Friday, 1 May 2015

Vote Labour And We're Doomed

No, that's not my headline but that of Mark Steel, columnist of the year, in the i newspaper.

He was in reality pointing to inferences by the Tory-leader-elect, Boris Johnson, who stated that Labour's policies to stop landlords raising rents "would destroy a city [London] faster than a bomb".

It's interesting (Steel points out) that New York have already successfully introduced the measures put forward by Labour. But then, Johnson lives on another planet.

Further, in response to Labour's plans to build new housing on disused land, Johnson referred to it as: "Miliband, the land-grabber's Stalinist plan".

Such hysteria being raised by Tories and 50 years ago, in the days of One Nation politics, they would have been shouted down. Today too many people have forgotten their spiritual instincts and vote for what suits their pocket, scared stiff that those nasty socialists will take away the possibility of a happy life.

But those people who are at the bottom end of the social economic scale (and it's possible all of us could be there some day!) have a perilous life. Not only have they been disproportionately affected by the government's cuts over the last 5 years but some have felt the pressure so much that they have committed suicide.

Cameron, when questioned last night on TV as to why such extreme welfare cuts instigated some suicides, glossed over it in such a way as to say “of course you expect the Christians to be killed when you put them with lions in the ampitheatre”. A surreal gloss over by Cameron. And they want to find another 12bn of cuts! Well, the lions are going to have a rich meal by the sound of it…

Of the three leaders questioned by the audience on TV last night, only Miliband paid any reference at all to the 'green' issues, and was just about to tell us how Labour would back 'green' technology (probably one of the most important issues) when chairman Dimbleby interrupted and said we didn't want to talk about that but the question of the EU - an almost irrelevant issue by comparison.

Miliband showed his credentials I thought when he effectively said that under no circumstances would he strike a deal with the SNP if Labour were to gain a non-overall-majority. He said that Labour would forfeit their right to government rather than work with the SNP.

Well, I admire Miliband in many ways, but my conscience lies with the Greens. No, they won't win, but their overall policies are the closest to reality in my humble opinion.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

It's a fact - when there's a financial crisis the rich DO get richer!

The UK news starts today with the headline that we now have more billionaires then ever before, and that the richest few hundred have trebled their 'earnings' since 2009. That is, since the Tories got into power and since the crash caused the reduction in living standards of hardworking ordinary and dependent households.

So, the gap widens. OK it was widening under Labour as well, but in the aftermath of a financial crash and the poorest having suffered unequally under the ConDem regime, the magnitude of wealth of the richest is, to the say the least, mind-boggling. And this after research has shown that earnings of approximately more than £50,000 per year do not produce more happiness. Well, perhaps those megarich people are spending their incomes on charitable projects, but these days charitable project status can be applied to almost anything.

So we approach the General Election with the main two parties neck-and-neck. The Tories have still not spelt out where their billions of welfare cuts are going to be made, while they (the Tories) claim that Labour are going to spend recklessly. Both ideas need to be heavily questioned, but I leave that to the reader to work it out. However, if the Tories think that they have been fair in their policies towards the worker, I would refer to the Archbishop of York, who has recently said: "Employees are not raw materials, to be bought at the cheapest price and dispensed with where possible". If you believe that then please vote against the Tories.

What I very seriously think, however, is that we do not (none of us!) know where we are heading. Both main parties (not just Tory) are basing their plans on on-going economic growth based on fossil fuels and churning out the same old, same old, products, most of which do not help the environment one bit, and which has virtually passed its limit of sustainability.

Their policies are also framed around the assumption that happiness = financial prosperity, and both parties are scared to approach the realities for to do so they might (as political parties) perish. They are both wrong. And these old-fashioned attitudes have worn the fabric of the world into shreds - these views have formed the basis of Western influence overseas and we see now what has come back to haunt us. Climate change and terrible in-fighting in the Middle East now pervade. It is wrong: a new form of government and ways of life need to emerge and based on a One Nation approach to how our affairs are run.

Rabbi Michael Lerner at http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/yearning-for-a-world-of-love-and-justice-2 says:
The current economic and political system has created an unprecedented environmental crisis that is wreaking havoc on peoples’ lives and has the potential to destroy the life support system of the planet. As the crisis intensifies, the powerful, rather than transforming the system that is destroying the planet may instead rally support for their system by further undermining democratic and human rights and imposing authoritarian or even fascistic forms of rule. In the face of this reality, the struggle for a New Bottom Line becomes the most rational way to transform societal and global consciousness so we can build an effective movement to transform political, economic and social structures.
So when going to the ballot box on May 7, please think on whether you think the following issues are most important:
  • Fairness towards working people and the quality of their lives;
  • Whether the current economic system is at breaking point.
If you firmly believe that the answer is 'yes' to both (and please note that simply leaving the European Union as a supposed solution is a total dead-end and a irrelevancy) then you will surely vote against the Tories.

As I have said so often, I see the result being a Labour prime minister without an overall majority. That will mean that parties such as the Liberals and the Greens (and, yes, the SNP) voting for governing measures on a piecemeal basis. It will mean that unsustainable Labour policies will not get through, and that fairness and sustainability has more chance to flourish. That situation, in my view, is probably the best for the UK to arrive at a better future.