Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

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.

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/

Rachel Reeves Tears into Tory Economic Policy

October 2, 2022

I had this mass email from Reeves ripping apart Queasy Kwarteng’s wretched minibudget. As much as I despise her as a true-blue Blairite, who vowed Labour would be harder on the unemployed than the Tories, she is right. Especially about trickle-down economics. Robin Ramsey, the head honcho of conspiracy site Lobster, has a background in economics. He pointed out that the Thatcherites had cottoned on to the fact that trickle-down economics was rubbish, and so were trying to justify their vile economics policies with arguments about morality. Trickle-down economics was recognised as bunk long ago, so it shows how threadbare Cheeselab Truss’ policies and ideas really are. And as terrible as I find Starmer, I’d far rather have him in No. 10 than Truss or another Tory.

‘David James, last week, the Tory government laid out their budget. 

And with it, they crashed the economy by handing enormous, unfunded tax cuts to those who earn millions and the very richest companies. 

Because of this, working people will be paying higher prices and higher mortgage rates for years to come.   

This isn’t some global issue – it happened as soon as the government stood up last Friday. They’ve damaged the UK’s reputation for good. 

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have no one to blame but themselves. This was a crisis created entirely in Downing Street, a direct result of this government’s reckless decisions.

Labour is urging the Prime Minister to bring Parliament back as soon as possible and reverse their disastrous budget.

I have been clear: there should be no return to the failed idea of trickle-down economics – the theory where you make the rich even richer and hope that somehow, some of it trickles down to the rest of us.

Labour knows that growth comes from the talents and efforts of millions of people and thousands of businesses across our country. 

As a government we will make different choices. Just this week, Labour set out our plans to deliver economic growth with our Green Prosperity Plan to guarantee a fairer, greener future for all.

After 12 years of the Tories lurching from one crisis to another, Britain deserves better. 

Labour is ready to deliver it. 

Thank you,

Rachel Reeves,
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer’

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!

38 Degrees Internet Petition Calling for Scrapping of Mini-Budget

October 2, 2022

I also got this email and petition through from internet democracy organisation calling for ‘Cheeselab’ Truss and ‘Queasy’ Kwarteng to scrap their wretched mini-budget. I’ve had absolutely no problems about signing it. Please feel free to do the same if it frightens and appals you as much as it did me.

‘They’ve driven us off a cliff, David.

Markets in panic, pensions on the brink of bankruptcy, rising interest rates, the pound crashing. [1] It’s taken Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng just 6 days to tank the economy with their ‘mini-budget’ – and put OUR livelihoods on the line. [2] Mini-budget, maximum chaos.

This is about the money left in our pockets at the end of the month. Rising interest rates send mortgages skyrocketing. [3] A weaker pound makes clothes and food more expensive. [4] This budget has plunged us into even more chaos, just when we needed urgent help to get through the cost of living crisis.

Millions of us across the country are enraged by their decision to borrow billions to give to the rich – and tank the economy in the process. [5] International financial institutions, the Bank of England and even Tory MPs have savaged the plan. [6] There’s only one option: rip up the budget.

We need to show where the British public stand today. So, David, will you add your name right now to the open letter calling on Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng to RIP UP this disastrous mini-budget? Clicking the button below will add your name automatically.

ADD MY NAME

NO, I DISAGREE

Here’s the open letter:

To Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng,

RIP UP your “mini-budget” and replace it with an urgent rescue plan to save our economy, save families during this cost of living crisis and save our public services already on the brink.
Signed,Thousands of members of the public 

ADD MY NAME

NO, I DISAGREE

Thank you for being involved,

Angus, Mike, Ellie, Tom and the 38 Degrees team

Notes:
[1] BBC News: Treasury rejects U-turn on mini-budget despite turmoil
[2] The Guardian: Kwarteng scraps top 45% rate of income tax and cuts stamp duty
The Daily Mirror: Mini-Budget 2022 summary: £45bn tax cut announcements at a glance and how they hit you
[3] The Guardian: Homeowners warned of ‘significant’ rise in UK interest rates
The Times: Prove you can afford 7% mortgage, borrowers to be told
[4] The Telegraph: How the tumbling pound is pushing up prices
Metro: Why is the pound falling and how does it affect me in the UK?
[5] The Guardian: ‘A budget for the 1%’: government accused of huge tax cut for super-wealthy
[6] BBC News: IMF openly criticises UK government tax plans
Reuters: Bank of England moves to calm bond market rout after tax cut storm
The i: All the Tory MPs who’ve publicly objected to Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget

Comment about Poverty and the Destruction of the Irish Health Service from Video of Protests in Eire

September 26, 2022

Earlier this evening I found on my phone a video of a Cost of Living protest posted on YouTube by People Before Profit National two days ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my computer, so I don’t know what’s happened to it. I think it may have been from Eire, by a single comment I found posted to it. That was very interesting, and ran:

‘This cost of living crisis is not a new thing, and people’s lives have been adversely affected for a very long time.

As stroke, cancer, asthma patients, and disabled people have had no access to health, no access to medications, no access to treatment and no access to operations,, and no access to services for over four years, as GPs have stopped accepting medical card holders, and those minority vulnerable groups who are on low pay are faced with no other choice but to pay for GP, prescription and medication costs, in a country where healthcare is supposed to be free.

FF, FG and the Greens have a lot to answer for in the manner in which minority vulnerable groups are mistreated in Ireland, and this coming budget will do nothing to address those massive inequalities, or discriminations the silenced minority already face in everyday life. In 2022 it is a democratic, political and and human rights crisis how the sickest and the poorest people in society are living as fifth class citizens, and I hope the YouTube overlords do not block this from being posted in the comment section, like they do when people speak out against these issues.

Let’s Go Socialism (followed by a heart and a thumbs-up sign)’

The video to which this comment was attached only played for a few minutes before the screen turned black. I don’t know what happened to it or the comment so that I can’t find either of them using my computer. But I am very interested in the comment and what it says about the state of healthcare in the south. I don’t understand Irish politics and know nothing about the Irish healthcare system. But from reading the comment it sounds like Irish government have been starving it of funding, forcing the sick and disabled to pay for GP visits and their medicines. It sounds very much like what Liz Truss and the Tories would like to see in Britain with their cuts and privatisation of the NHS.

Best of luck and solidarity with everyone fighting these policies in Ireland, Britain and everywhere else.

Protest Against the Cost of Living in Northern Ireland

September 26, 2022

There have been marches against the cost of living in London and Ireland. There’s foorage and discussion of the marches against it in Dublin and Cork on YouTube. I found this video of another such protest in Belfast. The protesters carry placards demanding the nationalisation of the energy companies and also attacking the tax cuts for the rich. One of the speakers, a man, attacks the Stormont administration for not passing the measure that would help out ordinary working Ulstermen and women. He also talks about the £300 payment that some people in the province will receive. He doesn’t begrudge anyone getting the money, but as inflation is running at over 1000%, people should get a thousand pounds instead. A female speaker attacks the tax cuts and points out that it will be working people that end up paying.

This comes from the Daily Mail, who must have had to restrain themselves at the sight of working people protesting in favour of nationalisation and against the rich getting tax cuts. But the speakers are absolutely right. Bravo and respect to them, and everyone across Britain, Ireland and Europe who’s protesting against such policies.

Are the Tories Really Preparing a ‘No Confidence’ Vote against Truss?

September 26, 2022

This is the headline I saw on a video from one of YouTube’s rightwingers earlier this evening. I hope so, and given that Truss and Kwarteng’s massive tax cuts have given the screaming terrors to the financial markets, with the result that pound is only a few pence away from dollar parity, so they should. But it wouldn’t surprise me either if they all stick to her, repeating the line like a mantra that it’s a great budget which will boost the economy. It isn’t, and it won’t. It’ll just lead to more misery and cuts to the welfare state and the NHS as the working class will be hit in order to pay back the loans the Tories will have to take out.

Well, get Truss out and the rest of her wretched party.

Wednesday’s Online Meeting about Statutory Sick Pay

September 23, 2022

Wednesday evening, I went to a Zoom meeting organised by the Centre for Progressive Change about campaigning for much needed reforms to Statutory Sick Pay. The Centre for Progressive Change is a new organisation, and this is their first campaign, so they want to make a mark. As far as I could make out, the campaign is being led by the cleaners and their union, although other unions are also involved. At the moment there are a large number of workers, who aren’t getting statutory sick pay. I’ve forgotten the precise figures, but it’s something like a third or above. If they do qualify for it, they have to wait three days to receive it from the day they sign off sick, and the amount paid, £99 a week, isn’t sufficient to cover people’s needs. They are therefore campaigning for the amount to be raised, and for it to be paid from the first day of ill health.

They also mentioned cases where workers were denied time off work and SSP by their employers, even though they were perfectly entitled to it. This included one young man who came down with cancer a year or so ago. An operation was scheduled, but he was told he would have to isolate for a week or so before the operation to make sure he didn’t catch Covid and would need two weeks off work to recover. When he told this to his HR manager, who had previously been kind and supportive, he was told that the manager couldn’t run a place like this and so couldn’t take the time off work for isolation. Nor was he going to receive sick pay when he took time off work to recuperate. The boss told him instead that he’d have to take unpaid holiday.

This clearly isn’t acceptable.

The meeting itself was bilingual in English and Spanish. There was a button for simultaneous translation, so if you didn’t speak whatever language was being spoken at that moment, you could press a button and get the translation. It felt rather like being at the UN when the various ambassadors and officials there get the translations of speeches through their headphones. I was puzzled why it was in English and Spanish when we’re no longer in the EU, but it may just be that so many of the cleaning staff and other low wage workers involved in this campaign are Spanish.

They’ve got a petition to persuade the government to pay increased SSP and are also trying to get people to organise to see their local MPs about it. I’ve signed it because of the cost of living crisis and Truss’ renewed assault on working class wellbeing.

For more information, go to their website athttps://www.centreforprogressivechange.org/

Internet Petition from 38 Degrees Against Bankers’ Bonuses

September 22, 2022

And I have had absolutely no problem signing it.

David, millions of people up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet. As energy, food and fuel prices continue to go through the roof, many of us will be forced to make the impossible choice between heating and eating this winter. [1]

But what’s one of the first things our new Prime Minister and Chancellor have decided to do? Increase bankers’ bonuses. [2] You can almost hear the champagne corks popping!

This is the wrong policy at the wrong time. Why should city bankers be first in line for help when millions of people around the country don’t know how they’ll keep the lights on over the coming months?

Tomorrow, our new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, may announce this during a mini-budget – but it’s not a done deal. If enough of us make some noise and tell them this shouldn’t be a priority during a cost of living crisis, then there’s still time for them to do the right thing and drop their plans.

So, David, will you tell the Government that they should be focusing on support for ordinary people around the country – not city bankers? Simply click the button below to add your name:

ADD MY NAME

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng seem to believe that if enough cash is stuffed in the pockets of city bankers, then this will ‘trickle down’ to the others. But it just doesn’t work like that. Ahead of a meeting with our PM on Tuesday, even President Biden said that he was “sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked.” [3]

These caps on bonuses were introduced to provide a more balanced economy – and to get away from a culture of bankers taking “excessive risks”. [4] If Liz Truss believes in ‘levelling up’ the whole of Britain, then she should prioritise places outside of the City of London and put ordinary people at the front of the queue for support.

Just months ago, former PM, Boris Johnson, floated the idea of increasing bankers’ bonuses. But after more than 96,000 of us took action, and after much public outcry, the plans were dropped. [5] We’ve shown that we can reflect public feeling and get the Government to scrap bad policies and we can do it again.

David, will you add your name to our petition calling on the Government to drop their plans to increase bankers’ bonuses?

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all your do,

Tom, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] Sky News: Cost of living: Millions of people already behind with their household bills, new research suggests
[2] BBC News: Liz Truss defends plan to lift cap on bankers’ bonuses
[3] Twitter: President Biden
[4] The Guardian: What is the banker bonus cap and could scrapping it boost growth?
[5] 38 Degrees: Dear Chancellor: No banker bonuses while millions struggle

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