Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Cassetteboy Vs Liz Truss’ New Tax Plan

October 5, 2022

You know Cassetteboy – the merry team of funsters who take speeches by the great, the not-so-good and the downright evil and edit them so they appear to be reciting a kind of musical chant about how stupid and nasty they are. Well, they’ve done it to Cheeselab, so that she sings about how her new manifesto has trashed the economy, resulted in a U-turn and cost us all £65 million to get back to square one. She also musically boasts about how the compassion she shows is all false, she’s really for the rich, is going to cut public services, and will do absolutely nothing for your pension and mortgage.

All of which is absolutely true.

Here’s the video. Enjoy!

Open Britain Petition for Truss to Face Election Now

October 3, 2022

I just got this email from the pro-democracy organisation, Open Britain, calling for Cheeselab to face a general election now to decide whether she should be Prime Minister.

‘Dear David,

Our petition says, “No new PM without a general election.” It draws a BIG RED LINE and promises REAL WORLD ACTION if the Conservative Party crosses it (and there’s a very real chance they will).

Some opponents on social media have pointed out that a number of past Prime Ministers have resigned from office and been replaced without a general election being called. That, of course, is true.

But the point now is that the Conservative Party has already played that card. An unprecedented accumulation of lies, incompetence and corruption eventually forced Conservative MPs to remove Boris Johnson from office and – after an inexplicably long leadership contest – they replaced him with Liz Truss.

They have had their chance to clear up the mess.

If any Prime Minister loses the confidence of Parliament and is forced to stand down, surely the very least their party must do is find a replacement that can command the support of a majority of MPs until the next election?

If that confidence evaporates in a matter of weeks then we are entitled to ask serious questions about the ability of those same people to form a competent government.

Allowing the Conservative Party to foist another Prime Minister on this country without a general election would be an affront to democracy, one that none of us should allow.

I hope – if you have not already done so – that you will sign the petition to make clear that you will not allow this democratic red line to be crossed.

SIGN THE PETITION

Thank you for your support.

Very best wishes,

Mark Kieran
CEO, Open Britain
@MarkKieranUK


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Brief Left Labour Summary of Labour Conference and Notice of Zoom Meeting about It on Thursday

October 3, 2022

I got this email today assessing the good and bad points of the Labour conference. This Thursday, 6th October 2022, there’s also going to be an online meeting about it from the good people at Arise: the Festival of Left-Wing Ideas.

Next Steps – A message from Rachel Garnham

SPREAD THE WORD: Retweet me here // register here

Hello David

This week’s Tory conference takes place to a backdrop of growing resistance. Saturday saw strikes from the RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU and Unite; Don’t pay and Just Stop Oil direct action; and dozens of Enough is Enough events.

There was strong support for action from significant numbers of delegates at Labour’s Conference – and popular policies supported on a raft of issues,from rail public ownership, to a £15 an hour minimum wage, to real action on equal pay – but the importance of backing this resistance was not sufficiently central to the Conference or promoted by platform speakers, who appeared woefully out of touch with this growing resistance. Meanwhile, attacks on Party democracy continue, although not without big opposition, with many CLP and union delegates joining me in fighting for Jeremy Corbyn to be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in the next election.

There is then much to review, and a need to plot out our next steps as the left. Join me, NEC member Gemma Bolton and Richard Burgon MP online Thursday (details below) for the discussion, and be part of the fightback.

Yours in solidarity,
Rachel Garnham, former NEC member on behalf of Arise & the Labour Assembly.

PS: Please spread the word by retweeting my message here.

Coming up:

1) ONLINE EVENT: Labour conference reportback & next steps discussion

Online Thursday, October 6, 7pm. Register here // Share & Invite friends here // Retweet here to spread the word.

With: Richard Burgon MP, Rachel Garnham, CLPD vice-chair & chair Gemma Bolton (NEC.) Join us online to assess Labour’s conference & discuss together next steps for Labour and the left.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

I am honestly not surprised to read that the platform speakers are out of step with grassroots resistance against the Tories. They’re Blairites, who have an absolute contempt for the party base and who believe in very authoritarian, top-down management.

Queasy Kwarteng – Not a Diversity Hire, But a Member of the Tory Hard Right

October 2, 2022

I’ve got a few interesting remarks from some of the great commenters on this blog about a piece a put up about a video by Simon Webb of History Debunked about Kwarteng. Webb wondered if the man now doing his best to trash our economy was a diversity hire, whose sole qualification for the job was his skin colour. Mark Pattie and Jim Round have pointed out that he isn’t. He was appointed because he was another Old Etonian willing to implement the programme of the Tory hard right.

Mark wrote

‘Kamikaze Kwarteng was *not* a diversity hire. He may be of Ghanaian descent, but he was Eton educated (hence probably why he got the Chancellor job). Suella Charlatan got the Home Sec job because she was more right-wing than Patel, and James Cleverley got his role because of his many years in the Army. Unlike the rest, he seems to be one of the very few (ten or so) genuinely decent Tories I’ve any respect for. It’s a damn shame he didn’t run for the leadership.’

And Jim commented

‘As with quite a lot of Simon Webb’s videos, it is what isn’t said rather than what is.
It isn’t mentioned that groups like The Taxpayers Alliance and The Institute of Economic Affairs had a major influence on this “budget” (Tim over at Zelo Street has covered this)
Also remember that The New Culture Forum, who Webb has been a guest of are based there.
They think that this is a “Conservative” budget but it is unknown whether they thought that the markets would react so badly.
Also not mentioned is the fact that Kwarteng is highly likely to be a millionaire, as well as attending Eton.
But no, let’s feed the narrative that he is only there because of the colour of his skin.’

The Taxpayers’ Alliance tends to turn up on BBC News programmes to give their views on economic policies. They are always presented as if they are a politically independent organisation, but their leaders are all members of the Tories. The Institute of Economic Affairs have been demanding hard-right economic policies since before Thatcher. I don’t think Kwarteng’s a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but this shows that the people at the Arise Zoom meeting on the Tory minibudget were absolutely right: he’s a Thatcherite true-believer, working for arch-Thatcherite think tanks, and so shares the same grotty mediocre views as his leader, Liz Truss. I should say that I haven’t watched Webb’s wretched video, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a section of the Tories is now trying to make him a scapegoat for Truss’ abject economic failure.

Jacob Rees-Mogg Booed by the Crowd Outside the Tory Conference

October 2, 2022

This video comes from the Evening Standard and shows Mogg getting jeered and booed by the crowd in England’s great and proud second city as he’s escorted to the Tory conference by the boys in blue. I realise that it’s terribly rude of the crowd and no doubt some right-wingers will seize on this to claim that it shows that leftists are purely animated by hate and envy, unlike nice, serene, altruistic right-wingers, but I enjoyed watching this. Mogg is just a few miles away in BANES (Bath And North East Somerset) so it’s good to see him getting what he deserves for the poverty and misery his party and government has and is inflicting on ordinary people up and down the country.

Richard Chester Explains How He Came to Prefer Starmer against the Tories

October 2, 2022

Richard Chester posted this piece, ‘Kier Starmer and Labour are not perfect but the UK needs them in power before the country goes insane’ on his blog. It explains how he came to support Labour and specifically Starmer after voting Tory against Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. He begins by describing how he was touched by Starmer’s description of his grief at losing his mother to Piers Morgan. He didn’t believe that Corbyn was an anti-Semite but was concerned that he wasn’t doing enough to root out anti-Semitism in his party and didn’t like his defence policy. But he was turned off the Tories by Tweezer, then Boris and now Liz Truss. Here are his views on Labour versus Kwarteng’s tax cuts:

‘And now with Truss as PM, if the last two weeks have shown anything, it’s that we find ourselves in a position akin to the months leading up to the 2010 election. We have a political party in charge whose welcome has been outstayed, whose status and delivery has become tired and whose policy fails to read the room, coincidentally led by someone who didn’t get elected via a general election.

The YouGov poll last week that projected a 33-point lead for Labour, which the Electoral Calculus suggested would result in the Tories being left with just three seats, may have made for good reading but seemed like a pipe dream given the unlikelihood of such a scenario. But what it does show is that there is a healthy appetite for change given the public mood towards the Tories and a Labour government under Starmer has perhaps already been accepted, even if some still have a sense of trepidation.

A tax cut of 20p to 19p may be sound and the scrapping of the rise in National Insurance mark positives of Kwarteng’s mini-budget but the cut in 45p tax for the biggest earners doesn’t do favours in dispelling the belief amongst some that the Tories have a softer spot for the rich.

Now we should not put down those who are very rich who do pay the right amount in tax here and provide well-pad jobs and have earned their keep, but a cut from 45p to 40p does feel like an act of lunacy, given it feels a fair way of meeting in the middle to avoid even a slightly too-high 50p tax.

Seeing millionaires and billionaires get a reduction in tax each month, some of whom likely are happy to pay 45p tax, that dwarfs whatever is saved by middle-income earners shows that Truss’s use of unpopular plays as an understatement. That Labour have already said, highlighted by Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson on Question Time this week, they will reinstate the tax back to 45p to fund free school meals for primary school children screams volumes for one instance why Labour should be elected at the next election, regardless of whether we should have low taxes all round.

There’s probably not been a time in this country’s history where the desire for a new party in power has been as strong and broad, perhaps more than 1997 in advance of New Labour.

Looking at the current frontbench of the Labour party, it does feel like the strongest and most convincing set of ministers for many years, even if there is some concern about the direction some ministers may take.

An Yvette Cooper Home Office is likely to be more sympathetic to migrants crossing the Channel and open to more asylum seekers, ignorant of those who, for whatever reason, would have concern about such arrivals in their communities, adding more pressure on services. And there is of course how Labour will go.’

To read it all, go to: https://opinionoftheday650548878.wordpress.com/2022/10/02/keir-starmer-and-labour-are-not-perfect-but-the-uk-needs-them-in-power-before-the-country-goes-insane/

Lobster’s Robin Ramsey Explains Why Thatcherism Didn’t Work as Claimed and Why Truss Will Fail

October 2, 2022

In my last piece I said that Lobster’s editor, Robin Ramsey, has a background in economics and that he said in one of his pieces for the magazine that the Tories recognised long ago that trickled down economics didn’t work. They still wanted to cut spending and punish the poor for being poor while giving lots of more money to the rich. They just had to find a better pretext for it. So they started arguing for their wretched policies on grounds of morality. Now Truss has gone back to the old trickle down argument. In the recent issue of Lobster, 84, Ramsey has a piece in his ‘View from the Bridge’ column, ‘All Trussed Up’ explaining why Thatcher’s economics policies didn’t work in the way she thought they did, and even despite her best efforts, and why this means Truss’ policies will fail. He writes

‘On the day that Prime Minister Truss made her announcement about dealing with the energy crisis here, The Times (8 September) briefly mentioned (on p. 39) that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was off to the City to discuss ‘Big Bang 2’ – further deregulation of the financial services sector. Centrally, I would guess, will be a change to the rules introduced after the financial crisis of 2007-9 which increased the amount of capital the banks had to keep in reserve. In other words, financial gambling is going to be encouraged again. The central question with this new government is this: do they really believe that this warmed-over Thatcherism will work? My guess is that they do; that they have spent too long in a free marketeer intellectual ghetto to understand even the Thatcher years. They have failed to grasp that Thatcherism didn’t work on its own terms: it did not ‘cure’ inflation and did not produce more economic growth than its predecessors. Mrs Thatcher’s ‘reforms’ were possible because her government had North Sea oil revenues to pay for mass unemployment; could sell off chunks of the public sector; and, despite her best efforts to kill it, had a manufacturing base three times as big as it is now. The new government has little oil revenue; a much diminished manufacturing base; and not much of the public sector left to be sold. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to grasp that the horse they are enthusiastically flogging is dead.’

For further information, go to https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/article/issue/84/the-view-from-the-bridge-47/

Kwasi Kwarteng – Diversity Hire, or Just Another Member of Truss’ Government of Mediocrity?

October 2, 2022

It’s been a few days since I commented on a video by Simon Webb of History Debunked, so here’s one now. A few days ago, he put one up questioning Kwarteng’s qualifications for office as Chancellor of the Exchequer and wondering if he was only chosen because he was Black. Was his appointment simply a case of Truss giving him a job in order to show how diverse her government was? Given how disastrous the minibudget is, Kwarteng does not strike me as a brilliant economist. But then, neither does Truss herself, who strikes me as another absolute mediocrity. The same with Therese Coffey, who I wouldn’t trust to run a corner shop or local whist club. As for Jacob Rees-Mogg, I think he’s cleverer than the rest in that he has clever people working for him and is sufficiently slick with his patrician diction and general demeanour to conceal his absolute incompetence from much of the public. But none of them, absolutely none of them, strike me as intellectual powerhouses. Quite the opposite.

Readers of this blog of a certain age and taste in comedy will remember Glasgae toon’s guerrilla philosopher, Rab C. Nesbitt, and his biting view of Scots politics and the treatment of the poor and the underclass from the bottom of a pint glass. In one episode, Nesbitt crossed paths with the local Tory politician, a political nonentity looking forward to great things because Tory prime minister John Major was in office, and ‘this is the age of the mediocrity’. Ah, how that was the joke at the time! John Major was the grey man, a boring, uninspiring individual following the all-too vivid figure of Margaret Thatcher. Major himself wasn’t economically deft or competent, as his privatisation of the railways and the collapse of the pound during Black Wednesday showed. But compared to Truss and her crew, he was statesman of positively Churchillian proportions.

A week or so ago I went to an online meeting where members of the Labour left, like Richard Burgon and members of the TUC responded to Truss’ minibudget. They pointed out what a right-wing nightmare it was, along with her highly authoritarian attempts to strangle the unions with fresh legislation. Truss was promising nothing to the British working class except more poverty while massively cutting taxes for the rich. But the panel was also encouraged by the fact that people were determined to resist, and mobilising strikes and protests up and down this Sceptred Isle. And as for Truss and the rest of the minions, they saw them as the last of the Thatcherite True Believers. Thatcherism has run its course. It’s now looking threadbare. People are abandoning it. And Truss and co are the last of the market fundamentalists, more right-wing than Thatcher herself. And that’s saying something, given how she was a fan of real Fascists like General Pinochet!

If I read what the Labour people were saying rightly, this means that, as the last of the true-blue Thatcherites, Liz, Kwarteng and co are the scrapings from the bottom of the Tory barrel. In which case, Kwarteng didn’t get his post because he’s a diversity hire. He got his job because he shared the views and the same lack of ability as Truss and the rest of her followers.

And unfortunately, that means we’ve got to suffer his and Truss’ doctrinaire incompetence.

Their colour is immaterial. All that matters is their grotesque hatred and victimisation of the poor to benefit the extremely, obscenely rich.

Get them out now!

Video on the Africans Who Sold Africans into Slavery

October 2, 2022

This comes from the SOE TV channel on YouTube. It’s a series of potted biographies of various African slavers though two of them were actually of mixed African-Portuguese extraction. Among them are King Guezo of Dahomey and Efunroye Tinobu, the notorious Nigerian female slaver who has a square and statue erected to her. The first person shown in the video, however, is an African prince, who was sent to Britain for his education in the 18th century. During the journey to the West Indies, however, he was enslaved, but word was managed to be passed to his father, who arranged for him to be freed and come to Britain. Once here, he studied in libraries before taking up slaving himself. To us in the 21st century, it’s almost incomprehensible how someone, who had been enslaved themselves, could go on to inflict this on others. But it was part, unfortunately, of the common mindset of slave societies. From the ancient world to the 19th century, slavery was so much a part of the contemporary cultural mindset that even those enslaved themselves saw nothing wrong with the institution. They just hated the fact that they personally were enslaved. The British colonial authorities at Sierra Leone several times had to launch searches to arrest ‘liberated Africans’, that is, former slaves who had been freed by the British navy and transported to the colony, who had seized other Africans to sell into slavery further south. I’m putting this up because, apart from being an important part of the slave trade, it’s an aspect I feel is being played down in order to put the blame for slavery solely on White Europeans and Americans.

Request from Megaphone UK for Volunteers for their Leafletting Campaign

October 2, 2022

I got this from the left-wing canvassing organisation, the Megaphone earlier this morning. I’m afraid I can’t volunteer, because I’m simply too ill. It’s not just the myeloma, I’ve also come down with a stinking cold. This is one of the reasons I haven’t posted much over the past few days. Despite my inability to join the campaign, I’m putting the message up here for any readers of my blog who would like to.

‘David,

Cutting costs, keeping the heating off, and doing without essentials: the cost-of-living crisis is already stretching people to the limit.

That’s why the Prime Minister’s budget announcement was so disappointing. The budget delivered tax breaks for bankers and big business, when we need real support for families.

On November 2 in London, we’re going to lobby our MPs and demand a better deal for workers. 

But first, we need to get the word out.

Will you sign up to organise a leafleting event in the next fortnight at a train station near you?

I will hand out leaflets

We know that between work, family, and other responsibilities, people already have a lot on their plates. 

But it’s important for MPs to hear directly from as many of us as possible. 

By leafleting our community, we can spread the message that only working people can deliver change and pressure the government to actually listen — and act.

Last June, we leafleted 92 places around the country. This time, we’re trying to hold even more events to reach half a million people. Will you organise one of them?

Yes, sign me up

Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before — organising a leafleting event is pretty simple and rewarding. 

You’ll join hundreds of other people who are stepping up and speaking to their local communities. 

Sign up here, and you’ll receive everything you need to get started.

Hope you can join us,

Anthony, 

Megaphone UK’