The Choice, or the illusion of one? General Election 2015

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I was invited today to attend a Labour speech featuring the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, who was there to discuss ‘the choice’ facing UK voters in next years general election, a Labour future versus the Tory threat.

 

Surrounded by banners reaffirming the Labour position of One Nation ahead of Scotland’s bid for freedom and independence, the gallery of Labour supporters took their seats and awaited the Shadow Chancellor’s arrival. His speech (which can be found in full here) focused heavily on debunking Tory claims on their recovery plan. In his speech he states: “Last Friday we learned that our economy has, at long last, got back to the size it was before the global financial crisis. The fact that Conservative strategists are desperate to persuade us all that this is a significant moment for celebration is revealing. Not only is it two years later than the Chancellor’s original plan said, and three years after the US reached the same point, it’s also the case that, as our population has grown, GDP per head won’t recover to where it was for around another three years – in other words, a lost decade for living standards.” Quite why or how any politician can be crowing about an economic recovery when we have; food banks, 1 in 4 now described as working poor, 1 million children in poverty, zero hour contracts, low pay or no pay workfare slave labour camps in Tesco and all in the sixth largest economy in the world? Balls made the startling claim that wealth trickles down. It doesn’t, it bubbles up. This is reinforced later in the speech when he states: “And new analysis today from the House of Commons Library shows that under David Cameron working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since 1874. It’s set to be the first time since the 1920s that people are worse off at the end of the Parliament than they were at the beginning.” This comes at a time not long after the UK received the largest orders of private jets anywhere in Europe. The recession has not been bad for everyone, for some it has been an opportunity to makes significant financial gains, not least those private firms circling around the NHS for a slice of the billion pound industry that is the sickness and health of the very people who built it in the first place.

The biggest thing to come out of today’s talk was a commitment to abolish the bedroom tax during hastily finished question and answer (cut short on purpose for his obvious delay), though my particular question was reserved for closed doors and off the record. The Shadow Chancellor kindly reminded us at this point (as if we did not already know) that it was not the fault of teachers, doctors, nurses or police for the economic recession (like most politicians omitting the fire and rescue service), but due to the poor regulation of the banks. He didn’t, however, go so far as to apologise for the Labour party bailing out the banks in 2008 whilst crying out ‘too big to fail’ and condemning the children he spoke of aiding in the future this morning, to a life time of austerity and cuts to pay for it, nor did he say that the problems the NHS are suffering are nothing to do with immigration.  No, I guess that may have been too much to ask for but then we should always be mindful that whilst the largest transference of wealth from the poor to the rich took place on Labours watch with the banking bailouts, Ed Balls was busy the morning 1 million people marched against austerity in 2011, telling us all on the BBC that the cuts were too quick and too deep. He did not call for a position of no cuts. This rhetoric was backed up by Ed Milliband on the stage at Hyde Park when he repeated the same tired message. You couldn’t make it up. 

The problem with Labour is best summed up by John Pilger, who wrote after Thatcher’s death that her greatest achievement was not in changing the philosophy of one party but of two, meaning that on Labours return in 1997, her political ideology was accepted as the way things had to be; PFI’s, academies, NHS privatisation, Fire service privatisation – NPA 60 – cuts, ambulance service decimation, ATOS and a whole list of other stuff all started or took place on Labours watch last time around. What is their position now? More austerity, more cuts and likely more bailouts when this mini bubble bursts. Where is this choice and what is it exactly? How can anyone be expected to re-affiliate or support a party that left half the world burning on a 21st century crusade led by war criminal Tony Blair, a party that gave our NHS away to vultures in the private sector, a party that gave our children’s future away to the banking cartels, a party that says: “Don’t look at me, let’s talk about immigration, the EU and anything else other than what we’ve done and will do!” Even though these things are as irrelevant to the issues society has as the public services he commended today (minus the fire and rescue service of course) This is not the Labour Party of the people, like the Conservatives, it is one that is mired by big business and corporations, it’s biggest backer not the unions that formed it, but the media moguls and military interests that shape our world.

To say we have #TheChoice would actually be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. We have greater choice of coffee than in our political spectrum. Firefighters in Spain and the UK say ‘Rescue people, not banks.’ Can or will the Labour party say the same come 2015?

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Are we all living under a type of Stockholm Syndrome?

This week the news was buzzing with headlines that the UK was back to the pre-recession levels of financial prosperity and that our recovery was outstripping the world. Yes really.

The BBC newspapers gushed as they talked over the newspapers for the day, even smirking as Murdoch chip paper The Sun claimed it was its army of readers that helped save the UK and that we had all suffered along the way to ensure economic recovery, working longer hours for less pay in the process. When I look around however, I do not see a recovery, I see people struggling between pay checks, increased levels of homeless people, food banks and shutters down on a previously busy high street.

Do we really believe this to be true? If so, we must all be suffering some form of Stockholm Syndrome.

The term Stockholm Syndrome is most associated with Patty Hearst, a Californian newspaper heiress kidnapped by revolutionary militants in 1974. She appeared to develop sympathy with her captors and joined them in a robbery. She was eventually caught and received a prison sentence. Today it may well be used to describe the pacification with which the public seem to be accepting the austerity measures which have left 1 in 5 people in the UK being described as below the official poverty line and experiencing life as a daily struggle. We supposedly have the sixth largest economy and yet people in the UK are going to bed hungry, unable to break the cycle, now labelled the ‘working poor’. Now somehow in these times of Orwellian double think we have been patted on the back and congratulated for turning the country around and are expected to be grateful. How is it that we have become so conditioned that we adore our oppressors, so much so we are prepared to sit back and vote all over again for it in 2015?

The only people who have seen their fortunes changed for the better are the economic terrorists that created this recession in the first place, the bankers and their corrupt friends in politics.

Whilst we have lost swathes of public services to privatisation, had pay cuts & freezes, experienced pension robbery, lost homes, taken on zero hour contract work and rely on food banks – privates jets sales have increased… You couldn’t make it up! So next time the media thanks you for working longer hours for less pay, sacrificing your pensions, suffering pay freezes, inflation, gas price hikes etc – remember that the people who caused it are having a fracking jolly. Wealth bubbles up, it doesn’t trickle down.

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We mostly seem to accept austerity as a necessity, with few really challenging it in any way. 50,000 people marched through London on June 21st to stand up against austerity but after the event there were more than double that using credit cards on Oxford Street, artificially stimulating the economy, moving from one shopping experience to the next. So long as we continue to shop and pay our taxes it must be assumed that they are happy for a minority to march. We need to cultivate and nurture a lifestyle of civil disobedience and resistance to the ongoing ideological austerity we are being torn apart with and break free from this Stockholm Syndrome. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

 

Everyone gets a bailout…except the people that need it

Today an audit commision tells us that the Queen is down to her last million and needs a bailout. The Royal Family have not been served as they should by Treasury (have any of us ever?) meaning the Queen has over spent.

The report comments that cuts to the Royal estate have floated around 5%, much less than the rest of the cuts being experienced by the public sector and the report claimed they could afford to trim some fat there. The report also highlighted the opportunity that could be afforded to the Royals by opening up Buckingham palace on more than the 70 odd days a year it is currently open to the public (when she is out getting the groceries I presume) to increase revenue. At present they get 500,000 visitors a year compared to the Tower of London’s 2million. In addition they stated that they dare not consider closing a palace and that it might be a consideration for another year. You cannot make it up.

In the meantime the rest of us have to sit and watch as A&E dies on its knees, hospitals and fire stations close or are being privatised and our firefighters and police are forced to work on until they are grandparents in what are physically and emotionally demanding jobs. What about teachers you say? Well they work on until even longer whilst the essence of what their profession is gets torn up by Michael Gove and his18th Century views of education and children’s needs.

Put into some context the Queen has;
*A billion pound hat made from blood diamonds (everyone tells a story of death and destruction of a nation because they were considered to be less than human based on the colour of their skin)
*12 white stallion horses pulling a golden carriage,
*A golden throne,
*Recently awarded a pay rise worth £5m to the taxpayer (2013)
*Buckingham Palace has 58 bedrooms, 72 bathrooms (she recently advertised for someone to run baths and get paid £6 something an hour)
*And last year they referred to her as ‘frugal’.

The list could go on but it raises the question why we continue to allow these parasites, that are no better than the so called ‘scum’ everyone has been slating on Channel 4’s Benefits Street, continue to bleed our ficticious economy dry?

The Queen gets bailed out, the bankers who created the economic downturn get bailed out, MPs who were complicit in the recession continue to use taxpayer money to heat horses stables and pay for second homes and all the while continue to piss on us and tell us its raining. If you over spend the bailiffs come and evict you, they over spend and they get a bailout paid for by you.

It’s high time people stopped pledging allegiance to people that loathe and hate us, that do not care about us and we start pledging allegiance to each other as WE are the only ones that have anything in common with each other, far more so than the soul sucking vampires that are preying on our debt and misery.

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