The highlight of 2014 for me and others was Question Time with Russell Brand, Nigel Farage and other guest speakers on the panel. Normally I would not give my time of day to listen to both Russell Brand and Nigel Farage but on this occasion I had to concur with Russell Brand over his comments of what he thought of Nigel Faragae checkout this youtube and who can forget our very own veteran Dennis Skinner and dare I say Nigel Farage which is included in another youtube below:
Whilst on my hobbit’s journey during the festive seasons I had time to reflect what made my year for 2014. I have to say it’s got to be none other than Russell Brand vs Nigel Farage with other guest speakers on the Question Time.
Normally I would not have the time of the day for Russell Brand but he really made my night watching the debate. Over the past few weeks some of my colleagues including myself have been following the progress of the UKIP and speaking to some close allies from different sections of the communities. We looked at their list of target seats compared it to the last General Elections between 2005-2010 and the recent By-elections in 2014 it’s not rocket science for many to understand that the two seats are strong holds of the Conservatives which the two members of parliament who cross over to UKIP in fear that they may lost their seat in 2015 to UKIP and the cost of tax payers hard earned money to fund the elections. There was nothing stopping them resigning from the conservatives whip and they would be independent MPs until 7 May 2015 then stand as UKIP candidates. But instead they wanted to send out a statement to the coalition.
Interestingly I’ve read of recent events of a number of alleged investigations taking place of key members of UKIP who have been suspended from the party so it comes as no surprise as a party starts to get scrutinised by the public let’s take a look at some of their high profile events:
- Roger Bird: Ukip general secretary suspended over sex harassment claim by high-profile candidate Natasha Bolter
- Ukip suspends chairman of its Lambeth and North Croydon branch
- UKIP suspends councillor who blamed flooding on gay marriage
- Ukip candidate suspended after calling Muslims ‘devil’s kids’
- UKIP suspends branch chair who said gay adoption is ‘child abuse’
- UKIP suspends ‘repellent’ member
- Ukip sensationally suspends its own group leader
- UKIP suspends member for speaking to newspaper
- UKIP suspends member over racist remarks Facebook page
- UKIP election candidate suspended for Nazi salute images
- UKIP Candidate Suspended for Saying All Babies With Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida Should be Aborted
- UKIP suspends East Sussex election candidate after holocaust row
- Former BNP Extremists Infiltrate Ukip Membership
- UKIP suspends MEP
- UKIP’s new elected Redditch councillor suspended for…racism and homophobia
- Ukip warns members not to join Facebook or Twitter
- Ukip expels Thanet councillor Rozanne Duncan for “jaw dropping” comments made in TV programme, not yet broadcast
- West Country cake shop owner threatened with violence on Facebook over response to Nigel Farage’s breastfeeding comments
- Ukip is clearly taking the British debate about migration to a new level.
- A former UKIP candidate has been jailed for two years after admitting attempting to engage in sexual activity with a 12 year old girl.
- Nigel Farage says Ukip candidate in ‘Chinky’ race row is just a rough diamond.
- UKIP supporter hangs huge Union Flag outside home in Hedge End with message to Santa
- Ukip ‘Spy On Enemies’ Scottish Party Chairman Arthur Thackeray Says
- Nigel Farage condemns schoolchildren for making ‘risible’ anti-Ukip app
- Ukip green policy: Climate change is ‘open to question’ says energy spokesman Roger Helmer
- Ethical and Colour-blind: Ukip’s Real Immigration Policy
- Ukip hires City barrister to keep ‘bad stuff’ hidden, leaked documents reveal
Perhaps, however, there is a need to widen the terms of political debate about “migration.” And it might be helpful if the major parties ceased to pretend there aren’t complicated issues to address.
So, if only in terms of European migration, there are over 2.2 million migrants that Britain needs a more honest conversation about especially since some of the more popular caricatures about them turn out to be true.
Most think there should be no government restrictions on where they live and what they do.
Many are economically inactive. Others take jobs that might otherwise go to local people so it’s alleged yet there is strong evidence that most immigrants who enters UK contributes to our economy.
Whatever their status, most take more money out of Britain than they spend here.
So, it’s time for a more honest discussion. What Are We Going To Do About The Brits Abroad?
It is a picture that can be truly worrying.
A million British “migrants” have decamped to Spain — some with barely two sentences of Spanish to rub together. France and the Republic of Ireland now play host to over a third of a million Brits, settled within their lands.
Germany is the only other country to top the 100,000 figure for British migrants, but one glance at the map sees us scattered far and wide across the European landscape.
In or out of the EU, if Ukip gets its way on a right to send migrants back to where they came from, Britain will need a serious plan about where to put its own “return to sender” migrants if other countries take the same view.
This may not solve Farage’s motorway congestion problems, though he would doubtless be comforted to believe he was in a better class of traffic jam. But the real problems run far wider.
Even if you could “notionally” swap 2.2m of “ours” for 2.2m of “theirs,” there is bound to be a jobs/skills mismatch. What jobs would Britain need to fill? What skills would be needed? Which parts of the country would our returned migrants need to be sent to?
Of course, many “returned migrants” would find themselves in competition with those currently passed by in Britain’s jobs market. But for what jobs?
Here is another example why we cant trust UKIP and Dennis Skinner sums it up in a nutshell for all checkout this:
Social media sites are now being used as platforms for the “migrants take our jobs” appeal to young and not so young voters.
For those facing zero-hours contracts in zero-prospects jobs, this can be a powerful, and accessible, explanation of an economy that fails them on a much bigger scale.
Banking has become Britain’s new welfare state. In Britain, making money has long replaced the idea of making things. An economy that no longer presumes to produce for itself also loses interest in providing the skill base that tomorrow’s sustainable economy will rely on. That is why Britain faces a chronic skills shortage.
In most of our major towns and cities there is an easy way of testing this out. Try to get an emergency plumber or electrician to come out over the weekend to rescue you from some domestic mishap or other.
Odds are that the only ones you find will turn out to come from eastern Europe which is a good thing if there is not enough trained plummers around to do the job.
The last economic crisis saw Britain rescuing the wrong sector of the economy.
Construction was thrown out of the window and the whole productive sector was told to stand outside the banks, hoping for loose change from the bonus payments being thrown at speculative traders.
If Britain had had the sense to stipulate that these bonuses should all come in the form of bonds that the banks had to buy from the Green Investment Bank, at least the GIB would have had money to put back into the real economy.
But we didn’t. So we end up with an economy seriously short of adequate skills and long-term job prospects.
But the “send ’em all back” movement isn’t really focused on a skills gap. Its focus is on visceral prejudice rather than economic reality.
Look at the jobs being done by migrants within the current British economy.
You soon discover that employment itself is brutally divided between the jobs we can’t do and the ones we won’t.
Travel on a night bus around London in the early hours of the morning. There are usually two groups of passengers.
In the first are those with luggage, heading off to an airport for an early flight abroad.
The second are those on pre dawn shifts, doing the cleaning and servicing work that keeps London’s “respectable” daytime economy going.
You can recognise this second group because they are either not British or not white.
Alternatively, venture to areas of Britain where food is produced, picked or processed.
You find a disproportionate number of migrant workers there too squeezed into overcrowded accommodation, working long hours, in poor conditions, for poorer pay.
Then turn to the care homes and see who it is that wipes the backsides, cleans up after and cares for an increasingly ageing British population.
And finally, take a look at the early morning shifts of those who clean our inner-city streets after the nighttime revellers have gone home.
None of this is the space Ukip ventures into. But once you’ve sent “them” all back, what exactly would Ukip’s marketing pitch be for the the jobs left behind?
It is hard to see young people rallying behind banners proclaiming: “This vomit is ours the clean-up should be too,” or “British
spuds, picked only by British lads.”
And in a society that struggles to get British men to clean their toilets at home, I can’t see a queue forming to clean other people’s.
Up the skills ladder, the prospects don’t get much better. “Toothache? Any Brit with a drill,” “Lights fused: Britons only need apply,” “A gas leak: own spanners and UK passport required.”
Oh sure. I can see Britons from all walks of life queuing for opportunities such as this.
The reality is that the migration debate has become a “bread and circuses” distraction.
In it, the dispossessed scrap among themselves while the wealthy look on.
All debates about “austerity credentials” of the different political parties duck this colossal flaw in contemporary British politics.
The real starting point is solidarity, not citizenship.
When I had my first job, I remember asking my parents why I had to pay a NI contribution out of my wages.
they told me to see it as a gift rather than a tax. After the war, their generation agreed to this as a way of making sure my grandad’s generation could have a pension.
My contributions would make sure that, when it came to my parents turn to retire, there would be enough in the pot for them too. It was an act of solidarity from one generation to another.
Underpinning this was another commitment from them to me. It was to the jobs, education, skills and apprenticeships our generation would need if we were to be contributors to this pot until our turn came to draw upon it.
Its is further alleged that the last 30 years of laissez-faire British politics which individualised presumptions about pensions and NI contributions broke this bond between generations.
This was when we were redefined (individually) as consumers rather than (collectively) as citizens.
A new citizens’ movement is needed to reclaim this collective entitlement.
One starting point would be restoring the right to insert “local labour agreements” in public service contracts.
Britain seems to remain ideologically opposed to this, pretending that it breaches EU public procurement rules. Yet the private sector has been doing so for years, inserting “24-hour” response times for the supply of component parts or service/repair obligations.
Other EU states do so by other means, but the effect is the same. You have to have a local base and a skill base if you want the local contract.
Farage might actually approve of sticking two fingers up at the transnational in favour of the national.
But he would balk at the idea that many of the skills we need to draw on may currently be found within migrant communities rather than his own. This leaves him stuck in the congestion of his own prejudices.
It is not where Britain’s big economic debate should be. Political parties should be warned racing to join an intellectual tailback with Ukip is just the road to nowhere.
The long delayed recovery has a long way to go, with GDP per head still 3 per cent below 2007 and pay 14 per cent down on pre recession levels.
It is hardly surprising that voters angry at this prolonged recession are protesting at the ballot box.
Our polling shows that many Ukip voters are white, male, over 40, working in the private sector and many used to vote Labour. Their key concerns are wages, job security and housing.
But Ukip policies would make things worse for them. Ukip would have NHS services run by private companies for profit. Roger Helmer MEP supported views that the NHS was a “60-year mistake.”
Nigel Farage claims to be the only politician “keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive.”
Ukip would give millionaires a bigger tax cut than the Tories. Its 2010 election manifesto committed to drastically reducing the size of the public sector and getting rid of two million jobs.
Ukip would get rid of workers’ legal rights on weekly working hours, overtime, redundancy, sick pay, pensions and employers’ national insurance obligations. Ukip would scrap the legal right to four weeks’ paid holiday.
Ukip would not give apprentices the minimum wage. It would scrap all health and safety legislation except in the most dangerous of workplaces. Ukip wants to limit which employment claims can be brought to tribunal.
Ukip MEPs voted against EU Parliament measures that would help workers facing mass redundancies and better health and safety and conditions for airport baggage handlers and offshore oil and gas workers.
Last year, Ukip MEPs in the EU Parliament refused to vote for equal pay for women. Ukip would scrap the right to maternity leave and would cut weekly maternity pay by more than half.
Farage has stated that women are “worth less” to their employers after coming back from maternity leave and that EU proposals for better and longer maternity leave constitute “excessive regulation” and are a “ruinous exercise.”
Farage failed to turn up to vote to strengthen the EU Posted Workers Directive to stop exploitation of migrant workers and did nothing to strengthen control measures to prevent the simultaneous undercutting of terms and conditions for domestic workers. His MEPs there abstained. He could have acted. He didn’t.
The 2013 Ukip Congress voted to proscribe Hope Not Hate, labelling Britain’s largest anti-racist organisation as “extremist.”
Ukip MEPs have refused to support EU action for greater financial transparency, banking reform and against tax evasion, avoidance and fraud.
Farage being a former City commodities trader himself, this probably shouldn’t surprise us.
Many Ukip MEPs are climate change deniers and have weakened EU environmental legislation, hindering Europe’s transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon economy.
Ukip has tapped into concerns over more fundamental problems about Europe that we have to face up to. Whatever the European vision was on integration, harmony, economic advancement and political stability, what we currently have isn’t it.
The free movement of labour and the single market were to be balanced by the social charter where all the people of Europe would live in freedom and with those in the poorer economies, benefitting from the harmonisation of standards across all member states.
There were to be standards on workers’ protection, Tupe, excessive hours, health and safety, information and consultation and so many others that were meant to keep labour exploitation in check.
That dream has been chipped away at for years. Right-wing governments and employers have engineered massive change in the direction of the EU vision.
Judgements in the European Courts like Viking and Laval were the green light to massive assaults on organised labour across Europe, but especially in Britain.
From Lindsey oil refinery to food production, we have seen workers recruited in certain member states by agencies and exploited.
They were shipped in, literally, in order to undermine the terms and conditions of existing workers on those contracts. Both sets of workers have been let down by Westminster government, the EU Commission and the European Court.
On exploitation, we shouldn’t blame the exploited we should damn those who exploit.
And yet the exact opposite has been occurring up and down the country over recent years. And that is part of the discontent that Ukip turns into xenophobic rhetoric to win votes.
Look past the simplistic tag and face the challenge of exploitation. Let’s reach out to those migrant workers, not attack them but organise and protect them.
Too many workers go to work fearful about exercising their basic rights.
A new Labour government working with the EU has to create a workplace without fear and equip the trade unions to enforce it.
The challenge for Labour in government is to deal with exploitation and harassment of workers who it has ignored for too long.
Collective rights are the key to unlock that challenge. Take away our shackles and we will show you what enforcement is all about.
We end 2014 much as we started it, but with an even more unequal society — a Britain that is more divided, a Britain where the haves are laughing at the have-nots, a Britain where it does no good to be poor, sick, young or working class.
In the final death throes of 2014, never has this division became more apparent than with recent newspaper headlines.
I’m sure many thought they had woken in a parallel universe when the Times named Nigel Farage as potentially “Briton of the Year.” Seriously. Briton of the Year.
Farage a leader of a racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexist party who feels breast-feeding mothers should sit in corners and has numerous parliamentary candidates who try to outdo each other for over-the-top, outlandish, diabolical comments.
Briton of the Year in my opinion is 91-year-old Harry Smith, the NHS fighter who stood up at Labour conference and told David Cameron: “Keep your mitts off my NHS” in a barnstorming speech no MP could match in its passion as he warned us all what it was like prior to the conception of the NHS when his own sister died of TB in 1926.
How can the Murdoch-owned Times to even contemplate Farage as Briton of the Year when we have Smith or indeed the inspirational Stephen Sutton who, while suffering from cancer himself, raised nearly £5 million for teenage cancer sufferers from his hospital bed, before dying earlier in May this year?
Or there was volunteer humanitarian aid worker Alan Henning who was held hostage and then beheaded by Isis terrorists in October.
These are the real true heroes and Britons we should be applauding, not the “pound shop Enoch Powell” that is Nigel Farage.
And showing up our divided society further, the Mail showed us pictures of the royal family Christmas, complete with photographs of all the ornate Christmas trees in the many royal palaces and articles on the cost of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s apartment refurb in Kensington.
Costs to the taxpayer are spiralling it seems, yet we are assured that the Cambridges are buying all their own carpets and curtains. A collective sigh of relief then.
While the royals enjoyed their Christmas, news of the utter tragedy of a couple from Sussex with two disabled children made the headlines briefly.
The parents had celebrated a Christmas Eve dinner with family and left the children with relatives overnight.
The couple were thought to be in deep financial trouble but kept it all to themselves.
A neighbour found them on Christmas morning in an apparent double suicide pact.
Without speculating too much, it is obvious that their money worries had reached a stage when they felt unable to cope or reach out for help.
Caring for two disabled children probably had taken an immense toll on them too.
People have no idea just how financially crippling it can be if you have a disabled child.
Even with both parents, one often has to give up work to become a full-time carer.
In this very sad case, caring for two disabled children was doubly tough.
Yet this poor couple felt there was no way out of their financial problems and nowhere to turn.
How many times have we seen the headlines in the past few years of people committing suicide who have been stripped of benefit entitlement through the government’s sanctions regime?
People so desperate that they feel the only way out is to take their own life to prevent further suffering.
The DWP has been urged to come clean on the numbers who have committed suicide where a death has been related to “DWP activity.”
Sixty cases have been looked into and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Sanctions for sick people claiming employment and support allowance have risen a staggering 470 per cent in 18 months, pushing the most vulnerable to the brink.
This is our divided society.
The press also treated us to a peek at Richard Branson’s Carribean island of Mustique, playground of the super-rich, with its secrets of guests eating caviar off a beautiful woman’s stomach and shooting golf balls at human targets dressed in sumo wrestling suits. The mind boggles.
These are lives so removed from the ordinary world, yet our newspapers think we are interested and want to know about the pursuits of the rich and famous.
On a slightly lesser scale, Farage dressed up in his customary tweed and went down to the Boxing Day Hunt. Not exactly the pursuit of the leader of the “people’s army,” eh, Nigel?
Meanwhile back in reality, my 15-year-old son co-ordinated his school’s appeal for donations to the local independent foodbank.
The latest stats on foodbank use are due to published shortly, and it’s predicted that the figures will be through the roof.
Over one million people have been to a foodbank in 2014 and that is just to Trussell Trust ones. There are no stats collected from independent foodbanks.
In Liverpool a 22-year-old councillor from Merseyside co-ordinated and ran Christmas dinner at St George’s Hall in the city on Christmas Day for elderly and lonely people and people who could not afford a Christmas lunch.
Thanks to Jake Morrison’s Herculean efforts, 500 people enjoyed each other’s company and a Christmas dinner that they otherwise would not have had.
This is what is going on in the real Britain we live in and not in Rupert Murdoch’s narrow vision of it.
While the gap between rich and poor gets ever wider under this Con-Dem government, it will be the duty of the Labour Party, should it get elected in May 2015, to reduce the gap.
It will be an immense task and certainly won’t happen overnight. David Cameron and his henchmen have done so much damage, it will take some time to challenge and reduce the wealth gap. But it has to be done.
In the meantime ordinary people like us will continue to prop up our foodbanks so people in our communities can eat.
But we want titles like Briton of the Year bestowed on those who truly deserve it people who have made a huge contribution to our lives, not stood at the bar pint in one hand and fag in the other, laughing at us.
We won’t get that from Murdoch and his right-wing media cronies. The Harry Smiths and Stephen Suttons of the world will be lauded by the people’s paper, your Morning Star. The only paper that fights to pull down the class and wealth divide and expose the real truth to its readers
Its time that voters come to their senses and should not be hoodwinked by the likes of UKIP, LibDems, Conservatives, as most of the nation are saying David Cameron Must Go they are fed up with this Coalition Government and they are saying they are returning to Labour to get rid of UKIP, Conservatives, and Libdems on 7 May 2015