Thursday, 30 January 2014
Despite weeks of Tory propaganda about how the recovery is underway and austerity is working the truth is that the only recovery discernible is in the London property market. Manufacturing output continues to shrink, house building is juddering to a halt, prices are still rising and income, unless you happen to be a millionaire, is still being squeezed. As the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has made absolutely clear today, income for ordinary people continues to be 6% less than it was in 2008. They also recognise that austerity will squeeze ordinary incomes even more in the next few years as benefits and tax credits are slashed. Even if the British economy was to expand at an unprecedented 5% per year we will not get back to 2008 levels until 2020. Meanwhile the criminals who crashed the banking system are still paying themselves eye-watering "bonuses" while their businesses continue to lose billions and energy executives are holding us to ransom having increased their prices by 60% in the last five years. As far as the super-wealthy are concerned there is no recovery since, for them at least, there was no recession in the first place. The Tories are not running a government, nor are they running an economy, they are conducting a war against the people that has only one goal in sight - lower taxes for themselves and their wealthy backers. As the Tory-voting electorate in Somerset are now finding out to their cost, greed and selfishness are a poor substitute for a civilised society.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
Businessmen have been lining up all today to denounce Ed Balls plan to raise tax up to 50p for the very rich. Like a scratched record with the needle stuck in the same old groove they have been dusting off the usual stale arguments. "It's anti-business", "It won't raise any more money", "It's the politics of envy", "Businessmen will leave the country in droves", "It will threaten the recovery." But the underlying message is clear; "We don't want to pay our employees a living wage and we don't want to pay tax either." Not that they pay all that much in the first place having dedicated their efforts to avoid paying 45p with as much vigour as they did when it was 50p. So, if you are earning £150,000 per year how much will it actually cost you? Like everyone else the first £10,000 is tax free so the rate only applies to £140,000. So how much is 5p multiplied by 140,000? £7,000 is the answer to save you reaching for your calculator. £135 per week. That sounds like an awful lot doesn't it? It sounds a lot less, however, when you calculate that £150,000 per year is £2,885 per week which, as it happens, is almost the same as unemployment benefit for a whole year. £150,000 per year is £12,500 per month, coincidentally, about the total yearly income for someone on the minimum wage. And how would someone on £150,000 per year feel if their income was halved simply because they have one bedroom too many? Perhaps we should try an experiment and halve their income because they have a two car garage. And explain this to me. When the Tories reduced the income tax for the rich how come the country wasn't suddenly awash with new businesses? Did the country suddenly experience an inrush of returning businessmen who had quit the country because of Labour's 50p tax rate? If this is the politics of envy then why do the rich begrudge the unemployed a measly £56 per week? Will it not raise any more money because the rich are so greedy and so selfish they will do almost anything to avoid paying tax? If, as they say, this is the "same old Labour tax and spend", then their threadbare excuses are the same old attempt at blackmail we hear every time they have to put their hands in their pockets instead of into the pockets of the poor.
Friday, 24 January 2014
Things were looking good for Cameron and the bunch of conmen he calls a government this week. Their campaign to deny benefits to those out of work was magically translated into "falling unemployment figures", ignoring the cuts in benefits to those in work was magically translated into "rising living standards" and the re-inflated property bubble was translated into an "economic recovery." Meanwhile Iain Duncan Smith was trying to kid us that his vicious attack on the most vulnerable in our society was the modern equivalent of William Wilberforce's campaign against slavery while wittering on about the Tory party's "historic mission." The IMF obliged the Tories by claiming that Britain's growth this year would be the best in Europe, conveniently ignoring our ballooning national debt and the fact that most of this "growth" would be in the purely notional value of houses in London. The truth, studiously ignored by the media, was left to Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, who quietly backtracked on his promise to raise interest rates if unemployment falls below 7%. He knows perfectly well that the government has been massaging the unemployment figures and is not prepared to raise interest rates on the basis of pure fiction. Not wishing to underline this he claimed, instead, that his decision would be based on the strength of the "recovery", which, without putting too fine a point on it, was both weak and also largely fictional. The truth is that Mark Carney does not dare to raise interest rates since that would immediately deflate the property bubble and bring the non-existent nature of Osborne's "recovery" crashing to the ground. The Governor and the Chancellor are now locked into a game of denying reality and hoping against hope that somehow their fantasy views of the economy will magically come true. This is voodoo economics at its most outrageous and its most forlorn.
The photograph above shows the sort of damage water cannons can inflict on the people they are turned on. Impressed by this Police chiefs in Britain have told the government that they need this weapon to contain the expected protests this summer at austerity measures. The fact that any government that needs to deploy such weapons to control the anger of its own citizens has lost all legitimacy does not impress the likes of Cameron and his Bullingdon bully boys one whit. To them we are dumb beasts who need to be threatened and beaten into submission since we refuse to believe their self-serving propaganda and accept their one-sided arguments that they need more while we should make do with less. As usual the Tories are employing their favourite tactic of blaming the victims of their vicious and nasty little fantasies, labelling any protest against them as "criminal behaviour." How does this differ from the Assad regime in Syria that labels any protest as "terrorism"? That the police in Britain would demand such weapons and use the threat of unrest because of austerity as a reason has forgotten the most basic principle of policing in this country - that it is entirely dependent on the willingness of the public to be policed. That the police believe they need to use such a thing in case of "situations of serious public disorder" demonstrates the depths to which this country has fallen when those paid to protect the public do not see that serious public disorder would not occur if we still had a fair and just society. Like the government in general they have forgotten that they are hired by us to do a job - they were not hired to beat us into submission.
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Last week a couple from Telford in Shropshire were fined over £1,000 for taking their children out of school for a one week holiday to Rhodes. The family had not had a holiday for five years. A spokesman for the Education Department told us; "Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect, and children who attend school regularly are nearly four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are regularly absent. Parents should never simply discount a possible penalty notice from the cost of a cheaper holiday, because this is a criminal offence and when doing so they are always risking prosecution." Which is rather strange since the news today has been filled with the exploits of Lewis Clarke, at 16 the youngest person to walk to the South Pole. The trek took him fifty days and that after several months spent training in Greenland. Of course it was for charity but surely, at 16, his "poor attendance" at his school must have had "a hugely damaging effect."? Apparently not, even though this must be the year he will be taking his GCSE's. The difference seems to lie in the sort of school that Lewis attends, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital School in Bristol, that gave him permission to attempt his record-breaking trek. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital School is an £8,000 per year private school and, it must be assumed, Lewis comes from a somewhat more privileged background than the Sutherland family whose one week in Rhodes was considered to be completely unreasonable. As usual in Britain it's one rule for us and another for the wealthy and privileged.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
Nick Clegg has desperately tried to breath life into his stalled political career by rewriting recent history. Conveniently forgetting that it was his coalition partners, the Tories, who deregulated the banking industry back in the early 1980's, he has claimed that Labour was single-handedly responsible for the world-wide banking collapse in 2008. Apart from the obvious fact that the collapse began in the United States where, as far as this writer knows, Labour was never in power, he has also ignored the total support offered to the finance industry not only by all three political parties in Britain but by all political parties across the world. The problem, which Clegg also ignores, was that the banks were not only utterly reckless they also lied about it. Essentially the entire finance industry was turned into one giant Ponzi scheme by the bankers themselves in a concerted criminal conspiracy and then they tried to hide the truth for as long as possible to avoid the inevitable consequences. Yet you can understand Clegg's dilemma since, in cooperation with that other criminal organisation, the Tories, he has consistently told us all that the perpetrators of this crime are safe and warm in intensive care while the victims, you and me, have been apprehended, tortured and then flung into the prison of austerity. Taking a leaf out of the bankers book Cameron, Osborne and Clegg have pedalled an outrageous lie in order to postpone the inevitable consequences of the bankers crime spree and save their own wealth. Clegg has done nothing more or less than pile a political conspiracy on top of a financial conspiracy for completely selfish reasons. Clegg is a liar and a coward, hiding behind the Nasty party as he blithely helps them punish us for the crimes of their wealthy backers. The man is a scoundrel in every sense of the word and, hopefully, will soon see his less than illustrious political career put out with all the rest of the garbage.
While Channel Four is gleefully disseminating Tory propaganda by airing "Benefits Street", for the parasites presently infesting No.10 Downing Street it is business as usual. Having sneaked into government with the cooperation of a Lib Dem party newly converted to the principles of greed and selfishness, the Tories have managed to turn back the clock to the mid-19th century and forced millions into poverty in order to protect the interests of bankers, energy company executives and the undeserving rich. Their insane policy of austerity postponed the economic recovery in Britain by four years and has succeeded only in protecting the offshore bank accounts of the real parasites in this country - tax avoiders, expense account fiddlers, greedy landlords and the assorted criminal enterprises that support the Tory party with bribes for turning a blind eye. Meanwhile the Tories have seized public assets paid for by the taxpayer and handed them over for virtually nothing to their corporate pals in return for "donations" in a blatant money laundering scheme, destroying jobs and wrecking public services without regard for the interests of the country as a whole. The poor are being hounded and abused as payday loan companies thrive, food banks proliferate and homelessness increases at an exponential rate. Yet, as Europe tries to curb bankers bonuses and seeks to control speculators driving up the price of food, Cameron is threatening to leave the EU while George Osborne has tried every tactic to avoid regulation that would even slightly hurt the interests of the only people who count for anything in Britain - land owners and bankers. Without doubt this present government is the most corrupt, greedy and selfish collection of scum that have ever risen to the top of a very murky pond, but no government has ever plunged headlong with such glee into the realms of treason. They are betraying the country not to some foreign power or government, but to the international business interests of those who pay their real wages while we, like some latter day Roman mob, bay for the blood of the poor in an arena beamed via television into our living rooms.
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
There has been a shocked reaction to the news today that organised crime has infiltrated and corrupted many government agencies including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service. There was even more shock when it was revealed that some 4,000 police officers have been disciplined or forced to resign because of criminal activities. It is tempting to ask what has gone wrong, but the truth is that Britain has always been corrupt to some extent. It is also tempting to conclude that powerful organised crime syndicates are to blame, but the truth is that they would get no where if those in power weren't prepared to be corrupted. The main culprit is greed, the "political principle" that the Tories have been so eager to push for the last thirty-five years. So eager in fact that they have legalised the theft of public assets, have regularised the taking of bribes through party "donations" and have made it acceptable to vilify and bully the most vulnerable in our society to fund tax cuts for themselves. Greed and corruption go hand-in-hand and it is no surprise that Britain is no less corrupt than any other third world country. What is surprising is that, despite the evidence of corruption thrust into their faces on a daily basis, the British public are genuinely shocked. They shouldn't be since they have consistently voted in favour of it since 1979. Greed is not good. Greed is not a political principle. Greed is not an engine of growth, it is merely an alibi that allows certain individuals to accrue more money than they can reasonably use. It is a character flaw and any politician or businessman who tells you different has been corrupted beyond all redemption. How corrupt is Britain? How long is a piece of string?
Sunday, 12 January 2014
Michael Gove, the man who thinks that the slaughter of millions during Word War I was "a jolly good idea", has stolen up to £15 billion of public assets in the form of 3,000 schools and given them away to Tory party "donors". These schools are being subsidised by the taxpayer even as the new owners award themselves huge pay awards of up to £300,000 per year. These same owners are also awarding juicy and expensive contracts to the other companies they own stealing yet more public money while padding out their expense accounts with such items as 1st class rail travel and junkets to prestigious holiday destinations for "conferences." Worse yet many of them are transferring their profits to tax havens and avoiding paying any tax on the proceeds of their criminal activities. This is what the Tories mean by "private sector efficiency" as a bunch of crooks, conmen and spivs efficiently transfer taxpayers money into their own pockets, the whole process overseen by an equally criminal bunch of politicians gratefully pocketing "donations". As with all "privatisations" where publicly owned assets are given away to Tory corporate sharks who receive taxpayers money and then return some of that money as "donations", this is nothing more than money laundering on a staggering scale. Meanwhile George Osborne has splashed out £10,000 more in taxpayers money to Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) for acting lessons in order to boost his performance in Parliament and in the television studios. The official explanation for this is that Osborne is trying to improve his "communication skills" - in other words he is using taxpayers money to make his lies more believable. The Tory party has now morphed from a political party into a gang of confidence tricksters, stealing public money while distracting the rest of us with spurious tales about the need for austerity. They have taken greed and selfishness to new levels and are now plunging headlong into outright criminal activity.
Saturday, 11 January 2014
There is a housing crisis in the country with homelessness on the rise, rents climbing to unaffordable heights and house prices at unsustainable levels. As a basic human need they don't come much more basic than having shelter while any government claiming to have any legitimacy at all would make this a primary concern. So when it is revealed that David Cameron has been presented with at least a partial solution to this growing problem you would think he would implement it immediately. Strangely, however, Cameron has been presented with such a plan involving the building of two new Garden Cities but has decided to ignore it completely. There have been one or two spurious reasons put forward for his inaction. He is worried that newly built towns might "import" Labour voters into Tory safe seats or that Tory nimbies might vote UKIP in the next election. Neither is a particularly good reason for promoting homelessness and housing poverty on the rest of the country and Cameron as Prime Minister does have a responsibility for all of the country and not just part of it. But, as the News In Shorts has pointed out many times, the real reason for his reluctance to tackle this problem is twofold - rising house prices to utterly insane levels is the only basis for his so-called economic "recovery" while falling house prices would adversely affect his own property portfolio. In his book homelessness and unaffordable housing for the majority are small price to pay to protect his personal wealth.
Friday, 10 January 2014
Despite the theft of Royal Mail, one of Britain's largest national assets, and George Osborne's efforts to re-inflate the property bubble, the economy remains stubbornly in intensive care. As the Office for National Statistics cannot help but point out manufacturing output is still flat with no discernible improvement over the last six months while the building industry is still in the doldrums. How can this be? In terms of the Royal Mail the reason is easy to see. A national asset that once added value to Britain's overall economy has been flogged off for far less than it was worth to a bunch of already wealthy crooks who have now stuffed their "profits" into the nearest available offshore account. Not only has much of the turnover from this huge industry been diverted into private hands and the money generated taken out of circulation, tax revenues have also fallen as the crooks who gobbled up the shares run off with their tax-free swag. With no improvement in manufacturing and exports Osborne's so-called "recovery" is revealed for what it is - a fairy tale based on a notional belief that house prices have grown, at least in London if nowhere else. The "recovery" is, therefore, restricted to those who own at least two properties, one of which can be sold while the owner lives in the other and one of which happens to be in London. What kind of person has two over-priced houses one of which happens to be in London I wonder? Of course such a person would be even better off if someone else, the taxpayer for instance, had bought both properties for them. But who would fall into this category? Surely not George Osborne, the architect of this "recovery", and his fellow conspirators in the Tory party? What a coincidence! What an unexpected windfall! What a surprise! What a bunch of crooks!
Having given millionaires a tax cut so they can take even more money out of circulation by stuffing it all into their offshore bank accounts, George Osborne has now expressed "caution" with regard to any increase in the minimum wage. "We have to be careful that extra money in ordinary people's pockets doesn't increase demand," he told our reporter. "That could cause a disaster of untrammelled proportion as the economy improves and makes austerity look increasingly stupid and self-defeating. Before we know where we are homelessness could decrease, ordinary people actually be able to heat their hovels and, heaven forbid, even afford enough food to keep themselves healthy. All of this would then mean that we would have no excuse to flog off public services to our rich mates at knock down prices as we did with Royal Mail. The NHS could still, even at this late date, slip through our fingers while all the healthcare companies who have been bribing us might then stop "donating" to the party. What people fail to understand is that the importance of the economy of Britain as a whole pales into insignificance when compared to the economy of the Tory party. Austerity equals an excuse to steal publicly-owned assets which can then be laundered through the private sector into party funds and then into my offshore bank account. Fortunately there are enough stupid people in the country who have swallowed the idea that wages represent a tax on employment and any increase in the minimum wage must inevitably lead to higher unemployment. Of course, by that logic, paying no wages at all would erase unemployment completely, but, thank God, the average Tory voter isn't bright enough to realise this."
Saturday, 4 January 2014
It is the on-going dilemma for the rich, greedy and selfish landlord in Britain today - "How can I get rid of my present tenant and replace them with some one I can squeeze more money out of?" For Fergus and Judith Wilson, two of the country's biggest and greediest landlords, the answer is to take the line provided for them by the Tory party and blame the victims. "Tenants on benefits are competing with eastern Europeans who came to the UK in 2005 and have built up a good enough credit record to rent privately," Mr Wilson told the Guardian. "We've found them to be a good category of tenant who don't default on the rent. With tenants on benefits the number of defaulters outnumbers the ones who pay on time. Single mothers on benefits have been displaced to the bottom of the pile; sympathy for this group is disappearing. There aren't enough places for people to live." So he has issued 200 eviction notices to tenants on benefits and is hoping that a influx of Romanians and Bulgarians will mean he can raise his rents and help him stuff his offshore bank accounts with more money. Taking the line thoughtfully provided for him by the Nasty party he would have us believe that the 200 he's evicting are single mothers who deserve to be thrown out on the street because of their sinful ways. They are more likely to be hard working people whose wages are so low that they have to claim benefits just to survive. But, as Mr.Wilson points out, its just business. And that's the problem. Social housing has ceased to be the responsibility of society in general and has been handed over to a greedy rentier class whose selfish pursuit of profit has warped both the housing market and, ultimately, the entire economy. Which is why pensioners will die from the cold this winter, young people have no future, prices are rising into the stratosphere and Osborne's much-vaunted "recovery" is confined almost entirely to the inflation of property values.
Friday, 3 January 2014
Michael Gove, the moron that Cameron put in charge of education, has made an extraordinary attack on the TV programme "Blackadder Goes Forth" telling the BBC that it was a scurrilous left-wing attack on a glorious period of British history. The Battle of the Somme, which saw 60,000 British casualties on the first day of the attack, has been "distorted" according to Gove and was actually the "precursor to victory" in 1918. The fact that the idiot Generals sitting safely behind the lines ordered the attack to continue for nearly six months and eventually clocked up an astounding 1,000,000 casualties seems to mean nothing to Gove. According to him the war was "a noble cause" and that historian agree with him, apparently falling over themselves to show that the elite that contemptuously allowed such slaughter were "conscious believers in king and country, committed to defending the western liberal order." Of course Gove is a completely insane and should not be allowed anywhere near of major government ministry, but his outburst is a very revealing snapshot of the Tory mind-set. To them ordinary people really are nothing more than counters in a game that only they should be allowed to play. They were content to see millions slaughtered during World War I as they sat safely at home counting their profits and they are content to do it again as we save the banks for them and protect their money. Gove would like us all to applaud the sacrifices made during the Great War, but he and his kind made no such sacrifices themselves and have no intention of making any sacrifices now either. To Gove and his mates in the criminal organisation known as the Tory party we are simply cannon fodder and should be grateful that they have accorded us even this lowly status. Scum the Tories always have been and scum they remain.