Thursday, 30 April 2015

stop the rot

“David Cameron and George Osborne believe the only way to persuade millionaires to work harder is to give them more money. But they also seem to believe that the only way to make ordinary people work harder is to take money away." 

                                                                                                          Ed Miliband


. 1 April – Housing benefit cut, including the introduction of the bedroom tax· 1 April – Council tax benefit cut
· 1 April – Legal Aid savagely cut
· 6 April – Tax credit and child benefit cut
· 7 April – Maternity and paternity pay cut
· 8 April – 1% cap on the rise of in working-age benefits (for the next three years)
· 8 April – Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment
· 15 April – Cap imposed on the total amount of benefit working-age people can receive.


· Rising wealth – 50 richest people from this region increased their wealth by £3.46 billion last year to a record £28.5 billion.
· Falling taxes – top rate of tax cut from 50% to 45% for those earning over £150,000 a year. This is 1% of the population who earn 13% of the income.
· No mansion tax and caps on council tax mean that the highest value properties are taxed proportionately less than average houses.
· Benefited most from Quantitative Easing (QE) – the Bank of England say that as 50% of households have little or no financial assets, almost all the financial benefit of QE was for the wealthiest 50% of households, with the wealthiest 10% taking the lions share
· Tax free living – extremely wealthy individuals can access tax avoidance schemes which contribute to the £25bn of tax which is avoided every year,as profits are shifted offshore to join the estimated £13 trillion of assets siphoned off from our economy.

· Millionaires were awarded a “tax break” of £107,000 each per year.

“The True Measure of Any Society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” – Ghandi



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

vote for change

The current crop of conventional politicians are mostly running scared of Nicola Sturgeon. Why? Because she is a socialist? If that is the case then why are they afraid? In my life I have not experienced a socialist government. On my travels I have occasionally been among those considered by most to be the more extreme elements such as The Socialist Workers Party and others, but I quickly rejected their inflexible, strange and unworkable aims. I believe a socialistic government, who simply has different priorities from the grey leaders we now have, could be a way forward for a political system that needs reform. We need politicians that represent the needs of the people of the UK in a one world context before the wants of those who exploit the free market without let or hindrance. 

Surely there must be a compromise between the rampant greed inspired and facilitated by the capitalist system and the excesses of redundant, old fashioned socialism.

A socialist economy is based on the principle of production for use, to directly satisfy economic demand and human needs, and objects are valued by their use-value, as opposed to the principle of production for profit and accumulation of capital. (wikipedia).

So why should we be afraid of Nicola Sturgeon, Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood? Much of what they say resonates with me. They speak of fairness and justice and opportunity for the many as distinct from a society where the few hold sway and decide for us how we shall live. It is a simple but straightforward departure from the politics that has alienated young and old alike. We are in crisis but at this time the deficit is not the issue.

The issue is how can we get improvements that spring from compassion and caring from a coalition that tries to address the real needs of the people, towards a just and more equal society? If we re-prioritise along the lines of Sturgeon and her women colleagues then I believe the benefit would be felt in every walk and strand of our society.

Is she the answer? Probably not but Miliband should not be afraid. If he is what he says he is then, surely they could be allies against the crushing effects of the narrow, ideological Tory manifesto. Stop the rot. Stop the poorest paying most for the cost of saving Cameron's chums and the banker's.

Cameron has shown his Thatcherist streak and a zealous commitment to an austerity policy that will further reduce public services including social care for the most needy in the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon has been described as dangerous. I quite like the sound of that, especially when I look at who is saying it. Deutsche Bank says that taxes and interest rates will rise under a Labour/ SNP government. That statement can be no surprise to anyone. It's a fu+*ing bank.( *see footnote).

Grey John Major is another fear monger. He claims that if Miliband got in Sturgeon would run his game. This is the ex Prime Minister who was run out of town by the extreme right wing posse in his party.

Major and Cameron and their like are scared of real change. They have never had it so good. While Cameron still talks of his great economic revival, throughout the UK people are not feeling the benefit and vital services are shedding top quality staff as it becomes more impossible to deliver service. A recent poll found that nurses did not have time to feed and properly care for sick patients. Yes, in the UK Mr Cameron. So much then for Tory spin and it has to stop. One Tory suggested that for Tories in Scotland, it might be better to vote Labour than have the SNP. They are in a state aren't they?

It has always been so and now it is even more crucial that the women have their say. If Nicola Sturgeon wants to separate Scotland from The UK then I am ok with that if the people of Scotland want it. It will only come about if Westminster fails to address the needs of the people over the boarder as it has failed the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland for decades. Miliband can keep the Tories out and any subsequent deals with other parties can hardly be worse than the last combo.

I hoped that whats his name, the LibDem bloke would at least be a brake on the excesses of Cameron but the result was mixed and not entirely what I had hoped for. If it was to be Miliband chivvied along a bit by Sturgeon that could work for me. What do you think?

The time is near. Vote for change.

 *Latest - The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced on Thursday 23rd April that Deutsche Bank had agreed to pay $2.5 billion (2.3 billion euros) to US and UK authorities as part of a legal settlement over the bank's role in manipulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor). 

Re HSBC threat to move head office out of UK. 
If they do it all HSBC UK customers should change banks. That is one example of how we might fight back. Remember that? 


Friday, 10 April 2015

every precious moment

we know now
what we can be
we came this way
so we might feel
all the joy and sadness
love that's real
I would do it all again
every precious moment
I would do it all again

against the tide
we make our stand
in the deepest quiet
hand in hand
we shall abide
and when its time
we shall fall
like petals on the wind
burst like bubbles in the rain
I would do it all again
every precious moment
I would do it all again

we wont resist the sweetest thing
the sweetest thing there ever was
we'll see the stars 
that shone  on us
I know we can
I know we shall
I would do this all again
every precious moment
I would do it all again


Friday, 3 April 2015

Cameron's last stand?


I blame new labour

When Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was defeated at the battle of Little Big Horn the account was glorified as an heroic stand against  the overwhelming number of braves of Crazy Horse of the Lakota Sioux; Sitting Bull and Gall from the Hunkpapa Sioux; and Lame White Man of the Southern Cheyenne. In fact more recent examination of the battle and battlefield, shows that Custer's men fled under the superior fire of the native Americans automatic weapons against their own single shot rifles. Most cavalry soldiers were shot in the back as they fled. Custer was an arrogant man who ignored or underestimated the facts on the day, put his own narcissistic point of view above all others and led his men into catastrophe.

Watching the political leaders debate on ITV last night it seemed to me that Cameron was surrounded and the cavalry were not coming to rescue him. He stands alone in his view of the way to address the deficit and the speed with which it needs to be done.  Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett were agreed on at least one thing. The coalition has caused extreme hardship through austerity policies. They spoke about justice and a fair society where the poor don't pay the cost of Cameron's mates financial disasters of the banking crisis. Of course Miliband is in agreement with the women on the deficit issue and poor old Clegg is a lost boy with nowhere to go. Farage is a clever and manipulative problem child and some where among his supporters is the man or woman who would want to lead us back in time towards the darkly ignorant days of Enoch Powell speak and National Front. UKIP is possibly the most dangerous entity to raise its ugly head in a long time. I know a few ex Labour voters who are teased with the idea of voting UKIP. Don't do it!

If I lived in Scotland right now I think I would vote SNP or if in Wales Plaid Cymru. Why? It seemed to me that all of the women speaking last night were like reasonable, modern socialists. They seem to me to be people who might have left New Labour when it began to turn it's back on decent and viable socialist principles in favour of Tony's corporate mates and his dreams of glorious legacy. All of the women spoke of a new beginning where fairness and equal opportunity should prevail. It was exciting to hear this and what a contrast to that other woman who tried to break the unity of the working class and who successfully reduced Trade union representation of the UK work force to an almost impotent power. Some will say and a good thing too but not me.

If Cameron gets his way the cuts will be punitive and will fall, yet again, on the poorest and most vulnerable. We can, for the time being, dismiss Farage as a possible leader. We can also dismiss Clegg. In fact we can almost forget about him as being a possible anything in the new government. Still it must be said that even he is strongly opposed to the speed and manner in which his partner David would continue to cut public services. I believe Nicola, Leanne and Natalie are a glimpse of the future in politics and all of their ideas resonate with me more than the men's with the exception of Miliband and finally I can say that I am beginning to hear and see a Miliband that might just be worth his salt. Time will tell. Some of us wondered, where was the passion? Where was the standing up to Cameron that we desperately needed in the past. It is always difficult to seem effective in opposition and now that Parliament is dissolved perhaps we are beginning to see his true colours. In any event Cameron's repeated claim to achieving his fiscal goals are dead in the water. Borrowing is higher than ever and the deficit is still there. I wonder to whom do we owe these billions? But that is another story.

We can be sure that if Cameron is in the picture we will see a continuation of unnecessary austerity measures that will limit growth and generally further reduce morale in the public sector reducing the effectiveness of vital services. I would be surprised if you don't know someone who has been affected by massively reduced social services and the resulting negative effects on the NHS. Cameron constantly talks about " The hard working British people". He has a Farage like tendency to forget that our NHS, for example is staffed to a large extent, by people from all over the world. Of course he knows it but still we hear the mantra representing " the hard working British people". What about the unemployed and those who are unable to work? Is it right that they should suffer most through austerity measures? It is obvious that with so many part time minimum wage jobs and zero contracts Cameron's latest employment figures are a deceit.

There is still some way to go before we get to vote. I still think there is a case for not voting at this election but the very idea appals me in some ways and my parents long passed would be very shocked at the idea. Also it would require a massive non turn out to bring real change and that is not going to happen. So, I would like to think that Ed is worth a shot but is he? He sounds clearer and more believable than he has previously. He should take serious note of some of the things that are being proposed by Nicola, Leanne and Natalie and only make promises he can keep.

For me the high light of the debate was that we could see the difference between the leaders and their policies. We have a choice and it is to vote for the interests of the very rich few because we think they are most important for our health and wealth or, we vote for a fairer and happier society. Over simplification? I don't think so. It is not always possible for a leader to do what he or she really wants. Listen to The State of The Nation speech by any US president. But we need to see real intent now. Intentions that can be achieved and not the familiar betrayal, we are all familiar with, as soon as the incumbent leader is installed. This will always be a new challenge for anyone raised in the Westminster culture of - I say this but I will do that.

I wish you all a happy holiday.