Saturday, 20 May 2017

What is General Election 2017 about?

What  is this election is about?

The below is by Richard Murphy accountant and anti-poverty campaigner.

'Interviewed by Robert Peston this morning Theresa May said the Conservatives have no plans to increase taxes, and claimed Labour had. However, when asked to reiterate the tax triple lock brought in by David Cameron, covering national insurance, income tax and VAT May only ruled out increasing VAT. The ambiguities are obvious, not least because Labour has already committed to no VAT or NIC increases.

But what’s really bizarre is the claim, which may well haunt her. The country is running a deficit, which she says she is committed to removing (even if that is a meaningless and harmful target). And the deficit will get worse after Brexit, if that is not already happening. Having a worse trade deal with our biggest trading partner pretty much guarantees that, and that is what we’ll get on top of having to pay a lot to secure that outcome.

What is more the tax system is far from perfect and is in need of reform: rates can be in that mix. But what is being said is that despite all this taxes are off the agenda. The single biggest tool the government has to shape the society we live in is apparently ruled out of consideration, come what may. What that means is four things.

Government won’t be shaping society.

The gross imbalances in favour of a few will continue.
And austerity is guaranteed.
Social division follows, naturally.

That’s what May said this morning. And she wants to be Prime Minister. Give her five years with a big majority and May thinks she can ride out these storms. She may only be a single term prime minister: the possibility of political realignment in what may be a reduced UK by 2022 is already becoming apparent. But that does not worry her, I suspect. Like all neoliberals her one goal is to push back the state and increase inequality. And that is what she has the chance to do.

The so-called Great Repeal Bill, with its Henry VIII clauses that will deny accountability, will reduce employee and environmental rights, harm the protection for those with disabilities (as if that could still be imagined), diminish universal rights to health care, harm security in old age, damagingly bias markets in favour of big business  and foreign owned companies, remove legal protections, probably claw back against LGBT rights, undermine social stability and encourage the break up of the Union. But none if this will matter to May. She will have fostered the self interest of the few, increased their access to the state as a means for appropriating its common wealth for private  gain and will have put  in place mechanisms that will be contractually hard for successors to unwind. That is the goal.

Under the smokescreen of Brexit Theresa May is pursuing class warfare against most of us. And with a mass propaganda machine behind her she is getting away with it, aided and abetted by an official opposition that is seemingly dedicated to trivia. This is the general election of 2017. And it’s not pretty.'

Richard Murphy


Friday, 19 May 2017

The fall of the United Kingdom

I never thought it would come to the day when the people of the United Kingdom would have to fight for their freedoms, when EU citizens living here would feel unwelcome, insecure and afraid. I always thought the United Kingdom was an open and welcoming country. From the late 1980s I really thought that this country was beginning to embrace its role as part of continental Europe in a more assured and integrated way than ever before. The channel tunnel was a breakthrough. It was a physical link to the promised land. It was something unthinkable during my youth. 

Then wham last year on the 23 June our constitution faced a major blow when a mere 27% of our population decided to vote in a referendumto leave the EU. They wanted to take a major step backwards in time, in progress. I am angry with those voters but I am more angry with those that lead a campaign of lies for their own ends.

We know now that the brexiteer politicians have one aim and that is for the conservative party of the UK to enjoy a bonfire of human rights and deregulate whatever they like. Having read their manifesto I cannot believe that those I share this blighted isle with are going to fall for this. But then many of them voted for brexit so maybe they will fall for any old rubbish.

We all have decisions to make and at the moment I have to make a bold decision. Do I stay on this now tainted isle where even Scottish independence has been thwarted for the forseeable future by the 'fascists' who want to deny Scotland its own rightful place in Europe. (For the Scottish voted by 62% to remain in the European Union). Or do I leave this place while there is still time. Either way is a risk. We talk about the road not taken, perhaps we should choose it sometime.
To Westminster Britain is just England, they despise Scotland but won't let it go.  They need our whisky, our oil, they dump their nukes here.
But I feel like an alien in my own coutry as do all those europhiles who are stuck with only a British passport. Looking outside today you wouldn't think this land was about to undergo the worst constiutional upheaval ever...since World War II. But already brexit is starting to bite; every time we go to the shops prices have risen; every time I look at the news there is a depressing headline. We have zero hours contracts, under employment, unemployment, we have food banks, we have frazzled nurses and care workers, we have benefits and welfare frozen and overhauled at the expense of those who need it. We have people who are overworked, places that are understaffed, we have young people saddled with debts from tuition fees that are unheard of in most of Europe.   

The only countries that are not in the EEA or EU on the European continent are those you would not envy. We are talkng Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Moldova. I am seriously shocked that the majority of our politicians have acted so irresponsibly, been so cowardly as to plough on with this hard brexit dumping the single market and customs union, stealing our EU citizenship away and all the advantages that go with it. Only the SNP, the Green party and the Liberal democrats have any sense of what is right. 

Our government could have negotiated reform, renogotiated their deal but no they walk away. The EU27 would cancel brexit in a flash.  But no our government does not care about the future of the young, the missed opportunities.  They care about themselves.  They are now known as the nasty party, the rape clause says it all.  

And no I do not believe there should even be a referendum of the final deal. There should be no final deal. The prime minister should admit that brexit is a mistake, they cannot deliver the promises of the referendum in any form, they cannot pursue brexit without inflicting a great deal of damage on the UK in the next decade or more.

Ideally I would like to take myself and my family off to France and make sure my son can at least apply get an EU27 passport by the itme he is 18. In an ideal world I'd get my 22 year old daughter there too. But she knows here own mind and has her own job. But I am afraid that during another five years of this present tory government the UK will become a satellite of the USA and that is not a good place to be.

Our country is in a sad and dangerous place today. If you are thinking of coming here, you are very welcome by me but seriously I wouldn't bother; there are better places to be..

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

My lost Kingdom

My lost Kingdom

I am a staunch remoaner
Remainer or remainiac
And though my cause can be exhausting
I am not turning back

The words Europe, Euro and Schengen
Are music to my ears
My heros are Frau Merkel and that impassioned Mr Verhofstadt

I drink a tisane with my croissant
Or a vino rosso with my pizza
 and might still enjoy my tea and scone if it didn't taste of Brexit

 I feel like I'm in exile
A Brit who's dispossessed
A citizen of nowhere
For me there is no rest

But I deny we Brits are quitters
We know how to get along
With every nation on this earth
(And possibly others from beyond)

So with a bit of common sense
Perhaps Theresa May will realise
That Brexit will make us sad and blue
So we must stick together in the EU

2 January 2017