Cameron talks New Labour, but acts old Tory class warrior

New Labour CameronSome journalists are incredibly gullible. On the basis of his rhetoric, Dan Hodges tweeted “Could someone on the Left tell me which part of David Cameron’s speech I’m meant to disagree with.” How about Dave’s outright porkie concerning Jeremy Corbyn’s comments on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden? Seeing as Dan’s less a journo and more a well remunerated “opinion former“, what does a proper one think? Will Jane Merrick of the Indy on Sunday writesLabour’s gigantic problem: why did I, from a Liverpool comp, who voted for Blair & never voted Tory, agree nearly every word of PM’s speech?” Seduced by words, it’s never occurred to Jane that what the Tories say might be quite different from what they do. Continue reading

Labour leadership contestants need to break out of Tory cage

Labour Leadership Candidates and now they are 4_edited-1What is so disappointing (so far) about the Labour leadership contest is the failure to edge the party to any significant degree away from a look-alike Tory posture. Osborne launches the biggest cuts programme of the last century, and we are told that if we wish to be taken seriously we must be as fiscally conservative as the government. Osborne preens himself with running the economy on a permanent surplus, and Labour, not to be outdone, endorses the idea, absurd and unworkable as it is. The Tories taunt Labour for being on the side of shirkers against strivers – a ridiculous claim when Osborne has just impoverished millions of workers in poverty by severe cutbacks in working tax credits – but Labour, for fear of being lampooned by the Mail for being soft on ‘lifestyle’ benefit recipients, lamely echoes its support for tightening the benefit cap. When is Labour going to stand up and assert what it really believes in? Continue reading

It isn’t a ‘lower tax, higher wage’ economy as Osborne boasts, it’s actually a higher tax, lower wage economy

Osborne's gladstone budgetboxOne has to give it to Osborne, he’s extremely good at branding whatever he doesn’t like with a clever, pejorative – but false – jingle. ‘The merry-go-round on welfare’, ‘strivers versus shirkers’, ‘Labour left behind this economic mess’ , and ‘austerity’s painful decisions are the only way to cut the deficit’ immediately spring to mind. But they’re all wrong, or at least require teasing out to show they’re more propaganda than reality. But with the unerring aid of a prostrate Tory press and the feeble docility of a pliant Opposition, he manages to command a narrative resonant with the public consciousness which even a cursory scrutiny would show to be a raging falsehood. Continue reading

Millionaires demanding salary hikes as £12bn welfare cuts fall on poorest

SAY NO TO WELFARE CUTSYou can always trust Britain’s pampered corporate bosses to express their greed at the most inauspicious moments, but to do so when Osborne is set for the most inequality-expanding budget in living memory at the expense of the poor is insensitive even by their standards. The heads of Britain’s biggest companies already make more in a day than a worker on the minimum wage in a year. Yet now they’re demanding 20-30% increases in their basic pay because the EU has placed a cap on bonuses at 200% of the basic salary. They also object to bonuses being withheld for longer periods (3 or 5 years) as a check that the bonus was properly earned and not just a device for topping up basic pay. Continue reading

Even the high priests of capitalism have come out against against inequality

IMF logoThe IMF is the last place that one would expect to hear the argument being made that inequality has gone far too far. So the recent detailed research from the citadel of capitalism has to be taken seriously. What they found was that raising the income share of the poorest fifth of the population increases growth by as much as 0.38% over 5 years, whilst increasing the income share of the richest fifth by 1% actually reduces growth by 0.08%. On that basis the argument that enriching the rich yet further benefits everyone collapses. Trickle-down which both Thatcher and Blair devoutly believed in is therefore seen for what it is – merely a rationalisation to justify their hold on power and wealth. Continue reading