Posts Tagged ‘Green Policies’

Pinochet, Hillary Clinton, and Theresa May’s Proposal for Worker Directors

July 30, 2016

I found this very interesting paragraph in a piece by Michael Hudson ‘Obama Said Hillary Will Continue His Legacy. And She Will!’ in this weekend’s collection of Counterpunch articles:

Obama’s brilliant demagogy left many eyes glazed over in admiration. Nobody is better at false sincerity while misrepresenting reality so shamelessly. Probably few caught the threatening hint he dropped about Hillary’s plan for corporations to share their profits with their workers. This sounds to me like the Pinochet plan to privatize Social Security by turning it into exploitative ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Programs). The idea is that wage withholding would be steered to buy into the company’s stock – bidding it up in the process. Employees then would end up holding an empty bag, as occurred recently with the Chicago Tribune. That seems to be the great “reform” to “save” Social Security that her Wall Street patrons are thinking up.

Hudson’s article is a sustained demolition of the liberal image Shrillary and the rest of the establishment Democrat Party have promoted. She is not remotely on the side of the increasingly impoverished Middle and working classes, but a neoliberal corporatist concerned with promoting the profits of her donors in Wall Street and Big Business at the expense of ordinary Americans. She stands for more austerity, further cuts to education and welfare programmes, including Medicare, and the TTP and TTIP free trade agreements, that threaten to outsource more American jobs.

She’s also an extremely militaristic hawk, who has supported a series of bloody interventions from Iraq, Libya, and Syria to Honduras. She promises a further escalation of American military action around the globe. To divert attention from the corrupt machinations in her favour by the Democrat party machine, headed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, she has attacked Putin for supposedly hacking into the Democrat’s computer, which held details of these underhand deals. She’s also using Trump’s friendship with the Russian leader to attack him, in which Hudson sees as a return to the Red-baiting antics of the McCarthy era. He describes how she has appealed to Republic voters against those of Bernie Sanders and the progressive Left. And how Bernie Sanders has also ill-served his own supporters by endorsing her, despite the fact that she stands for everything he opposes.

Hudson also makes the wider point that many, if not most of the policy positions Hillary adopts are exactly the same as Obama. Obama was no radical: he described himself as a ‘moderate Republican’. The only radical feature about him was his ethnicity. He was Black, and this constituted a liberal point in his favour, just as Shrillary’s biological femininity is a point in hers. But Hudson makes the point that Shrillary’s biological gender is irrelevant to her politics. She does not embody the traditional female characteristics of empathy, but a very masculine aggressive militarism, in which she is ‘one of the boys’ with the other army hawks.

See http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/29/obama-said-hillary-will-continue-his-legacy-and-indeed-she-will/

There is much here that parallels the political situation over here in Blighty. Owen Smith and the Blairites in Labour are also neoliberals, standing for austerity, welfare cuts, aggressive militarism and pursuing the aims and enrichment of the super-rich at the expense of the poor. It’s not even remotely surprising, as Blair modelled his New Labour project on Bill Clinton’s New Democrats. And both parties based their electoral strategy on trying to win over Conservative voters through the adoption of corporatist, anti-working class policies.

But the piece also indicated very strong parallels with Theresa May’s Conservatives. They’re even more corporatist than New Labour, but May announced when she entered No 10 that she was in favour of workers on companies’ boards of directors. This is a radical socialist policy. It’s one so radical, that leftwing Labour MPs like Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone were ruthlessly pilloried for endorsing it in the 1970s and 1980s. Now May, an arch capitalist, says she’s in favour of it.

She clearly isn’t, at least as far as it is conventionally considered. It may well be, as I’ve said before, just rhetoric, a piece of left-wing guff to make her sound more progressive than she actually is. David Cameron, her predecessor, did the same before he became prime minister. He and Ian Duncan Smith opposed New Labour’s welfare cuts, including the privatisation of the NHS, and made noises about supporting Green policies. Cameron’s political mentor, Anthony Blonde, claimed that neoliberalism had failed, and that the Tory party would support pro-worker policies in his book, Red Tory. He even made approving noises about the great 19th century Russian Anarchist, Peter Kropotkin.

Except that it was all rubbish. Once in power, the Green policies were swiftly jettisoned and fracking and nuclear power wholeheartedly endorsed. Neoliberalism was declared to be the only way forward. And he made deeper cuts under his austerity campaign than Labour, and, if anything, stepped up the privatisation of the NHS.

It looks like May is repeating that strategy: first appear a bit left, then, when your position has been consolidated, get rid of it all and carry on as normal.

But it may be that she does mean something about worker directors. If she does, it won’t be for the welfare of the working class. Hudson states that Hillary’s call for profit-sharing sounds like Pinochet’s attempts to privatise social security through turning it into a employee share scheme. Something like this is also likely over here with May’s worker directors. The Tory party has already tried to promote one scheme, by which workers were able to acquire shares in their company, if they signed away their employment rights. It looks very much to me that May will try something similar under the pretense of introducing industrial democracy. If she ever does anything like that at all in the first place, that is.

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Ian Duncan Smith Whines about Being Blamed for Fitness for Work Tests Deaths

February 12, 2016

IDS Death Meme

Yesterday, I blogged on Mike’s piece over at Vox Political on the Gentleman Ranker’s umbrage at the numerous studies linking his welfare to work policies with suicides, death by neglect and starvation, and a massive rise in mental illness. Frank Field had written a letter to him asking about this. AIDS’ response was to splutter about ‘outrageous claims’, and issue a flat-out lie that claimants were treated with sympathy and dignity. They aren’t. Field himself has said that his constituents have told him that DWP staff have asked them when they’re expecting to die if they’re terminally ill. Severely depressed people with thoughts of suicide have even been asked why they haven’t killed themselves. This is vile conduct, and it stems from aIDS and his fellow Tories at the top.

Mike also reproduced the scrawled letter aIDS had written on his blog. It seems that the Minister in Charge of Chequebook Genocide was also miffed at being criticised for the failings of the DWP, when the fitness for work test was introduced by New Labour. He wailed that it wasn’t fair for them to escape criticism while he gets the blame.

I’ve no sympathy for this argument. Yes, it was introduced by Bliar and New Labour. And the critics of the welfare-to-work industry heartily despise them for it as a well. Just read through some of the blogs, and the articles on it in the ‘In the Back’/’Footnotes’ column in Private Eye for the years around the turn of the century when Bliar was meeting John LoCascio and the other ratbags from Unum. The Angry Yorkshireman has voiced his anger about it, as have Johnny Void, Kitty S. Jones and Mike at Vox Political. And they’re continuing to bash the Blairites as they try to hang on to power in Labour.

This does not exonerate the Spurious Major from his part in the mass death of Britain’s disabled. When Cameron came to power, he was posing as being more left-wing than Labour. He promised to protect the NHS from cuts, and be the most environmentally friendly administration ever. It was all just words, and once he started he swiftly showed himself to be just another privatising Tory with nothing but contempt for the poor and hatred for those at the bottom.

IDS could have stood up to him. He could have held him to make good his promises. He could have demanded that the Tories discontinue the work capability tests, or at least that they should be revised and made less stringent. He didn’t. Because fundamentally, he believes in the policy and has absolutely no qualms about the immense harm it’s doing to the very poorest.

And I particularly despise the man’s self-pity because he seems to find the suffering of others an immense joke. When one Labour MP raised the issue of how one of her constituents had been treated, aIDS laughed it off in parliament. Mike blogged about it, and has the piccie to show it. But like all thugs and bullies, it’s different when it comes to him.

He deserves every piece of criticism he gets.

Vox Political: Paedophilia Investigations Getting too Close to Tories?

March 10, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has posted this article on the way the Tories and the Lib Dem collaborators are blocking the release of documents relating to the investigation of high-ranking paedophiles. And the facts are increasingly stacking up to show that Margaret Thatcher and her successors knew about the child abusers in their midst, but did nothing to stop them. Indeed, they continued to give them honours and positions of authority.

David Cameron is allegedly holding onto at least four files of information on them. Margaret Thatcher was informed about Cyril Smith’s attacks on boys in care homes in his constituency. Leon Brittan’s homes in London and North Yorkshire are being examined by the police in connection with the paedophile accusations against him. And Nick Clegg is refusing to divulge just how many people in his party also knew about Cyril Smith.

Mike’s article’s entitled Are the paedophilia probes getting too close to the Tories? It begins

According to Labour’s Simon Danczuk, the government is refusing to publish at least four files on historic child abuse because it is worried about what information may be revealed ahead of May’s general election.

Oh really? This suggests that the facts must be more damaging than any speculation. We all know that leading Conservative MPs, including at least one cabinet minister from the Thatcher era, have been implicated in the ongoing paedophile investigation.

Yesterday we learned that then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been told about child abuse allegations relating to the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, but still gave him a knighthood in 1988.

And the Daily Mirror, together with investigative news site Exaro, has revealed that police have raided the London and North Yorkshire homes of the late Leon Brittan as part of Operation Midland – set up to ­investigate historic claims of child abuse by a group of powerful men.

The Mail on Sunday report states that the Cabinet Office – run by Conservative Francis Maude – repeatedly blocked attempts to see documents about Cyril Smith, and only relented under threat of High Court action.

It said David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both been accused of colluding in the cover-up.

It also has this meme, taken from the Mail on Sunday, about how the Tories blocked the release of this information.

150309MailCoverUp

As Mike’s article says, this isn’t the only information the government is withholding. They’re also suppressing a highly critical report into the way the NHS is being run, IDS’ pet project, Universal Credit, and indeed, the sheer number of deaths caused by the benefits sanctions regime.

Once upon a time, the Soviet regime by the byword for extreme secrecy and corruption. Well, they’ve gone, but the Tories have stepped up to the plate to show that whatever Communism did, capitalism can do better: even more corruption and suppression of information.

Mike points out that Cameron declared that his government would be the most transparent and open ever. It’s lie, another broken promise to add to a growing mass of slick verbiage that the Tories never intended to honour. Like ‘this will be the greenest government ever’. That was another of his.

Cameron’s a liar, from a party versed in lying. And their lies are destroying lies, and protecting the predatory creatures that abused the young and helpless. Several of these have also taken their lives, unable to live with the continuing trauma of the torment with which they were inflicted.

Cameron’s suppression of these documents show that he knows and is protecting the guilty. Don’t let him get away with it.