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Leveson could take a look at how benefits debate works against truth, and so harms policy and people

Posted on 24 January 2012 | 9:01am

The airwaves filled up nicely for the government yesterday, backed by constant use of rag headlines from rag right-wing papers, with the line that most struggling families would be ‘happy’ with £35000 a year.

And so they might. But the members of those ‘most families’ eagerly found by TV reporters to agree with the government’s proposition of a benefit cap at £26000 on a single family were not necessarily informed that this was based on the cap plus tax, but minus child benefit which would be absorbed as part of the overall £26k, regardless of the size of the family.

It is just one factor that has distorted a debate in a way which has delighted David Cameron, Iain Duncan-Smith and most of the media.

I would be hesitant in asking Lord Justice Leveson to add even futher to his reading load, but if he is looking for a good example of how a biased and distorting media helps pave the way for distorted debate about issues which impact for the worse on real people, then he could do worse than ask for a few years worth of coverage on benefits.

In several of the papers, echoed by the broadcasters, the debate is skewed to portray benefits as all bad, claimants as all scroungers.

There are abuses. There are scroungers. There are families who take take take without regard to any responsibility to the community that is giving. People are right to be angry about them. Governments and local authorities are right to seek to deal with the abuse.

But there are families that have been hit by unemployment, illness and misfortune who need and deserve support, and do not deserve to be thrown in with the rest.

As a direct result of the government’s determination to overturn the amednment on which they were defeated in the Lords yesterday, more families will be tipped from just above the poverty line to well below it … Which in turn and in time will ultimately lead to greater cost on the State, in terms of dealing with them when made homeless, picking up the costs of increased ill health, family dysfunctionality, descent into the criminal justice system.

Amid the ‘most families would be happy with 35k’ talk, ministers and media were also trotting out the line that three quarters of people polled support the cap.

Presented as it has been, as a simple way to deal with armies of cheats and scroungers at a time everyone (apart from bankers and editors) is feeling the squeze, what’s not to support? Had the debate probed a little beyond the one-dimensional, things might look a little different.

Not for the first time, the Tories have put brutal and effective politics ahead of actually improving the country. It’ll catch them in the end, when people realise – as with their failure on the deficit – that the policies for which they shout so loud have not had the effect they claimed they would.

Remember Plan A? Public sector cuts to get the deficit down, private sector to fill the gap, lots of jobs for the people losing theirs from the cuts and the benefit changes.

The plan is not for working.

  • Well said. The reporting on all this would be making me ill, were I not so deeply accustomed to it now. I can’t be the only one who sits and just shakes her head in despair at the way this debate has gone, and the manner in which The Mail and The Sun willfully and hysterically distort the facts. I feel completely disenfranchised by the electoral system, and completely unrepresented by an increasingly vile hard right press.

  • Michael

    Oh, come on Alistair. This gravy train has to stop. Those, and there are many millions,  who are working for that sort of income, and much less, have to cut their cloth accordingly. That means that they live in an area that is affordable, they can’t have everything they want if they can’t afford it and their taxes are deducted at source whether they like it or not to help pay for benefit claimants. This whole welfare thing has got out of control. If I were you, I would just keep quiet because you do yourself a disservice in trying to justify such unfairness.

  • Graham Kerr

    Absolutely right Alastair. For every scrounger story put forward by DWP/Government through the biased press those in close contact with low income families could give you 10, 20, 30 stories showing how people are set to lose out through welfare changes. Despite the best efforts of many the media mostly doesn’t want to know.

    I’m glad to say there are some exceptions. The Herald in Scotland ran a strong leader (http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/herald-view/dire-consequences-of-benefit-cuts.16548465) on the back of a new report published to highlight how the Government is breaking the social contract through its proposal to time-limit sickness benefits. Readers can access the report and its press release here http://www.scottishpovertyforum.org.uk/

  • Anonymous

    Hear! Hear!       My present gripe – apart from not being able to get work due to age AND mental health – is with the idea of Welfare to Work.  It would be palatable except for two things: First, the idea of some of the community service work to be done would be to cover tasks that used to be done by LA workers who have been made redundant, but for less money. Second – and worst – community service is also used as a punishment for petty crime; so, being unemployed would be little different than being a criminal. 

  • Anonymous

    “But there are families that have been hit by unemployment, illness and misfortune who need and deserve support, and do not deserve to be thrown in with the rest”.

    Indeed BUT those ‘real claimants’ are generally in the MINORITY and need identifying in the first place…
    Surely it is plain LUNACY to simply pay EACH & EVERY CLAIMANT as a matter of course…?

    I know of a disabled OAP currently URGENTLY awaiting a second stair bannister, just to help her get up the stairs to bed yet SHE is being means tested before any action takes place FGS!

  • Chris lancashire

    Not one fact and hardly any figures in this tirade. For a start, TV has not been exclusively focused on “scroungers”. Last night’s New at Ten gave sympathetic coverage to a single mother of five and you will find on other websites the right wing complaining of the BBC’s giving far too much prominence to the Bishops, Ashdown and other government critics. From that we may conclude, as usual, that your claims of media bias are groundless and the British media generally provide reasonable coverage across a wide spectrum.

    Now for your claims on the £26k cap which gives a gross income equivalent of £35k. You are correct, an overwhelming majority of people – and particularly taxpayers – do think that is a decent safety net and is not unreasonable. If you don’t do please tell us where you think the cap should be – if indeed we should have one at all. And equally importantly, where is the money going to come from to pay for it.

  • Anna

    Spot on – Alastair – this is a classic (and clever) Tory way to win public support by misinformation and ‘them and us’ tactics – just like the 80s. I wish I could share your optimism at the end though – I’m not sure the fact that the plan isn’t working is registering with the public, just as in the 80s/early90s, many people continued to blame ‘dole scroungers’ rather than the government for rising queues at the job centre. It took a whole new approach from Labour for people to trust us. This stuff today plays right into peoples’ perceptions that only the Tories are tough on the economy and will crack down on abuse, and what’s in it for the media to change that? 🙁

  • Michele

    So where are your own facts and figures?

    The whole point about all this is that WTC made it better to be in work (work that existed in the first place) and Child Support made/makes it possible to have a large family (something the nation needs from those that will have children in the first place.  What do we need to pay the pensions of those beyond working age for longer ……. have you got it in one yet  or still not got it?).

    There is a pile of admissions in the OP that scroungers have to be dealt with but there’s still no sign that this govt will address and deal with the other ‘class’ of benefit scroungers, those with dozens of properties rented out only to benefits claimants.  Yes there is tacit effect on them by rent cappings but let’s HEAR about them, let’s see some of them exposed in the press.

  • Michele

    ooops I just posted with my old defunct email address …..

  • Richard

    Reform of the social security system was always a hot potato which neither party dare ever grasp. It has now become a  necessity. People have to move areas to follow work. Some claimants will have to move from more desirable areas as rentals are too high for the new cap. (Landlords have jacked up rentals to cater for the uncapped sums received from Councils). (Hearing the woman on the radio explaining how she moved from the Midlands to Hamstead was illuminating.)
    Landlords will reduce rentals or have empty properties. If as predicted people have to move and councils have to rehouse them, and the costs soar then that problem will have to be tackled as and when.
    Married pensioner couples can “claim” up to £210 per week guarateed including pension credit. Explain to us how £250 per week is such a  miserable contribution.
    The fact is the game of musical chairs has moved on: the music has stopped as “there is no money”. The world has changed.
    It will be interesting to see how many claimants now really search for work as they find that their ” I cannot afford to go to work” philosophy no longer applies.
    The welfare state was never designed to be the perpetual cash cow of last resort to generations of claimants in some areas. The nettle has to be grasped, and whilst the coalition approach may be heavy handed, it is a  start down a very rocky road.
    The public are not buying the two Ed’s “too far too fast” but do not cut anything or tackle anything approach.
    “There is no money”.

  • ambrosian

    A contributor here used to rudely address you as ‘Herr Goebbels’. I have to say that the lies being told by this Government about welfare would put Goebbels to shame.

    One example (of many): yesterday Duncan Smith was saying that Shelter and others define homelessness as children having to share a bedroom. This is completely untrue. As Shelter have today pointed out, the current definition of homelessness was laid down by the last Tory Government and has nothing to do with children sharing bedrooms. To meet the criteria there would have to be extreme overcrowding such as children sleeping on kitchen floors. IDS is either ignorant of the legislation or is deliberately promulgating untruths.

  • Anonymous

    I’m finding it very hard to make up my mind on this one, because there is so little real information about.  On the one hand, £26,000 doesn’t sound unreasonable and there are certainly many people earning much less and paying taxes.  But aren’t many of these people claiming benefits too, and does the cap take into account their pay AND benefits, so will they lose out?  I don’t know.

    Equally, it seems mad to have people ‘trapped’ in a benefits system so that they would lose out financially if they got a job.  But – with nearly 3 million unemployed, where are the jobs coming from?  And is the government really going to actively help them into work – which is much harder to do the longer you’ve been off it – or just stop their benefits?

    And again, if – as I read in either the Indy, Guardian or Times yesterday – there are non-working benefit claimants with 5 children being supported to live in large houses in Hampstead while workers have to live miles out to get somewhere they can afford, that also seems unfair.  But if there aren’t enough houses for people to live in at low enough rents for them to afford without benefit, they are all going to have to be housed by cash-strapped local authorities – how is this going to help?

    I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent and reasonably well-informed, and if I can’t work it out without researching it like a PhD, it’s not surprising that the government are winning the PR battle.  I’m a Labour supporter and against much of what this government is doing, but there’s been nowhere near enough basic information to counter the apparent reasonableness of these particular cuts.

  • Anonymous

    Gravy train? What gravy train? Do I taste gravy? Nope. That’s more like vomit. Me, lost a £36k a year job as a senior manager in a well-known organisation in Liverppool due to mental illness and now support my family on c.£13k less tax. No mortgage left to pay. That makes me a lucky one. I don’t live in a rich area of this expensive town – in fact, the houses don’t come any cheaper where I live unless they’re derelict. But house prices are high anyway: I wouldn’t be able to buy a the house I live in now, a tiny old Wimpy dorma, even on the money I earned before I lost my job.  So, money is tight and I need the allowances I get to stave off more degrading of my savings. Besides, I reckon I paid well enough for what I get now from what I paid in taxes and national insurance of the last 30 years.  But you would have me move out of town and take my kids away from one of the best state high schools in the country? You’d have me move from a place I’ve lived in for almost all my adult my life, where my kids have only ever lived, into a Liverpool inner city dirty grot-spot, into a culture that is totally alien to me and my family, into schools that are not a shadow of the one they go to now?  Easy, huh? I’d like to hear how you’d like doing that if you were so misfortunate. Cut your cloth to live in parts of the city where the dealers try to gun each other down or slip some freebies of  heroin  to your kids?  How about Walton, or Hyton (known once by the Police as Beirut – probably as  Helmund these  days), or Kirkdale, would you move? Probably not Toxteth though – it’s getting too expensive!  It is SO easy to tell people what they should do knowing (you think) you’ll never have to do it yourself – yep, I was such a fool, too.

  • Libdem

    Chris I suspect you’ll hear nothing, similar to the 2 dreadfuls’ financial policy, ‘we sort of agree with what the government’s doing but…’ followed by a blank stare!
    Alastair’s doing his normal thing, objecting without alternatives. I wonder if he includes the Sun in his rag right-wing newspapers after so many years of Labour support.

  • Michele

    We used to have a system known as ERS (earnings-related supplement) which allowed a person who’d earned highly and paid tax accordingly in the full year preceding a claim to receive a top-up over the basic low benefits if they were ill or unemployed during the following tax year.
    That of course had its own roll-on effects.

    It was introduced by a Labour govt in the 60s and scrapped/replaced  in the early 80s.  Strange eh?

  • Stan Rosenthal

    Today’s Times leader is a typical example of what you have written about Alastair.

    I have left the following comment ( very much against the tide I might add).

    “Those who have acquainted themselves with the detail of this issue appreciate that thousands could be thrown into real poverty if proper arrangements are not made to deal with these people.The argument is not about the need for a cap but about looking after those who will really suffer as a result of its implementation( particularly the children).But I suppose those riding on their high horses are oblivious to such ground-level niceties.”

    Reinforcements would be welcome. 

  • Patricia Shepherd

    There are only 0.05% so called benefit cheats compared to all the tax cheats, what’s happening about them?  nowt,zilch.

  • Michele

    Avoid talking about, it’s rude.

    Stick to talking TO, it’s a little bit more honest.

  • Michele

    You know of this disabled OAP that urgently needs a bannister?

    Do you have a drill and some screws or anyone nearby that has?  Why are YOU depending on the state to help her?

  • Chris lancashire

    Oh, I would guess The Sun is pretty near the top of Mr Campbell’s hate list being from the Murdoch stable.
    I do get weary of people like Mr Campbell griping about our right wing biased media. The press offers a very good spectrum from The Guardian, Mirror, Independent, FT (used to be quite a Brown supporter) to The Times, Mail, Express, Sun. You pays your money and you takes your choice. And that’s the point – we have great choice of quality press in this country – just compare it with, say, France or USA. As for TV, particularly the news programmes – absolutely excellent on all channels and fairly clear to me that they work hard to stay objective and non-partisan but they do reflect public opinion to some extent. And that’s Mr Campbell’s problem here – public opinion is hugely on the side of a benefits cap.

  • Kitty

    Alastair,
    For a man as handsome and charming as yourself you have it so wrong!
    Are you sayng that a decent man with a sense of duty  like Iain Duncan-Smith  does not wish to improve politics,  that he does not have fairness and equality at the core of his reforms, the fact that that goverment wishes poverty not to be a life choice is unfair! This policy probably helps Labour voters more then any other party which is why 70% of them support the goverment and yet again feel betrayed by
    Labour ‘Big state  small on aspiration  small on responsibilty’ party
    The party of the working man wishes to remain in ‘no mans land’_ do you think that term will catch on !
    After yesturday we now have unelected peers V The electorate!
    On this issue the goverment has the full support of the country , and it is about time these noble Lords were reformed, as like the Left they are so very out of touch , rather like your Leader who instead of leading he hides behind speeches  or having any credibility-He is not  David Miliband! or indeed a fine chap such as yourself ( Prehaps you could work for the Goverment yourself Alaistair, Cameron is very much like Blair and we miss your  charming presence)

  • Anonymous

    Michele, techie question – does it matter which email you use? The email doesn’t seem to serve any function other than allowing people to post – I don’t get any updates or replies or anything in mine.

  • Michele

    Can’t help wondering whether the Cons and their LD hanger on dependents would be so dismissive of HoL if it still comprised only hereditaries? 

    I remember reading somewhere ages ago that the ceiling for WTC for very large families was as high as £58k.  If such a breadwinner lost their job even through no fault of their own their benefits would mean their new income would be less than half (from whatever the nett of £58k is plus whatever their sliding scale amount of WTC was).

    Presumably they’d have a mortgage, would the interest payments on that be counted in to their £26k?

    What if this person’s spouse is also working, will benefit be counted differently if they are simply ‘partners’ (given the preponderance of ‘Christian’ qualities mentioned so often recently)?

    Will this person qualify for means-tested benefits if they can’t manage on what they receive from their National Insurance entitlements?

    No problem at all is this easy to solve and it’s yet another sign of the Cons’ inability with detail and the LDs’ willingness to be sucked in.

  • Michele

    I have no idea, I just ‘marked’ where I’d done the daft mistake.  On the old one I had that annoying glitch where part of my email info came through as my ID …. even though I’d literally seen typed ID change as it went ‘through’ in to the ether.  How’s that for a ‘techie’ answer?  🙂

  • AC, your no longer in No10, New Labour is dead and buried in the view of your new leader Ed Miliband, you had the chance to take a Seat in the Lords, or GOD forbid actually stand for the House of Commons. You cant control the NEWS because you don’t like it, recall TB saying you were a bit OLD LABOUR, its starting to show, even the Labour front bench as shown on Newsnight last night don’t have a clue, they want it both ways, yes on the theory of a cap, but changes but no promises to change if the ever win an election. I would postulated that TB would be appalled by this post, did not understand New Labour beyond its spin, were you in the right Camp, sound like GB NOT TB.

  • Gravy Train?
    No, bread and water.
    I published, wrote, taught and work as a deputy head in inner city schools to come out of special measures.
    I abhor and detest now having to take money in order to feed my twin sons.
    I would love you to listen and feel empathy with those of us who have failed.
    I failed.
    I did not make it.
    I can no longer provide for my wife and sons.
    I worked, paid, gave and slept less a nd worked more.
    I am sorry that now I am no longer producing financially.
    Now I give time to my children and wife.
    I hate being a benefit recipient.
    I am not a scrounger.
    I am a person, I am no less a member of society now.
    I am reclusive, socio-phobic, depressive, O.C.D. ridden, anxiety ridden and in a bad way.
    So, here I stand.
    Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me,

    That would be the Diet of Worms.

  • Trevor Smith

    One can understand why newspapers take their political lead from their proprietors but broadcast companies are required  by law to be impartial. Is anyone in the Labour Party machine checking this, as you Alastair used to do (or have done for you) or perhaps the Shadow Ministers just aren’t putting pressure on news editors for equal time.
    Can anyone explain how can a Conservative MP + a Liberal MP = 1 Labour MP on poltical discussion programmes such as Any Questions, Daily Politics,Newsnight or Bolton and Co etc?

  • Jane Young

    Alastair – WE NEED YOU to be OUR REINFORCEMENT!! Whilst many are too confused to understand that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is payable regardless of work status and indeed helps many to get into work (as it helped me before my health deteriorated and I had to take early retirement), there is a small band of people with very limited energy trying to organise a media campaign and response to the current dwp consultation on proposals for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which will replace DLA. For an analysis of how this could affect thousands with mobility difficulties, see 
    http://janeyoung.me.uk/2012/01/19/thousands-could-lose-motability-vehicles/  and for people’s responses to the proposed criteria and assessment for PIP, see 
    http://wearespartacus.org.uk/discuss-pip/  Many are terrified. In my own case, after waiting 10 months for a new Motability vehicle, which was subsidised by a grant from the government’s specialist vehicle fund, I have a fantastic vehicle where I can drive my wheelchair into it and transfer into the driver seat. However, I face losing it under PIP because I can still walk a little, which would reduce my independence and my ability to help care for my elderly mother and would be a total waste of the grant funding. It’s all ridiculous. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT ALASTAIR; the original writers of the Spartacus Report, Responsible Reform, are exhausted and ill and a group of us have kind of taken over for the next state, but we could easily end up going the same way as we’re all ill – that’s the point!! Contact me via my website at janeyoung.me.uk if you can help us – thank you!!

  • Anonymous

    Can I start this by stating that I despise David Cameron, just in case anyone gets the wrong idea.

    “Remember Plan A? Public sector cuts to get the deficit down, private sector to fill the gap, lots of jobs for the people losing theirs from the cuts and the benefit changes.”Go on the Alastair the economic whizzkid – tell us the net amount of “cuts” we’ve had so far? No? Ok I’ll tell you. Zero. Public spending, in overall amount, has went up. Now there might have been cuts to some services, and thats a different argument – but for us to find out if public sector cuts spark private sector growth… we’ll need to see the public sector cuts first.

    ” ‘most families’ eagerly found by TV reporters to agree with the government’s proposition of a benefit cap at £26000 on a single family were not necessarily informed that this was based on the cap plus tax, but minus child benefit which would be absorbed as part of the overall £26k, regardless of the size of the family.”Good job they didn’t interview me then, or a lot of working class people I know.Now I would advocate a more humane and less economically damaging system than ours – I recommend “Negative Income Tax.”
    But if we are going to tinker with our existing system – then no person who is not working should get more money than any person who is working. When I heard osborne announce this I thought “wow finally I agree with this shyster” then I realised he said average wage, not minimum wage!

    Then again, this is a fair point:”But there are families that have been hit by unemployment, illness and misfortune who need and deserve support, and do not deserve to be thrown in with the rest.”

    And of course the complicating factor in all this is how to make benefits fair for children?

  • Janiete

    This policy addresses none of the problems the Government pretends to have in its sights. Underpinning all the rhetoric yesterday was the suggestion that this will stop benefit claimants living in wealthy areas, deter people on benefits from having too many children, drive the feckless into work and protect the interests of those ‘doing the right thing’.
     
    In truth it isn’t a serious attempt to do any of these things. It will affect large unemployed families, living in private rented housing who happen to have put down roots in, what are now, expensive rental areas. Large unemployed families elsewhere are unlikely to be touched by this policy. Nor will social housing tenants or people working only a few hours, however expensive their rent. Any number of feckless people could go untouched by this measure while those who have ‘done the right thing’ all their lives are just as likely to be hit by this if they lose their job.
     
    Its real objective is to further denigrate people who need state support in general, to whip up anger at ‘scroungers’ and to paint the Government as being tough on the undeserving. A position which the Government thinks will also increase their support among a population looking for another scapegoat, now the ‘all Labour’s fault’ mantra is starting to wane. Their completely disingenuous intervention last week regarding ‘foreign’ benefit claimants demonstrates how nasty they are prepared to be; indifferent to the social damage that will ensue as we turn on each other.
     
    Ian Duncan Smith, unbelievably for someone who claims to be honest and straightforward, entirely mislead millions of people yesterday. He said we would be horrified to learn that the definition of homelessness he inherited, meant children having to share rooms, which he knows is completely untrue. Anyone listening would have assumed ‘inherited’ meant from the last government, when in fact the accepted definition was established by John Major’s government in 1996 and has been fairly stable since the 1970s. The BBC dutifully ran clips of him saying this almost all day without challenge. Apparently none of their presenters were well enough informed to highlight this dishonesty in what was in essence Government propaganda, despite the BBC Charter specifically warning of the dangers of doing this.
     
    As always to glean any detail about the policy and its likely impact, it is necessary to research various sources online and elsewhere and draw your own conclusions. Most people don’t have the time or the inclination to do this and instead are influenced by the one-sided, dishonest, simplistic, selfish rants so prevalent in our media. It has been said that all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. In our society, millions of good men would be willing to do the right thing if only the truth could reach them.
     
     

  • Michele

    ‘Liking’ seems inappropriate Duncan so I hope you’ll understand all those you’ll get for what they actually mean.

  • Janiete

    ‘Public spending, in overall amount, has went up.’

    Precisely Reaguns. Cuts have started and there are lots more to come. As unemployment goes up the resulting benefit bill rises, completely undermining attempts to reduce the deficit.

    Government ideology dictates that fewer public sector jobs leads to more private sector employment. It hasn’t happened and it’s not going to.

    Plan A is not working. Lots misery, high unemployment, no growth and maybe at some stage social strife. And we will still have a massive deficit. So far £158 billion more will need to be borrowed to cover Osborne’s fundamental ideological blunder.

  • Michele

    Very good point Trevor.

    Must be down to the Lib Dems pretending they’re not yet Tories even though we absolutely know already that there is no point in their standing as anything else at any next election. 

    Each Tory candidate in a constituency with a LibDem MP must already be reassessing their future as redundancy is surely on the cards.

  • Libdem

    None of us know whether IDS has got it right but what we do know is that the Labour government sacked the one person who advocated true reform. Talk about ‘shooting the messenger’ so the result was yet more tax and more credits. Taking tax off people and then giving them credits back; jobs for the boys and an ineffective system.

    So, you’re suggesting that we change nothing?

  • Michele

    Your use of “claim” is meant to signify something but I haven’t worked out what it is. 
    The point is that people do have to claim, whether entitled or not they do not get assessed for means-tested benefits unless they do so and many are too proud or uninformed.

    Your ‘up to’ (my parenthesis) is opportunism and as pension credit is mostly about rent and council tax it will vary wildly from one locality to another.  I expect rent and CT are paid direct to the intended recipient so there’s no opportunity for claiming wrongly.

    I don’t know enough about means tested rates to understand why you’ve
    used £210/£250 but I reckon the post is mostly just a whinge;

    Is your new regular last line siggie going to have music set to it?

  • Michele

    The crux of the matter is the lack of social housing and private landlords making a killing (many of whom are paying their mortgage with the rent they receive).

    Some of those private lessors are ex-council tenants that were sold their rented homes at fractions of their value.

    I think there was an announcement a couple of months ago that that scheme is going to be extended still further (as in council properties, not private landlords will be forced to sell) and the discounts will be even larger than last time.

    Commentators keep harping on about the superiority of the system in Germany, where so few own their property, the same people keep making plans for more of ours to become private.

  • Michele

    I’ve dialled 999, now try to stop frothing dear, Nurse Ratchet’s here.

  • Janiete

    I came across this and thought it may be illuminating:

    http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/its-landlords-not-tenants-getting-rich-on-benefit-payments/

    The more I reflect on housing problems right across the country it seems the only sensible answer is rent caps.

     

  • Anonymous

    Wow, its like Steve Jobs came back to life! Actually I think you sort of answered my question, I’m guessing other people don’t receive emails from this blog either even if they tick the thingy.

  • Anonymous

    I think you are right harryf200.

    Oh, I’m mad… shouldn’t type when I’m mad, but… look at these despicable Tories congratulating themselves on how “popular” this policy is.

    Yet as you say, in our current system, making unemployed people work will be treating them worse than we currently treat our criminals.

    If the Tories are so keen to be democratic and follow public opinion all of a sudden, well if you are putting in a punishment for unemployment because you think people support it then you damn well better ramp up the punishments for crime big time! THATS what the majority of people want! Focus group that one call-me-dave! GRRRRRRRR!

  • Anonymous

    The comments on this blog today are a reminder of what the Labour Party should stand for. Thank you. Its why I always thought I’d be a Labour supporter, and still feel something “tribal” about it like Alastair says.

    Isn’t there a way for Labour to help people like this but also embrace economic reality? How could I in good conscience support a party when I know their economics are garbage (and suspect people like Balls know it too) and won’t ultimately have the money to support these people?

    Is this what Blair thought and is it why for a time their economics were not total garbage?

  • Ehtch

    We’re heading for another load of riots this summer, it looks, with all this. But may be the 21-30 rather than the 16-21 age group, what with unemployment increasing, family disintigration, prospect of homelessness, and so forth. Especially that with not anything much being done to sort out tax avaoidance, as per accusations towards Mitt Romney in the US.

  • Ehtch

    And oh yes Alastair, noticed your twitter about your daughter asking if you had a steam-driven turntable. Well, buy her a USB pluginable one for a PC/laptop. Well recommend one. Just instruct how to dust the records before every use with a static cloth, and watch needle jumping and scratching records. All reverse technology instruction.

  • Richard

    Of course you are right, anybody
    who thinks a cap is appropriate is just whinging. Labour do not define what/if
    they support a cap. Many labour MPs rely on the institutiionally unemployed and
    long term social security claimants for their seats!

    The handouts to people earning
    £50k plus was intended to extend this constituency, as, having banished boom
    and bust for ever there would always be more money.

    Your suggestion for music to suit
    “There is No Money” is valid:

    Try this:- The treasury
    in deepest red,
    New Labour screwed it, oh how it bled,
    “No more boom and bust” only milk and honey
    ‘Til liam wrote ”There is no money.”

    The public
    purse in deepest red,
    Balls flipped and flipped as Gordon led,
    The public winced seeing nothing funny,
    Liam was right “There was no money.”The Unions
    want their pound of flesh,

    Ed’s bosses make him
    think afresh ,
    Facing both ways he is their bunny,
    “No cuts but a pay freeze, There Is No Money.”

    Of course you are right, anybody
    who thinks a cap is appropriate is just whinging. Labour do not define what/if
    they support a cap. Many labour MPs rely on the institutiionally unemployed and
    long term social security claimants for their seats!

    The handouts to people earning
    £50k plus was intended to extend this constituency, as, having banished boom
    and bust for ever there would always be more money.

    Your suggestion for music to suit
    “There is No Money” is valid:

    Try this:-
    The treasury
    in deepest red,
    New Labour screwed it, oh how it bled,
    “No more boom and bust” only milk and honey
    ‘Til liam wrote ”There is no money.”

    The public
    purse in deepest red,
    Balls flipped and flipped as Gordon led,
    The public winced seeing nothing funny,
    Liam was right “There was no money.”

    The Unions
    want their pound of flesh,

    Ed’s bosses make him
    think afresh ,
    Facing both ways he is their bunny,
    “No cuts but a pay freeze, There Is No Money.”

     
     

     

  • Anonymous

    We are heading for riots this summer anyway Ehtch.
    Crime is the one issue on which all pms in my lifetime have been uniformly awful, the only glimmers of hope have come from Michael Howard sort of, and of course everyone knows Rudi Giuliani is the only politician to have sorted out a crime problem.

    If Cameron had dealt with the riots or deals wth any future ones properly he’d be the best pm since churchill, but as we know he is the feeblest prime minister and the least suited to the job.

    I always wondered why britain sends men abroad to kill decent people, yet refuses to harm the immediate enemies of its citizens on its doorstep.

  • Anonymous

    Janiete, my point is that the economic argument says that when public spending goes down, private sector investment will go up.

    Our public spending has not gone down, because the “cuts” mean some cuts here and there, with increases everywhere else, and an overall net increase of public spending. The rate of increase has been slowed down, but not “cut”. So when the tories talk about “cuts” what they mean is “slowed-down-increases”.

    There has been no net cut in public spending so far.

    Therefore there is no reason to expect private sector investment to rise yet. And the economic argument that public sector cuts lead to private sector growth cannot be tested in our environment!

    I have no idea why the Tories do not make this clear, only the rebels like Redwood and Daniel Hannan seem to do so. People are acting as if Cameron is some deficit cutting American right winger, when he is anything but – he is a limp wristed liberal.

  • Ehtch

    Noticed today, just after PMQ’s in the H of C, that Bernard Jenkin (Tory) brought up a point of order to the Speaker, that the Father of the House (Sir Peter Tapsell – Tory) brought up a partisan coalition question, which is against tradition of a Father of the House to do, who should only ask questions in PMQ’s etc. that would represent all parties in the House of Commons, not just a couple of them. Very bad show of the Tory/Coalition government for this – it is just not cricket.

    The Speaker more or less agreed, and said he will look into it, and no doubt will do some spanking in his chamber soon.

  • Ehtch

    EDIT previous – Big Oops, misheard point of order – the Leader of the House it should have been, Sir George Young (Tory). Apologies to the Father of the House and has nothing to do with questions. Still not cricket though.

    At 34.45 in on vid recording from today, here,
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9685000/9685328.stm

    It is good to be pedantic at times, even if at first one gets the wrong end of the stick. Still a strange question by the Father of the House at 08.45 though.

  • Gilliebc

    I think your guess is correct reaguns.  Although there is one infrequent commenter whose reply does generate an email to the intended recipient. I suppose that’s more to do with what he’s signed-up for though.
    As the comments on AC’s site are run by disqus it does seem a little odd that replies on here don’t generate an email alert in the same way they do on other disqus run sites.  Maybe this site needs a little up-dating, because that particular facility is very useful and time-saving.

  • Ehtch

    Yes, NYC is not as in the days od Kojak after Rudy Guiliana got hold of it and gave it a good shaking. But Sesame Street and Friends might have had something to do with it too, also the late 1980’s/early 1990’s NYC house and rave culture too, replacing heroin, more or less.

    But anyway, wait for the re-emergence of car twocing in this country on a car turismo scale – always happens under a tory (if coalition in name) government.

  • Anonymous

    ” Taking tax off people and then giving them credits back;” Absolutely spot on, and isn’t there a phrase about it using a ‘leaky bucket’.

    I did some of the IT on those systems and I tell you the waste due to this complication was absolutely incredible. Billions spent on computer systems where a calculator and a spreadsheet (no exaggeration) could have done the job. Money going to American IT behemoths that could have been spent on nurses. Thousands of civil servants employed to do a job that shouldn’t exist.

    Only a cynical vote briber like Brown could come up with tax credits, and ony the british could be stupid enough to vote for it. Taking £20 off you so they can hand you £10 back in credits, instead of just letting you keep the £20. “Oh Gordon gave me a £10 credit, what a lovely man.”

    Thats when I realised I lived in a communist state full of brainwashed and/or very thick people. 

  • Janiete

    I frequently find myself wondering which side of the fence you are on as your viewpoints appear to lurch from right to left and back again.

    However given this latest contribution I think it’s safer to take your comments with a pinch of salt. I can’t take seriously anyone who thinks we live in a communist state.

     

  • Ehtch

    Might as well post a vid what I meant, a good one with clips from THE age of vinyl (1970’s) from a brilliant film. Forgot to mention to instruct in getting the setting for 33/45/78rpm right as well, for different records. And 12″ singles are 45rpm not 33rpm as like 12″ LPs, and …. I could go on all night here. Got a load of 1950’s Frank Sinatra 78’s, as well as many others from then. right, that’s enough waffle.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYXQCUSsJfQ

  • Ehtch

    Might as well post a vid what I meant, a good one with clips from THE age of vinyl (1970’s) from a brilliant film. Forgot to mention to instruct in getting the setting for 33/45/78rpm right as well, for different records. And 12″ singles are 45rpm not 33rpm as like 12″ LPs, and …. I could go on all night here. Got a load of 1950’s Frank Sinatra 78’s, as well as many others from then. right, that’s enough waffle.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYXQCUSsJfQ

  • Janiete

    I frequently find myself wondering which side of the fence you are on as your viewpoints appear to lurch from right to left and back again.

    However given this latest contribution I think it’s safer to take your comments with a pinch of salt. I can’t take seriously anyone who thinks we live in a communist state.

     

  • Anonymous

    Certainly agree with that, Gilliebc the feature is useful.

    It’d be good if its something that can be updated.

  • Anonymous

    Janiete I sometimes exaggerate and sometimes type quicker than I think. Obviously we don’t live in a communist state, but I don’t like anything that moves us any step in that sort of “controlling” direction such as tax credits.

    As for my opinions, I do have some opinions that people consider “of the right” and I have other opinions that people consider “of the left”.

    If anything I’m closest to a libertarian, of which there are left wing and right wing versions.

    I’ve got my experiences of life and I’ve studied all types of economics and I have what hopefully are my own opinions.

  • Anonymous

    I want the best for the people, particularly the poorer and weaker, and those who have to do physical work – some ideas from the left are good for this, some from the right, in my opinion.

    And thats not to say that you shouldn’t take my opinions with a pinch of salt 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I’ve written about this on other blog entries lately Janiete too. And I’ve asked questions about it, maybe you are the one to ask. I always felt tribally labour, but my experience and study has taught me that their policies are not always as beneficial to the working class as they seem – for example I lost my job in a factory due to minimum wage (they moved the factory.)

    Does someone have to agree with all labours policies to be in labour or support labour or support working people?

  • Ehtch

    How did that happen above? Ah well, who gives a.

    Anyway, picts has had a bad press in fecking historical Oxford English sponsored books, but bugger the english, Scotland, you have a large enough country with a low enough population to do well, as pointed out in the third section of Roman taught propaganda history even to this modern day by our SE England propaganders, BBC Breakfast with Bill and Sian mainly included – will they ever give some respect to Alex Salmond, the english mouthpiece puppets that they are? Sad SE english and their bought imported puppets – not able to do it for themselves

    Anyway,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e574ipyTI8

    As Alex said, this will be good for all the UK to grow up finally, and start to live in the 21st century, and not go and disappear down a whirlpool of past stuck in time ignorange as like Easter Islandanders when they chopped down their last trees.

    • Ehtch

      Anyway, Battle of Chester, 666, is all I have to say, or was it 665, or 667 – anyway it was circa, when our brothers from the north was split from us, Lancashire, western Yorkshire, Cumbria, Strathclyde – yr hen pobl o’r gogledd. Anyway, bluddy saxons, and they fecking fell at the feet of the Normans did they in 1066, the saxon gobreaths that they are, and here we are now, in a propoganda state, with the tory normans with their hand on the tiller. Yes, they let us have our Labour government of the people now and again, but they are always there, in the background, controlling things. Yes Scotland, get out, while it is good. Hang on, there is someone banging on my front door….. or was it my back door,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqZhM75aGMg
       

  • Libdem

    I suggest Janiete you are avoiding the point. You don’t have to support any party to recognise that Brown cocked up the economy.

  • Ehtch

    Anway, in above film clip with James Bond, from Chester, originally, disappearing up a road towards Larel Canyon, LA, a place I would like to visit and see, if I get round to it. So many places to see and get to and too – life is too short,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJf1ZC2G8q4
    Pikes Peak, Colorado, going up it in quick time by a Japan hero,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBaIlQOGgwc
    So little time.

  • Ehtch

    AND OH GOD YES, you need a different needle for 78’s, thicker, so if your USB turntable comes with a 78rpm speed, swop the needle head over, literally, spin it around. On good USB turntables that is. The records would sound crap with the wrong needle dragging along its tracks, I know, when I was young on my parents 1960’s Pye stereogram, until they told me eventually where I was going wrong. I was seven for fuck sake!

  • Ehtch

    I don’t really like looking at myself through your eyes…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp-mUYqngRc

  • Ehtch

    I don’t really like looking at myself through your eyes…..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp-mUYqngRc

  • Ehtch

    “I don’t really like looking at myself through your eyes…..”  – great life quote.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp-mUYqngRc

  • Janiete

    Gordon Brown did not cock up the economy. Prior to the crash, the economy was in a healthy condition with a lower deficit than John Major left, within accepted norms for a country of our size.

    Are you suggesting he should not have bailed out the banks?

  • Anonymous

    If Libdem isn’t, I am. And thats a perspective shared by left (Irish Socialist Party for one example) and right (Ron Paul (and others) on the right wing of American Republicanism).

    Now there is a broad consensus within the narrower left, right and centre that Brown and Bush were correct, most economists would have advised him to do what he did, I don’t dispute that.

    I just agree with the other economists.

  • Michele

    Would you stop extrapolating from what I do say?  We have zilch in common so it’s a hopeless task for you to set yourself.  Stick to expressing only what you think or know and don’t bovver wiv what you think I do of either.

    Who’s ‘perverting’ (LOL, your word) what the other posts, look to yourself.

    No job is ever complete, no change will ever not require other changes after it, no railroading of the type that this
    coalesced mess are pushing through without assessing ramifications can be without waste.  Sorry for so many -ess sounds but I can’t bring myself to use the word ‘coalition’ any more.

    Hence the U-turns, one after the other.
    Nobody that has run even a medium-sized company would be moving all the blocks at once in some pointless uber-excercise to demonstrate a misunderstanding of the quality ‘macho’.

    When you want to complain about people being ‘sacked’, dare to explain who you are on about with the word (and be sure it’s the right one).

  • Michele

    Would you stop extrapolating from what I do say?  We have zilch in common so it’s a hopeless task for you to set yourself.  Stick to expressing only what you think or know and don’t bovver wiv what you think I do of either.

    Who’s ‘perverting’ (LOL, your word) what the other posts?  Look to yourself.

    No job is ever complete, no change will ever not require other changes after it, no railroading of the type that this
    coalesced mess are pushing through without assessing ramifications can be without waste.  Sorry for so many -ess sounds but I can’t bring myself to use the word ‘coalition’ any more.

    Hence the U-turns, one after the other.
    Nobody that has run even a medium-sized company would be moving all the blocks at once in some pointless uber-excercise to demonstrate a misunderstanding of the quality ‘macho’.

    When you want to complain about people being ‘sacked’, dare to explain who you are on about with the word (and be sure it’s the right one).

  • Michele

    Quote “So, you’re suggesting that we change nothing?”

    If you are asking me a question (which is indicated by the mark) do me the favour of not starting it with ‘So’ as if you’re some tweenager that is actually making a statement that’s posing as modesty.

    I have never intimated we change nothing, neither did GB or AD or EB et al; good plans need changing all the time (no Biblical reference intended btw). 
    It’s why we hope for Govts to have some longevity, those of us (that is) that approve of evolution rather than pseudo macho rev-etc (and now wish for very little longevity).

  • Michele

    Working Tax Credits made perfect sense, as do large families.

    The only people that in general understand this have till now been immigrants – those from poor countries and whose belief stems from the opposite problem (history of infant mortality vs ours of increasing lifespans).

    The demographics of our population have to shift (I plead guilty for being part of the problem).

  • Michele

    Working Tax Credits made perfect sense, as do large families.

    The only people that in general understand this have till now been immigrants – those from poor countries and whose belief stems from the opposite problem (history of infant mortality vs ours of increasing lifespans).

    The demographics of our population have to shift (I plead guilty for being part of the problem).

  • Libdem

    Why bail out international companies who knew the risks they were taking? All he had to do was guarantee the  customers’ savings and let the banks go bust.

  • Libdem

    You really can’t help yourself can you. No mark, just an observation of your modus operandi. And just remind me, why would I want to do you a favour exactly?

  • Libdem

    Yawn, is that the time already or has the record stuck…..

  • Libdem

    You’re hallucinating again, go and lay down somewhere…

  • Michele

    Did I even hint that you would want to?

    Get the point?

  • Anonymous

    Hallelujah! Never thought I’d find a like mind on AC’s site, especially not, to be honest, one called Libdem lol!

  • Michele

    Did I even hint that you would want to?

    Get the point?

  • Michele

    Was that an admission that somebody that resigned was not sacked?

    You’re acting like a twerp or maybe the assessment as a (moody) tweenager was bang on.

  • Michele

    Was that an admission that NObody was sacked pet?
    ——————————–

    THIS is an admission that my IT is glitching again.

  • Anonymous

    I guess you posted this twice due to disqus issues. I’ll reply to this one as there is more room.

    Who mentioned large families? Seperate issue.
     
    I like your thinking when it is independent Michelle but on this one you are sinking the Koolaid.
     
    The idea of taxing people AND giving them tax credits is insane. Except it isn’t, its calculated. The people are worse off than if you’d just let them keep the tax. We have been brainwashed into believing the government owns our money, so when they hand it back in tax credits we should be grateful and vote for them. Economically, tax cuts to the same amount make more sense. Taxing it and crediting it back means employing civil servants and american IT companies to do this, and they get paid out of… tax. Its a straight up control / vote buying, typical of the authoritarian wing of leftism. Its a cynical political move for which economics are sacrificed.
     
    As for large families – sure have large or small families – personal choice.
    You are talking about pensions I presume. The argument goes: Pensions are a ponzi scheme, so we need to encourage families and bring in young immigrants and hopefully they will pay our pensions in future.

    It is incredible that this is how people view this ponzi scheme problem. The solution should be the same as for any other ponzi scheme – stop it, and incarcerate the people who set it up. And make people SAVE for pensions so we don’t rely on future tax. Of course for those who have been in it till now, we have to look after them, its not their fault. But stop it from here on.

    And if you are talking about needing more young people to take care of us in future, care workers and so on, we just pay for them to do so when we need them. Some of this stuff is simple you know.

  • Michele

    I’ve got my hands full with another frother.

    Signed
    Nurse Ratchet

  • Gilliebc

    Yes, reaguns it would be good.

    How about it AC?

    • Ehtch

      thin comments again.
      Sorry just a justification joke – when are you going to complain Alastair? They should limit what we say how thin it should go, for goodnesssakes, in their software. I would right them a good stiff letter/email. oherr.more tea vicar. oh I say!

  • Gilliebc

    Sometime ago reaguns I made the mistake of describing myself as a left-wing libertarian!  I had done one of those test things and that was the result and I was quite pleased about it.  However someone delighted in telling me that a left-wing libertarian was an ‘oxymoron’
    lol!
    People do so like to pigeon-hole others.  They can’t seem to cope or deal with those of us who don’t fit neatly with their own perceptions of L v R politics.  Which as I’ve said here before I no longer believe in.  L v R politics was/is an invention of the really ruling but still largely  hidden in the shadows, wealthy powerful elite!
    Democracy in this country is an illusion imo and L v R squabbles are something that add to this illusion and are a meaningless distraction for us plebs.

  • Gilliebc

    Sometime ago reaguns I made the mistake of describing myself as a left-wing libertarian!  I had done one of those test things and that was the result and I was quite pleased about it.  However someone delighted in telling me that a left-wing libertarian was an ‘oxymoron’
    lol!
    People do so like to pigeon-hole others.  They can’t seem to cope or deal with those of us who don’t fit neatly with their own perceptions of L v R politics.  Which as I’ve said here before I no longer believe in.  L v R politics was/is an invention of the really ruling but still largely  hidden in the shadows, wealthy powerful elite!
    Democracy in this country is an illusion imo and L v R squabbles are something that add to this illusion and are a meaningless distraction for us plebs.

  • Libdem

    That’s cos I’m an IT person too lol!

  • Richard

    So glad to hear that you go the job at the masssage parlour. You deserved it.

  • Michele

    Oh I do apologise, you ‘advise’ me not to mention ‘large families’ because nobody else has?
    I do believe the coalesced mess has with daft things like they’ll cap people’s benefit ‘if they have too many children’ ….. whoa ….. could that lead to people having to knock off their youngest if they have a large family before needing benefits?

    Could you stop using dopy jargon like ‘sinking the Koolaid’ or restrict yourself to using it on American sites
    or to fellow wannabe right-wing crapsters.   Thanks awfully old bean, it all stinks of no real varied first hand experience and a restricted reading diet.

    The indigenous population is not replacing itself now, there is not the desirable average of 2.1 children per two adults in the population in order to sustain Govt income/growth to pay those ageing adults’ pensions and for longer. 

    We all understand that (don’t we?  😛 ) and see the timebomb for yet more hate of the type we’ve seen too much of already.  Most of the non-indigenous come from cultures where pensions are not even considered, how can they be expected to feel happy to help fund the country’s old if those dependents of the future don’t show (or have) altruism in the present?

    We are not going to agree.

  • Michele

    It’s silly to blame Labour because your bosses moved their factory.
    I believe you have posted that all wages should be kept to the lowest so all prices can be but that simply doesn’t follow.
    Some capitalists are honest and sensible, some are ugly and greedy.  One of the UK’s wealthiest uses multipliers of between 5 and 7 times landed cost to decide their retail price.  There is no sense in expecting UK workers to accommodate greed like that.
    We’ve looked in to some banking practices; we should look in to those of direct retailers’ and understand greedy price structuring.

  • Janiete

    Care to speculate how many businesses would have gone to the wall and the how high unemployment would be without the bank bailout?

  • Michele

    Oh good it’s on …. I don’t have to rack my vacuum trying to remember where I put that / / oop there.

    It’s also true that not only are we not averaging 2.1 kids per couple, we’re mostly not doing it till later either.  Where 65yr old male pensioners of the 50s might have at least two generations descended from them to be contributing to GDP, today’s will very likely only have one (if any) so far.

    Every single situation has good and bad features, birth control and the freedom it allowed has turned out to have a bite to it.

    However, don’t imagine that this is only about public sector pensions; some supermarket chains’ profits are going to have to rise to fill the gaps in their funds or ….. you guess.

  • Gilliebc

    er, just a small point Libdem, it’s lie down, not lay down!

    Chickens lay, people lie (and how sometimes).

  • Richard

    Why do “large families make perfect sense”? Because you can claim enough social benefits not to have to work, and stay at home with the kids and watch daytime TV?
    Are you going to declare your new job in the massage parlour, relying on your new ‘Nurse’ status as a nom de plume?

  • Richard

    Quite right too!
    The format should of course be: 1 Con, 1 Lib Dem, 1 Old Labour, 1 New Labour, 2 Miliband United Party. Slight prob though is that you still could not get a majority!

  • Anonymous

    Alright keep your hair on.
    Did you even read my post? The bit about pensions being a ponzi scheme (English people use that word too before you start), and the reason why people are tricked like you into thinking we need future generations to pay our pensions.

    You either don’t get it, or you refuse to engage with it. I don’t accept that you disagree with me in this case because I don’t accept that you understand my point.

    Its simple – whatever tax we are paying for pensions, invest it now, have a law where any politician who touches it goes to jail (eh Gordo?), and then use that money when we retire. Of course we have to take care of the money that hasn’t been invested till now, but there is no need to carry on with this policy apart from social engineering.

    As for my limited reading, yeah I mostly limited it within the sphere of economics, you obviously limited yours to outside of that sphere lol!

  • Anonymous

    Its been speculated a-plenty already. The employees of the bad banks may have went but probably wouldn’t as people like Barclays and Richard Branson would have hoovered them up.

    Its called creative destruction.

    Anyone who depended on loaning money to greece and things like that woulg go belly up and a good thing too.

    Within 6 months everything would have been hunky dorey again. Instead we’ll have 10 years of stagnation due to malinvestments not being liquified.

    There are plenty of evidence geographically and historically where bailouts where refused and things worked out just fine.

    Iceland, New Zealand, USA are all examples. Sure their bankers and their governments suffered slightly – good they deserve to!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting viewpoint. I do think there are some leftwing libertarians though, like Chomsky, although he can be spectacularly obtuse on some things, I have local knowledge of at least one part of the world that he comments on and couldn’t be more wrong. On other issues he’s good.

    But I think George Orwell was a fine example of a left wing libertarian.

    The reason people say its an oxymoron, is because to enact left wing policies fully, you need some kind of police state. I for example only paid tax to Gordon Brown because he has more guns than me. But then thats the same with David Cameron and John Major.

    Hayek’s book explains why he believes leftism always leads to totalitarianism.

    The founding fathers on the other hand set up their country so that the people could own guns and have individual liberty by being better armed than the government, and defend their own property rights.

    The left argue that the right demands a police state too, in order to enforce property rights and the rule of law.

    And certainly there are authoritarian regimes of the right too. From Singapore to Pinochet.

    I’m talking about the sensible left and right, not Stalin and Hitler.

  • Anonymous

    Will answer the minimum wage one in the other place you mentioned it.

    The situation you describe (which I’d like to hear in more detail) is something I can easily believe, it would be sorted out by competition, but our large retailers have used their power to lobby government for regulations which limit competition.
     
    In China for example which is more free and less regulated in this sense this doesn’t happen – you’d get 100 stalls set up outside that retailers door selling stuff cheaper. I’ve seen this if its the retailer I think you mean.

    I know in these things the competition argument can be oversimplified, its like the exec pay thing for example, the way it is set up competition and market forces do not operate.

  • Anonymous

    One more very important point. It may be that the likes of Tony Blair believe in immigration because of the reasons their enemies state, ie they want to put one over on the right and try to install a constituency of immigrant labour voters.

    Or it may be that they believe we need immigration for such demographic reasons as you state.

    In America there are right wingers who want immigration for geopolitical reasons.

    However this I suppose gets to one of the fundamental issues of politics. Personally I believe in immigration. But I believe in democracy more. I believe that its advocates must explain it as best they can, but allow the people to decide. I do not believe in an elite political class telling the majority what to do.

  • Anonymous

    Oh and, on this one point at least, get stuffed! You won’t find anyone on any sites with the same set of opinions as me, American, “right wing crapsters”, or any other wing.

    Not to mention the fact that I change my opinions when the evidence proves them wrong.

  • Michele

    So go live in a countrhy with very little Govt; it’s surely an easy enough thing to do.

    I don’t think for one second that anyone would believe in the rights of others to emigrate merely to gain a population to solve its pension products; it’s far more likely that their being here will help us solve a problem.  Some will say we created problems and others will say we improved things in whatever country ‘they’ came from.  I’d have to try very hard to see such disingenuousness in the reason for EU’s policies.  We are where we are, it has good features (and not just because of GDP decades hence).

  • Michele

    Apparently vinyl’s becoming more and more valued Ehtch, mainly/recently due to the covers’ artwork – it’s another version of one of the negatives of iBooks.

  • Michele

    If by ‘you’ you mean me, stuff your insinuating snideyness.

    If by your use of ‘you’ you meant ‘one’ then use it. 

  • Michele

    I’m not sure your claim is lol-able, you have posted that you recently started reading economics and have not mentioned any live discussion with others to ensure all understood, nuances / turns of phrase etc.

    We don’t earn our state pension with tax paid, we do so with contributions to National Insurance.

    Yep, sure we could all invest on our own behalves, many of us already do so; I’d not recommend it in lieu of state pension though. 
    There are even more con artists around in this field than in banks imhoo – a speciality seems to be passing funds from one company or group to another – with commission claimed at each transaction. 
    Of course if these are numerous enough to whittle one’s input a great deal, compensation will have to come from Govt. 
    Did you catch my whispered ‘Back to Square 1’ ?

    ———————-
    Have a good weekend all 🙂

  • Michele

    Oh I was trying to re-find your  post after reading the feature; absobloddylutely disgusting.

  • Michele

    It does actually exist Gbc and anyone pretending it doesn’t is merely illustrating the complete inappropriateness of the right wing ‘version’ – theirs is the contradiction in terms.

  • Anonymous

    Michele thats not quite what I said, I explained how I used to do various jobs THEN started reading economics – but that was quite some time ago. I started reading due to work and then because I enjoyed it – if you want to attack me I suggest doing so from the “what a sad git” angle! I’ve had plenty hearty debates, do your worst!

    In seriousness I think my reading has went well beyond what a masters level student in economics must do – not that I’m better than them just that I’ve read more than most of them – I had to for work really.

    Now as for our pensions being paid out of NI. This was the aim in the beginning when those great men, you know who, started the system. But it has long stopped being the case, it is an illusion, NI is spent now the same as every other tax and we hope others will pay our pensions later hence I must again state: ponzi scheme. And I must again annoy you by saying if you don’t recognise that then you are drinking the Koolaid.

    We talked about spending vs investment. There’s one example. NI was supposed to be invested. But now it is spent.

    When I talk about investing for pensions I am talking about the government doing it, I don’t mean we should all do it privately.

    If Janiete is reading, there’s a few more left wing views for you.

  • Anonymous

    I hope you are right that they mean well. I will give people like Major, Blair, even Brown and even Cameron credit that they mean well. The EU I’m less sure about.

    As for your “go live in another country” doesn’t that sort of argument get short shrift in every context? Like when it was first used to tell ethnic minorities that if they don’t like racism they should go home – its wrong. Also its like when high paid workers threaten to leave if we make them pay more tax – do they really do it?

    Anyway who mentioned small government here, I asked for more democracy. You don’t want more democracy?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Ehtch – you mean on a Grand Theft Auto Scale yeah?

    Rave replacing heroin is an interesting point actually. I think its a minor factor but I do know one part of the world where the introduction of E made nightclubs less violent. I used to think the govt did it on purpose, feed happy pills to all the thugs!

    • Ehtch

      Yeh, whatever it is called reaguns. Heard of John Foxx? He’s english if that helps, Chormley in Lancashire I think from originally, first lead singer of Ultravox, a great observational artist, and he predicted twocing with his song in the early 1980’s, as per:-
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XZfL_As4Oo

      Here he is in Ultravox in the late 1970’s saying “things”, class, total artistic class.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMkPtOw_r90

  • Ehtch

    Yep, agreed, the adventure of getting a vinyl LP album was the front cover, huge, and the sleeve notes – even told you who served the artists tea when they made it, thanks to this that and the other. I like Human League mk1 and Heaven 17 big when in my late teens and early twenties. Still do, keep tabs on what they are upto these days still, Glenn Gregory and his Honetroot, Martyn Ware with his sound echo project with Vince Clarke from Essex (of Depeche Mode/Yazoo/Eurasia fame). Artwork and music as such,
    http://www.skooldays.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Penthouse-Pavement.jpg
    http://991.com/NewGallery/Human-League-Reproduction-518978.jpg

    Music, BEF, Heaven 17 in another name, Michele, from circa 1981, with more great album art – got this LP, vewy vewy rare, I have been told,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwriz-Dl23U

  • Ehtch

    This is good too, from the same album, sung by Glenn Gregory from Sheffield again, before it was ripped off by the beeb for some charity event on their box, remember that Michele? A Lou Reed cover,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=7WDvC5sjNJo

  • Ehtch

    Classic clip from the late 1980’s of Ari Vatanen the Finnish rally driver, later a successful politician, going up Pike’s Peak Colorado like as if his arse is on fire in a Peugeot, filmed by a french filmographer, doing it as they do – the french make absolutly brilliant sporting adventurous films, skiing and extreme sports and stuff. Anyway, Ari from then,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKgeCQGu_ug

  • Ehtch

    YEP, too, reaguns, when eee’s came on the scene(!), never seen so many people kissing and shaking hands with each other. Never took one myself, but I suppose I didn’t really need to, since you couldn’t describe me as your traditional thug. All the best reaguns.
    : )

  • Ehtch

    This was created WAYYY back at the start of the internet age, on Human League from Sheffield. A great story on music in our then age we had to simply live through, and suffer, in our youth,
    http://www.blindyouth.co.uk/

  • Ehtch

    Anyone remember Kim Wilde – mmmm – still around, gardening now or something. Classic SE England northern electro rip off, but when all is said and and done, I’d shag her, oh yes, knickers down Kim,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1y3TKv7Chk4

  • Michele

    Oh Osbo’s plan for moving state responsibilities to the private sector is certainly working.

    TV ad showing a man doing the tablecloth trick in a kitchen is for a company called Unum who offer insurance cover for in-work benefits.

    The ad doesn’t mention that Unum is an American company. 
    Massive generalisations: Americans are mostly lovely, their businesses seldom are.

    —————–

    Very interesting feature about 20mins in to this programme
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/bbc_parliament/newsid_9687000/9687604.stm
    about the need to rein in the cartels and self-fulfilling predictions of rating agencies, S&P was mentioned in particular.

  • Michele

    Oh Osbo’s plan for moving state responsibilities to the private sector is certainly working.

    TV ad showing a man doing the tablecloth trick in a kitchen is for a company called Unum who offer insurance cover for in-work benefits.

    The ad doesn’t mention that Unum is an American company. 
    Massive generalisations: Americans are mostly lovely, their businesses seldom are.

    —————–

    Very interesting feature about 20mins in to this programme
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/bbc_parliament/newsid_9687000/9687604.stm
    about the need to rein in the cartels and self-fulfilling predictions of rating agencies, S&P was mentioned in particular.

  • Ehtch

    reaguns – there was JG Ballard of course, which was a huge feeding nose bag for circa 1980 electropopish trashish young artist culture. Beeb4 will have to show this docu again, first shown on beeb2 in the early 1970’s, starring the incredibly beautiful Gabrielle Drake, of UFO Gerry Anderson Moonbase fame (have I lost you yet?), sister of the tradgically sweet english ballad singer Nick Drake. Anyway, JG Ballard spouting sound excellent philosophy, from circa 1970, in two farts, sorry,two parts,
    pt. 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT2eECKvdTc
    pt.2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5tpVcnfJrY

    Hope you enjoy reaguns, Stunning predictions in it, apart from comparing Gabrielle’s nipple in a shower to a car’s hubcap. Top your port up General?

  • Ehtch

    I know this sounds cuckoo, but I have put feelers out in yootoobland if someone fancies making a vid on some greyhounds racing from Llangadog to Brynamman road, over the mountain. If you know the road you will realise that it would be seriously seriously a vewy vewy funny vid if it is made. But it maybe pie in the sky in my thought clouds drifting in my mind. But let me dream, please, will you.

  • Anonymous

    Ehtch you haven’t lost me, sounds interesing but unfortunately I’m having “broadband bovver” so vids are out at the min. I did do a quick google of gabrielle drake though, and I see what you mean!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah me too mate, I just stick to the beer and leave the E’s and the thuggery to others as much as possible!

  • Michele

    I wonder how Legal Aid will be affected by the cap?

    It occurred to me when I heard Anna Soubry talking about her previous career as a solicitor and commenting that some of her clients were 3rd generation workless.

    Ho hum.

  • Ehtch

    I like my girls moody, oh yes, but the problem is I can’t live with the sluts. Always always have had a weakness for them, and have never been able to cure myself of them. You know the type, Jaclyn Smith from Charlies Angels was one, who would no doubt have driving me up the wall with her whinging if I tried living in the same house as her. But it has been interesting with such types, it certainly has, oh yes.

    Jaclyn,
    http://www.perfectpeople.net/photo-picture-image-media/Jaclyn-Smith-577×602-44kb-media-979-media-94049-1100651102.jpg

  • Ehtch

    Another vid that reminds me of my daughter, got my blonde straight hair and all that, but without my bum chin, ahem!, from Glenn Gregory’s above mentioned Honeyroot, filmed on Hampstead Teeth, sorry Heath, I believe Alastair, just down the road from you, in the snow from one winter. Sweet song it is, describing old people can also fall in love as well as young ones,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6hMnU6ifR8

  • Ehtch

    I appreciate this film, because I lost a great school friend like Boots and Joe above who I was hoping in more mature years to regain, Carla, female, but we were only 20 when she went away, had a brain haemorage on a flight to see her relatives in Italia. True story this. To say it fucked me up is a bit of an understatement. Told her of my female penpal from Senegalia, Ancona, and the smile and light in her eyes will forever stay with me. Christ, why do I get into these heartbreaking situations in life to then piss me off? Is it me?
    Rita, what have you got to say, for fuck sake, please?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brvA02T9Ia8

    No bullshit here, my mind over time tried to tell me it was bullshit, but I am old enough now to realise above was true. Took her home in car after I passed my test after A-level mocks and exams. oh jesus..

  • MKJ

    I’m on this so called “gravy train” too Michael – having had to give up work 3 years ago due to serious ill-health, having paid into the system for 30+ years.  My savings were eaten up during the 16 weeks I had to wait to have my claim assessed and approved (during which I received no income at all).  Whilst I’m extremely grateful that the State allows me some money (although I’ve contributed to what I’m paid as I’ve said).  When the economic crisis hit I was just able to manage – DLA gave me a little extra so I could get out and about.  Now, I can just afford to feed myself and pay my bills.  I am stuck indoors 24/7 7 days a week as I cannot afford to get out and about……..Alistair is quite right about the media distorting the truth………Could you feed/clothe/pay bills, live I guess on £97.00 per week in this curent climate?  I would love to be able to get back to work but I can’t……If things get any worse those in charge might as well legalise euthanasia for all of us scroungers as this is not living

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