Posts Tagged ‘Employment Rights’

Private Eye Attacks the Tories’ Stupid and Damaging ‘Free Ports’ Policy

February 20, 2020

Eight days ago on 12th February 2020, Mike put up a piece criticising the Tories’ great new wheeze for invigorating Britain’s economy. They want to set up ten ‘free ports’ after Brexit, in which there will be no import/ export tariffs on goods if they aren’t moved offsite. No duty is paid, if these goods are re-exported, so long as they don’t come into the UK. Similarly, no duty will be paid on imported raw materials if they are processed into a finished product, provided that these aren’t then move to the rest of Britain.

Mike comments

No doubt the businesses involved in taking raw materials, processing them and re-exporting them would have their head office based in a tax haven.

So, who benefits? The UK economy won’t!


This is exactly the same point made by Private Eye in its latest issue for 21st February to 5th March 2020. In its article, ‘Unsafe Havens’, the Eye says

Given Rishi Sunak’s background in offshore finance, it’s no surprise he will soon be turning parts of the UK into tax havens. Just three days before last week’s promotion, the eager-to-please Sunak launched hi spet policy for freeports around the UK.

He first pushed the plan as a relatively new MP in a 2016 paper for the right-wing Centre of Policy Studies. Now he has his hands on the tax controls and can do whatever it takes to entice major investment in the zones (ie big tax breaks and few questions asked).

At this point, warnings from the EU begin to sound ominous. Although Sunak claimed that freeports, which exempt imports from various taxes and tariffs in great secrecy, weren’t possible within the EU, there are in fact 82 of them. But the EU has found they do far more harm than good. And on the very day Sunak launched his consultation promising to “unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK as we level up”, the European Commission was clamping down on freeports yet further, pointing to a “high incidence of corruption, tax evasion, criminal activity”.

Even Sunak innocently asks in his consultation: “In your view, are there any particular tax policies that you think could increase the risk of tax avoidance or tax evasion activity being routed through a freeport?” To which the correct answer is: yes, the freeport policy itself.

I was immediately suspicious of this policy, because it looks like an attempt to copy the Chinese ‘Special Economic Zones’. These are islands of unrestricted capitalism in certain provinces, where there are very low taxes and, I believe, employment rights for workers. They have helped to turn the country into an economic superpower, but the cost is immense. There is massive worker exploitation, and there have been well-publicised cases of employees at various companies, who have committed suicide because of their ill-treatment. So much so that one company responsible for extremely poor working conditions put up suicide nets around one of its factories in order to catch staff trying to end their lives but jumping off. China’s an extremely authoritarian state, but there are rumblings of discontent from its impoverished and exploited workers and human rights activists.

Way back in the late 19th and very early 20th century a nasty term, ‘Chinese slavery’, was applied to conditions like this. Part of the impetus in the formation of the early Labour Party was the fear among British workers that the government was going to force them into similar conditions.

The Chinese shouldn’t have to work in such exploitative environments, and neither should Brits – who include people of Chinese descent, who have been here for generations. This is yet another nasty, exploitative idea from a nasty exploitative party, which feels that the workers, whether White, Black or Asian, should be forced into conditions of near slavery.

While they enjoy the profits funneled through tax havens.

Vox Political: DPAC Says Disabled Stronger and Safe inside the EU

June 22, 2016

Mike over at Vox Political has also put up a piece from DPAC – Disabled People Against Cuts – arguing very clearly that many of the regulations that have kept disabled people safe from poverty and discrimination, and given them better opportunities than previously, have come from European legislation, particularly in the last 15 years. These gains and the opportunities they represent may be lost. DPAC point out that there are 11 million people living with some form of disability or long term illness in Britain, and that the relationship between this and poverty is very well established. They point out, however, that so far there has been little coverage of the advantages given to disabled people through EU membership in the current debates.

See the article:

This is another very good point, but one that has been lost in the general screaming about sovereignty and immigration. Don’t be mistaken: the same politicians and newspapers that are hostile to immigration are also very hostile indeed to great rights for disabled people. I can remember the outcry ten years ago when the Labour government started introducing legislation to give disabled people greater rights to work, and force public buildings and institutions to become more physically accessible for disabled people. Newspapers like the Mail and the Spectator started whining about the cost this would place on employers. And remember, Boris Johnson, the Tory politico, who decided a few weeks ago to thrown in his lot with the Leave campaign, was the Speccie’s editor. Conditions are desperate now for many disabled people, thanks to the system of benefit cuts and stupid welfare-to-work regulations also introduced by Bliar and Broon, but enthusiastically retained by Cameron and the rest of his upper class crims. They will be even more desperate if Britain leaves the European Union.

Nicky Morgan Refuses to Answer Questions on Failing Private Schools on Breakfast TV

June 4, 2015

This is another story I’m late covering. Nevertheless, it’s still important as it shows the way the Tories will refuse to answer any questions that threaten to upset their policy of privatising everything that isn’t nailed down.

Nicky Morgan, who has now replaced Michael Gove as the minister responsible for destroying this country’s education system, was on BBC breakfast TV yesterday. She was trying to promote the government’s policy of converting schools into privately run ‘academies’. This would, she claimed, transform and improve standards in failing state schools. The presenter, Stayt, asked her outright how many private schools had failed. She didn’t answer, just carried out with the spiel about privatisation raising standards. So Stayt asked her again. No answer that time, just ‘more of the same’, as the late, great Max Headroom always used to say. He ended up repeating the question four or five times. And answer came their none.

In the end, Stayt gave up and simply said, ‘You know how many.’

Indeed she does. A whole string of the private educational companies supposedly running and transforming Britain’s schools have failed. One of the companies that went under, if I recall correctly, ran about 25 schools, all of which were taken back into the public sector.

Morgan was obviously well aware of this from the weird expression on her face. All the while she was talking, her eyes were round and wide. It was the classic look of the proverbial rabbit caught in the car headlights. Of course, she wasn’t going to answer the question, as admitting that the policy of handing schools over to the private sector is a shambles would lead to the whole system having to be abandoned. And the Tories and their corporate paymasters really don’t want that.

They want a private educational system, where teachers with fewer qualifications can be taken on and paid less than the state sector, and have fewer employment rights, in order to make massive profits for the private corporations running them.

And one of the Tory backers interested in moving into education is one Rupert Murdoch, formerly of Australia, now of the US, and responsible for lowering the tone and degrading the press and political environment across at least three continents.

As with the Tories, this isn’t about raising standards, improving literacy and giving our children the skills and resources they need to participate fully in the nation’s cultural and political life, let alone get a job. This is just about corporate profit, in pursuit of which any lie and evasion is justified.

Gove was incompetent and his management of the educational system disastrous. Morgan is exactly the same. But despite the lies her mouth spews, her eyes show she’s aware precisely how mendacious and disastrous these policies are and the official lies and half-truths that support them.

Anti-UKIP Vote Meme

May 5, 2015

This is another meme I found over at the SlatUKIP facebook site. It’s their tweets from last night, collected into a comprehensive list of reasons why no-one should vote for the Kippers. It was done by one of their readers, OgdenW.

It comprehensively describes the double standards and mendacity of a party, which consistently tries to present an image of happy moderation while standing for the extreme right, bigotry and intolerance. The list of reasons includes its racism, its hatred of immigrants, Islamophobia, anti-women’s rights and hatred and contempt for LGBT. It also lists it’s policies in favour of stripping working people of their employment rights and furthering their exploitation, as well as their support for fox-hunting, fracking and other policies, which would wreck the countryside. As well as their support for gun ownership.

It also shows how we would lose trade if we left the EU, contrary to the Kippers’ predictions.

And finally, there’s the personal faults of Farage himself, a millionaire banker, who is definitely not a ‘man of the people’, as well as a ‘functioning alcoholic’ who spends 5-6 hours a day by his own admission in pubs.

Anti-UKIP Vote Meme