Monthly Archives: April 2014

UKIP, Conservatives, LibDems Vs Labour


Bl6RudvCQAEWqUFIntriguing times will be in four weeks’ time with the European and Local Elections in some parts of the country whilst in the other parts will just be European Elections. I believe that Labour policies are served the best for both European and Local Government as they are better off in European Union to fight for the changes that is required to benefit the many and not the few like UKIP whose sole purpose is to leave the EU.

Labour strongly believes in:

investment, jobs and growth,

protecting your rights at work,

protecting your rights as a consumer

A vote for Labour will help secure sensible reforms to Europe to end waste and deliver more jobs and economic growth for UK

BmGTz94CIAA4NlZThis is not a vote about whether to be in or out of the European Union.

For further details checkout https: //labour.org.uk/europe

I make no apologies for being blunt when I say to vote Labour on. 22 May. I have a very simple message to those who moans a lot and refuse to vote you don’t have a say as you forfeit your rights to vote and if a rightwing party come to power will do far more damage to our country rest assured what you have witnessed with the coalition now will become worst.

Some will say I’m scaremongering my reply will be pick sense out of nonsense and I don’t say it lightly. People can laugh now rest assure what it happens I know who will have the last laugh in the end.

conservative-liberal-democrat-logo-468965850The media will have you believing that another coalition will be the best thing since slice bread as they want to see a pact between Conservatives and LibDems again as that is their hidden agenda or the worst case is a Conservative and UKIP should they gain seats in the commons.

My personal view I rather continue to campaign to have a Labour majority for European Parliament, Local government and General Election. Before people start to mention about Tony Blair I have to constantly reinforce that he is not the leader of the Labour Party and there is some suggestions that he is a war criminal yet this former leader has not been served with notice to appear in The Hague.

Sure there were things done by Tony Blair as leader of Labour Party that I strongly disagreed with some decisions he made by sucking up to Bush to join forces with him to invade Iraq over 9/11 and Afghanistan over Terrorists.

However there were some good things that Labour did that made a difference for the many and not for the few like introducing the National Minimum Wage, SureStart, Family Friendly policies, European Directives, which both UKIP, Conservatives, and LibDems failed to acknowledge.

 

UKIP at it again


1480812388 (1)What a few days we’ve all had with the media and television highlighting UKIP billboards to gain seats in the forth coming European and Local Elections. Remember this poster going some parts of the country. Now if you now compare the poster UKIP poster it is almost saying the same thing but dressed up in the same way to say all Europeans are not welcome into the UK.

photo 5A campaign organization called Hope Not Hate first brought it to the public domain and it’s little wonder why at a previous UK Independence Party passed a motion to ban Hope No Hate from attending their conference as observers. One has to question the make up of their party how many Black and Minority Ethnic members they have on their National Executive Committee, and how many candidates who are standing are from Black and Minority Ethnic as potential candidates in the forth coming elections.( Put image of person who latest poster)

It’s no wonder UKIP seems to attract bad publicity with such comments of Bongo Bongo Land, and I’m sure no women will put up with sexist comments.

Remember this cilp see below:

Nigel Farage was forced to deny charges of racism after launching a poster campaign saying Europeans were after British jobs.

photo 4The nationwide billboard campaign alleges that a ludicrous 26 million Europeans roughly equivalent to the entire British workforce are poised to descend on the country seeking work.

The figure is based on the total number of unemployed people in Europe, where EU-mandated attacks on public services have caused huge job losses much like those inflicted by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in Britain.

photo 1Anti-racism campaigners warned that Mr Farage’s increasing use of slogans urging Britons to “take back control of our country” from foreigners echoed the chant of the fascist English Defence League “we want our country back.”

Veteran anti-fascist and editor of Searchlight magazine Gerry Gable said the theme could be traced back to Hitler before the Second World War.

And he poured rubbish on Ukip’s ludicrous scaremongering.

“It would mean every single unemployed person in Europe wants to come to Britain,” he pointed out. “There is no factual substance in this at all.

photo 2“That has been proved by the tiny number who have come in since they were allowed to.”

Mr Gable also noted that it was significant that French National Front leader Marine Le Pen recently said there was “no reason” she could not work together with Mr Farage’s right-wing outfit. And he dismissed claims that Labour would need to lurch to the right on immigration to stop its voters flocking to the UKIP banner.

“That isn’t where the votes came from when the British National Party stood in Barking and Dagenham,” he said. “They came from people who had never voted before.”
photo 1 (1)The offensive advertising blitz is being funded with help from Yorkshire multimillionaire Paul Sykes, who has given a £1.5 million donation to the party.

Anti-racist movement and trade unions are rightly appalled by the incendiary anti-immigrant message being plastered on billboards across Britain by the UK Independence Party.

But Labour and the trade unions should heed to Workers’ Rights if they don’t listen to the warning that UKIP will continue to prosper as long as the left refuses to acknowledge public anger against the anti-democratic European Union.

NFNigel Farage’s odious outfit claims to speak for ordinary people and not for the well-heeled metropolitan elite who have done so well out of the economic crisis they plunged the country into six years ago.

Those claims are lies.

Before throwing his lot in with Ukip Mr Farage was a City spiv just like the dodgy speculators who caused the financial crash of 2008.

As an MEP he has gleefully helped himself to the European Parliament’s no-questions-asked expenses trough, bragging in 2009 that he had claimed £2 million in this way.

Just like so many members of the Tory Party he once belonged to he clearly has a problem understanding that public money is not his for the taking.

And far from being an “anti-Establishment” party as it likes to pretend, Ukip shares wholeheartedly the Westminster Establishment’s neoliberal ideology.

photo 3 (1)Working-class people who have lost their jobs thanks to the government’s vicious assault on the public sector should know that Farage advocates even greater cuts to public spending than the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Ukip claims to worry about pressure on public services yet calls for massive cuts to NHS spending and further contracting of health services out to greedy privateers.

George Osborne’s tax cuts for the wealthiest aren’t enough for Farage, who wants a single income tax rate for everyone, the abolition of all inheritance taxes and an even lower corporation tax rate.

photo (1)Oh, and this year he also called for cutting people’s pensions.
Ukip is clearly a bosses’ party.

But too much of the labour movement has yet to wake up to the fact that the European Union is also a bosses’ institution.

Its most powerful bodies, the European Commission and European Central Bank, are not elected by anyone and have been used to enshrine in law a Thatcherite policy of slashing jobs, privatising public services and trashing workers’ rights.

In return for “bailing out” Greece, Ireland and Portugal it has demanded enormous spending cuts and forced the suspension of collective bargaining.

It is intertwined with aggressive US foreign policy and recently played a key role in facilitating the overthrow of a corrupt but elected government in Ukraine by a hotch-potch of free market fanatics, fascist gunmen and homophobic nationalist zealots.

Poll after poll shows that British workers are no fans of the EU.

This is not, as the patronising rhetoric of new Labour and the Liberal Democrats suggests, because they have failed to understand it.

Nor is it because Britain’s working people, with their venerable tradition of international solidarity with the oppressed, are a bunch of xenophobes.

Workers have an entirely justified suspicion of a neoliberal empire which spouts free-market dogma and whose leaders can’t be voted out.

Labour should share their concern. Until it does only No2EU exists to put the progressive, socialist case for getting us out.

Unlike UKIP, this working-class organisation will not receive backing from millionaires to help it promote its message. It needs our support to do so instead.

Because we do indeed need to take back control of our country.

Not from the foreigners blamed by UKIP, but from the parasitical capitalist class and its institutions in Westminster and Brussels.

I can’t help but to think that Chris Searle is right when he quoted:

GROWING up in the post-war years in London, the anti-German ethos was often almost tangible.

I had been born in the apex of doodlebug attacks over the London-Essex suburbs, and such memories carried deep antipathy.

Then, when I was in the sixth form at school in the early ’60s, there was the trial of extermination-camp supremo Adolf Eichmann, when the raw and horrifying details of nazi Holocaust atrocities were exposed day after day on every newspaper front page.

Yet at school I had a powerful English teacher who showed us that fascism was only part of the German truth, and he invited us into his choice of school play — Bertolt Brecht’s marvellous narrative drama The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

It changed many of our attitudes towards the people and culture of Germany as we acted out the ideas and humanism of a German communist in suburban Essex in 1962.

Such memories came bounding back to me as I listened to this album of the Globe Unity Orchestra, originally the creation in 1966 of the Berlin-born pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach, who had first assembled a musical amalgam of German, English and other European free-jazz musicians in the Berlin Philharmonic just two decades after the cessation of the anti-fascist war in a pioneering and celebratory blast of jazz freedom, in an orchestra which was to meet again many times during the following four decades.

One of those more recent times was in January 2002, when many of the original members, like Schlippenbach himself, Bristolian tenorist Evan Parker, south London trombone genius Paul Rutherford, the Albert Ayler-inspired saxophonist from Remscheid Peter Brotzmann, the pioneering free trumpeter Manfred Schoof and drummers Aachen-born Paul Lovens and Londoner Paul Lytton all reunited for a rampaging session in Lovens’ home city.

The explosion of unity  bursts out of  Schlippenbach’s opening chords and the crashing Anglo-German drums of the album’s single hour-and-a-quarter-long track.

Brotzmann’s gushing, super-adenoidal tenor carves out the hornway as, one after another, these unchained heralds of free improvisation return to each other’s collective sonic comradeship after long, rampant choruses of solo timbral power and beauty.

When the singular British bassist Barry Guy — who as founder of the massive London Jazz Composers Orchestra knows well the purposes behind such music  said that “this music is intrinsically social,” he invites listeners to step deeply inside its sounds.

When Rutherford’s extraordinary solo time comes and he explores his instrument’s inner and outer limits and every jot of its sliding voice, you wonder about the life experiences of his father, an anti-fascist soldier from Woolwich, and how they have woven themselves into the powerfully original and soul-soaked notes and brilliance of his son and these other peace-loving troubadours of a postwar jazz generation, German and British.
And when the soaring Schoof enters, his trumpet breathing a fiery friendship and hatred of fascism and war, it is as if the barriers are tumbling all over the world, for if it can happen in Europe after such a 20th-century history, then it can also happen any time, anywhere.

The next phase is Schlippenbach and the drummers and it is as if he is a drummer too, so forcefully and with so much passion and blood does he assail and caress his keys with an uncanny multiplicity of sound sensations.

And suddenly you realise that there is no bass in this orchestra, that the earth of its depth of sound is coming from drums and piano and the profundity of grounding notes from all the horns which create what sounds like an eternal detonation for several minutes until Parker — or is it Brotzmann, for by this time nations and individuals are eclipsed, discounted and forgotten in the blast  and only when Brotzmann re-enters with his tarogato, unaccompanied yet encompassing the full orchestral unity, are you reminded that this orchestra is composed and created from an audacious group of singular and wildly creative musicians playing out their lives between two centuries, two millennia.

photoIn the end you can’t write accurately about such music, only listen to and marvel at it and the artists who so bravely create it in defiance of difference and war.

Its for this reason why I will continue to urge with the public to vote Labour on 22 May in both local and European Elections

 

 

 

 

 

Coalition causes family splits in communities


 

downloadThe idea of “big society” looms as large over this government as Big Brother did over 1984. The big question is how is this idea different to previous Conservative thinking on the subject? As prime minister from 1979 to 1990, Mrs Thatcher told us there was no such thing as society. She said the state was inefficient as a service provider; that public expenditure inhibited wealth creation and created dependency, and that we should turn instead to the market.

 

She aimed to cut public expenditure. She reduced welfare benefits and stigmatized people receiving them as dependent and scroungers. She called for an expansion of self-help and voluntarism. Her critics said that she weakened UK economic performance, increased economic inequality and reduced social mobility. They argued that her reforms increased social divisions, undermined social cohesion and had particularly damaging effects on the regions, Scotland and Wales and their manufacturing industries.

 

She actually massively increased public expenditure on welfare benefits through increasing unemployment. Her reduction of expenditure on the health service seriously undermined its performance and meant that being seen as looking after the NHS has become a watchword ever since for any leader who wishes to be elected and remain in power.

 

By contrast, David Cameron has argued for “big society” as core to his policy approach and political belief. He believes that the state is inefficient as a service provider; that public expenditure inhibits wealth creation and creates dependency and we should instead turn to the market.

 

He has aimed to cut public expenditure. He has reduced welfare benefits and stigmatized people receiving them as dependent and scroungers. He has called for an expansion of self-help and voluntarism. He has presided over the weakening of UK economic performance. His period in office has witnessed the extension of economic inequality and reduced social mobility. His reforms have come in for criticism for increasing social divisions, undermining social cohesion and for having particularly damaging effects on the regions, Scotland and Wales and their manufacturing industries.

 

He is set on reducing public expenditure on welfare benefits, but rising unemployment through the loss of public and private sector jobs is likely to increase the welfare bill. There are widespread fears that his reorganisation of and reduction of expenditure on the NHS will seriously undermine its performance when people are used to seeing looking after the NHS as a watchword for any leader who wishes to be elected and remain in power.

 

So what is the difference between devaluing and discounting society and talking it up – between no society and “big society”? So far it’s difficult to see even a sliver of space between them, barring the direction of spin. Both seem to come with the same baggage. Why then should we expect the results of present policy with its talk of “big society” to be any different or any more successful than earlier talk of no society? This looks like a worrying case where history may be repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as even worse.

Food-banks-graph-2013During the pass few weeks my team just like other team Labour have been on the doorsteps there have been many people who are very low and middle incomes have been reporting to us that they have been penalized by both the Bedroom and Council taxes and some faced with evictions thanks to this coalition government whilst the cost of living have increased and some have to depend very heavily on food parcels.

I’m sure that many would have read in the national press of people being force out of their rented accommodation by privately owned landlords who have increased the rent. This because some councils has not built enough properties which is causing a major problems to the local population as people have been
throughout the London region has been forced to move to places like Birmingham and Manchester.

Bedroom-Tax-2785307It’s beggars believe this has split families and some have lost their local support network in their communities thanks to Thatcherism which this coalition are hell bent on carrying on under the guise of Big Society coupled by benefit caps. Mark my words this will come back to haunt this coalition but do they really care about communities in today’s world which I’m sure that most can answer.

Ever since Thatcher talked about there is no such thing as society this coalition has the very cheek to rebrand it as the Big Society and to top it off the further cheek of Lord Tebbit words during the 1980s “On Yer Bike which has come back to haunt this coalition under Iain Duncan Smith, Employment Minister, George Osbourne and David Cameron.

It beggars belief when I read or hear poorer people saying that they would rather vote for a conservative right leaning party than vote for a left leaning one. Conservatives are only ever interested in making rich people richer and it always is on the backs of the rest of us who are unfortunate not to have wealth, but we endure, we fly the fucking flags like idiots thinking all politicians are the same so why bother changing them in the first place right? Wrong, right leaning politicians wouldn’t have brought you the benefits of which you all take for granted and we would be either working for virtually nothing and for longer, no weekends, no annual holidays, no sick leave to name but a few, all brought to you by the sweat of those who gave a fuck and fought for it, sometimes paying with their lives. So before you all think seriously about voting for a rich mans party, think long and hard,do I enjoy these breaks or would you rather live to work?

So its no surprise to the many that religious leaders and faith groups have called on the government to take action to tackle a “national crisis” of rising hunger and food poverty, as latest figures suggest more than a million Britons have been helped by food banks in the past year.

More than 40 Anglican bishops and 600 church leaders have signed a letter, calling on David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband to tackle the causes of food poverty, including low wages, rising food prices and an inadequate welfare benefit safety net.

The letter said the period running up to Easter had been a time of “sorrowful and deep reflection” for people of all faiths on what it calls the terrible rise in hunger in Britain, and urged society to “begin rising to the challenge of this national crisis”.

The document, signed by 45 of the UK’s Anglican 59 bishops, including those from Durham, Southwark, Bath and Wells, St Albans, Coventry and Edinburgh, although not by the Archbishops of Canterbury or York – calls on the main parties to engage with and support the findings of a newly created all-party parliamentary inquiry into the causes of food poverty and hunger.

The religious leaders continue: “Hope is not an idle force. Hope drives us to act. It drives us to tackle the growing hunger in our midst. It calls on each of us, and government too, to act to make sure that work pays, that food markets support sustainable and healthy diets, and that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger.”

The letter coincides with the release of data by the Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, which reveals that more than 900,000 people received food parcels in 2013-14, a 163% increase.

It is the second time in two months that church leaders have courted political controversy by publicly urging ministers to take action on food poverty, and reflects widespread feeling among faith groups involved in poverty projects that the government has failed to grasp the extent of the hardship faced by low-income families. In February, 27 bishops wrote to the Daily Mirror saying that Cameron had a moral duty to act on the growing number going hungry.

The archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, said the new initiative demonstrated frustration that ministers had not responded properly to that letter. “What we are saying to the government is … can you at least acknowledge that there is a real problem here?” He added: “It’s incredible that in a country as relatively wealthy as ours, where we talk of economic recovery, there are still people who have to depend on food handouts to feed their families.”

The Trussell Trust said its figures represented “just the tip of the iceberg” of food poverty and demonstrated that many British citizens on low incomes, especially those reliant on benefits, were finding it harder to make ends meet. Over half of its food parcels went to people facing welfare cuts or delays in benefit payments, it said, in a direct challenge to ministers who have steadfastly refused to accept that there is any link between cuts to social security and the explosion in food bank use.

Chris Mould, chairman of the trust, said: “It’s been extremely tough for a lot of people, with parents not eating properly in order to feed their children and more people than ever experiencing seemingly unfair and harsh benefits sanctions.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said the Trussell figures were potentially misleading because it was unclear whether they had double-counted people who had made repeat visits to food banks. The spokesperson said: “We’re spending £94bn a year on working age benefits so that the welfare system provides a safety net to millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so they can meet their basic needs.The truth is that the employment rate is the highest it’s been for five years and our reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities by promoting work and helping people to lift themselves out of poverty.”

The Trussell figures showed 913,138 people – including 330,205 children – were the beneficiaries of its food parcels in 2013-14, up from 346,992 in 2012-13. The main reason people came to the food banks for help was as a result of people being left impoverished by welfare changes, cuts and delays, it said.

Its figures understated the likely level of people going hungry, it added, because they did not include thousands of people helped by non-Trussell food banks and soup kitchens, those who had no access to a food bank, those too ashamed to turn to charity food, or those who were coping by going without food or buying less.

A separate survey of 130 Trussell food banks found that 83% reported that “sanctioning” – when job centres stop benefit payments to claimants for at least a month as a punishment for breaches of benefit conditions such a missing a job interview – was causing rising numbers to turn to charity food. Trussell, a Christian charity, currently oversees 404 food banks.

Other drivers of food bank demand were incomes failing to keep pace with rising living costs, low pay, and under-employment. Trussell said in addition to providing food parcels it was also providing essentials like washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to struggling families.

Other signatories to the bishops’ letter, organised by the End Hunger Fast campaign, include representatives of all the main christian denominations, including catholics, methodists, baptists, and quakers, as well as groupings such as the Evangelical Alliance. There are no Muslim signatories to the letter but a number of mosque and community-based faith projects are now active providing food aid.

A separate letter signed by 33 Jewish religious leaders calling on the prime minister to take action to ensure that no UK families go hungry will be published on Thursday tomorrow. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism, said synagogues and Jewish welfare organisations were seeing first-hand evidence of food poverty.

Well done for Maria Eagle, the shadow environment secretary, said the Trussell figures told the “shocking truth” of Britain’s cost-of-living crisis. “Instead of hiding behind the Tory myth that says the increase in food banks is driving demand, it is time ministers got a grip and took this issue seriously.

Can Labour win the Local and European Elections in 2014


I went to one of Ed Miliband’s event on 8 April and listened with great interest but could not wondering if Labour could really win the European and Local  Elections in 2014 and has Labour smelt the coffee.

Ever since Ed Miliband declared his support for localism Labour figures have been looking for concrete evidence of his commitment to devolving power from Whitehall. It was one of the motivations behind the recent letter  to the Guardian from left-wing think-tanks which called for “devolution of state institutions, by giving away power and resources to our nations, regions, cities, localities and, where possible, directly to the people.”

Ed-Miliband-and-Ed-Balls--006In a major speech on the economy tomorrow in Birmingham, Miliband will go a significant way to meeting their demands. Announcing the interim conclusions of Andrew Adonis’s growth review, he will vow to end a “century of centralisation” by at least doubling the level of devolved funding to city and county regions to £20billion over the next parliament (a figure that Labour sources emphasis is the “bare minimum”). As one shadow cabinet member recently put it to me, to see the party’s commitment to devolution, “follow the money”. Alongside this, regions will be offered new powers over transport and housing infrastructure, the Work Programme, and apprenticeships and skills, a move described by the party as “the biggest devolution of power to England’s great towns and cities in a hundred years”.

photoMiliband and Ed Balls are to write to the leaders of all local authorities, universities and Local Enterprise Partnerships asking them “to draw up joint plans to boost growth and private sector jobs in their regions.” Those regions that bring forward plans in the first nine months of the next parliament, and that meet the tests set by the Adonis review, will receive a “devolution deal” in the first spending review period of a Labour government.

The aim of the policy is to bridge the huge productivity gap between London and the regions (thus rebalancing the economy), and to create the kind of high-skilled, well-paid jobs lacking in so many areas. As Ed Miliband said on 8 April: “Britain is the country of the industrial revolution and Birmingham was one of the great cities of that revolution. But the country of the industrial revolution has ignored the lessons of its own history for far too long: the country that once built its prosperity on the great towns and cities, like Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff, has become a country which builds its prosperity far too much in one city: London.

“We need a prosperous London, but we also need to build prosperity outside it. Today, every region outside London is below the national average when it comes to productivity, while London is 40% above it.”

Given the fiscal constraints a Labour government would face, Miliband is clear that it is the private sector, not the state, that will be the primary source of new jobs. After addressing prices (with announcements on energy and housing) and wages (by promising to strengthen the minimum wage and spread use of the living wage),  Miliband’s focus on employment is the next strand of his plan to tackle the “cost-of-living crisis” (see my blog from this morning on why he’s sticking with this line ).

photo (3)In his speech, he contrasted his commitment to devolution with the inaction of the coalition. Referencing Michael Heseltine’s government-commissioned growth review No Stone Unturned (which was similarly launched in Birmingham), he will say: “This government had an opportunity to make a difference. Michael Heseltine’s review called for a massive devolution of funding from Whitehall to the cities. But David Cameron and George Osborne allocated just £2 billion for a Local Growth Fund in their Spending Review for 2015-16.  The best report this government has produced has been the one that they have most ignored.

“We can and must do a lot better than that. It is why nine months ago, I asked Andrew Adonis to recommend the way forward for Labour. We have heard his interim conclusions today and his message is clear: devolving power from Whitehall to our towns and cities is essential to generate the new jobs we need.”

photo (4)It would be fascinating to know what Heseltine, who shared a platform with Adonis at an event on London  last week (the two are long-standing mutual admirers), makes of Labour’s decision to go far further than the Tories in embracing his conclusions. Perhaps he’ll be kind enough to tell us…

One other figure closely involved in the speech was Chuka Umunna (another Heseltine fan), who made the case for regional economic devolution in a piece for Centre for Cities  in February, and who, along with Jon Cruddas, Liz Kendall and Hilary Benn, is the most fervent advocate of localism in the shadow cabinet. His “Agenda 2030 ” is crucial to Miliband’s ambition to build “a different kind of economy”.

Having so clearly recognised the merits of devolution, Miliband will now be pushed to go further, for instance by devolving housing benefit (allowing councils to invest any savings in housebuilding) and lifting the cap on council borrowing to allow local authorities to borrow to build. But those who have previously doubted his commitment to giving power away will welcome the speech as a significant downpayment.

photoThen I started to reminisce on what Labour had achieved whilst they were in government I came to the conclusion that they done:

Labour’s social policy was a success, and this is verified by the LSE’s definitive survey of the Blair-Brown years: “There is clear evidence that public spending worked, contrary to popular belief.” Nor did Labour overspend. It inherited “a large deficit and high public sector debt”, with spending “at a historic low” – 14th out of 15 in the EU.

Labour spending increased, but until the crash was still “unexceptional”, either by historic UK standards or international ones. Until 2007 “national debt levels were lower than when Labour took office”. After years of neglect, Labour inherited a public realm in decay, squalid public buildings and unforgivably neglected human lives that formed a social deficit much more expensive as any Treasury debt. Ministers brimming with optimism set about rooting out the causes of poverty. Tony Blair set up the social exclusion unit inside No 10. “Social exclusion” signified not just poverty, but its myriad causes and symptoms, with 18 task forces examining education, babies’ development, debt, addiction, mental health, housing and much more. Policies followed and so did improvements.

John Prescott’s department published an annual Opportunities for All report that monitored these social targets: 48 out of 59 indicators improved.

So when Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith or Nick Clegg sneer that all Labour did was give tax credits to lift families just over the poverty line  “poverty plus a pound” they lie through their teeth. Contrary to Tory claims, benefits were not Labour’s main instrument of social change: the benefit budget fell as a proportion of spending, outstripped by increases in health, education and other social services.

Things got better with money mostly well spent. That’s not the case now. Labour’s years of social progress are being flung deliberately into reverse in the NHS, in poverty, in opportunities. The ill-effects in education from such disasters as the huge cut in Sure Start and childcare are beginning to, to emerge. But moving backwards on just about every social measure is certainly happening: the coalition’s “more for less” is exposed as pretence. They are simply raising more money for the rich. And all because of their driving ideology

The Coalition have borrowed more in 4 years than labour did in 13 and have nothing to show for it except a handful of wealthier millionaires and the return of absolute poverty.

The aim of the Tories and of big business, ever since 1979 and accelerated under this awful regime, has been to crush ordinary people.

Perhaps the biggest ‘growth industry’ has been the private ‘security industry’ and the explosion in the number of debt collectors and bailiff outfits. These cowboys daily flout the law and intimidate those they come into contact with with the sole aim of screwing as much out of them as they can.

Debt collection outfits harass and bully people in contravention of the Protection from Harrassment Act 1997 and will not stop unless they are threatened in writing with legal action. They also attempt to get payment for statute barred debts… that is those over 6 years old. They lie and cheat in pursuit of these and again they face no sanction for so doing.

Bailiffs cheat, lie, bully and intimidate vulnerable people by physical means and they attempt to screw people over by levying massive and utterly unjustifiable charges which are also fraudulently claimed, ie by attempting to charge for visits to their victims that never took place.

I know of many activists have who has campaigned for localism for years, the announcement by Ed Miliband of the end of a century of centralism is a big day. If Labour win in 2015 there will be a huge devolution of power and money to England’s towns and cities to promote jobs and growth, starting with devolving the work programme, skills funding, transport and housing – a minimum of £20 bn over the next Parliament that will no longer be controlled by Whitehall, but will give every area of the country the chance to succeed. I also that some activist will say that Ed Miliband complains that “the middle class, once the solid centre of our economy, is being hollowed out with growing insecurity and the prospect, for the first time since the war, that their children will be worse off than they are.”

By coincidence that’s what’s happening to the working class, but it doesn’t get a mention.

Marxists, including Miliband’s father Ralph, recognise that Britain’s industrial revolution, pre-eminent trading status and national wealth were capitalised by imperial conquest and overseas exploitation.

Domestically, the hewing of coal, production of steel, processing of metals, timber and other materials into finished goods and their transport to markets by road, rail, sea and air were all carried out by the working class, providing huge profits for capitalists.

Yet, according to Miliband, it was the middle class that created this wealth.

Miliband uses the terms middle class, middle income and middle Britain interchangeably, compressing these sectors into his mythical “squeezed middle.”

What does he think that the working class does with its time these days?

There are no longer huge detachments of workers in the extractive and metal-bashing industries. The economy has changed, productive processes have developed and computerisation has transformed the world of work.

But members of the working class still make the economy tick.

Their labour power provides the profits to allow a tiny minority of society to live in luxury while lecturing us all to work harder and appreciate the “real world.”

The working class has always been menaced by unemployment, with a minority denied a job and told that their state benefits could be withdrawn unless they undercut the wages negotiated by unions for employed workers.

Holding down or, even better for the capitalist class, reducing benefits is the favoured means of Establishment politicians to increase the desperation of the unemployed.

That’s why Miliband’s decision to order Labour MPs to vote for George Osborne’s policy of setting a welfare benefit cap in stone for future governments is a betrayal of not only claimants but of the entire working class.

Miliband condemns the Chancellor’s economic programme as a “race to the bottom,” in which “wages for most people will continue to lag far behind the wealth being created and middle-income families will still be locked out of the benefits of growth.”

But by supporting Osborne’s welfare cap, the Labour leader is throwing in his hand with the most viciously right-wing government in living memory.

Worse still, by championing the “living standards of middle Britain” while agreeing to screw the worst-off workers living on reduced benefits, Miliband drives a wedge into working-class solidarity.

He recognises the reality of Britain’s economy in which “a few people at the top scoop more and more of the rewards.”

Yet, in contrast to his willingness to put the boot into those at the bottom of the heap, he has no plan to drive greater social justice by raising taxation on the avaricious elite enriching itself on the backs of the working class, including Miliband’s “squeezed middle.”

Miliband has clearly been influenced by US politics where the working class has been consigned to obscurity as a communist concept and the vast majority of the country are redesignated middle class.

It’s nonsense across the pond and it’s no less ridiculous here.

The working class cannot be wished away or neglected on a political whim, as Miliband may yet discover to his cost.

I say let us not forget where we are all from and move with the times as I’m sure that both coalition and UKIP will not address this issue. I will urge people to vote Labour on 22 May for both European and Local Elections.  

 

 

Another attck on Bedroom Tax


Firstly I would like to thank all the Branch Labour Parties across the UK for inviting me to help them on Labour doorstep and information sharing its has been a pleasure of knowing what this coalition is doing to their communities and the amount of Foodbanks which has sharply increased and other community issue which affects them especially the most dreaded Bedroom Tax. Unfortunately councils have had a shotgun put to their heads as it is part of legislation which urgently needs to be repealed. Many people are suffering because he or she has an extra bedroom and on benefits which they have to pay for it and this leaves them short on money to live on. It’s been a very well know factor that private land lords charges extortionate prices for rent compared to public sector otherwise known as social housing.

This where I take issues with both previous and present UK governments for not building enough affordable housing or social housing I’m of the opinion that it was put on the back-burner to create a backlog of overcrowding overnight as there is not houses are being built fast enough. This may be hot potatoes so it’s no wonder why private landlord can get away with murder by not renting to people who are job seekers or benefits in some cases.

A Tory minister unmasked the real motivation behind the cruel bedroom tax yesterday by admitting the policy was never about saving taxpayers’ cash. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed stripping Britain’s poorest tenants of housing benefit has saved the Treasury £1 million a day since last April.

But Tory Employment Minister Esther McVey admitted yesterday that the policy “was never all about saving money” – a claim at odds with the line her government used.

_73679530_idsMs McVey made the short but stark comment on BBC 5 Live radio in an interview before the first anniversary of the bedroom tax on April 1

Disabled People Against Cuts said: “At last we have some truth from the mouth of a government minister.”

Outraged and it showed the policy was another Tory attempt to “inflict misery on ordinary people struggling with rising costs of living.”

disabled_people_against_cuts“The situation is clear under this government we not only face an erosion of rights, but continuous attacks on our living standards, homes and security. “Enough is enough.”

Bedroom tax revenue data was published by the DWP following a freedom of information request by the BBC to coincide with the policy’s first anniversary.

It also revealed that 30,000 people – or just 6 per cent – have reportedly downsized as a result of the housing cut.
Almost five times that number have fallen behind on their rent and been forced towards eviction.

Ms McVey insisted most of those people were in debt before the tax kicked in.

Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Bryant said the figures proved it was a policy “designed as a tax on the poorest and most vulnerable.

“Under this government housing benefit bills are rising, not falling and the bedroom tax has forced thousands into debt and to rely on food banks to survive,” he said.

tory (1)The loophole in the government’s legislation which has led to more than 20,000 people being wrongly charged the bedroom tax threatens to cost taxpayers millions of pounds.

Mr Bryant added that Labour would scrap the bedroom tax if it takes power at the next general election if the government do not back down.

But Labour leaders face accusations of hypocrisy after voting for George Osborne’s welfare spending cap on Wednesday.

Experts believe Labour would have to make harsh cuts of its own in order to scrap the bedroom tax and stay within the new £119 billion welfare spending limit.

Jeremy Corbyn said that his party’s support for the government-proposed budget was a “huge mistake.”

He said: “It’s wrong to place a cap on social security spending as it’s impossible to predict what demand will be in future.

“We should stick to the principle of preventing anyone in our society of becoming destitute.”

Mr Corbyn was one of the 13 Labour backbenchers who rebelled against the party whip and voted against the cap.