Government benefit reform hits the most vulnerable in society


jobcentreNotice of lately the language used to target people of benefits such as scroungers they have Sky TV with Internet facilities and big screen televisions they spend most of their time idol those are the people we want to get off benefits and back to work.

Sadly there may be some truth in it but they are far and few instead the government still needs to account as to where the employment is going to come from and has to address how they are going to get back people into full time employment. Anybody who has been on those work programmes will inform you that there is mix reviews on them. Some are fortunate to gain employment on a zero hour contract or on a part time based but on a low income which at times meets the national minimum wage or on some occasion if they are lucky they achieve the Living Wage which far and few.

The other side of the coin is the job providers are not fully trained to understand the social policy or have little training to understand the needs of the long term unemployed to help them back into the community to sustain them into employment as they are more interested in meeting their targets for the month as set out by the government.

image38The current government have no comprehension that the unemployed figures are on course to a time bomb to explode as successful governments both in the past and present fail to acknowledgement this is about to happen but instead they rather target the needy who are disabled by a medical conditions and via accident victims that are left disabled with back injuries and in some cases brain damage permanently that have left them in a rat hole with very little support in the community.

I don’t doubt for one moment that there are some people who will exploit the system I would be silly not to acknowledge this happens. Yes there will be some who will abuse the system and those are the ones that the government needs to target to put a stop to it and apply the full force of the law on to them. For each person that the police arrest another one takes their place to abuse the benefit system until the government looks into the root causes of it and address it properly. Then there are those people who end up at the Job Centre who no fault of their own has lost their only means of employment because the company goes bust because of the recession that was caused by the World Banks. Instead this government will continue to tarnish them with the same brush instead of providing the existing Job Centres with quality training to understand the needs of the unemployment they rather use targets set by the government to apply sanctions against them in the hope to apply more pressure on to them to get off their lazy bums to get on yer bike to find employment.

The Job Centre staff are put through undue pressure to get them to meet their targets of sanctioning people which has a pattern of staff going on long term sickness I kid you not. I should know as I use to work in a job centre for a while before I decided to retrain into another field after leaving the post of a job adviser.

There are those who have been educated to university levels and they remain unemployed or they have lost their jobs as each time they turn up for interviews and being turn down by their prospective employers at times as the employers felt they will leave the job. Let’s face it for a moment if you have a degree will you stay in a dead end job for long. Anybody with half of brain will tell you that they have earn the right to apply for any jobs to get a better quality of life to look after their family or if and when they have a family which makes perfect sense. My hope is that when the Government will address the unemployed with dignity and respect and have a programme to address the unemployed with the view to work in partnership with the wealth creators to provide equality of opportunity to help the unemployed to gain the skills required to gain full time employment.

welfare_benefitsThis just the tip of the iceberg the current government failed to address why is there long term unemployment owing to misuse of illegal drugs, alcoholism, mental health, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, people who have served their been time in prison and being release and illiterate. Sure there are some people have turn their life around to gain employment but those people are far and few in today’s world. There is no easy way of putting it in a language that is acceptable this government have failed to address again. Ask yourselves this question when was the last time this country had full employment in all areas.

To top it off the increase in food banks which both unemployed and low income has to depend on which this government refuse to acknowledge. Yet with their persistence of playing the blame game of the previous government which they fail to mention that they were in a coalition government with the Libdems. Notice how the government are very quick to use codswallop language to continue to blame Labour. Er smell the coffee Conservatives it continues to happen on your watch this a fact and not a fantasy.

Then the cheek of David Cameron and the press makes unfounded allegations that immigrants wanting claim benefits as soon as they arrive in the UK this far from the truth as must immigrants arrives into the UK comes to work and I’m sure that there will be  a few bad apples spoils it for the rest that comes to the UK to seek employment so stop scaremongering and get on with the job that the electorate elected you to do.

 

Labour Leadership


 

“Ancient Chinese warriors  to the emperor it is better to acknowledge defeat gracefully and live to fight another day, we learn the lesson a thousand times and regroup our forces  to win battle.”

Today is our enemy time tomorrow will be the raise of Labour Party to gain full victory.

Many speculations both in the press and social media at the moment regarding Labour Leadership and the funny thing about it the close of nominations has not been completed and all one reads on both press and social media internal fighting and bickering. I strongly dispute the alleged allegations in a nutshell. Our members arkakasndrhe discussing among ourselves who is the best candidate(s) to move Labour forward and we are aware that it’s going to be a hard task which we all recognise from both spectrum of Labour.

The way how the rightwing press and bloggers portraying our party with utter contempt as they want a Conservative Government in 2015 which they made no secret where they nail their colours. Yes, it’s disappointing when the party that you support lose the elections and for now we lick our wounds, regroup, and analyse where we went wrong which is the natural thing to do to move forward.Just before the campaign trail officially started I seem to recall that a number of members also including myself where on the doorstep on a daily bases across the country taking soundings from voters which they intending to vote. Everything seemed to be hunky dory that Labour would stand a chance to win which set off alarm bells and had a nasty sting to it voters began to watch the leadership debates and depending what part of the country you lived in voters we were given very mix messages.

“We cannot repeat the same mistakes again. But nor can we give in to despair, write off the next election as we flail about, or give in to the Tories – as I’ve heard too many people starting to suggest. Those who depended most on a Labour Government have already been let down, we cannot let them down again.”

The problem we have right now is that all these politicians keep apologizing for the global debt and haven’t the “balls” enough to stand up to state the real facts this party won’t ever be in power again because the so called leaders don’t live in our world.

Harriet_HarmanHarriet Harman is correct to say:

I have to begin by saying the last thing we wanted was to be where we are now. 

Being interim leader was not the job I wanted to be doing today.

I wanted Ed Miliband to be our Prime Minister and for us to be in Government.

We’re bitterly disappointed to have lost so many Labour MPs – in England, Wales and Scotland.

I want to pay tribute to Ed Miliband. He is a thoroughly decent and principled man who threw himself into the leadership unstintingly and he could not have worked harder or been more committed.

I would like to pay tribute to Jim Murphy. He stepped up in Scotland at an intensely difficult time and he faced that challenge with energy and determination.

And I want to pay tribute too, to all the thousands of party members and supporters who worked so hard and to all the party staff who put their heart and soul into their work.

The party is still very raw, very upset and we are still all trying to process emotionally and intellectually what happened on May 7th.

We lost. And we lost badly. There is no getting away from that. And it came as a shock.

We thought we had a fighting chance of forming the next Government and the 10pm exit poll was a body blow none of us will ever forget.

It took me back to 1992.  Now we see that election as a stepping stone to victory in 1997.  But that wasn’t how it looked then.  Then, as now, we thought we could win. Then, as now, the polls fuelled that thinking and they were horribly wrong. Then, as now, we fought a good campaign under a leader with many fine qualities. The defeat was all the more painful because then as now, minutes before the exit poll landed, we thought we were heading into government.   

Late afternoon on election day in 1992, I popped up to Transport House, Smith Square, which was our HQ. Tory HQ was in Smith Square too and who should I see wandering around on his own but the Prime Minister – John Major. He looked like a beaten man. But he wasn’t beaten – we were. 

Something else about then. People said we were finished. Not just opponents and commentators. Many of our own activists thought that too. And so did many of our MPs.

It was incredibly bleak.  At our campaign after-party in Milbank I just couldn’t stop thinking of what lay ahead for my constituents and I couldn’t stop crying.  Later, I remember being in our One Parliament Street offices with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.  Tony – who’d before he became an MP had been a highly successful barrister and had three young children said –and he was only half-jokingly – “What on earth is the point in being a wasted political generation? We’re never going to be in government again and we could do something more useful – and a lot easier – outside politics.” We all stayed and we stayed to fight.

I don’t need to remind you what happened five short years later. We won a truly stunning victory, the first of three, a massive majority that enabled us to do so much to make this a better country.

Let me be clear, I am not saying that we are in the same circumstances we found ourselves in after 1992. That was then, this is now, and it’s a very different era. But some things are always necessary for our party do well. 

  • A strong and charismatic leader in touch with the values of the majority.
  • A talented and largely united team.
  • Values and policies that speak to people’s concerns and choices.
  • A big picture message about change and how to meet the challenges of the time.
  • Local connections which give people confidence in Labour and demonstrate we are on their side.

And, from defeat then, all of that emerged.

It was not obvious at the time when the pain was raw.  There were shocks, setbacks and rows and even the death of our leader.

But on May 1 1997, five years after we were said to be finished, five years after many of us thought we were finished, we were back and Tony Blair was prime minister with a three figure majority.

I remind you of all this, not to say we should be New Labour, Old Labour, Blairite, Brownite, Blue Labour or even Pink Labour. These labels are unhelpful in what is a different era.

I remind you of what it was like then to raise your hopes that great victory can follow shocking defeat. But also to remind you that when we are honest with ourselves about our failures, and above all honest with the public about our failures, then we have shown that we can come back and we can win. We can win in 2020 if we are honest with ourselves and with the public and if we make the right decisions. If we take the right approach now, we will lay the foundations for our fightback and our next win.

How did last Friday morning feel for us? Terrible. But did you notice something else? Did you notice the seeming lack of any real joy or delight among the public that David Cameron was back?

This is not to re-run the arguments of the campaign. It is simply to say that it was not so much that he won but that we lost.

That is painful to admit. But true. So we should admit it.

We fought a good campaign. But not good enough.

We won over new support. But not enough.

We had some good ideas and some good policies which I am certain would have made this a better country than the one we will see between now and 2020.

But none of it was enough. When the undecideds finally decided they decided they did not want us in power.

 LEARN LESSONS

We need to learn the lessons of what went wrong. There is lots of conjecture; lots of personal anecdotes; lots of commentary from people including those who are now wise after the event.

We need a forensic, honest examination of what happened which looks at and understands the results, looks at the statistics and the all the science, and hears from our party, our candidates who won and who lost but above all, the public.

I am in the process of commissioning this important work and will have to more to say on it when the details are finalised.

But there is one lesson we can and must heed right away. When it comes to elections the public are the boss. We do not question their decision. We heed it.

 CHOOSING OUR NEW LEADER

In modern politics so much of the attention and responsibility is on the leader and Ed took responsibility.

And now we must choose a new leader now and get the right leader, the best leader, the one who can lead us forward from September 12th so that every month, every year we are making progress to a General Election victory the country will, we believe, need more than ever.

But this defeat is also an opportunity to have a much deeper and more fundamental debate about our future than we had when Gordon took over from Tony and when Ed took over from Gordon.

The party must get the right leader. But the party must also take stock of much more than the captain on the bridge. This is also about the direction in which we steer. And that too must be a big part of the debate on which we have now embarked. 

As interim Leader, my role in the leadership election is to make sure the process is clear and the rules are followed and I will stay absolutely neutral.

But there is one thought I want to insert firmly into the process right now. I want to insert it into the minds of candidates, but above all into the minds of MPs who will choose the field of candidates, and of members and supporters who will choose the leader from that field.

As we conduct this debate, as we elect our leader and deputy leader, we must have the public in the forefront of our minds. We must let the public in.

Into our minds and into the process as we make the decisions about who is our next leader and how we go forward.  So we are going to start that with how we do the leadership elections.  When I stood for the leadership it was a cosy contest in front of people who – like us – love politics and love Labour. Very different from the rest of the country! 

We asked ourselves – who do we like?  That was the wrong question.  We should have asked – as we made our choice – who does the country like.  Who knows, if we had done that perhaps Labour would have chosen Alan Johnson rather than me!

Now, we have already fundamentally and radically changed the way we elect our leader and deputy leader – indeed that is an important part of Ed Miliband’s legacy.

We will allow people who are not party members or who are not affiliated supporters through a trade union or Labour linked organisation like the Fabian society to have a vote. Anyone – providing they are on the electoral register – can become a registered supporter, pay £3 and have a vote to decide our next leader. This is the first time a political party in this country has opened up its leadership contest in this way and I think there will be a real appetite for it out there. Already we have had over 30,000 people join us as full party members since May 7thbut this is a new and innovative way of letting the public in on an important decision. And we have changed the rules so that it means one person has one vote regardless whether they are an MP, a Shadow Cabinet member, a trade unionist or a registered supporter – everyone’s vote is equal, as it should be.

But that in my view is not enough. We have to make the whole process more public facing.

If I think back to 2010 leadership election I remember a comradely and well organised debate. I remember hustings that were packed with party members keen to hear what the various contenders had to say.

We have to get to the heart of why we lost and making the right decisions about how we win. We should not be afraid of differences. We should thrash them out.

And nor should we be afraid of letting the public in to see those arguments. Because if there is one thought that should drive the thinking as we elect a new leadership team it is this – which of them has the best qualities and leadership skills most likely to win over the support of the public?

Not the politically obsessed public, the people like us, but the people who most of the time are busy getting on with their lives, not thinking about politics.

That’s why our hustings have got to be different.

I want the members and supporters who elect our new leader to see not just how the candidates react and relate to the party faithful but to see how they react and relate to those we need to win over.

We need robust, tough, televised hustings which involve the public.

We have begun talks with broadcasters about how we make these happen. We are very open and keen to make this work. As interim leader, I have one principle here – let the public in.

And we cannot just hold hustings in our Labour heartlands, we have to go to areas where we didn’t win. Because ultimately we are electing the team that we think can lead not just the party but lead the country. And that must be our guiding thought.  Last time our hustings – in front of Labour members – were in cities where Labour won.  We must have those hustings now in towns and suburbs where Labour lost. We have to go back and ask local people from those areas to be brutally honest about what they think of us and what they want from us.

We need to see this process as one that is not merely electing a new leader and deputy leader. But one that is helping to rebuild old connections and fashion new connections with a public that rejected us North and South.

So I want to see leadership hustings where members bring non-members. Where someone who voted Labour brings along someone who voted Tory or SNP or didn’t vote at all.

We will use the setback to build membership. More than 30,000 people have joined Labour as members since May 7.  That is a small silver lining. There are thousands of people who are so motivated by the disappointment of defeat, they want to get involved, want to do more. Let’s turn 30,000 into 60000 and let’s turn 60 into 100,000.

And let’s welcome them, not by saying this is when we have meetings and this is how we do them and that is how it has always worked. But how do you want to be involved?  Online or in person? How much do you want to be involved? And fitting it around your work and your family not the other way round so that these new members help us on our way on the journey back from defeat?

 EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION

We can’t be the government we wanted to be.  We applied but we didn’t get that job.  But we have a different one. 

We are the Opposition and that is a very important job which we will do to the best of our ability and with all the commitment and energy we brought to the election campaign and would have brought to government. 

The Tories got elected but they must be held to account – on the NHS, on jobs, on living standards, on fairness. 

We have 232 Labour MPs and that is what we will do. 

We are strengthened in that task by the injection of new blood in the PLP – one in 5 of our MPs our new with 53 Labour MPs elected for the first time – from every region of England and from Wales. 

That task of Opposition is for all of us – including and particularly the leadership candidates. 

Our leadership candidates will be dissecting our defeat and setting out a vision for the future.  But I want to see them showing that they can successfully challenge the government now. 

That is, after all, what they are going to have to do if they win.  So let’s see them do it. 

 CONCLUSION

These are dark days for the Labour party. We are all still bruised by our failure on May 7th and we are still coping with the aftermath.

But we will move on and move forwards.

Amid the wreckage of defeat, it seems hard to see where the next victory might come from.

I’ve been in Labour politics for 34 years. I have known stunning victories as well as devastating defeat. 

But what experience and history tell me is that sometimes it is from that exact same wreckage that the next victory does indeed emerge. That is how we must approach our thinking and our development over the next five years.

These are my priorities as interim leader.

  • Being a strong opposition.
  • Maintaining stability and unity – we will thrash out discussions and it will be painful but we won’t tear ourselves apart.
  • We will learn the lessons.
  • And we will elect a new leader and deputy.

But above all, we will let the public in and elect a leader who can lead not just the party but the whole country.

I’m sure that some people recall a period in 1983 and 1992 all the opinion polls were in favor of a Labour Government only to see it being pulled away from us. See the two examples below:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_1983

See Youtube below:

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_1992

See Youtube below:

 

 

“Unless Labour can once again become the party of the majority of the working class it has no future, except as a coalition of minority pressure groups and interests. Yet there is only a modest future for a party which represents only such groups, and social forces on the decline. If Labour cannot get back the sort of communities represented by Stevenage, or Harlow, or Swindon, or Slough, we can forget about the British or any other realistic road to socialism.”

I still would have liked to see more Member of Parliament (MPs) preferably more females from from the BAME communities came forward to take the challenge. We have to understand that Labour is a broad church I am originally from London and I was extremely left wing however over the years one realize that not all Labour or potential Labour voters are and we must take them into account. Like I said before we must work together to get them back in government or all is lost for another 18 years I kid you not.

 

 

Return The jaws Of Doom Of the Tories


lingOh no, here comes the boring old fart do I hear from some quarters. No is the simple answer I bring strong tidings that some people may not want to read but the wise will read and comprehend where I’m coming from.

If people thought that Labour was the big bad wolf then I’ve got news for you they are not the enemy it’s the conservatives and if you think that is left talk then I must have mugging written on my forehead.

Conservatives are like reprobates over our NHS, Human Rights, Trade Union Rights and Welfare then they have the very cheek to say trade unions laws need amending to make it harder for Trade Unions to strike. This is not the first time that the Tories have done this. Remember the dreaded milk snatcher years aka Margret Thatcher Government smashing the trade unions and coal miners’ strike and breaking up coal mining communities which led many miners on the dole.

IMG_2012Next time at Prime Minister Question (PMQ) when David Cameron harps on about Patrick McLaughlin being the first coal miner cabinet minister let’s us all remind him to stop telling porkies to the public.

Let all the Labour MPs let ripe that Roy Mason was Jim Callaghan’s Northern Ireland Secretary who was also a former coal miner and let us not forget that Dennis Skinner is a former miner and current still a Labour MP but given how few mines there are these days it’s not very likely that were going to see many ex-miner MP’s.

I recall reading somewhere in 1924 the then Labour Government had three and Nye Bevan is perhaps one of the most famous coal miners in the cabinet. Now that I have got this out of my chest back to what will happen with the Conservatives since they won the 2015 General Election.

As the promised by the Tories they will use this time to lay into their programme of cuts as they are aware know that there will be little to stop them as Labour Party and Libdems will be choosing their leader(s) just to give you a flavor checkout their manifesto starting with the incumbent government:

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/manifesto2015/ConservativeManifesto2015.pdf

This will give you an idea why they want to start their austerity cuts as soon as possible.

Today I was at London HQ to listen to Harriet Harman and I have to concur with her analyses on what she thinks took place. See below

http://www.harrietharman.org/time_to_let_in_the_public

For this reason I will say if Labour does not get it right this time round my greatest fear is that the party will be cast into the wilderness for 18 years if we don’t get it right with our leader and manifesto. May be the national party con learn some lessons from Birmingham in the West Midlands region where we won 9 seats out of 10 and how to win leadership contest. See below:

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/news/regional-affairs/sir-albert-bore-sees-challenge-9235848

 

Business as usual for Labour Party


IMG_2137Today is business as usual for Labour MPs to continue to challenge the establishment in Westminster whilst Harriet Harman takes the position of Caretaker of Labour(Acting Leader) whilst the National Executives Committee(NEC) decides the timetable for leader and deputy leader contest.

Whilst the process taking place as set out by NEC for Leadership contest I would like to add my  pennies worth on what I think should be in place for members decides who they want to be leader and deputy. The following should be take into account:

1) Who is best known MPs that the voters can relate to when speaking in a language that both working and middle class can comprehend and concur.

2) Set out what they stand for that will make him or her stand out from the rest of the candidates to have the confidence of the members, supporters, young and first voters to continue to vote Labour.

3) Come up with comprehensive policies that  relates to working and middle class by consulting more at a local level and small businesses stop spending too much time listening to quangos and Whitehall staff that have outdated policies that are in it to lines up their own coffers(Consultancies).

4) Addressing disenfranchise members and supporters who crossover to vote Libdems, Greens, UKIP, SNP and BNP to win them back over to Labour.

5) Addressing policies that meet non-voters to encourage them to vote Labour. There are still people who refuse to vote which we can do more to gain their trust.

6) Developing policies that meet the aspersions of first time, and young voters.

7) Define the core values of what Labour Party stands for so members can feel valued and participate in the democratic process to have a stake in the party.

8) There is a general feeling that Labour is taking Black and Minority ethic for granted they feel under represented both in NEC, MPs and not enough is done to encourage them to participate in the machinery at local, regional and national levels.

9) Save our Human Rights, NHS, and Public Services.

Reflecting on 150 days of Campaign Trail


A message from Mr. Sparkbrook and Mr. Ladywood to all Labour Activists see youtube below:

 

nznsjdjdfFirstly a big congratulations to our Labour candidates who won their seats in both Local and General Elections and a heart-felt of sadness to those who lost their seat(s). I know what it is like to lose their seat. I’m sure our candidates who lost their seat still continue to keep the faith and put a good fight to return a Labour council and government and a new leader of Labour Party in place.

Our fight back continues to grow and has made us more strong and united as one party to defeat a Conservative Government in 2020.A special thanks to the following friends and comrades Councillor Victoria Quinn,  Mohammed Ashraf, Imran Hussain, Angie Stack, Habib Rehman, Mohammed Saleem,Mohammed Shafique, and others whilst on the Labour campaign trail which began from Birmingham and ended up in some parts up Scotland with their wise words and encouragement. No matter what the weather rain and shine.

lop1One of the joys on traveling on the campaign coach with a few friends Mohammed Ashraf, Imran Hussain, and others from across UK we listened to was the announcement of ending zero hours contract that are undermining family life. Labour will pass law that gives employees the right to 12 weeks of working regular hours if they become the next government.

I cannot resist saying this just once more “Hell Yes.” The joys of Labour Activists across the UK in full throttle in campaigning mode during elections, and all year round on doorsteps encouraging voters return to Labour as voters just don’t trust Chicken Cameron and they long to rid of him which was not to be in this occasion as voters did not feel that Labour could match the challenge led by the Conservatives and voters were willing to give the benefit of their doubts to David Cameron on this occasion using the language of fear in this election.

Voters were having no nonsense from Duncan Smith decisions on benefit cuts, they felt he was leading voters up the garden path with other Ministers following suit duping voters by keeping their cards close to their chest by releasing vague messages to the national press and social media on a daily basis where the cuts will hurt the most.

lop2I do recall whilst on the campaign trail and about to have my lunch break a few comrades could not believe whilst listening to an interview by UKIP said that young people should not be allowed to vote in any future referendum on EU because they are brainwashed in schools with pro-EU. In the word of a student who was on the campaign coach with us he said ” When people goes on about leaving the EU ask them what improvement has EU funding in your area and many will say Oh yes this project did this, and that then they say again oh yes they did fund lots of project in our ward”. Is it me or has many of you noticed the use of American language being used in all the leaders debate and is it really good for our country.

I cannot speak for the rest of the public. I had a strong feeling that our great English language was airbrushed over with the use of Americanism in the leadership debate. Not in a million years would I thought that Russell Brand would urge his followers to come out to vote Labour Party in England with only three days left into a General Election campaign which caught many people by surprise with his sudden U-turn. The question many people would like to know did Russell Brand register in time to vote after spending years of encouraging his followers not to vote and how many of his followers actually registered to vote. Well blow me over this was nothing more gimmick to draw attention. Normally I would not give Russell Brand the time of the day. There are people in the Labour circles felt that Ed Miliband did right by turning up to Brand studio to put his side of the argument why leaders should take up challenges that they feel uncomfortable about.

lop3I may have some short memories and will require my followers to give me a good kick up the arise if I get it wrong for the moment. How many will recall the Thatcher and Major years where everything was going well for the Labour Party in the polls but only see it to be yanked from Labour as the then leader( Neil Kinnock) was too complacent and thought he had it in the bag. What followed were the scares of 18 years of a conservative government and the horror stories that came fast and on suit on the backs of voters. Since then I decided not to follow the polls and wait for the exit polls declared on the night which I’m pleased to say I’m glad that I made the right choice.

This is not a criticism but an observation. Now this is where it gets very interesting which I make no apologies for mentioning a former leader(Tony Blair) he gave the country three terms of a Labour Government and he was very effective as a leader and Prime Minister during the Prime Ministers Question Time( PMQs) the opposition leader(Conservatives) would ask questions and poor Cameron would be massacred by the reply that TB would throw back at the opposition which was done to great effect that the leader of the opposition could not come up with a decent follow up question which left them in tatters. Here is an example the Business Community supported Labour plan on the economy and managed to pull it of by having the 100 Business leaders endorsing  Labour business plan. Well David Cameron learned the lessons to use it to throw back at Labour and on the campaign trail which included one of the leaders debate. The moral of this story is when a party has lost an election it would normally take two – three terms for them to recover and heal then go on to win elections. Am I sorry for Ed Miliband who resigned as leader of Labour heck no. He did his best to unite the party and gave it his best shot and he decided to allow time for the party members to choose a new leader. Some would say that Ed Miliband should not shoulder all the blame.

Labour can win in five years, we just need stronger messages for all people, and that means being in the centre then Labour will win.

We just fought and election on the left, we lost. We have some great policy and I did not disagree with any of it. But we did not have a wider message for all people. Just speaking for one section of population the 35% target was not right. Many good Labour candidates who were set to win their seats in just a year back lost.

Out of 80 Tories held seats we much win we only won 4! We were leading in 50 of them last year by 8/10% then more recently 3% then we lost them during the election campaign.

We cannot stick to thinking our vote can only be for working class people, that is not what this party is about. The principles of social justice, equality and fairness has to be for all. We cannot lose sight of that or it is us creating divides in society.

We have to take into account that Labour was hurt more by UKIP without vote being sucked into racism. Sadly that vile attitude will still likely in 2020. So that is another challenge, we do not want people voting racist, but we should not be pandering to be worse than Farage and I do not think the language helped. We tackle racism but showing its support has no impact and gets nowhere.

Harriet Harman got it right when she said there should be “no blame game” in the wake of its election defeat. Labour must do its job of holding the government to account while avoiding “scapegoating”

 

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on the budget


Checkout this to give a good idea of what the budget is all about:

 

http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/the-budget-5-things-you-need-to-know

 

This is what George Osborne want you to believe see youtube:

 

 

 

This Ed Miliband’s reply :

 

http://www.snappytv.com/tc/516859/106373

 

IMG_2212There is no doubt about Ed Miliband’s full scale attack on the Conservatives they always produce results when he goes for the jugular vein as he did in response to George Osborne and David Cameron.

There is no doubt the budget speech by Osborne contained personal gibes at Ed Miliband to portray him out of touch with ordinary citizens.

The Conservatives and their bed patters the Fibdems have pushed through a campaign for their supporters and driving our working class into deepening hardship. It’s no wonder The Office for National Statistics has exposed the hard reality that most people are suffering lower living standards from the being of this parliament.

We all know the hidden agenda of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is trying to hoodwink the voters with new per capita measure of assessing income which combines low wages with the wealthy minority rewards to indicate to all of us that money is jingling in our pockets under the Conservatives.

IMG_2213He made such a pitch by raising the basic tax threshold to spare the lowest paid in society thinking that they will fall for this scam and we will be happy with the crumbs of their table.

Miliband made a valid point in recalling that Osborne and his chums denied before the last election that they would raise VAT and then promptly reneged on the pledge once there were in office.

Well I would never guess that we have 49 days left for a General Elections and this why this Chancellor is at pains to point out its only Conservatives can deliver.  Er smell the coffee Osborne we won’t be taking in by your false statements that are hurting voters on lower incomes.

The Chancellor must know the falsity of his employment claims where jobless figures have fallen largely though zero hour contracts and supposed self employment. Big business representatives do know when their bread is buttered and who to go to when they are in trouble.

The Chancellor must be thinking he is addressing to an audience in China where their growth has slipped about three times that of this country. Why heck even Gordon Brown Ex-Chancellor can put on a better show than George Osborne to convince our nation.

IMG_2214This chancellor is unmoved by the dreaded cuts this coalition government has imposed on our public services and state benefits if the Conservatives win the General Election with or without their bedroom partner Libdems I’m sure many can work out the Conservatives would rather have an outright win and if they can’t they will be at home with UKIP as their new bedroom partner in waiting.

Welcome to the land of Alison Wonderland of Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, the nodding donkey in support of George Osborne as he delivered the Budget, has a secret twin brother is this a dream someone please wake me up now.

That can be the only explanation for why Alexander, who chatted animatedly with David Cameron throughout Osborne’s speech, swanned into the Commons on 19 March to deliver his own fantasy Budget.

That is surely more likely than the alternative that, as an endangered species likely to lose his seat to the Scottish nationalists in May, he should be comforted by having an each-way bet, backing agreed coalition government policy one day and then offering his own wish list the next day.

IMG_2215No other minister has ever been permitted to present an alternative Budget after having been part of the team that drew up the real thing, posed for media snaps with the Chancellor and his red box and then sat on the front bench alongside him to show a united front.

Bercow’s warning that Alexander’s statement should be ministerial and should refrain from making party political points clearly fell on deaf ears.

Making a virtue of his party’s tendency to position itself between the two main parties, he pledged “a plan that borrows less than Labour and cuts less than the Conservatives.”

Warming to his theme, he spurned Labour’s assessment that planned Tory spending cuts would take Britain back to the 1930s while also rejecting Osborne’s suggestion that they would equate to a return to the days of Gordon Brown.

So what to do? Split the difference how about 1964? That should be about right.

IMG_2216Council housing is sold off, hardly any new local authority homes are built, tenants are evicted or impoverished by the bedroom tax and Alexander’s government primes house price inflation to the delight of speculators and the despair of low-paid workers.

He has the temerity to promise a “mansion tax” on high-price properties, but Liberal Democrats voted as a bloc two years ago against a Labour motion proposing its introduction.

They branded it “infantile,” accusing Labour of “trying to drive a wedge” between the coalition partners and reiterating their support in principle for a mansion tax.

The Liberal Democrats’ Alice Through the Looking Glass stance on the mansion tax mirrors Alexander’s “Look at me. I’m a Chancellor” make believe.

Latter-day efforts to distance themselves from the Bullingdon boys cannot hide the reality that their consistent priority throughout this Parliament has been to assist the Tories to carry out their anti-working-class austerity agenda.

There is no getting away from the TUC regards the chancellor so-called deals to the voters:

vote-labourGMB general Secretary said that the chancellor had claimed more recoveries in the five years than the RAC.

“Even skilled workers in the UK face being undercut while wages are stagnant or falling in real terms;” he complained.

TUC General secretary Frances O’Grady said that Mr. Osborne had failed to discuss the huge growth of zero hour and other insecure jobs.”

“The Chancellor’s Britain, where happy people skip to their secure jobs to celebrate their rising living standards, is not one that many will recognise.”

Affordable Housing


Here is something that we all should remember checkout this:

 

For well over a decade many have shared the view of truly affordable and rent-able housing which both previous and present governments kept on promising with just a handful are being built but nmtot enough to cater for demand and supply . Many who can recall during the 1970s council housing came to end and in its place came the dreaded Thatchererite policy to sell off council housing at discount prices in the hope many would take up the offer under the guise of right to buy scheme but in reality those who could afford to purchase their council house did so whilst the many who could not were left behind which is true of today.

The Right to Buy scheme is a policy in the United Kingdom which gives secure tenants of councils and some housing associations the legal right to buy, at a large discount, the home they are living in. There is also a Right to Acquire for assured tenants of housing association homes built with public subsidy after 1997, at a smaller discount. About 1.5m million homes in the UK have been sold in this manner since 1980. Critics claim that this compounded a housing shortage for those of low income, initiated a national house price bubble, and what is commonly recognised as the displacement and social cleansing of traditional communities. Supporters claim that the programme gave millions of households a tangible asset, secured their families finances and by releasing cash to repay Local Authority loans, helped improve the public finances.

IMG_2130 Individual local authorities have always had the ability to sell council houses to their tenants, but until the early 1970s such sales were extremely rare.

The Labour Party initially proposed the idea of the right of tenants to own the house they live in, in its manifesto for the 1959 General Election which it subsequently lost.

Later, the Conservative-controlled Greater London Council of the late 1960s was persuaded by Horace Cutler, it’s Chairman of Housing, to create a general sales scheme. Cutler disagreed with the concept of local authorities as providers of housing and supported a free market approach. GLC housing sales were not allowed during the Labour administration of the mid-1970s but picked up again once Cutler became Leader in 1977. They proved extremely popular, and Cutler was close to Margaret Thatcher (a London MP) who made the right to buy council housing a Conservative Party policy nationally.

In the meantime, council house sales to tenants began to increase. Some 7,000 were sold to their tenants during 1970, but in two years that figure soared to more than 45,000 in 1972.

IMG_2162After Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in May 1979, the legislation to implement the Right to Buy was passed in the Housing Act 1980Michael Heseltine, through his role as minister for the Environment, was in charge of implementing the legislation. Some 6 million people were affected; about one in three actually purchased their unit. Heseltine noted that, “no single piece of legislation has enabled the transfer of so much capital wealth from the state to the people.” He said the right to buy had two main objectives: to give people what they wanted, and to reverse the trend of ever increasing dominance of the state over the life of the individual.

He said: “There is in this country a deeply ingrained desire for home ownership. The Government believe that this spirit should be fostered. It reflects the wishes of the people, ensures the wide spread of wealth through society, encourages a personal desire to improve and modernize one’s own home, enables parents to accrue wealth for their children and stimulates the attitudes of independence and self-reliance that are the bedrock of a free society.”

IMG_2133The sale price of a council house was based on its market valuation but also included a 33% to 50% discount to reflect the rents paid by tenants and also to encourage take-up. Mortgages involved no down payments. The legislation gave council tenants the right to buy their council house at a discounted value, depending on how long they had been living in the house, with the proviso that if they sold their house before a minimum period had expired they would have to pay back a proportion of the discount. The sales were an attractive deal for tenants and hundreds of thousands of homes were sold. The policy became one of the major points of Thatcherism.

The policy proved immediately popular, and indeed Labour had previously engaged in it on a small scale. Some local Labour-controlled councils were opposed, but the legislation prevented them from blocking purchases, and gave them half the proceeds.

Sales were much higher in the South and East of England, than in the inner city of London and in the North.

MargaretThatcherHalf the proceeds of the sales were paid to the local authorities, but they were restricted to spending the money to reduce their debt until it was cleared, rather than being able to spend it on building more homes. The effect was to reduce the council housing stock, especially in areas where property prices were high such as London and the south-east of England. This trend was exacerbated by a government imposed ban on local authorities using their revenues from council house sales to fund new housing. Both these policies, together with rising rents and cuts to state benefits, have been linked to vast increase inhomelessness, when rough sleepers became an increasingly common sight. Homeless households in England during the 1980s, trebled from approximately 55,000 (1980) to 165,000 in 1990.

200,000 council houses were sold to their tenants in 1982, and by 1987, more than 1,000,000 council houses in Britain had been sold to their tenants, although the number of council houses purchased by tenants declined during the 1990s.

The Labour Party was initially against the sales and pledged to oppose them at the 1983 general election, but then dropped their official opposition in 1985.

However, at the 1987 general election, the Conservative government warned voters that a Labour government would still abolish the scheme.

When Labour returned to power in 1997, it reduced the discount available to tenants in local authorities which had severe pressure on their housing stock; this included almost the whole of London.

IMG_2131The Right to Buy rules were changed in 2005. Five years’ tenancy is now required for new tenants to qualify, and properties purchased after January 2005 can no longer immediately be placed on the open market should the owner decide to sell. Such owners must now approach their previous landlord (council or housing association) and offer them “first right of refusal”. If the previous landlord is no longer in existence, for example in cases where the former landlord was a registered social landlord which has ceased business, then the property has to first be offered to the local housing authority.

The time in which a Right to Buy conveyance should take place has been reduced from 12 months to 3 months. The Financial Conduct Authority now governs and regulates most types of mortgage-selling.

The Financial Services Authority‘s governance of Right to Buy purchases was partly to solve the widespread problem of Right to Buy mis-selling from brokers and solicitors alike. Each had their own agenda and many were actively charging excessive fees which were then taken out of their client’s discount. Fortunately, the above actions that have been taken coupled with the end of the boom period seem to have brought this problem under control.

In 2009, the Localis think tank suggested, as part of a review of principles for social housing reform, that the right to buy should be extended into equity slivers, which could be part earned through being a good tenant.

At the 2011 Conservative Party ConferenceDavid Cameron proposed to increase Right to Buy discounts in order to revitalise the housing market and generate receipts which could be spent on new housing. Social housing professionals have expressed concerns over the proposal.

As of 2 April 2012, the Right to Buy discount has been increased to a maximum of £75,000 or 60% of the house value (70% for a flat) depending on which is lower. In March 2013 the maximum discount in London was increased to £100,000.

The aim of the scheme is, for every additional home sold, a new home will be built for ‘affordable rent’ at up to 80% of market rent, aimed at maintaining the level of affordable housing while also increasing the number of properties available for those on the waiting list. The five year tenancy criterion will remain, and should the property be sold within the first five years of the original sale, part or all of the discount will be required to be paid back.

In July 2013, the Scottish Government confirmed that Right to Buy would be abolished in Scotland from 2017.

IMG_1799The debate on housing takes on more and more of the logic of Alice in Wonderland (Britain’s building crisis – and how to solve it, 20 May). First and foremost, the debate is wrongly framed in terms of assets and finance and not housing. Thatcher’s right to buy was an asset wheeze not a housing policy. Its contingent effect was to actually undermine supply by reducing the effective market for private-sector homes. The parallel attack on local authority building under the pathetic smokescreen of increasing housing association output has had the same effect, with output collapsing from 113,000 the year before she was elected to 1,500 the year the Tories left office, before then sliding further under Labour.

However, in the 40 years since 1970, through all the financial ups and downs and the tireless meddling of politicians in the planning system, the private sector built at a fairly consistent level of about 160,000 until 2010, since when it has collapsed to 100,000 (all UK figures) During a roughly comparable period, real house prices have increased by about two-and-a-half times.

The idea that the private sector can build twice as many houses as it has achieved on average since 1970 and that this will buck the trend of the increase in asset price is not credible. The further assumption that property-owning turkeys would vote for such a Christmas present is fantasy. Until housing is seen as a basic right, the rental market is completely transformed and democratised and land values are taxed, the tinkering suggested by your contributor and others will be doomed to be swamped by unintended consequences, just like Help to Buy.

IMG_2012Savills is quoted as saying that if building does not increase quickly, there could be a shortfall of 160,000 homes in the south of England in the next five years, and the Home Builders Federation claims house-building needs to effectively treble to 350,000 dwellings a year to control house price inflation. Should not an analysis of the problem include reference to the demand side? In particular, that if net inward migration continues at current levels, then in five years there will be a further million or so people needing homes. Surely allowing this influx of people to continue unchecked is counterproductive when we have a shortage of housing and – relative to other European countries – a shortage of space in which to build them.

Mark Carney and the coalition leaders try to pin the responsibility on each other for doing something about the housing market, which Carney correctly states has “deep, deep structural problems” (Report, 19 May). In response, Cameron quickly passes the buck again by saying: “We have given the Bank of England the duty to make sure that bubbles are dealt with in the economy.” But housing bubbles are best dealt with by an anti-inflationary tax on property such as the old JS Mill land tax, which measures how much land goes up in value in a year and taxes that. This is the province of the politicians but they are loath to jeopardise elections by even the appearance of threatening the homeowner vote in any way.

The Labour Land Campaign seriously considered branching out from lobbying fellow socialists by approaching the banks saying: “Get behind LVT: you are the first to lose when housing bubbles pop and wipe out inflated mortgages in your collateral.”

Planned cuts to housing benefit, and the replacement of secure tenancies with time-limited agreements at up to 80% of market rents, are an ill-conceived threat to tenants and would be a disaster for communities (Social security advisers warn against housing benefit changes, 1 December). These measures will create more evictions, homelessness and fear, but will not curb high rents. They do nothing to create the secure, affordable homes for rent needed by those priced out of the housing market. They will create exclusion zones, driving out the low-paid, the sick and the poor and their families. We urge councillors, MPs, tenants’ groups, trade unions, and housing, disability and poverty campaigners to join in a campaign to oppose these cuts.

We must defend security of tenure for existing and future tenants, and resist and campaign against the cuts in housing benefit. Councils and other landlords should not implement cuts to housing benefit, where this is under local control, and refuse to evict tenants who get behind with their rent as a result of the benefit cuts. We should oppose raising rents up to 80% of market levels and make clear that the shortage of housing is a result of underinvestment and a failure to build – it is not caused by existing tenants of whatever race or religion. We need to regulate to control private-sector rents and campaign for a programme of investment in new and improved council and other house building at affordable rents.

Thirty-five years of failed neoliberal housing policy have reached a new low.

David Cameron has announced that, if elected, a Tory government would build 200,000 new homes a year and offer 20 per cent discounts to first-time buyers under the age of 40.

It will do this by robbing Peter (the five million people on waiting lists) to pay Paul (the property developers who now control our housing policy).

Under the scheme, builders will be exempted from “section 106” payments, the crumbs from the table of big planning agreements that require local communities to see some benefit from development.

This can be in the form of infrastructure or amenities, but has increasingly become the source “affordable” housing.

The term “affordable housing” has been subject to such misuse as to be almost meaningless.

The latest examples are the “affordable rents” at 80 per cent of the market level that are becoming a norm for new rented homes built with public subsidy.

As with other aspects of the housing crisis, new Labour must take some of the blame.

During the “boom” years unscrupulous developers, avaricious housing associations and supine councils made an unholy pact.

Developers built as many private homes as they could, while housing associations and councils colluded in massaging the definition of “affordable” to help them get away with it.

IMG_2200They were all seduced by the fantasy that the housing market could provide sustainable economic growth and the homes we need.

In the aftermath of the crash and growing anger about the scale of the housing crisis, this illusion lies in tatters.

Cameron’s announcement is a reward for failure. Public-private partnerships (PPP), which we’re told are more efficient than direct public investment, have led to a steady decline in the number of homes built.

In the 1970s 300,000 new homes a year were completed, half of them by councils.

Today output is down by two-thirds. Councils have been virtually eliminated as housebuilders and housing associations have failed to fill the gap.

Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2013 found that 60 per cent of large housing developments were failing to meet even the inadequate targets for affordable homes.

According to the bureau, the “big 10” housebuilders control enough land to provide 480,000 new homes and made profits of £2.1 billion last year, up 34 per cent.

The big developers are both causing and profiteering from the housing crisis and now the Tories want to make it even easier for them to do it.

This is a political open goal for the Labour Party, but it’s missing.

Instead of making clear statements about the homes we need, it is alleged Ed Miliband is playing the numbers game, trying to outbid the Tories on how many homes a Labour government would build.

It’s meaningless. Yes, we need more homes, but it’s “what type?” as much as “how many?” that matters.

Allowing developers to reflate the speculative property bubble makes the next market crash inevitable, while British households struggle to meet the 40 per cent of income now consumed by housing costs.

The only way to defuse the housing market is to build more genuinely affordable homes and that means council housing.

It was a shame to hear Green Party leader Natalie Bennett struggle to explain how this can be done.

It’s simple. Let’s start with the £25bn, and rising, we currently waste on housing benefit effectively a public subsidy to private landlords.

Second, let’s stop giving away valuable public land to private developers. The government has recently announced another fire sale of sites where 103,000 new homes can be built, with more in the pipeline.

Its further alleged that Labour government should halt this immediately and use public land for public housing.

IMG_2201Third, with rates at historic lows, the government can borrow now to invest in housing for the future.

Fourth, we can take people off the dole and give them decent jobs and apprenticeships building the homes we need.

Fifth, we can make this new generation of council homes energy efficient and begin to save the £100 a month UK households spend on energy costs.

I have enclosed five manifestos from UKIP, Conservatives, Greens, Libdems, and Labour for your perusal:

http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people

https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2015/02/05/green-party-policy-announcement-500,000-social-rented-homes-by-2020/

http://www.libdemvoice.org/tag/housing

http://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2015/01/camerons-manifesto-list-borrows-from-the-conhome-manifesto.html

http://www.yourbritain.org.uk/agenda-2015/policy-review/the-lyons-housing-review

After reading all the five manifestos from various parties I must that I continue to be very impressed with Labour policy on housing and more can be done to improve on it.

I have read  all five and felt that both UKIP and the Greens won’t be able to deliver and how will they raise the finances it’s like pie in the shy with a bottomless pit.

Both the Conservatives and Libdems offer more of the same and they are depending on a hung parliament so they can return as sweethearts for another fives of coalition. It must be love at first sight waiting for a rebound to happen again.  I rather put my faith in the Labour Party to deliver decent truly affordable and rentable housing as I’m confident that they will deliver without hitting out on the poorest in our society for the is reason I say a vote for UKIP, Greens will be a vote for a return of a Conservative Government. A vote for the Libdems will see a return of five more of another coalition with the Conservatives at worse Conservatives and UKIP in coalition.

A vote Labour is to see a return of a Labour majority government to keep out the Conservatives.