wealthy and working to undermine anybody from other sections of society.

Unless you are very wealthy, they cannot represent you. They do not even understand you or your concerns. They just want you to think they do.

This revelation further demonstrates the failure of the neo-liberal philosophy that has been spouted by conservatives (in all the major political parties) ever since Margaret Thatcher held up a copy of Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty and said “This is what we believe now”.

Neo-liberalism has divested the Conservative Party of its popular membership. How could it have done otherwise? Its other achievements were to change this country from one that was being held to ransom by the trade unions into one that was held to ransom by the bankers and financiers, and later the collapse of the British economy.

Strangely enough, at the time of Thatcher, neo-liberalism’s only foothold was in Chile – where the economy also crashed.

Neo-liberalism is over. As Michael Meacher put it in a recent blog article “That world is now broken beyond repair. Yet that hasn’t stopped the political and economic establishments of all parties from striving mightily to restore it. But that is not only impossible, it’s also irrational.

“The world economy was growing at about 3% a year per capita in the ‘bad old days’ of widespread regulation and ‘punitive’ taxation for the rich in the 1960-70s, but in the last 30 years when unfettered markets dominated it has grown at only half that rate. In Britain the average annual per capita income growth in the 1960-70s was 2.4% when the country was allegedly suffering from the ‘British disease’, but since 1990 after Thatcher had supposedly cured the country of the disease and fought heroic struggles in the 1980s, income growth even before the crash has fallen to just 1.7% a year. The decade and a half of uninterrupted growth, low and stable inflation, and falling unemployment after 1992 was not, we now know, a sign of the magic of neoliberal doctrines, but rather of their deeply flawed dependence on consumption-driven boom and bust. On every other key criterion too – competitiveness, inequalities of wealth, economic imbalances, and social and environmental standards – Britain fared much worse in the 30 years following the Thatcherite counter-insurgency after 1980 than in the 30 years of managed capitalism that preceded it.”

Now, you won’t see any of the mainstream media agreeing with this viewpoint – they’ll adhere to the outdated 1980s Gordon Gecko “Greed is good” mentality just as long as they can – but the longer any of us holds onto this mentality, the worse it will be for us all.

Let’s bear that in mind while the news is full of the major party conferences.

Survey boosts ‘divide and rule’ agenda – and hate crime

“I don’t know if anyone’s listened to the news/checked the papers today, but I’m sickened (although not surprised) the Tories are stepping up their hatred campaign against immigrants and the unemployed, by publishing exaggerated and out-of-context statistical reports. All they’re doing is fuelling racism and lack of compassion to get small minded people to support their agenda. Outrageous.”

That was the response of Alex – a very non-political friend of mine – to the data from NatCen Social Research today, that claimed people want to see less spending on welfare and benefits, and fewer immigrants.

The BBC’s report had NatCen’s chief executive Penny Young, who wrote the report, saying the public’s view on welfare was “in tune… with the coalition’s policies”.

Not according to Alex, sister!

He reckons Ms Young is part of a Coalition government agenda to brainwash us all into agreeing with schemes that are, even if only on the face of it, evil. And so do I. Who funded this survey?

Here’s a thing you might not have picked up in all the reporting: You may have noticed that Ms Young says, “For the first time since 2008, we’ve seen that the number of people who are prepared to see more money go on disability benefits has actually fallen.”

But that has never been part of anybody’s plans – Labour, the Tories, the Liberal Democrats or the smaller parties (to my knowledge). The problem is that the Coalition is cutting the amount of money being spent on disability – and other – benefits. Massively.

In doing so, it has created a new target for hate crime and a new underclass for society, presumably as a huge distraction from the real problem faced by the country – the Coalition’s mismanagement of the world’s seventh-largest economy.

There is plenty of money here, enough to help all those with illnesses and disabilities, feed all the children (see yesterday’s blog entry), and even to invest in new businesses and jobs. But it is being held by wealthy people – mostly in offshore bank accounts – and the Coalition is doing nothing to free it from their grasp.

Perhaps people think cutting the welfare benefit bill will lead to a cut in taxes. Think again, people! Even on the face of it – by which I mean according to what they’ve told us – the Coalition needs the money to pay down the deficit and cut back the national debt. What they’re really doing is anybody’s guess, but slashing the livelihood of the disabled will not save you one penny in tax.

And let’s take a moment to remember this important fact, posted on Facebook by Adele (not the singer): Welfare isn’t just about people on the dole. It’s about people in low-paid jobs, people who are carers, people who are too sick or disabled to work, people with cancer and people who have lost their jobs and cannot get another. It is a safety net for those who are disadvantaged in our society. Everyone falls on hard times and just when it may happen to you and you need that safety net, you would want it to be there to catch you.”

Also attacked in the report are immigrants, with three-quarters of the 3,000+ people asked saying they wanted to see a reduction in the number of those coming into the country.

This survey looks like it was written by the editor of the Daily Mail.

The fact that it also suggests people don’t want any more cuts in public spending is meaningless, compared to the damage it inflicts with what I’ve reported above.

I predict a greater increase in hate crime against immigrants and the disabled because – and this is what the perpetrators will say – “It’s what people want, innit?”

Is it?

Over to you.