Tag Archives: Ed Miliband

My thoughts after general elections


Who can recall this message to the Nation from Ice Queen Theresa May:

Congratulations to those who refuse to vote and think everything will remain the same or continue to think that politicians are the same you have played right to the conservatives hands. Well done. In return the Conservatives continues to stuck two fingers at you and say thanks for the low turn out. Now you will have the following to consider of more of the continuation of the same of the Conservatives who just don’t care:

Brexit divided the country and will continue to be more of the same. I want to see the Nasty Party deliver a Brexit which put jobs, the economy and living standards first. Many EU citizens have made their Homes in UK. For the first time in modern history, the political and corporate elite who have ruled the UK for decades are edging dangerously close to being removed by the people.

After seven years of a Conservative Government, the majority of people in the UK are worse off. The poor have got poorer and those in the middle are increasingly finding it difficult.

Wages have stood still, while people in work have seen job security and working decline. Small businesses are struggling and cuts in welfare have hit working families who rely on tax credits, while many of those on benefits have been unfairly targeted and sanctioned.

Throughout the UK has been hit particularly hard by local government funding. This has put a squeeze on what can all city councils can deliver for local residents. Rent in the private sector are raising. Homelessness is increasing rapidly across all councils.

Anyone who works in the National Health Service or uses it as a patient, knows how stretched it is. It is harder to get a GP appointment and hospital waiting lists have risen. Meanwhile, £4.6bn in Tory cuts has created a crisis in social care.

The Conservatives are determined and eventually privatise state education. Forcing all schools to become academies bringing back grammar schools and selection and wasting vast sums on so called ‘Free Schools’ are part of their plans to end universal education for all which has existed for over 70 years.

Under the Tories the number of people on zero hour contracts has increased to nearly one million. These jobs give no security to employees and their families often leaving them at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. If re-elected the Tories will continue to destroy the rights which workers have painstakingly won over many years. House building has fallen to its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s. There are 200,000 fewer homeowners than 2010.

The Tory ideologically dislike public services because they believe that everything is run better in the private sector. They consistently undermine our public servants, whether they be nurses, teachers, local government workers, police, or member of the emergency services. They have capped public sector pay at a derisory 1% and yet they have no problem about hospitals buying in agency staff at much higher rates of pay.

Conservative Government under May would completely jeopardise both their domestic and international plans which have been in full effect since the Thatcher era.What has happened in Manchester and London is truly horrific and who’s responsible for it will probably remain unclear for many years to come.

One thing is for certain though, that this has come at an unbelievably ideal time for those in power and over the next five weeks the media will now be entirely focused on this terrorist attack and not the disastrous Conservative party campaign that was losing support daily. It will be entirely focused on using this attack as further proof of why we need a ‘strong and stable’ leader and not a man of peace with ‘terrorist links’. It will be focused on the need to get behind the party that will take the fight to the Islamic state and not the party who want to reduce military action in the Middle East. It will be used as proof of why we need to invest in nuclear weapons instead of social care.

Ultimately it will be used to further divide and conquer society and to try and stop the current progressive left uprising in its tracks. Don’t let this tragic loss of innocent life be used as a campaign tool for the people who inflict so much misery on the world. We need to double up our efforts and remind people of exactly why we need a government committed to equality and peace, not warmongering and western imperialism because the lives of people both here and overseas are depending on it more than ever. !

Are we beginning to see the first main signs of the Brexit recession? May likes us to assume there will rainbows everywhere and stardust will fall as rain by leaving the EU. Yet back in reality the economy is hardly ticking over, inflation is up and set to go higher! Peoples living standards are falling and wages for most are stagnate and below the rate of inflation. And when you take out the con of counting zero hour contracts as people in paid work unemployment is likely to be rising not falling.

May clearly is out of her depth with the EU negotiations, she stamped her feet and the EU just said, well you want to leave so its by our terms not yours. Of course May has no answer but to threaten to make us ridiculously poor and use World Trade Organisation rules. It’s a bit like saying if you do not give me all what I want, I will dump my car or van in the water, so there!

You can see the EU just yawning when they have to listen to Mays demands. And yet she makes out she needs a landslide to give her the ability to negotiate with the EU!!! Well Newsflash the EU have already said it makes not a jot of difference how many Tory MP’s there are when it comes to the negotiations!

Labour is now judged in two polls to be 5% and 8% behind respectively. That is an astonishing closing of the polling. Corbyn’s personal rating has improved significantly. All this is part of the mosaic of evidence that indicates Labour has conducted a far better campaign. Our policies are popular. The Tories’ are failed and uncosted. Everything they touch turns to dust. If Labour can deny May the landslide she craves we have done OK. If we stop her improving her number of seats, she is in trouble. If we deny her a majority, she is in crisis. That we are even talking about restricting her or even winning this election is evidence of a remarkable sea change. Nobody in the Labour Party should now be sowing disunity. We have a leader who is repairing our reputation after two demoralising election defeats and he is doing it on an inspirational and popular programme. This is an appeal, if you want to drive out this reactionary and weak government, join us out on the doorstep. When we talk face to face with the public we can correct the media lies. All out for the next two weeks. If you abstain, you will regret it.

The Tories are not being honest with people. Michael Portillo said David Cameron told him if people knew what he intended to do with the NHS he would not be elected because the British are wedded to the NHS. This is what David Cameron said in 2006.

“But when your family relies on the NHS all the time – day after day, night after night – you really know just how precious it is.  I know the problems. Turning up at A&E and the children’s one is closed. Waiting for the doctor when you’re desperate with worry. Waiting for the scan that is so desperately need. It can be incredibly frustrating. But more often than not, it is an inspiration – thanks to the people who work in the NHS. The nurses who do everything to make you comfortable. The doctors who desperately want to get to the truth. And the army of support staff who get forgotten so often but who make such a difference to all of us. For me, it’s not a question of saying the NHS is ‘safe in my hands’. My family is so often in the hands of the NHS. And I want them to be safe there.

Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education. I like to think I can do it in three letters. “NHS.” Who would have thought Tony Blair would use PFI on our the NHS to build more hospitals which was first used by a Conservative government to tender to the private contractors to rid the in house cleaning and catering services and then close Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Hospitals to sell off the lands to the highest bidders. Whilst those closures took place The then Conservatives introduced a bill Care into Community which opened the floodgate of increase demands in various communities which was not ready to accommodate the likes of support in the communities for mental health and learning disabilities.

It’s been alleged that this General Elections cost around £143 million an increase of 16% from £123 million it budgeted for the 2015 general elections. The price tag reflects the scale of operation to staff tens of thousands of polling stations, process millions of votes and distribution of candidates’ mailings. The EU Referendum was similar.

All the political parties uses the oldest trick in the world it’s more like a textbook example of this is, leaking documents to catch the attention of the press, social media, and bloggers to test the political climate then the party in concern will obviously will reply with textbook answers it’s like playing a game of(Chinese whispers). Voters are like marmite when it comes to voting patterns as they seek what political parties best represent them with their bread and butter issues and yes some may want jam or marmalade on their bread to etc.

Conservatives are famous for using the mantras that Labour is funded by the trade unions and Strong and Stable Leadership.

No doubt that Conservatives seem to forget that Labour born out of trade union movement which I’m proud to belong to a party for the many and not for the few. Labour believes by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we can achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few where rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe, and where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.

Can’t help but to have a little dig at the Conservatives they claim to be the party of working class, it’s more like the party for the fatcats. In a nutshell it’s who is best at producing the best spin and who can donate more to the Conservative coffers as they don’t really care about working class, small businesses, homelessness or public services. If Theresa May lost the elections this would pave the way for the kiss of death(Boris Johnson) in waiting to become the new leader of the Conservative Party.  We are living in intriguing times post Snap General Elections was announced this was to cause the maximum effect just so the Conservatives receive a majority to railroad through the so-called Brexit negotiations in parliament and with the EU leaders by saying the people have spoken with one voice in Britain and so stick that up your pipe and smoke it.

I make no apologies by saying this elections was unwanted, unnecessary and opportunistic. The government had a working majority and nearly all votes in the commons by more than 30. There is no appetite among the population for a third national poll in two years. They were given a mandate in the referendum in June and they should carry it out. At the end of the negotiations process the deal should be voted upon in parliament and then put to the people through a general election or referendum.

Theresa May’s cynical decision is an attempt to eliminate dissent and to gain a larger majority in order to please the hard-right Tory agenda of dismantling the NHS, breaking up state education and undermining and selling off public facilities, while at the same time giving more tax cuts to the richest people. If this happens then inequality will rise even more dramatically and more and more people will rightly say that system is rigged against them.

All the political parties will have beaten their war drums to get their activists out on the doorsteps to promote their political parties who their candidate(s) are best to represent your area and of course it’s up to the voters to decide whether they will put their x on the ballot-box. The battle-lines had been drawn between the three main political parties this reminds me of a Chinese drama entitled Three Kingdoms where three kingdoms are at war with each other (Labour, Conservatives, and Libdems) who will best kingdom to serve the nation and the only way they can win is by using the best spin and which political parties has the best manifesto. Sadly there is only one winner which maybe or not be your choice of party that you voted in.

If any political party members are honest with themselves they will receive some negative views from various voters which include non-voters on the doorsteps then something needs changing to win over voters.  Like I mentioned in my previous article https://gordonlyew.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/my-thoughts-on-local-and-metro-mayoral-election-results/ I’m not preaching to the converted why they should vote Labour it’s the unconverted and undecided which include nonvoters that we all need to convince to vote Labour. I’m not for one moment indicating that Labour policies were rubbish if anything it’s policies which many would concur.

If there were a roomful of undecided voters both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn turns up into the room the undecided voters were put on the spot with a random question who do they feel safe to run the country and say if they all indicated  they will feel safe with Theresa May then there is cause for concern. In a nutshell it’s no good talking amongst ourselves and not listening to the voters as they will feel undervalued and less likely to return to Labour if we continue to ignoring them. That has now been eradicated. 

I’m very glad that the former Labour leader, Gordon Brown was incessantly vilified. His way of speaking was mocked. His efforts to offset the banking crisis created by casino style speculators in the city suddenly turned into blaming Labour for overspending on public services to create the deficit. Similarly, Ed Miliband was reviled as not being a ‘patriot’, for being unable to eat a bacon sandwich gracefully, for being too left-wing and lacking the qualities a ‘leader’ needs. The media had no interest in Labour’s policies. Now, in 2017, it is the same as it ever was. Unless Labour offers a right-wing, Tory agenda it will be constantly attacked as not fit to run the country. The ruling elite the establishment wants their Tory party in charge.

Gordon Brown is correct to say that Theresa May is “waging a war against the poor” and risks leaving the country more divided than at any time in 50 years. Poverty levels were set to eclipse those last seen in the early 1990s. “No Tory prime minister ever should be given a free hand”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-39906815

I’m glad that Tom Watson has is sing the almost sing from the hymn book  in what I’ve been saying about a Maggie Thatcher Style majority by urged voters to back their local Labour MP in order to avoid Ice Queen Theresa May gaining a  landslide that would make it difficult to hold the Conservatives to account.  Labour’s deputy leader said the party had a “mountain to climb” over the four weeks until the general election and was lagging behind in the polls with all income groups, including working class voters.

See details below:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/12/tom-watson-labour-jeremy-corbyn-determined-to-stop-thatcher-style-tory-landslide

This to my followers who does not have clue who is Maggie Thatcher see enclosed bio:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher

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.

 

 

 

 

 

my thoughts on the two Eds full speeches


Here is what Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor said about Tory Spending Plans in Central London on youtube:

 

To read the full transcript of Ed Balls see link below:

http://www.edballs.co.uk/blog/?p=5799

 

Here is what Ed Miliband said on youtube:

 

To read the full transcript see link below:

http://labourlist.org/2015/03/full-text-milibands-speech-to-labours-spring-event/

My Thoughts on both speeches by Ed Balls and Ed Miliband:

It’s alleged that George Osborne has promised “No giveaways, no gimmicks” who is he kidding with those words. In a nutshell he will allow up to five million existing pensioners to cash in their fixed annual payments for cash if this is not a gimmick then what is it?

Ed Balls is right to say the Tories were committed to an “ideological plan” for the biggest cuts since WW2.

I’m glad that Ed Balls has challenge George Osborne to a head to head TV debate ahead of a general election. In my opinion I think it will show that Conservatives cannot be trusted with the economy as their policies are not working if anything it’s hurting the poorest in society and if you cut too fast you end up crashing the recovery of our economy.

It’s alleged that Nick Clegg career could end with defeat in his Sheffield Hallam seat, of course, or in resignation after a terrible election performance.

Many FibDems MPs are fighting for their political lives in constituencies, they are thinking hard about life after Clegg.

IMG_2160Talk about being over-confident the Fibdems are here to stay and they claim they will defy poor poll predictions in the general elections which is an understatement and smacks of complacency. They are more interested in doing a sweetheart deals to remain in a coalition with any parties which may lead to another hung parliament on 7 May.

Voters are unlikely to be shocked by the comments of the leader of the ukip would scrap laws against discrimination on the grounds of race or colour.

Hey folks this no surprise by the Thatchererite former stockbroker claims that racism is no longer an issue of modern Britain is assured violent Islamichpioa has risen dramatically in recent years while the Community Security Trust revealed that 2014 saw more than twice as many anti-Semitic attacks as previous year.

hshshUnemployment among Chinese, black, and ethnic minority young people has risen by 51 percent under this coalition took power suggesting that discrimination. Farage claims does not exist is still widespread.

Many people are convinced that ucarp chief is living in cloud cuckoo land he needs a reality check and start to join the queue to smell the coffee. Many will acknowledge to do away with anti-discrimination safeguards is consistent with the ucrap pledge to anti-workers agenda more  generally and his desire to see bosses free to hire and dismiss at will without the burden of workplace rights.

It’s a goal that he shares with the Tories whose introduction of fees for employment tribunal hearing has made it far easier for employers to get away with harassment bullying and unfair dismissal.

Must admit some of the journey has been cold, wet, and sunny along the way with fellow comrades. This year’s election saw eyebrows  raised when a coach load of Labour activists from across the UK turns up unannounced in  towns to meet up with fellow party members campaigning on behalf of Labour machinery especially on the doorstep listening to voters concerns in mix communities they have stories to tell you of what they think of this god forsaken coalition government the queues of people heading to food-banks, the affect of the dreaded BedroomTax, an Increase in crimes because of lack of employment in their wards etc.

5pledgesThere is a strong sense of marginalized communities feel betrayed and undervalued by this coalition when they turn up to the Job Centers only to be informed by job center staff that they face sanctions for one reason or another. Since the coalition was formed they have consistently made claims that people on benefits are getting back to work in actual fact they conveniently forget to mention the real reason why the figures are down is because of the so-called job programmes that the unemployed attend which is mandatory and when the programme is finished some of them are on zero hour contracts and the unsuccessful people who returns to the job center are considered as new claimants does this ring any alarm bells to us. Heck yes it does to the many and not the few. Granted on the doorstep you do get the very occasional it’s the immigrants who are taking our jobs, housing, NHS, and they driving family cars they are taking the piss. Or the famous one is they are in it to line their pockets; they look after their own kind etc. Well the coalition minister is correct when they say “We’re In Our Necks Together”.

There is not a day that goes by on the doorstep we all listen to residents speak about the affects of cuts in our public services like adult, elderly, physical, mental health, and learning disabilities centres which some have been closed and land owned by local authorities sold to private companies to build expensive housing and other grand projects. Then it gets even worst when residents mention about the cuts in the number of police on the beat and some felt afraid to walk home alone after they have attended events  and they have to be on  guard against any form of robbery.

Checkout this what Nigel Farage has to say:

http://www.meetnigelfarage.com/#slide-2

Here is another example of what ukip leader said of our beloved NHS it almost killed him and people should pay for private health care if they can.

mittsHe was fobbed off by NHS doctors and he was later diagnosed with cancer after a scan at a private hospital. Great it one can afford Private Health Care Insurance but damned if you can’t. Personally I would not trust ukip to run our NHS let alone having a pint with this vile person and for the record I don’t drink alcohol.

Many vote can concur with a report by the Commons Health Committee Social Care should be free to everyone at the end of life which includes for a better calls for a better recording of what people want in the last days.

The MPs’ report said there was “unacceptable variation” in the care received by the people in England.

It’s little wonder that many voters can’t trust a post-election deal with ukip and conservatives if there is an EU referendum in 2015 before Christmas.

IMG_2162The conservatives think serious national interests can be solved by applying primary school background behaviour. They are childish and unfit to govern. Talking about sandwiches when people are dying of starvation is either being stupid, silly or bluntly clueless about your duties. How can they avoid real issues facing the country and for weeks concentrate on eating habits?

George Osborne would need to end national bargaining and close three Whitehall ministries to meet his spending plans, a gaggle of vocal right-wingers claimed on 10 March.

This comes as no surprise a stark warning of the Tory-friendly Taxpayers Alliance urged politicians to pledge a whopping £50 billion in extra spending cuts.

IMG_2158A report published calls for abolishing the “triple-lock” that protects the value of pensions, freezing benefits for two years and slashing nearly £5 billion from central grants to Scotland, as well as snatching back winter fuel payments and bus passes from all but the poorest pensioners.

Labour has claimed that Mr Osborne would need to slash spending by £70bn to hit his target of running a surplus by the end of the next Parliament but Tories insist they can reach this target with cuts of “just” £30bn.

The Office for Budget Responsibility has said Mr Osborne’s forecasts would result in spending falling to just 35.2 per cent of GDP — its lowest level since the 1930s.

IMG_2128It is further alleged by the Tax Alliance that another further reduction to 31.7 per cent —a figure that would require the axing of the HS2 rail link and the Department for International Development and raising the retirement age to 67.

“The politicians seeking our votes owe it to all taxpayers to come clean about what spending the country can and cannot afford,” chief executive Jonathan Isaby smarmed. It is great to read from TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady thanked the “shadowy” alliance for publishing their “vicious cuts hits the list.”

She said: “If the Chancellor were to achieve the cuts he seeks these are exactly the kind of attacks on pensioners, the vulnerable and vital investment he would need to make.

“In particular, they show he will come after public-sector workers with job cuts, pay freezes and attacks on union organisation.”

“If the Tories are elected in May, it is clear that a turbo-boosted Thatcherism will be implemented to roll back the state to an extent never achieved in a major democratic economy.”

The prospect of scrapping public-sector national pay bargaining to save £5.8bn set alarm bells ringing among trade unionists.

Unison assistant general secretary Karen Jennings blasted: “Just days after International Women’s Day, the suggestion from the Taxpayers Alliance that national pay bargaining should be scrapped is a slap in the face to women everywhere.

“Around 70 per cent of public service workers are women and such a move would reverse the great strides unions have made towards gender equality.

“National pay bargaining ensures equal pay for women, improves their position in the workforce, and gives workers greater flexibility to move around the country.”

Following hot on the heels of David Cameron’s demand that Ed Miliband rule out a coalition with the Scottish nationalists, a Tory leak in the Sunday Times indicates that the undeclared general election campaign is now well under way.

The paper reported that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is planning to use his Budget, due on March 18, for an income tax giveaway and cuts in alcohol duties, while bringing in a “Google tax” crackdown on multinationals that avoid corporation tax in Britain.

Unpopular Tory governments have always sought to provide pre-election bribes, and such an approach from Osborne was always on the cards, given the cuts in public services and benefits and the fall in real wages that have taken place since the Con-Dem coalition was cobbled together by banking and finance interests in 2010.

However, while many workers will benefit from the plan to raise the income tax threshold in April “towards £11,000,” instead of the projected £10,600, the spin being put on this is unjustified.

First, the objective, according to an unnamed “senior government source,” of “lifting the poorest in society out of tax” ignores the fact that the poorest those on minimum benefits, basic-rate state pensions and zero-hours contracts in particular already pay no income tax since their incomes are well below the current £10,000 threshold.

Second, it ignores VAT, council tax and other payments, which mean that the poorest 10 per cent in Britain pay 43 per cent of their income in tax — an enormous burden which can mean making crucial choices between eating, heating and buying clothes.

In contrast, the wealthiest 10 per cent pay only 35 per cent of their declared income in tax and we know that there are many ways in which they can reduce what they declare.

Third, for public-sector workers, the gain from the higher threshold will do nothing to make up for the increased pension contributions imposed by the government “reforms.”

Fourth, it does nothing to address the broader issue of low pay and in fact can be used by employers to justify not paying the living wage.

The other “leaked” Budget proposal was already announced by Osborne in his Autumn Statement forcing multinationals to disclose revenue and profits on a country-by-country basis and then applying a punitive 25 per cent “diverted profits tax” where they are judged to have artificially shifted money abroad to avoid corporation tax.

The measure is designed to look progressive without actually being so.

There is a myriad of ways in which corporations can avoid tax liabilities between jurisdictions, such as transfer pricing between subsidiaries and charging for the use of brands.

Without legislation to prevent this, and to close down tax havens under British jurisdiction, the measure is likely to have little effect, especially as staffing at HM Revenue & Customs has been slashed under the coalition government.

HLP-Vote-Labour-2015-300x200Furthermore, the “Google tax” does nothing to address the already low-level of corporation tax, which has been cut four times by this government, culminating in the 20 per cent figure due to come into force in April  one of the lowest rates in Europe. Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock was quoted yesterday as wanting to reduce it further, to something approaching the 12.5 per cent figure in Ireland.

There you have it this why I would not trust another coalition let alone a ucarp, or conservative government to run our country. I’m so glad that the Conservatives said judge us in five years time by our record in actual fact I have to say I’m not happy with their record in government and its time for a movement for change let alone another coalition. I strongly recommend the young and undecided voters to vote Labour for A better plan. A better future.

 

 

No Coalition deal in my name


IMG_2146I kid you not when I say that this year’s General Election will be nasty and to top of there will be Local Elections in some parts of UK. Already the polls have already shown that the voting patterns differ some making predictions of a Conservative or Labour Government. Ironically all of the polls are based on perdition.

There is still a notion from the predictions of a coalition deals between Conservatives and Libdems, LibDems and Labour, SNP and Labour, or better still Conservatives and UKIP. Intriguingly all deny any such deal quite rightly so. Recently many users of Facebook and Twitter showed their anger over an article involving an established Senior Member of Parliament Gisela Stuart comments which appeared in certain press Re: Conservative and Labour Coalition the wording is as follows:

http://labourlist.org/2015/03/labour-mp-says-party-shouldnt-rule-out-a-grand-coalition-with-the-tories/

On reading this I sent a email to the Member of Parliament like may party activists across UK. See my email:

Here is letter sent this morning to a senior Labour MP

Dear Gisela Stuart MP

Hope all is going well with your campaign in Edgbaston. Two burning issues I would like you to address.

IMG_2160 (1)This year’s General Election will be ruthless and there can be only one winner in my eyes for this reason team Labour will be campaigning hard to ensure we see a return of a Labour Government. I would urge you and your team to remember to make contact with Chinese and Black Communities to bring out the vote as those communities strongly feel that they are left out in the political process.

Would you be so kind to engage with them whilst you are on your campaign trail.
Secondly, over the last few days I have been monitoring both Facebook, Twitter and other social media of lately most Labour members, and supporters across UK have commented that the article Re: Labour and. Conservative Coalition.
I’m sure that you may be aware of the anger that is being vented both from party members and our supporters have been campaigning very hard to ensure that we see a return of Labour Government.

Some members have been put off by your article and feel that the work they have done in their own CLPs have been wiped out as this has given ammunition to the Conservatives and other opposition parties to say that Labour is not worthy of your vote. I hope you can see the predicament that we face.

IMG_2127I respectfully seek clarification what is Labour position is on coalition deals so I can approach it in various communities I and the rest of Labour members feel confident to engage with voters to return to Labour.

I look forward to hearing your response and remember are our teams from all our Labour socialist societies will be ready on hand to do our duty.

This is the reply from Gisela Stuart MP:

Thanks for this Gordon

We are making contacts with all our voters on a daily basis, on the phone and by delivering leaflets

You are most welcome to join us .

As to Coalitions…… my aim is to make sure that we return a majority labour government.

All the best

Gisela Stuart

Just as we all thought this issue was done then this happens then all of sudden Lord Baker weights from the Conservatives suggesting:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/election-2015-former-tory-chairman-calls-for-coalition-with-labour-to-keep-the-uk-together-10092329.html

 

IMG_2088There is only two months to go all the political parties jockeying and lobbying for our votes. Most of the political parties will be holding their Spring Conferences rallying their footsoilders and candidates to spread their message on the doorstep. Interestingly I have to questions to the Conservatives, UKIP, TUSC, Greens, Libdems, and SNP manifestos on Defense, Education, Equality, Employment, Economy, European Union, Housing, Immigration, Public Services which includes NHS and Small Businesses to name a few as their sums does not add up.

Look around and start to smell the coffee parliamentarians. Our country is being torn apart.

People are suffering and dying. Lives are being wrecked. Public services destroyed. Changes we never believed possible are being forced through against our wishes.

They call it “austerity forever” -the idea of a handful of arrogant, aloof Eton public schoolboys and their rich friends.

However, as Karl Marx once said about capitalism, they are creating their own gravediggers.

The British people, true to centuries of tradition, are rising like lions.

IMG_2164People with severe mental health and Learning Disabilities, and Disabled needs in this county are taking their own lives in utter despair as a direct result of cuts in services. the campaign against mental health, and Learning Disabilities cuts which have plunged the service into crisis is one of the biggest, most active and successful we have seen in years.

So it is no surprise that Local authorities in England and Wales will see their main government grant cut by £2.6bn next year, under plans set out by the coalition on Thursday.

Kris Hopkins, the local government minister, said the settlement for 2015-16 was “fair for all parts of the country” with no authority seeing a cut of more than 6.4 per cent.

IMG_2074Local authorities in England and Wales will see their main government grant cut by £2.6bn next year, under plans set out by the coalition on Thursday.

Kris Hopkins, the local government minister, said the settlement for 2015-16 was “fair for all parts of the country” with no authority seeing a cut of more than 6.4 per cent.

The average reduction in council “spending power” will be 1.8 per cent, according to a government calculation that includes all income including council tax and business rates.

But authorities said that after these revenue sources and funds that are ring-fenced for public health and adult social care were stripped out, the main grant was being cut by an average of 8.8 per cent.

That will take the total reduction since 2010 to 40 per cent, equivalent to £20bn of spending cuts according to the Local Government Association, with the loss of libraries, leisure centres and other facilities.

No fewer than 578 children’s centres have closed since the last general election, according to the Labour party.

David Sparks, chair of the LGA, said: “Individuals have paid the price of funding reductions,  whether it is through seeing their local library close, roads deteriorate or support for young people and families scaled back.”

Ministers also faced criticism from their colleagues. Martin Tett, Conservative leader of Buckinghamshire council, said authorities had reached a “tipping point”. Surrey county council’s leader David Hodge, also a Conservative councillor, said it would be “extremely difficult” to continue with a programme of spending reductions.

nhsLondon Councils, which represents boroughs in the capital, said the gap between council income and necessary expenditure was growing dangerously wide.

“Even if councils in London switched off all the street lights, closed libraries and parks, and stopped sweeping the streets, the money saved would not be enough to fund essential local services such as elderly care, child protection and schools,” the group said.

Mr Hopkins promised more money to allow local authorities to freeze council tax for another year, with any authority seeking to raise it by more than 2 per cent having to put this to a local referendum.

This comes no surprise again coming from a coalition the minister said the public had benefited from frozen council tax in recent years, bringing down average bills by 11 per cent in real terms. Bills had doubled during the previous Labour administrations from 1997 to 2010, he said.

Newcastle city council said on Wednesday it would consult on a rise in council tax of up to 2 per cent for 2015-16- the first rise for four years. It says money raised would be used to protect front line services.

Challenged in the House of Commons by a succession of MPs, Mr Hopkins said local government — with a £114bn annual budget — had to be part of the government’s programme of cuts.

He also published a study suggesting ways councils could save money, such as more collaboration, use of technology and working with the private sector.

Mr Hopkins said councils with the highest demand for services were receiving more money: Middlesbrough had “spending power” per household of £2,441 compared with £1,570 in Windsor and Maidenhead, he said.

Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, challenged that claim, saying that prosperous Wokingham in Berkshire was on course to have higher spending per head than Leeds or Newcastle.

“Having claimed that those with the broadest shoulders should shoulder the biggest part of the burden . . . ministers have done the opposite,” he said.

The government also promised a further £15.5m to support countryside authorities in an attempt to close the “urban-rural gap” in spending power.

But Andrew George, a Liberal Democrat MP for Cornwall, said that cuts were causing “carnage” in his rural seat: “He might close the gap by the time the next Ice Age comes,” he told the Commons.

Graeme McDonald, director of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers, said the cuts would push fragile authorities “to breaking point”.

Libraries need to reinvent themselves as modern, appealing destinations with cafés and better digital resources if they are to survive, says a government report. The Independent Library Report for England said that public libraries, facing a 3 per cent drop in council spending this year, were “at a crossroads”.

IMG_2150It called for “reinvigoration of the library network” by introducing “comfortable, retail-standard environment(s)” with wireless networks, sofas and coffee, to promote them as centres for learning and digital skills.

This should be led by a task force of groups such as the BBC, the British Library and Arts Council England, it said. Data from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals show 337 libraries have been forced to close in the past five years

The report highlighted the disparate ways in which council libraries are structured, including as mutual organisations part-owned by community members, independent organisations with charitable status, and public-private partnerships.

The differences mean some libraries can function as community hubs with employment support and enterprise advice, while others are still predominantly focused on lending books.

William Sieghart, author of the report, “It’s not quite last chance saloon for libraries if we just view them as book-lending places only but this is our chance to really go beyond that and take libraries firmly into this century.”

He recommends greater transparency from central government on the funding available to local authorities, and suggests councils could benefit from making one collective bid for money.

IMG_2131The Library of Birmingham was opened last year as an example of the modern library with cutting edge computer systems, conference venues and business planning services.

But last week it announced it would have to halve its hours because of budget cuts.

A review into the council found “dysfunctional” management was making it unable to deliver even basic services.

Almost all the £188m raised by Birmingham Council for the new Library of Birmingham was borrowed, leaving the council with a £12m annual debt servicing charge.

To sum it all up I have to concur with David Winnick Midland MP: Tory-Labour coalition idea ‘totally ridiculous’

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/midland-mp-tory-labour-coalition-idea-8793914

I would urge the undecided voters to vote for a return of a Labour Government on 7 May 2015

 

 

 

mental health in topsy turvy


IMG_1710Since the formation of this coalition we have seen a vast increase in Foodbanks and deep cuts to our most cherished public services by this dreadful government. How many more people will have to suffer the long queues at Job Centre Plus and imposed sanctions against them for one reason or another.

The coalition alleged that there are plenty of jobs available in the private sector which hear and read about via Prime Ministers Question Time, and press. The simple answer is there are very little opportunities available to gain employment. Most of the jobs that’s we all apply for are zero hour contracts which you cannot plan for your future and you will have to call up on a daily basis to see if there is any work available at times.

Yet the burning issue the current UK coalition government have failed to address is Mental Health issues and the lack of funding to improve services which have been high on the agenda of leading press and mental health organisations which this coalition is not addressing.

IMG_2041Mental Health organisations are no strangers facing cuts from Central, European and Local Governments funds if anything they have put in conditions for charities bids which makes it virtually impossible to bid for services for them to tender their bids on the one hand but on the other hand the previous Conservative Government under both Thatcher and Major were happy to CCT to contract out NHS mental health services by using Care In The Community and Compulsory Competitive Tendering.

http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2013/12/12/firefighting-mental-health-funding-shortage-thats-hitting-frontline-care/

Under the leadership of John Major the Conservative government pursued Compulsory Competitive Tendering almost as a dogma, often against the wishes of local government. This led to an uncomfortable stand-off between the two, with CCT regulations being produced in increasing detail, and sometimes extending further than would have been the case in the private sector. The government was unambiguous about what was required issue of tender, receipt of tender, selection of provider.

IMG_2045The term compulsory competitive tendering was superseded in 2000 by best value. Labour’s Best Value proved more difficult to define. The notion of Best Value prior to implementation was enshrined within one key consultation document: Modernising Local Government Improving local services through best value (DETR 1998a). This set out four defining elements of Best Value.

The first was the duty to secure economic, efficient and effective services continuously (the ‘3 Es’).

The second required service reviews within which the authority must demonstrate that in the fulfilment of their duties under Best Value they have: compared their service provision with that of other private and public providers; consulted with local business and community; considered competition in provision; and challenged the reasons for, and methods of, provision (the ‘4 Cs’).

The third defining element introduced a regime of audit and measurement of performance, with the broad expectation that, year-on-year, costs would reduce and quality would increase. Performance would be monitored locally through Best Value Performance Reviews (BVPRs), partly through adherence to locally and statutorily determined Best Value performance indicators (BVPIs), and disseminated annually through Performance Plans (BVPPs).

IMG_2088The fourth defining element of Best Value outlined the consequence of performance: Government intervention in cases of Best Value failure, and reward in cases of success.

In turn these four aspects of Best Value are bound by adherence to twelve principles of Best Value mentioned above. The answer to the question of what method of service delivery, precisely, the Government expected to arise from Best Value seemed to centre on local interpretation as satisfactory. The lack of clear definition, in the context of housing services, was explained as follows:

 The paper does not attempt to define what best value in housing is that is primarily a matter for individual local authorities in consultation with local people. The primary intention is to explain the process framework within which local housing authorities will need to operate in obtaining best value in housing (DETR 1999, s.1.3).

Therefore, while the message was unequivocally that Compulsory Competitive Tendering was to be withdrawn, the replacement was to be less prescribed, with the intention that local authorities follow a responsive and locally determined method of service provision within a centrally defined framework. Best Value was not, therefore, about what local authorities should do: it was a framework that prescribed how they should decide what to do.

IMG_2100Specifically Best Value would differ from Compulsory Competitive Tendering in three respects: organisation performance, organisation process, and the relationship between process and performance (Boyne 1999, p. 2).

So in essence it was not only Labour put PFI top of their agenda but a Conservative government under Major that closed and reinvest some Mental Health, and Learning Disabilities Hospitals using both PFI and CCT

A recent report suggests is a grim reading for those involved in mental health care. The survey of GPs revealed that one in five had seen patients harmed as a result of “delays or a lack of support” from mental health services, while shortfalls had forced 82 per cent of doctors to act “outside of their competence”. While this news is shocking, it is just another example of the UK’s mental health care crisis.

Just last week, data obtained from freedom of information requests led to claims that the NHS treated mental health care as a “second-class service”. Indeed, thousands of mentally ill patients have been forced to travel “hundreds of miles” for treatment in recent years. Extreme cases have seen patients being forcibly sectioned so that they can receive care in overcrowded wards. Even medical students have resorted to asking for greater teaching on psychiatry, highlighting the derisory attention that mental health issues receive. Yet the state of mental health services is unsurprising considering that they receive only 13 per cent of the NHS budget, despite mental illness affecting around a quarter of the UK population.

IMG_2083Worse still, national spending on mental health has consistently decreased over the past three years. And the trend isn’t limited to adult care; mental health services for children and adolescents have also seen a fall in funding. This decline seems even more irrational considering adolescence is the period when many mental illnesses first manifest, and that hospitals are recording a rise in hospital admissions for conditions such as eating disorders.

The budget cuts have had a noticeable impact, with doctors citing the changes as a cause of “avoidable deaths and suicides,” while mental health organisations claimed that the cuts “put lives at risk”. Mental illness also has a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, and is thought to contribute to poor physical health, having been associated with diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. As well as the ethical concerns of these cases, such neglect of the mentally ill also has practical implications; a report by the London School of Economics found that the NHS could save over £50m a year by reversing budget cuts to preventative and early intervention therapies.

Yet perhaps the most striking aspect of the decrease in funding comes from the comparison with other areas of health care. The government, for instance, took great pride in announcing that the Cancer Drugs Fund would be ring-fenced until 2016. While it would be wrong to question the severity of diseases such as cancer, it is worth considering that this budget is reserved for treatments that aren’t ordinarily commissioned because they are not cost-effective. Given the nature of the NHS’s funding crisis, it seems unfair to fund relatively inefficient treatments, while the NHS’s most vulnerable patients are left without basic care.

IMG_2095 This is the problem. Eager to brand their “reform” of the NHS as good for patients, the coalition has protected the emotive areas of health care that already benefit from public awareness. Aware that severely cutting the budget for paediatrics or cancer care would result in public outrage, the government are cynically withdrawing care from those most lacking a voice in society: the mentally ill.

Although this current crisis is alarming, such disregard of mental health isn’t a recent phenomenon. IMG_2036Plagued by a history of taboo and prejudice, mental health care has historically been chronically underfunded. With a media happy to brand mentally ill people as “psychos” and a threat to society, it has been relatively easy for politicians to excuse this injustice. But public perceptions are changing; a report by the charity Rethink Mental Illness found that public understanding and tolerance of mentally ill people is improving, while 63 per cent were aware of a close friend having a mental health problem.

This is important; for a politician to stand up for mental health care now wouldn’t just be a principled action, it’d be a popular one. With time, and the excellent work of campaign groups, this positive trend in public attitudes will only continue, allowing society to grow in confidence to discuss one of our greatest health challenges. The mental health charity Mind suggests that the next government commits to a 10 per cent rise in the NHS’s mental health budget over the next five years. Considering the state of mental health care and the current funding disparity between health services, this is not an unreasonable request.

IMG_2058 Past governments have chosen an area of health care to focus on, in order to target voter demographics. In 1999, Blair announced his “crusade against cancer”. Seeking the “grey vote”, David Cameron called for a “national challenge” to beat neurological diseases such as dementia. But the disgrace of the NHS’s mental health provision goes beyond party politics. Regardless of who wins the general election, the next government must embrace bold reform to end our longstanding neglect of the mentally ill.

For further read checkout:

This is what Labour Manifesto proposes to address Mental health Issue http://www.labour.org.uk/issues

http://www.labour.org.uk/issues/detail/patients-before-profits

http://www.labour.org.uk/issues/detail/whole-person-care

http://www.meetnigelfarage.com/#slide-2

Conservatives Manifesto

https://www.conservatives.com/ShareTheFacts.aspx

UKIP Manifesto:

http://www.ukip.org/ukip_launch_nhs_policy