Harriet Harman told the BBC today that "a lot of people don't know Ed Miliband." As a political statement this was hardly contentious or even particularly imformative since it remains highly unlikely that any individual would be personally known to every person in the country. However it is rather peculiar that Ed is so elusive that even most Labour supporters have no idea as to who he actually is. Much of this is probably a matter of tactics - after all, why would he expose himself to scrutiny when David Cameron is making such a good job of sinking the Tories without trace all on his own? There have been a couple of disastrous attempts by Ed to introduce himself and his thinking to the British electorate. "Predistribution" wasn't a great success, but it does provide a least a glimpse of the man behind the legend. Demonstrating that he seems to understand that the present economic system is wildly unfair, it suffered from two major drawbacks - the average voter had no idea what he was talking about and neither did he. All he was trying to say is that wages are too low and that using the tax credit system to redistribute wealth is expensive for the taxpayer and very inefficient. Simples! So why didn't he just say that? The answer is that he can't because, like so many of our politicians, he doesn't speak the same language as most of the electorate. For him politics is essentially an intelectual exercise divorced from the concerns of ordinary people and he lacks the necessary vocabulary to "connect" with voters. This, under normal circumstances, would be disastrous for a political leader but, once again, David Cameron rides to the rescue. He is even further removed from ordinary people and, lacking the political intelligence to recognise this, resorts to the Tory default setting of "just do as your f**king told, you f**king pleb". To be honest I don't really need to know who Ed Miliband is, I just need to know what he's going to do to reverse the disastrous neoliberal economic experiment of the last 30 years. So give us a break Ed and explain, in simple terms, what we need to know and stuff the PR - give us something we can believe in and the rest will follow.
For the last two-and-a-half years we've been fed a steady diet of "there's no alternative" as the coalition have squeezed the poor to pay for the banking crisis and allowed various corporations to raise prices in order to increase their profits. The young have been calously sacrificed, the disabled vilified and persecuted even as property speculators, bankers and rentiers have been pampered. "We're all in this together," David Cameron famously told us and then used the recession as an excuse to steal the NHS, undermine workers rights and conditions and cut taxes for the rich. Soon "We're all in this together" became "You f**cking plebs should know your place." Taken by surprise when the "plebs" took exception to this, the coalition had no choice but to back-pedal a little in order to maintain at least a thin veneer of decency. How thin the veneer actually is was revealed when the LibDems floated the idea of increasing taxes for those who live in mansions worth more than £1 million. The cabinet immediately split along party lines with Tories such as Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, Grant Shapps, the Conservative Chairman, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, and Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, howling at the very idea. With the need to reduce the deficit suddenly becoming a secondary concern, it is middle- and upper-income voters in Tory-controlled parts of south-east England that are now of paramount importance. The usual nonsense about not taxing "wealth creators" won't wash this time since the personal assets of company directors are entirely divorced from their business activities. Nor does the other hoary old lie, that raising such a tax would actually return less money, hold water. The rich can hardly claim that a mansion in the Home Counties is actually located in a convenient tax haven. It's even more unlikely that the owners of such properties would immediately decide to vote Labour. This then is nothing more than an open admission that we are certainly not all in this together and that shielding the rich is the Tories only real concern.
As the NHS gradually slips away from its rightful owners - you and me - it has emerged that the Tory party has already pocketed over £10 million in bribery money from their corporate pals. Circle Health have handed over £1.4 million alone and have already begun to colonise lucrative government posts in anticipation of the free-for-all to come. Christina Linnet, formally a spin doctor for Circle, has now become Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's "media boss" and is set to continue her campaign of propaganda against the NHS from within the government itself. Meanwhile, as part of a "cross-over" colonisation from government to Circle, Tory MP Mark Simmonds is pocketing a tidy £50,000 a year from the company in return for a whole ten hours of "work". While Cameron and his henchmen are always eager to characterise the perfectly open relationship between Labour and the unions as somehow sinister, they regard this outrageous and obvious corruption as completely normal. Nothing could demonstrate better the criminal nature of the Tory party or the arrogance of a political party that sees Britain as its own private fiefdom to be plundered and exploited at will. This is theft, plain and simple, and this government, both Tory and LibDem, should be held to account for it.
The Tory MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, tells us that there is no austerity and, of course he's right inasmuch as there is no austerity for him and his rich Tory pals. He's also right to point out that David Cameron and George Osborne, who have managed to increase the deficit by 20%, are depressingly stupid and incompetent. He proposes, therefore, to replace a stupid policy with the insane one favoured by wealthy parasites such as Francis Maude and Lord Ashcroft. Pauperise the plebs and insulate the useless rich and everything will automatically and miraculously get better. Ed Balls, who recognises the Tory policy for the self-defeating lifeboat mentality that it is, will have none of that. Rather, he tells us, what we need is real austerity not the ersatz variety that the Tories love so much. So, when Labour wins the next election, he will conduct a root and branch review of public spending and make sure that every penny is spent wisely. Oh goody! So does that means that Trident won't be replaced by an even more deadly and expensive weapon system, that rich will people will pay taxes, that bankers will pay for their own mistakes, that MP's will have to buy their own crisps, chocolate bars and £2 million mansions, that the Royal Family will have to rely on their own money and that India won't be receiving millions in aid to support their space programme? I don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath.
Francis Maud has told the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange about Tory plans for the future of Britain in a scene reminiscent of "The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy."
His vision, like Deep Thought's answer "42" is largely incomprehensible, and Mr.Maude knows that the vast majority of British people are "not going to like it." Essentially he said that the Tories were going to wipe out all state services through a process of privatisation that will place billions of pounds worth of assets into the hands of private equity companies being run from tax havens abroad. The police, roads, schools, hospitals - in short everything - will be handed over to the greedy and stupid so they can rob the British public, provide minimum services, pay their employees the minimum wage and then walk away with the profits without having to pay tax. In other words, he sees Britain as a conquered territory to be exploited by him and his band of greedy barbarians who are determined to sweep all before them. The British people will then be "free" he assures us in a re-run of the famous Nazi phrase "Arbeit Mach Frei" (Work Sets You Free). But "free" to do what exactly? This is the nature of the Tory wet dream - a nightmare for the rest of us, the "plebs" whose only function is to provide the wealth for people like Francis Maude. It is a truly terrifying picture and threatens a dystopia that even Orwell could hardly imagine.
Andrew Mitchell looked his leader in the eye today and vowed that he did not use the word "plebs" when he decided to insult a policeman guarding Downing Street. Now David Cameron certainly knows a liar when he sees one - after all he has to do is look at any member of his cabinet - and he's no slouch himself when it comes to telling porkies. Remember "The NHS is safe in our hands"? Well this week has certainly underlined to extent to which the PM and his Tory henchmen are willing to perpetrate massive confidence tricks in order to steal national assets to flog to their rich pals at bargain basement prices. Since the general election the Tories, with the LibDems standing by and doing nothing about it, have managed to reduce the number of nurses working in our hospitals by 6,000. At the same time they've also managed to appoint over 50 new "managers" earning above £150,000 a year to oversee the wholesale privatisation of the NHS. The pattern of hospital closures, which the Tories defend as a "rationalisation" of healthcare, clearly indicates how privatisation will proceed, while those that cannot be closed under cover of this lie are being driven into bankruptcy. And all this is going on at a time when the NHS is actually carrying a "surplus" of £1.6 billion. This is money that is deliberately not being spent on patient care and is, effectively, blood money. The question arises as to who will benefit from these "surpluses"? The answer is those private companies circling the dying NHS like sharks - the private companies who will use the money to fund their takeover of publicly owned assets and pay themselves juicy bonuses for what is no better than grand larcency. Not only are they stealing the NHS, they will use taxpayers money to do so. That is how safe the NHS is in Tory hands.
The full effects of George Osborne's economic policy are becoming increasingly clear and the news is not good. As the "Guardian" points out, even if the next eight years were to be a golden age of economic recovery and expansion most people in this country would get no benefit from it whatsoever - nothing. In fact, by 2020, the bottom half of the population could expect their income to drop by at least 3% while the top half would see a steady rise in their take home pay. Osborne has effectively entrenched the economic divide and, with no recovery in sight, the reality of this is bound to be even more stark. There can no longer be any doubt as to who is going to bear the burden for the criminal behaviour of the banks or for the utter and complete failure of the neoliberal economic experiment. Osborne has picked his victims and nothing, short of revolution, will deflect him from his aim of pauperising the entire country to protect the wealth of both himself and his Tory-voting, tax-dodging, greedy and selfish pals. Like Mitt Romney in the US, he's simply not interested in half of his fellow countrymen because he regards them as peasants - even if some of them are stupid enough to vote Tory. As Andrew Mitchell so elegantly put it, we "f**king plebs" should "know our place."
After two-and-a-half years of aimlessly wandering about the corridors of power Nick Clegg has had a brainwave - why not try his hand at politics? Having come to the conclusion that the only way to save his "career" as a "politician" is to actually be a politician, he's decided to come out fighting at the LibDem Party Conference. The first priority was to apologise to the students for getting them to vote for him by deception. Apology made, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry" - job done. The next thing on the agends is "get tough" on the rich who have been let off the hook as far as "austerity" is concerned. Make a statement about taxing the rich, sound tough - job done. Next, explain away the economic disaster visited on the country by allowing the Tories to substitute ideology for common sense reality. "We have avoided an economic catastrophe. We have steadied the ship. Now we must set it sailing." - job done. Finally persuade the party that he's the right man to lead them. "You've got no choice. Dump me and you can all wave goodbye to your seats as the electorate see that even you don't believe my lies. Anyway, we might conceivably get another hung parliament and we can then hitch a ride on Labour's coattails." - job done. It's like watching a man claiming to be a great artist sitting down in his studio and then painting by numbers.
Here in Britain we've become used to the Tories being incompetent so the fact that government borrowing in August was the highest since 1993 comes as no surprise. Nor does the fact that the Tories have managed to increase the deficit by 22% while the tax yield from corporations has actually shrunk by 10%. By any reckoning Britain is heading for economic disaster but the Tories, convinced that their idiotic theories must be right despite all the evidence that they are not, are becoming ever more arrogant and seem to feel that they have earned the right to abuse ordinary people as much as they like. Thus Lord Fink, the Conservative party treasurer, feels the time is right to insult our intelligence by telling us that the British economy would not survive if corporations couldn't avoid paying tax by using offshore tax havens. What we should be doing, he dares to tell us, is to turn Britain itself into a tax haven in order to attract to our shores the world's billionaires who don't want to pay tax to anyone anywhere. Meanwhile Andrew Mitchell, the new Tory Chief Whip, showed his real attitude towards ordinary people when he called a policeman a "f**king pleb" merely for doing his job. Verbal abuse is bad enough but, on the same day that Mr Mitchell was abusing a policeman, Tory Councillor Brian Coleman seemed to believe it was quite all right to physically attack a woman who objected to him parking his car in a restricted zone. Stupid we expect, arrogant we expect, greedy we expect - but now we are also supposed to put up with loutish behaviour apparently. These people are not fit to govern - indeed they don't seem even fit enough to walk our streets.
In order to hide the consequencies of their vicious attack on the vulnerable in Britain and of allowing utility companies to steal as much money as they can before voters realise what is going on a renationalise them, the Tories have done their favourite trick of moving the goalposts. From now on fuel poverty will not be measured by what percentage of income is spent on heating and lighting and, instead, they will adopt a new complicated formula that allows then to define fuel poverty in any way they like. "At the moment the Queen can actually claim to be in fuel poverty," a government spokesman told our reporter, "and that provides us with the perfect excuse to freeze pensioners to death this winter. We think it would be far fairer if we pretend that all pensioners actually live in Spain, while the unemployed are too busy swilling premium strength lagers to even notice the weather. We see the new system we intend to adopt as being fairer because rich people like me won't have to pay so much in tax. I think its quite resonable that a few useless people should freeze to death this winter so I can refurbish my yacht." Speaking for the organisation representing utility companies, PICKPOKET, their spokesman told us; "This is a much more sensible approach since it allows us to shovel money from poor people to rich shareholders who really do live in Spain during the winter. Rising costs reflect world conditions where the price of gas and electricity is rising steadily because we want to make more profit."
Ken Clarke, the Hermann Goering of the Coalition government, has been explaining why the Tories have morphed, once again, into a fairly convincing copy of the Nazi party. Claiming that the party has "accidently drifted" to the right because the facist element are "acting up again" he has taken the Britney Spears, "Oops, I did it again", stance. Maintaining that Cameron is a centre-right politician and fundamentally a decent man, he suggests that the PM is being forced into acts of sheer evil because he's being bullied by the right of the party. We now have a troika of excuses for the sheer brutality of this government - austerity, despite the largely self-inflicted nature of the recession, is "unavoidable" - the benefit system is "too generous" and allows the lazy and feckless to lead film star lifestyles - Cameron is a nice man forced to do nasty things because he's too weak and/or too stupid to do anything else. However, none of this explains why Cameron and his entire party, right, left or centre are congenital liars whose selfishness and greed know no bounds. We asked cuddly Ken for his view on that embarassing fact; "It's not our fault. Many in the party were born into privileged backgrounds, which is a great disability when you rely on the votes of ordinary people to keep you on the gravy train. Most of us struggle to communicate with the peasants because we know absolutely nothing about them or their lives and, of course, we have to fake giving a damn - at least for the duration of the election. Everyone knows that greed is good and, to indulge our insatiable need to spend money that doesn't belong to us, we are left with no choice but to lie. You should all feel sorry for us."
David Cameron, pictured above as many would like to see him with his head on a spike, is celebrating the return of blind beggars to the streets of Britain tonight with his fellow cabinet gang members. Giving evidence to MP's as to the impact of the Tory "reforms" on the benefit system, Henry Sherlock, a blind former health worker, told how he has been reduced to begging. Mr Sherlock, who also suffers from chronic heart disease and diabetes, related how he had to "rely on family handouts and additional begged support in order to live." In typical mealy-mouthed fashion the DWP reacted to this evidence by maintaining that "If someone disagrees with the outcome of their Work Capability Assessment, they have the right to appeal." Meanwhile the government has further announced that the link between benefits and living standards is to be broken and that benefit payment will be frozen for two years, pushing the most needy and vulnerable in our society further into poverty and widening the gap between rich and poor. Having sold this vicious policy to the British people by citing the need for austerity to pay for a recession largely created by George Osborne and peddling the myth that benefits are "too generous", the Tories now feel they can move away from their ludicrous claim that "We are all in this together." To underline this they have made another announcement - that the Border Agency will fast-track wealthy, "high value" travellers flying in and out of Heathrow Airport. This, the Tory junta assures us, will show that "Britain is open for business", or, as it used to be known, exploitation.
Mitt Romney, a man with more teeth than brain cells, has been caught out telling his Republican mates that almost half off all US citizens are of no interest to him. According to this flagbearer for the utter greed and selfishness of neoliberalism, the people who support Barak Obama "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it". Having castigated ordinary people for expecting their own government to act in their best interests he added "My job is is not to worry about those people." In effect he was saying that he has an overriding loyalty to something outside of the United States - international big business, which makes him rich and insulates him from the concerns of the peasants. Seeking to distance himself from the embarassing truth about him and his corporate paymasters his lame excuse was that what he had said was "not elegantly stated." Yes it was - his words summed exactly how people like him, on both sides of the Atlantic, think about those whose vote they want to obtain by deception. Their favourite line is that they aren't really as nasty as our previous experience of them would suggest - that they have "detoxified" their party - that they want to be "inclusive". The truth is they are elitist, selfish, smug and deeply, deeply vicious when it comes to their treatment of people less fortunate than themselves. They love to pat each other on the back and congratulate themselves for being geniuses and tell each other that their success in life has nothing to do with the priveleges they inherited - behind closed doors of course. In fact they are the scum of the earth and the electorate vote for them at their peril.
While Boris Johnson is quite content for everyone to see what a buffoon he is, recognising the value of comedy when entertaining the hoipolei, he is usually more reticent to expose his vicious side. Today he has allowed the mask to slip just enough for us to glimpse the monster that hides beneath. It would be normal to see a Tory standing against strikers, but to talk in terms of "crushing" them reveals the true attitude that they have with regards to ordinary people in this country. They do not see us human beings who permit them to govern through the democratic process - they see us as peasants to be ruled. A general strike would be nothing more than the British people exercising their democratic right to withdraw their labour in the face of the most sustained attack on their rights since the Middle Ages. We have a right to resist the Tory attempt, using their self-inflicted recession as an alibi, to drag us all back to the level of a pre-industrialised country. For Boris such defiance is all the excuse he needs to declare war on his fellow citizens simply because they are not as rich or as privileged as he is. These people have the sheer affrontary to accuse others of formenting class-warfare even as they take away our rights, pauperise our children and deny them a proper education, steal our assets and threaten us with starvation. It is fast becoming clear that a general strike in this country is not enough and that revolution might be the only choice left open to us.
Despite the best efforts of the media to distract our attention by obsessing about Kate Middleton's exposed mammary glands and one overpaid footballer's refusal to shake the hand of another, news continues to leak out about the nasty and spiteful policies of the Tory party. In the last two years the number of people taken to A&E and then forced to wait outside in the ambulance has risen by a staggering 100,000. Not only does this put the lives of those in the ambulances at much higher risk it also means that our towns and cities are being left without adequate ambulance cover as they queue up outside our hospitals. As Andy Burnham points out; "The government's mishandling of the NHS has brought it to the brink...and it risks being overwhelmed". Breakfast clubs at our schools are also closing at an ever faster rate even as the demand for them increases while poor parents find it ever more difficult to feed their children. With the pressure on food banks to supply ordinary people, many of whom are actually working, it is plain that this government is content to stand aside and watch British people starve if that is what is needed to protect the rich from the effects of the recession. Meanwhile Ian Duncan Smith's has been warned by his own advisors that his plan to create a single universal credit is both "unworkable and unfair". His plans to force part-time workers to seek more working hours are plainly idiotic when there is so much unemployment and it is becoming clear that the measure is aimed more at reducing part-time worker's benefits than anything else. What's more the entire system is to be accessible only on the internet which, as IDS knows only too well, is not available to the poorest in our society. IDS is also at going to great lengths to hide the cost of all this from the public with a price tag reported to be so high that even his Tory colleagues are shocked. Meanwhile a nasty, spiteful and well-hidden tax on five-a-side football teams has been stopped by a tax tribunal who recognised how unfair to ordinary people this would be while polo matches and grouse shoots would be entirely unaffected. Not only are we not all in this together, the Tories are inhabiting an entirely different planet.
Lord Ashcroft has taken time off from pretending to be an academic to tell David Cameron how to run the Tory party that he part owns. Describing the recent cabinet reshuffle as "mystifying" he criticised the Prime Minister for ditching ministers with real "concrete achievements" to their credit. He seems to be particularly incensed at the removal of Nick Gibb who, he says, improved "the way primary school children are taught to read." On the complete destruction of the economy, the assault on the weak and vulnerable and the privatisation of the NHS, Lord Ashcroft was strangely silent, as he warned that the reshuffle had "done nothing to improve the chances of a Tory majority at the next election." No kidding, Sherlock! Meanwhile the "Times" has quietly announced its conversion away from George Osborne's austerity programme declaring that "significant cuts into public spending that not only hurt vulnerable people but would take money out of the economy just as it was beginning to see fragile signs of growth." Funny, that's what Labour have been saying for two-and-a-half years now. The party itself is also becoming restive with rumours flying about of a possible coup against Cameron and his replacement by some other swivel-eyed nutter or crook such as Michael Gove, David (Back From The Dead) Davis or that eminently electectable village idiot, Boris Johnson. The Tory party seems to be rapidly morphing into the political equivalent of a Marx brothers film with Groucho, David Cameron, being upstaged by Harpo, Boris Johnson, complete with his "parp-parp" car horn.
In the great Tory tradition of stabbing their leaders in the back while sprouting complete twaddle, the Mid Worcestershire Conservative MP Peter Luff has declared that there is no demand for new housing and that, therefore, David Cameron's pledge to increase house building is a waste of time. Of course it rather depends on what he means by the word "housing." For him apparently any home worth less than £2 million is a hovel and, therefore, doesn't qualify as a "house." And, of course, anyone who cannot afford a home worth £2 million is merely a peasant and their need for a place to live does not constitute "demand." Thus, as Patrick Burns has pointed out on the BBC News website, Luff has left behind the ususal "not in my back yard" Tory outlook and embraced the new BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything) outlook. We asked the recently sacked ex-minister why he's suddenly decided to attack the avowed policy of his own party; "Let me be clear from the outset - my sudden attack of anxiety for our sacrosanct green belt has nothing to do with being sacked by that swine Cameron. I have asked all my really wealthy pals and none of them expressed any desire to buy another country estate and, therefore, I can only conclude that there is no demand for new housing. Some of them have expressed an interest in acquiring slum housing to rent to the peasants at ridiculously high prices, but that sort of property is in run-down inner city areas so it doesn't concern me overmuch. There are plenty of garages and various garden sheds and outhouses that can be converted into slum housing for the peasants without having to touch the green fields of rural Britain. It is of vital importance that a no-build zone be maintained around my country estate and that the peasants be kept away from my orchards and grouse moors."
Vince Cable has announced his support of the bone-idle, second-rate management that plagues both the private and public sector in Britain. The reduction of the cap on awards for unfair dismissal are supposed to make it more attractive for business to employ more people. Of course it will do no such thing - only a return of confidence in the economy, something the present government cannot or will not create, can do that. This is merely a sop to those managers and executives in this country who cannot do their job properly. It will help to protect those who have no skill in selecting staff, lack the character to handle "difficult" workers or get annoyed when staff refuse sexual favours on demand. At the end of the day unfair dismissal is exactly that - unfair - and making it less expensive for the perpetrator is similarly unfair. A cap of £72,000 was sufficient to act as a deterrent - lowering it to one year's wages will make it infinitely easier to sack lower paid workers. So now the managers in Britain have a double protection since their wages have continued to rise whereas ordinary worker's wages have stagnated. Many banker's who can claim for unfair dismissal will still be able to collect lottery wins in compensation while the rest of us will get barely enough to buy a good second-hand car. All in this together? I don't think so Vince.
Having deliberately caused a double-dip recession in order to provide the necessary alibi for an assault on the welfare state and to starve the NHS of funds to soften it up for privatisation, the Tories are now rolling out their flanking attack on ordinary working people. Liam Fox is calling for even more swinging cuts in welfare in order to fund a tax cut for himself and his rich mates under cover of the need to "stimulate" the economy and show that Britain is "open for business." In effect, of course, he is merely telling the world that the Tories are willing to expose the people of Britain to exploitation. Still he was always willing to go further than most Tories in his campaign to enrich himself at our expense and seems to have been given the unofficial position of giving the rest of us the bad news. The opening salvo is the reduction of the maximum £72,000 compensation cap for unfair dismissal to one years pay. Of course if you're a banker that could run into millions - for the rest of us it would be considerably less. The reintroduction of slavery into Britain has moved on with the declaration that those being forced to labour for less than the minimum wage must not be promised a job in the future. Meanwhile the cost of Ian Duncan Smith's "reform" of welfare remains a closely regarded secret since the truth is that it is not about saving money but about exploiting the unemployed. Coupled with the deliberate undermining of education, which is rapidly becoming an export only industry, the message is as clear as it is outrageous - the Tories are selling us down the river to enrich themselves and those who pay their wages. They are deliberately turning this country into a sweatshop - hence the parallel attack on health and safety - because they cannot stomach the alternative of a highly-paid, highly skilled workforce. They see us as peasants and intend to treat us as such.
There is growing excitement in the Tory party today as their plan to destroy the NHS finally begins to bear fruit. Hospitals up and down the country are close to collapse as they are starved of funds and money is diverted into Andrew Lansley's privatisation fund. To celebrate Liam Fox, the Tories best-known crook, has called for yet more tax cuts for the rich as he and the rest of the Tory party congratulate themselves for literally getting away with murder. "This recession was a Godsend," a leading Tory told our reporter. "How else could a government plan and execute a theft on such a massive scale or get away with what amounts to the mass murder of its own citizens. Assad, pah! The man's a bloody amateur!" Meanwhile George Osborne has signalled his determination to stick with his planned recession. "We Tories were very worried when Labour seemed to be getting Britain out of recession and was about to close the door on the opportunity of a lifetime. Fortunately the British electorate remained stupid enough to give us just enough votes to take a wrecking ball to all of that. Now they can't do anything to stop us until 2015. By then we'll have taken the economy back to where it belongs - the 1840's - day labouring will be the norm, the NHS will have been sold off to the Yanks and the whole of the north will be combined into a single constituency. I love the smell of Tory bullshit in the morning."
The Tory party is besides itself with rage today because an entrepeneur has identified a need in free-market Britain and decided to fill it. Despite being an outstanding example of the kind of "wealth creator" that the Tories are always banging on about, they think that his merchandise is "tasteless and inappropriate." Why? Because the T-shirts that Colin Hampton is producing points out that "A generation of Trade Unionists will dance on Thatchers grave." Taste, of course, is a matter of - well, taste - but is it also inappropriate? It would be it terms of Margaret Thatcher still being alive, but the wrapper of the T-shirt clearly says that it is to be opened only after Mrs.Thatcher actually dies. It is, essentially, an emergency product similar to the fire axes in public builders - "Break glass in case of fire." Nor is it inappropriate in terms of the truth - a generation of Trade Unionists will almost certainly dance on her grave given half the chance. What is tasteless and inappropriate is big businesses stealing our national assets, charging us through the nose for goods and services and then refusing to pay their fair share of taxes. What is tasteless and inappropriate is tax cuts given to the wealthy while the charity Save the Children is having to divert money from Africa to feed the starving children of Britain. Even more tasteless and inappropriate are the Tory plans for a state funeral for the most devisive, vicious, narrow-minded and completely wrong-headed Prime Minister in the history of Britain. Perhaps they should take a leaf out of Colin Hampton's book and sell tickets to all those Trade Unionists who wish to dance on her grave - that would almost certainly pay off the deficit.
In a trick worthy of a street magician Ian Duncan Smith has set out his plan to make poverty disappear. The policy, known as "Now you see it, now you don't", involves a redefiniton of poverty using measures other than how much disposable income people might have. It would seem that if you have no money and are unemployed you are not poor. Conversely, if you live in a stately home and can't persuade enough American tourists to pay at the gate to view paintings of your ancestors, then you are. For Ian Duncan Smith, the most evil Tory of them all, poverty is more dependent on such factors as "family breakdown, worklessness, unmanageable personal debt and addiction." Does that mean that the son of millionaire whose father has married five or six times, who has never worked because Daddy pays his bills, likes to gamble his allowance away in Monte Carlo and shoves copious amounts of coke up his nose is poor? What is the diffrence between him and a hoodie from a housing estate hanging about a street corner with a can on extra-strengh lager in his hand? One has money and the other does not. By any sensible standard the difference between being rich and being poor is a matter of how much money you have. Of course IDS's solution to all this is to make poor people even poorer and then make them work for nothing. Far better, the "News in Shorts" believes is to apply his new policy to his career and that of his Tory mates - "Now you see it, now you don't."
Two seperate tidal waves are about to engulf David Cameron, one from the Left and one from the Right, as reality finally catches up with this hapless dreamer of what is a nightmare for the rest of us. The first tidal wave on the horizon has been set in moton by the TUC which has finally come to the conclusion that they have to do something if the country is not to be forever changed into a parody of Dickensian Britain. In his speech to the TUC today Ed Balls came very, very close to giving his blessing to a general strike as he, unlike Ed Milliband, realises that the moment of decision is fast approaching. It must be said, however, that he allowed himself a huge amount of "wriggle room" when it came to economic policy under any future Labour government. Meanwhile those behind the "stalking horse" plan to dislodge Cameron from within the Tory party itself have been revealed as David Davis and Liam Fox - both right-wing madmen with a personal grudge against their leader. David Davis is the man defeated by Cameron during the last leadership contest. Liam Fox was the man sacked from his cabinet post when it became obvious that he couldn't tell the difference between his ministry and a personal fiefdom where his best friend, Adam Werrity, could solicit bribes from various shady right-wing organisations. In other words they are a team made up of a loser and a crook. These two men are not attacking Cameron because they think he's gone too far, but because they think he's not gone far enough. Not content with Cameron's Tory wet dream, they are calling for a full-on violent rape of the country.
After two-and-a-half years of punishing ordinary people for the criminal acts of bankers, forcing their incomes down and stealing their pensions, David Cameron has voiced his total disbelief that they might object or that they might fight back. "I don't understand why the unions are threatening to strike," he told our reporter as he inspected the latest delivery of wine for his cellar. "I've told them that there's no choice but to pauperise ordinary people, take their jobs away and steal their pensions but they don't seem to understand. The only way that we can save the best people in this country and, more importantly, their money, is for the peasants to accept that the recession is all their fault. While the banks were working day and night to improve things for all of us and sacrificing themselves for the common good, while corporate executives were working their fingers to the bone to create low-paid jobs, overpaid public sector workers and people pretending to have no legs were simply loafing about. I've heard of cases where people such as auxillary nurses and office cleaners have nearly enough money to feed themselves. There are useless cripples out there - I'm not talking about our magnificent Paralympic medal-winners by the way - who seem to think that losing the odd limb or contracting an incurable disease entitles them to an income that most people can only dream about. Meanwhile there are bankers, corporate executives and, more especially, hard working politicians in this country with barely enough money to keep their private jets flying and their modest 200 hundred foot yachts afloat. The trouble with union leaders is that are completely out of touch with reality."
David Cameron was left reeling tonight after it was revealed that a plot is afoot to oust him from power. Colonel Bob Stewart, the Tory MP for Beckenham, has been approached by an unnamed backbencher to act as a "stalking horse" candidate for the leadership of the party in order to clear the way for Boris Johnson. Unfortunately for the would-be Cassius, Colonel Bob was in no mood to play the part of Brutus and he refused. Boris Johnson has distanced himself from the plot and declared he has no intention of cutting short his stint as Mayor of London in order to launch a bid for the leadership. The "News In Shorts" has managed to track down the leaders of the plot and asked them why they are seeking to ditch their leader; "Cameron has proved to be a great disappointment to the rank and file in the party. He promised to modernise the party by taking the entire country back to the 18th century but all he's managed so far is the mid-19th century and that's simply not good enough. Having assured us that behind his affable facade he's actually a real died-in-the wool Tory git he's proven to be not gittish enough. There are still ordinary people in this country with homes, jobs and money and we feel this is a complete disgrace - they should be utterly destitute by now. Rich people like us are still having to pay some taxes and we are still not allowed to do absolutely anything we like. We have come dangerously close at times to ending the recession, unemployment is still far too low, peasant wages are still too high and the NHS has still not been turned into the profit opportunity we were promised." Meanwhile David Cameron was heard to declare that "The Ides of March have come" and yet he's still not politically dead. Aye, Cameron, but not yet gone.
While David Cameron guzzles wine bought with taxpayers money and he and his Tory pals continue to plunder the public purse to fund their lavish lifestyles, British children and beginning to starve in Britain. This is not hyperbole, though the Tories would like to pretend that it is, when the charity "Save the Children" diverts £500,000 from feeding Africa to feed the poor here. As one charity spokesperson said; "Starvation is not realtive. A child going without food for three days in Britain is in as much danger as a child going without food for three days in Africa." While the Tories have wheeled out the likes of Edwina Curry to deny that real starvation has appeared in Britain, other Tories such as Douglas Carswell, Brian Binley and Christian Guy have attacked the charity for daring to bring attention to the crisis. Meanwhile the Tory press has been howling with rage, accusing the charity of being in league with socialism as if that is a sin too awful to contemplate when what they should be doing is conspiring with the Tories to kill those who don't vote for them. Arguments are also raging amongst the Tory chattering classes as to whether David Cameron is a "moderniser" or not, though how a British Prime Minister intent on taking us all back to the Dark Ages qualifies as a "moderniser" is beyond me. Cameron and his henchmen are being revealed for what they are - vicious thugs who make the so-called "politics of envy" look positively patriotic. If, as the saying goes, "revolution is never more than three meals away" then the Tories seem to be deliberately encouraging it with their "let them eat cake" attitude. Which rather begs the question of what the LibDems think they are doing. Perhaps they are simply contempalting suicide.
The Tories, in the person of Michael Fallon the new Minister for Business, have come out fighting to show that their newly reshuffled cabinet is full of new energy. Unfortunately it is also full of the same old bullshine. Speaking in the Telegraph Mr Fallon has called for "an end to the politics of envy" and for us all to "salute those who not only create wealth but risk their own money to create jobs for other people". Of course what he actually means is that he wants an end to the criticism of greedy rich people who grab as much as they can for themselves and couldn't give a damn about jobs for ordinary people. His "solution" for ending the recession is the same old Tory mantra - fewer rights for workers, lower taxes for the rich, more deregulation and a new round of privatisations. Entrepeneurs will then risk their personal money to create new successful businesses, new wealth and new jobs. Except, of course, it will do none of these things. Entrepeneurs are far outnumbered, in the business world, by executives who risk none of their own money, milk businesses for bonuses whether they are succesful or not, keep any newly created wealth to themselves and are far more likely to cut jobs rather than create them. Mr Fallon is essentially trying to pedal a 19th century vision of business that is completely at variance with the 21st century reality. What he terms "the politics of envy" is simply the completely understandable protest of those who are forever seeing their standard of living being eroded and what little money they have left being stolen by a wealthy elite who have no idea what the word "enough" means. Why does this moron believe for one moment that we would be willing to exchange what he dismisses as "the politics of envy" for the politics of despair?
Ed Milliband has begun to add flesh to the bones of his "predistribution" policy through the "Independent". Senior Labour sources were at pains to stress that "no decision had been taken" and that "a living wage would not be imposed on all companies by legislation". Rather, they suggested, employers would be "encouraged" to pay higher wages in the way, presumably, they are "encouraged" to pay their fair share of tax. In other words Ed Milliband's "big idea" is all froth and no substance and is, as the "News in Shorts" has already suggested, mere soundbite politics. In a speech Ed admitted that; “The redistribution of the last Labour government relied on revenue which the next Labour government will not enjoy. The option of simply increasing tax credits in the way we did before will not be open to us.” No, of course not - not when big businesses have made it abundantly clear that they will not pay tax. Predistribution will simply join all those other "policies" that quickly become mere "aspirations" after a general election. So, at the next general election, it seems our choice will be between the Tory Conservative party, the Tory Liberal Democratic party or the Tory Labour party.
As well as gongs awarded in the forthcoming honours list, the various no-hopers, morons and ineffective ministers sacked by Cameron can expect to share a quarter of a million pounds in tax free "redundancy" money. You remember redundancy money - its the money ordinary people used to get when they were fired for reasons of "efficiency" but which has largely disappeared of late. Unfortunately these "sweetners" seem to have failed to do the trick as the new backbenchers queue up to attack their own party, government and leader. Cheryl Gillan, dismissed as Welsh Secretary, will spearhead the Tory opposition to the high-speed rail project, while Paul Burstow, the sacked LibDem health minister, now feels free to describe the Tory reform of the NHS as "dangerous" and seems to have suddenly rediscovered his political principles. Meanwhile Cameron has promoted several bozos of doubtful intellectual ability to positions where they can inflict the maximum of damage to the country. People like Chris Grayling, the man who believes in slavery and thinks its all right to discriminate against gays, promoted to the position of Justice Minister. Or Owen Patterson, who doesn't believe in global warming, thinks wind farms are a waste of money and wants to fast-track shale fracking, now promoted to head the Ministry for the Environment. Little wonder, then, that Cameron has increased the government budget for "marketing" - or as we would know it, hiding the truth and spinning lies.
MP's, pictured above on expenses claim day, have signaled their enthusiastic and complete support for Ed Milliband's "predistribution". Unfortunately for the rest of us this consists of taking taxpayers and "predistributing" it to themselves through their spectacularly generous expense allowances. The bill for MP's expenses has risen by 25% since the time they were revealed to be stealing our money and has now reached the same level that it was at before the scandal. First in line were such fine specimens as Chris Grayling who has managed to fund the purchase of a nice London property portfolio from money that doesn't belong to him. Others have eagerly held out their hands for the rents their various girlfriends and boyfriends have to pay to stay close to their MP paramours. Travel costs for various mates, hangers-on and family members continues to blossom while David Cameron fills his wine celler after a successful wine tour has replaced his depleted stocks at our expense. From chocolate bars, crisps and dog food to £2 million mansions in London, MP's are still dipping one of their hands into our pockets while patting themselves on the back with the other.
Labour have been explaining more fully how they intend to throw in the towel as far as the present disastrous world economic situation is concerned. Milliband's new idea - "predistribution" - is, essentially, a tacit recognition that politicians can't ask big business to pay their fair share of taxes because they will simply refuse. Rather than facing up to this, predistribution is an attempt to avoid the issue and politely ask big business to pay proper wages instead. Of course that is doomed to utter failure since British management are, by and large, a bone-idle bunch of second-raters without the wit or imagination to do what is in the interests of us all. As a case in point what is happening to the NHS in the south-west of England demonstrates why predistribution in Britain simply won't work. There 20 NHS Trusts have banded together to form the South-West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium that seeks to bring in "local pay rates" to redress the financial imbalance cause by the Tories starving them of funds. The management of the south-west NHS Trusts, lacking the ability, immagination or the energy to find a better solution, have instinctively reached for the easiest method of lowering costs - cutting wages. The BMA have warned that the south-west of England will become a microcosm of a more general trend in Britain, with good, well trained staff leaving in droves to seek better wages and conditions elsewhere leaving behind only those whose lack of ability prevents them from moving on. Essentially helthcare in the south-west will be de-skilled. And that is how predistribution will fare in a Britain dominated by tax-dodging international big business - it will be strangled at birth leaving the country to continue its steady economic and social decline. The issue of the wealthy and of big business simply refusing to pay their fair share of taxes, aided by their pals in the Tory party, will not be so easily brushed to one side and Ed Milliband needs to face up to that.
It has to be admitted that the "News In Shorts" was quick to rubbish Ed Milliband's ideas about "predistribution" without, some might say, explaining why. Are we guilty, perhaps, of dismissing the idea simply because it seemed supiciously like soundbite politics without giving it due consideration? There is, after all, at least one economy in the world that does actually operate a predistribution system - Japan. Essentially it consists of distribution of the nation's wealth through the medium of a much more equitable wage structure without the need for excesive government interference in the form of a redistributory tax system and artifical devices such as tax credits. In other words Japanese employers pay a living wage to all their employees and, in return, they have managed to sustain a high level of domestic final demand that has benefitted both the employer and the employed even in the face of sustained recessions. The key to their success, however, is that the Japanese have the necessary highly skilled and productive workforce and low unemployment to sustain such a system. Britain, after decades of ideological interference in education, the wholesale waste of talent and a criminal lack of investment, unfortunately has none of these things. In Japan training the workforce to maximise both its productivity and earning potential is considered by employers to be the indispensible foundation of their success and, ultimately, of their profits. In Britain employers see driving wages down to starvation level, even as they drive prices up, as the foundation of their success - and we can all see how well that's worked out. In a country like Britain, where class is still the measure of all things, where millions are without proper employment and greed is seen as a force for good, predistribution seems doomed to failure. Low wages and the rationing of good education for ordinary people have been the shame of Britain for decades and there is little prospect that it can be reversed during the lifetime of a single government.
In an interview for the "New Statesman" today Ed Milliband nailed his colours to the mast and, it pains me to say, it was the white flag of surrender. Cowed by 30 years of not being able to make any political statements that are even faintly socialist, still afraid of the right-wing press despite the apparent demise of Murdoch and eager to reassure the banks, he seems relieved that the Tories will do all the nasty stuff and all he has to do is hold up his hands and tell us that its too late to do anything about it. His one big idea seems to be "predistribution" as opposed to "redistribution" which seems to involve ordinary people getting a living wage - though how he's going to stop private companies from "cutting costs" by forcing wages down he doesn't say. One thing was clear, however, and that was the complete absence of any reference to the NHS. Ed Milliband is revealed as a mainstream western politician - afraid to dismantle and then rebuild an economic system that is broken beoyond repair and utterly lacking in any vision for the future. All we can expect from him or any Labour administration he might lead is a slightly watered-down version of Cameron's prescription - basically more of the same tricked out with catchy phrases that, ultimately, will change nothing. We have been essentially disenfranchised in a democracy in which there is no real choice any more - all we have is the right to choose between competing branches of the Tory party. Walter Raleigh is credited with writing a few lines that sum up rather well where we find ourselves at the beginning of the 21st century; "Put not your trust in princes, for in them lies no salvation."
Its not as if David Cameron has much to work with to be honest or had much room for manouvre. Removing George Osborne from his job of strangling the British economy would have been an admission that Tory ideology is bankrupt. Moving William Hague would have meant putting another clueless member of the cabinet at the Foreign Office without his ability to speak in deep stentorious tones. Removing Theresa May would have meant admitting that their attack on the police and the Border Agency is a home goal of spectacular proportions. He did ask Ian Duncan Smith if he was tired of torturing the sick, disabled and unemployed but apparently not - he refused to budge. (Which makes you wonder how much authority Cameron actually has in the government). So it was Lansley, who failed to privatise the NHS without anyone noticing, who moved aside for - of all people - Jeremy Hunt, the man who failed to get Murdoch's BSkyB deal through without anyone noticing. Hunt also happens to be an enthusiastic supporter of homeopathy - healthcare by magic potion and mumbo-jumbo. The new Justice Secretary, replacing the Herman Goering of the Tory party Ken Clarke, is Chris Grayling who believes in slavery and thinks that proprietors of B&B's should be allowed to bar homosexuals from their premises. So we now have a new look cabinet that is pretty much indistinguishable from the last. It is still full of vicious ideologues and second-raters, the smug and self-satisfied dregs of humanity raised to high places.
There's little doubt that George Osborne is the least popular Chancellor of the Exchequer in living memory. There are many reasons for this. He has no sense of fair play, cutting money to those who need it while, at the same time, providing his wealthy pals with nice juicy tax cuts. He's a wealthy toff, completely out of touch with the daily lives of the millions struggling just to make ends meet in this country. He is both arrogant - stubbornly refusing to change the trajectory of his economic policy - and incompetent - doing u-turn after u-turn as many of his policies are revealed to be completely unworkable. Today he was booed by 80,000 spectators at the Paralympics who were voicing their disgust with a government that is cutting benefits to the most vulnerable in our society - the sick and the disabled - while, at the same time, trying to extract cudos from the Paralympics. Yet he is not directly associated with cuts in benefits to the disabled. That particular piece of nastiness is the brainchild of Ian Duncan Smith who, it must be said, would probably not have left the arena alive if he'd been foolish enough to make an appearance. Yet the crowd were right to voice their disgust. George Osborne is setting the economic agenda and is as guilty as IDS in terms of the spite that has been aimed at the sick and disabled. He, less than anyone, can claim to be merely "following orders," invoking the "Nuremburg defence". He is not a minion but the chief architect of the Tory viciousness that he is pleased to describe as "policy".
The plundering of the NHS by a bunch of Tory criminals continues unabatted today as Radiographers are told to put one hour per day aside for examining private patients using equipment and staff paid for by the taxpayer. Meanwhile the Tories have discounted the findings of the BMA that they are "risking patients' health by rationing drugs and operations". The BMA also pointed out that GP's "were being offered financial incentives to send fewer patients for tests and treatments in hospital" and that this is "morally wrong and professionally wrong". Meanwhile the Department of Health continued to peddal its platitudes about patients getting medical attention "when they want it and where they want it" - though, of course, only if they are willing to pay for it twice. According to them, and in the face of stark evidence to the contrary, the NHS is "more efficient and we are already seeing results." For their part the LibDems, ignoring their betrayal of both the NHS and those foolish enough to vote for them, have come up with their solution to the demise of healthcare in Britain by calling for a new tax on fizzy drinks. "We are convinced that such a tax will dramatically improve the health of the nation, especially amongst the fat and indolent working-classes." Almost immediately a bunch of fat, indolent Tory backbenchers began to swing into slow-motion action to block the proposal on the basis that it would hurt the profits of those who pay for their bonuses. Eric Pickles told our reporter; "I've been drinking fizzy drinks for years and its done me no harm - mind you it was champagne."
As the sheer madness of George Osborne's economic policy continues to drain the life out of the country there are growing signs that the Coalition is literlly falling apart at the seams. Calls for Nick Clegg to resign and give way to someone who knows what he is doing are increasing both in frequency and intensity. While the LibDem peer Lord Smith of Clifton describes Mr Clegg as "just a cork bobbing on the waves" and accuses him of "loving the ministerial limousines", he pointedly added "We don't need all these young kids running the government." The sense of growing panic, however, is not confined to a LibDem party in terminal decline - there are signs that the sheep in the Tory party are similarly spooked. While they wonder if David Cameron is a man or a mouse and shy away from the obvious answer, the man who lost the leadership contest last time around, David Davis, is busy re-sharpening his knives. His proscription for saving the country is basically even more of the same - tax cuts for the rich, fewer services for the poor, fewer rights for workers and less regulation of people straining at the leash to commit various criminal acts - all neatly wrapped up in the excuse that the LibDems are to blame for "diluting" Tory nastiness. Asked what and how deeply he would cut the state he told the Telegraph; “This is not something that should be done by plucking numbers out of the air, but after serious analysis." In other words he doesn't want to tell the electorate how vicious he'd like to be until after the next election. "Vote for me - I've got a really cunning plan - but I don't want to let you know what it is until after I get my hand in the till. Trust me - I'm lying to you."
Ian Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling have discovered the basic flaw in Tory ideology - it is based on sheer fantasy. In this particular case the fantasy is that private sector companies can find jobs for the unemployed when no jobs actually exist. They have found out what all of us already knew - you can't pour two pounds of sugar into a one pound bag. Ingeus UK, one of the biggest so-called "welfare providers" who had hoped to get their hands on taxpayer's money for not doing very much, have now discovered that the government actually expects them to do something for their money and they are panic striken. One of their directors, Jack Sawyer, who doesn't seem to understand that you can't get jobs for people when there aren't any, has sent stern warnings to his staff that their performance is "not good enough." However the company has also been at great pains to demonstrate that they are not fiddling the figures. The DWP too was quick to state that “robust control and assurance arrangements in place to guard against fraudulent claims being made by providers". Now why, I wonder, would they be so worried about being accused of fraud? Ian Duncan Smith and his sidekick, Chris Grayling, are rapidly being shown up for what they are - brain dead ideologues with absolutely no idea about what is real and what is delusion.
The woman pictured above is Gina Rinehart and she happens to be the richest woman in the world. Looking at the economic disaster that the last 30 years of neoliberal madness has caused she told a magazine in Australia; "If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working." That might be regarded as good advice by those whose monomania consists of amassing as much money as possible for no sensible reason. It might also be understandable if Ms Rinehart had spent her whole life working hard to amass her billions. Unfortunately, like so many smug, self-satisfied wealthy elitists, she inherited her money. In other words she's never done a hard day's work in her life. Even more unfortunately people like her have a nasty habit of gravitating towards politics, especially in Britain, where they bring their smug, self-satisfaction to bear on the rest of us. People like David Cameron who wanted to become Prime Minister because he saw it as his birthright and thinks nothing of spending £13,000 of taxpayers money to pay for a wine-tasting tour during a recent official visit to Australia. (Strangely enough Ms.Rinehart's home country). His four day international tour cost a staggering £8,552 per hour - yes, that right, per hour not per day - most of which was spent on chartering a private jet to whisk him from party to party. Meanwhile back in Britain David Cameron's favourite LibDem, David Laws (famous for fiddling his expenses and stealing taxpayers money), was lecturing us all in Britain that the way to cure our economic woes was for the rich to pay less taxes and for all of us to have access to fewer and fewer and services. These people are not part of the solution, they are the problem.