At the ballot box, we’re all equal for a moment – let’s vote to keep it that way

ballot boxTonight I came home to find my ballot paper waiting in the letter box. Tomorrow I will be able to cast my postal vote for my Labour candidate (me as it happens). In voting I will be joined by millions of others.

Stop and reflect a minute. Because my vote only has the same weight as yours and any other citizen. For once in all our lives no one person is any more powerful than any other. Continue reading

Cut corporate welfare not people’s welfare

big businessCorporate welfare has been estimated in a University of York social policy study to cost British taxpayers nearly £85bn a year. That is not far short of the current level of the entire budget deficit which is still £100bn. If industrial-scale corporate tax avoidance were added in to the corporate welfare state, the cost to Britain would comfortably exceed the whole deficit.

So instead of focusing on £25bn (unspecified) further benefit cutbacks and a further huge squeeze on departmental public services bringing their cumulative cutbacks since 2010 to a staggering 40% or more, Osborne might be well advised to look at where money is truly wasted. Continue reading

Why media conglomerates should be broken up

based on a WEF photo of Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch addresses a session of the World Economic Forum in DavosThe hacking trials aren’t even half the issue. The hard, unavoidable fact remains that the power of the Murdoch press – the real unspoken stain behind the Brooks-Coulson trials – is undiminished and has still not been broken. It is best illustrated by the run-up of events to the long-planned Murdoch campaign to take over BSkyB, a scheme that would have added some £8bn to the Murdoch empire as well as giving him a virtual stranglehold over the British media.

It began with Murdoch’s calculation in 2009 that a switch of the Sun to the Tories would make them indebted to him – perhaps even outlined in an informal deal – over his BSkyB objective. The game plan then began with James Murdoch meeting Cameron at a hotel in London in September 2009 to tell him that the Sun was switching sides. Continue reading