Poverty

I’m thinking of last winter, a snow-blurred  landscape and my agonisingly permanently cold blue feet, painful hands, the shaming underweight lecture from my  consultant: “eat much more and you must keep warm with raynauds” she said. I told her I couldn’t do both, and she looked at me uncomprehendingly, though she usually understood me.

via Poverty.

The depth of corruption in the Conservative Party’s new, privatised health system

Mike Sivier writes : –

According to the Daily Mirror, Circle Health has been given £1.36 billion of health work after investors gave £1.5 million to the Tories; and Care UK – who bankrolled former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley with £21,000 during the seven years he was secretly working on the Health and Social Care Act while Tory leaders were denying any plans for the top-down reorganisation it would authorise – has won £102.6 million in contracts and its chairman John Nash has been made a lord, in return for a £247,250 donation to the Tories.

Read more here:

via The depth of corruption in the Conservative Party's new, privatised health system.

Marks and Spencers’ Leading Ladies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Dear “Leading Ladies” (Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Rita Ora, Rachel Khoo, Lulu Kennedy, Baroness Lawrence, Alek Wek & Roma Agrawal),
Let me ask you, is your contract with Marks and Spencer on Workfare conditions? Or are you getting paid? Are M&S actually able to pay you because they are getting free labour? Did you know that Workfare is NOT voluntary? Unless you deem loss of any income at all and your family starving to death as a valid alternative. Did you know that Workfare is indefinite for sick and disabled people who the DWP deem “may” be fit for work in under a year (“may” be fit by then but are being sent on Workfare schemes anyway). Would YOU accept a position paying under £2 per hour (for 35 hrs/week, with all the extra expenses employment brings & also complying with DWP rules to look for paid employment for another 35 hours per week)?

Dear Marks & Spencer, How many paid, entry-level, positions have you made “redundant” because you’re filling them with unpaid “slave” labour via the Workfare scheme and others like it? Voluntary “work experience” in an appropriate employment sector for a couple of weeks is one thing, but this? This is so close to slave labour you could barely get a fag paper between them. Taxpayers’ money going to fund corporate wages.

Leading Ladies, you should be ashamed of yourselves for promoting a corporation that participates in this scheme.

Marks & Spencer, I refuse to shop with you until you stop, completely and utterly falling in with these scheme to exploit the unemployed, sick and disabled.

When we have half a million vacancies and 2.5 million unemployed (and that’s after the DWP faff with the figures and hide those on sanctions and Workfare schemes from the stats) surely it would make more sense to actually employ people than to throw more onto the job queue. If you want to “do the right thing” and encourage unemployed into work, why not offer more traineeships at (or preferably above) minimum wage with a guaranteed job at the end if certain tests/assessments are acceptable. If you can take on free labour you have the capacity to take on paid.

This goes for all large corporations who are benefiting from public funds instead of paying their staff.

Labour must turn and fight now – or give up its electoral hopes altogether

I voted Labour for years, ever since I was old enough to vote, both in UK & Australia. I moved back to the UK from Australia shortly after NuLabour won the 1997 election, feeling hopeful for the future of this country for the first time since my family had moved to Aus when I was 16. I spent the next decade watching as ever more totalitarian legislation to control the populace was proposed (and in many cases forced through) but regulations on companies and banks were loosened to near non-existance as Blair tried to become a British version of Dubya while lining up a lucrative retirement for himself.

I voted LibDem for the duration of Labour’s rule. I disliked Clegg but agreed with the majority of their manifesto. I will admit to a cautious optimism when the Tory/LibDem Coalition was formed after the last election. It could have been a really good thing. If the LibDems had been sensible and recognised that they did hold the balance of power – but they sold out their supporters, and the rest of the country, for an illusion of power and a vote/referendum or two on a couple of their long-term goals that were promptly quashed by their “partners”. If one more LibDem whines to me that they can’t oppose the Tories because they are “the smaller partner” I might have to slap them until they understand the concept of “withdrawing support” as a political manoeuvre, or at least until they understand that by not opposing the various evil pieces of legislation being imposed, by not opposing the cuts being made, they are as culpable for the deaths, poverty and misery as their “larger partner” in the Coalition.

LibDems making noises as if they will be in any position to form a coalition with anyone at the next election are simply deluded.

I will never, ever vote Tory. It is not a tribal thing. It is a sense of self-worth thing. It is a self-respect thing. I value myself more than that.

If Labour ever want my vote again, the leader (whoever s/he is, and I really don’t care as long as they do what is needed and keep their promises) needs to stop being a fucking coward. Stand up to the Tories. Stand up to the sodding tabloids. Do the right thing, not the Right thing.

via Labour must turn and fight now – or give up its electoral hopes altogether.

Cameron’s Class Background, Prejudices and Osborne’s ‘Workers’ Budget’

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

131001cameronspeech

This morning the lead story in the i was that Cameron had been told by the Tories that he had to stop the gap between North and South widening any further. Further to this story, Osborne had been preparing a ‘Worker’s Budget’ for next week. Quite how far Cameron is from anyone, who could remotely be described as working class is explained in detail in Owen Jones’ Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class (London: Verso 2012).

Cameron’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all stockbrokers. His primary school was Heatherdown Preparatory School in Berkshire, whose old schoolboys include Princes Andrew and Edward. When he was eleven he flew across the Atlantic with a group of his school chums to go to the birthday party of Peter Getty, the grandson of the oil billionaire, John Paul Getty. He was, of course, like all good snobs, educated at Eton. Before he went…

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Osborne, G. – Failed

(edited and expanded from my original response to http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/02/23/on-aaa-and-what-might-happen/comment-page-1/#comment-631503)

I believe the simplest way to stimulate the economy is not found by faffing about with banks & big business but by increasing the net income received by the middle & lower strata of society – the people who will actually spend the extra income – starting the very necessary cycle. It’s like an engine, and ours has stalled.

– people have excess income
– they spend it
– increasing income for business
– increased income allows business to expand/employ extra staff (with the extra bonus of shifting more people off JSA)
– this means more people who have excess income
– rinse & repeat

Yes, I know it’s simplistic, I never claimed to have studied economics (ok, one unit in 1st semester 1st year > 25 years ago). But it makes sense.

If no-one has excess income (except the very rich, who don’t spend in the same way at all), they can’t spend anything, the businesses cannot expand as no-one is using them or buying from them, so everything either stagnates or gets worse over time.  Every small, especially rural, town watches local business after business shutdown as no-one has any money to spend on anything but the absolute basics necessary to live. Cheap supermarkets & discount online sellers thrive, everyone else declines. Small towns end up with a High Street of empty premises, a few charity shops, banks, sometimes a pub &/or coffee shop and a never-ending cycle of hopeful businesses opening and closing shops every couple of weeks, with a large supermarket or “retail park” on the edge of town.

Oh, and surely boosting the economy (by increasing the income of more people again) would be done if we started with a bloody council house building program to replace the ones council tenants, like my grandparents, bought in the ’80s. As I said, I’m not an economist, but surely building your way out of a recession is more viable than austerity when all of your possible trading partners are in the same or worse state than you.

I look at our so-called leaders, their opposite numbers & those in the rest of the world and think they could all do with damned good talking to and a stint in the Naughty Corner (I’d say a smacked bottom but I’m afraid that too many of them would enjoy it).  Rip off their blinkers and force them to take part in the real world for a year, with no outside help, before they are allowed to make policy that affects lives – make them live the life of those they would destroy & demonise before they do so.  A friend said I’d make a good “World Mum” – I think I’d need a huge naughty step and a very big wooden spoon.