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Poverty and hunger will not be addressed in the UK until politics is the means to solve our problems rather being accepted as the end

January 24, 2022 Leave a comment

Balancing news input has become an unwitting challenge for a great many, simply because of how polarised and partisan the mainstream media has become. Whether it be to champion the right, the left or to further the destructive and forceful narrative of wokeness, there is very little that really encapsulates all or does a good job of sitting in between.

The environment that a world of echo chambers creates wouldn’t be quite as problematic in terms of societal problem solving and the legacy that it bequeaths if it were not for the seemingly population-wide absence today of critical thinking skills. The troubling truth is that we are navigating a phase of our history where real life problems are elevated or suffer scorn within the public view, depending on where the story was broken and the following assumption that the readership will be voting one way or another depending on who’s who.

Over the weekend, I read the article written by Jack Monroe in The Observer / The Guardian ‘Were pricing the poor out of food’ (which I cannot link at the time of writing as it appears to have disappeared). Beyond the timeline and list of things that Jack has arguably achieved by drawing attention to the realities of what it costs to eat when you are either temporarily or long-term poor, it was striking just how obvious that for the past decade, a failure to gain real traction in the fight against food poverty in the UK is in no small part because it is a subject championed only by the left.

That this Conservative Government has been out of touch with the uncomfortable realities that people right across the UK face is a given. Not because the Tories are consciously cruel. But because in the minds of the people who write their policies – who are unlikely to have had a free school meal, hand-me-down clothes or even experienced the joys of playing outside in a housing estate street – they genuinely believe that poverty and unemployment are one and the same thing – and the wannabe yes-men that follow them do not have the integrity to question what they are told.

This reality is borne out in the news even now. Public figures such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak champion the number of new jobs created and the number of people back at work, whilst forgetting to mention that the non-jobs that have been created pay the absolute minimum. That the ‘work’ is in all likelihood part-time or similar. Worst of all, that in many cases securing a ‘job’ just creates a minefield for those who were beguiled into signing up as self-employed only to find that overtly reasonable pay also includes all of their expenses and that the real hourly rate is a lot less than anyone can or should be expected to afford.

It’s a brutal reality that the people leading this Country are in a shocking state of denial about the circumstances and experiences of the poor. Their lack of appreciation is bolstered by the self-righteousness they fool themselves with as their head hits the pillow each night, hiding behind measures such as the minimum or living wage; all the time believing that this is as far as the legislative powers of the legislators need to extend in order to make life affordable for all.

At this point, it might be easy to read this Blog as a left-leaning. Labour and all of the left-wing pretenders such as the Liberal Democrats talk a good story about poverty and hunger and the unfolding cost of living crisis too. But their words – and actions – when their time in power has allowed, also shower them with something a lot less shiny than glory and that leaves behind a very redolent cloud.

The solutions the left offer, based on money and levelling down, don’t actually solve or even begin to address many of the wider issues that their own impractical and ideological approach to policy making have created. And this issue today has never been more relevant as we collectively stare into an abyss of what could genuinely become a financial Armageddon where throwing money at all of these problems will not be something that even a new Labour-led government elected in the coming months or years could now afford to do.

The problems which leave people unable to afford the food to feed their children – even if they starve themselves are massively complex in nature.

The cold, hard reality is that giving people more benefits or throwing money at charities such as the Trussell Trust – which really shouldn’t have to exist in 21st Century UK, is no better than coming up with creative schemes and misleading headlines that suggest everything is alright if you are ‘officially’ classified as having a job.

Wilful blindness on the part of our entire political class has contributed to a situation where politics is no longer the means to solve societal problems. Politics is now the end in itself.

The evidence that any good politician needs as the basis to start building the list of questions, the arguments and the recognition of how many areas of public policy are actually involved just to begin the process of dealing with these problems is there for all to see.

Hiding ominously in plain sight is the truth that no one with a public voice speaks and no one with the public gaze upon them will dare open their eyes to see.

We need politicians to be dealing with the questions that arise when people earning the basic wage that they have championed can only afford to live if the public purse continues to subsidise them.

How did this happen?

Why is it continuing?

Who is responsible?

How much do people need to earn to be able to support themselves without help?

When production is now arguably more efficient than it has ever been, why is any food on a supermarket shelf a luxury that one person earning a full-time wage cannot afford?

The truth is that the politicians we have would not like any of the answers to just these few questions and many, many more. That’s why they don’t listen. Its why they don’t look. Its whey they look for quick fixes and highly disingenuous soundbites that are there only to mislead and to hoodwink the very people that they should be helping into thinking that it is a problem of their own making.

Yet the reality is that the people who should and could be dealing with these problems are not.

These are problems that we have elected people to deal with. People who have taken our votes and our trust that they fulfil their responsibilities to us and always put them before their own.

They are there to find and deliver the solutions to the difficulties in life that we cannot do so ourselves – such as making sure that we all have the basics that we need available.

Instead, we have the wrong politicians. Politicians who are in politics for politics sake. And because they are completely unsuited to what they do, we have a situation where the fat and bloated are getting richer and richer, whilst everyone else has less and less whilst even having their status devalued as those in power play games with what it means to be poor.

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We ALL need bills & interest put on hold and enough money to eat and be clean. Government bullshit about Subsidies, Loans and Grants helping us now or in the long term is simply f**ktarded

March 20, 2020 16 comments

It doesn’t matter if it’s electricity, gas, water, credit card, a loan, a lease, rent, a mortgage, phone, broadband, TV streaming, contract subscriptions of any other kind, or anything else. It is the ceaseless demands of the private, profit-making interests in this Country being allowed to continue sucking money from our pockets that is the real problem people are facing now and will continue to do so long after Coronavirus has been put in its place.

Subsidies, Loans and Grants from the Government make great headlines when politicians are obsessed with how things look. But these hollow actions are giving legitimacy to the continuance of profiteering and endless money making on the part of commercial interests and what we have come to know as ‘the few’. All at a time when there is no longer any excuse for the people we elected to provide opportunities for the usual suspects to carry on making money at our expense, whilst we cannot earn, and as if they are entitled to act, behave and continue doing so like gods.

By allowing the economy to unravel, pretending it can be propped up by giving people the means to pay bills that could otherwise be put on hold so that everyone is in the same position, whilst pushing many people and businesses into what will quickly become unserviceable debt, the Government is initiating a downward spiral for this Country and what should be a robust economy.

The outcomes of this political ineptitude will be far worse for real people and for businesses over the long term than the outcome from the temporary hit that the Government should be taking on our behalf right now.

The pathway that the Chancellor has taken so far indicates that the Johnson Government is either incompetent and doesn’t understand the reality that people like small business owners, Deliveroo riders, people on zero hours contracts and those simply laid off from jobs in cafes and bars face, or they are intentionally using a crisis to assist in shackling all of these people and many more into forms of debt and the emotional bondage that accompanies it, simply so the friends and supporters of the Government can look at the piles of cash that they already have and smile as they start making even more.

Whether deliberate or created by stupidity and ignorance on the part of politicians who should always know better, the situation that this Government is now facilitating for us all will quickly become little more than profiteering from the misery of the many, simply to line the pockets of the few.

No matter what anyone says – whether they are an MP, so-called ‘expert’ or specialist, journalist or anyone else who has fashioned themselves as part of the ‘celebrity cause’, the solutions that the Government are now offering up do not go far enough in just about every way.

The PM, the Chancellor he appointed, the Government and the Politicians around him have the power and therefore the means to do whatever is necessary to help all of us and keep the Country in the best position going forward as it is possible to do so. But that is not going to happen if politicians are misguided by the self-interests and biases of the people and influences around them, rather than the Public at large – which should always be any Governments one and only cause.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures on the part of the people that we have elected to lead us.

This means they must step up, read the situation for what it is in reality for everyone – rather than what they think it might be or what their advisers are telling them – and adopt a much bigger, realistic and worldly view.

Economic thinking is just another set of ideas that become real simply because it is the line that people choose to believe.

Current economic theory is one founded upon the idea that money must be kept flowing at all times, just as if it is a blood supply that cannot ever be stopped. It works and operates on the basis that money and the systems that support its generation and movement are the only important thing.

They are not.

What economists and the people who have been influenced into thinking this way are failing to consider, is there is something far more important than money. That is the people and the communities that we live in. Beyond the thinking and the ideas that the ‘money men’ and their supporters choose to accept, there is most definitely another and very clear way to approach this crisis which is an option.

As such our decision makers are currently making a choice. One that is all about profit or all about them.

It should be people first. Money only when its sensible to return to it thereafter.

To deal effectively with the Coronavirus Crisis and without long term fallout for the many, the economy as it stands can be and should be shut down and stopped from operating in its current form.

Interest accumulation should be halted, and a payment or repayment holiday imposed on everything – whether it is for domestic use or for business – so that EVERYONE is being treated fairly and just the same.

The Government should temporarily renationalise all essential utilities and services – that’s the ones that were sold off and should be in the hands of non-profit making management and ownership anyway – and simply take the steps necessary to underwrite supply to ensure that the essential services the public need are simply provided for the duration of the Crisis without the need for anyone to worry about how they continue to pay.

For the people who have been laid off, have had to stop trading, have had their hours zeroed out or have had their incomes stopped by the Coronavirus Crisis in any way, there should be a basic income provided to cover the costs of food and essential items so that everyone is able to function in their homes and remain clean and healthy in every other way.

To do so would ensure that the people who have been left completely vulnerable and at the mercy of circumstances that they had no part in creating, are able to standstill and most importantly survive at the very least, without anything changing. They will therefore placed in the best situation possible to pick up and return their own lives to normality alongside those of everyone when the Coronavirus Crisis is accepted as being over and what will then become life as usual is once again ready to begin.

For the businesses and the workers who are able to continue working throughout the Crisis, the payment holiday that they will then all inadvertently receive will itself be a bonus and for many of them thanks enough.

Yes, the Government could and should now be doing this.

MPs, Politicians, Government Officers and Advisors must start thinking outside of their very tunnelled and out-of-tune Westminster box.

Just to begin with, these are preventative steps the Government should now take:

  • Ditch the £Multi-Billion plan for Grants, Subsidies, and underwriting Loans
  • Stop Interest payments and accumulation of any kind
  • Stop Loan Repayments 
  • Stop Mortgage Repayments
  • Stop Rent Payments
  • Stop Leasing Payments
  • Stop Utility Bill Payments
  • Stop Phone Payments
  • Stop Broadband Payments
  • Stop TV Streaming Payments
  • Stop Insurance Payments without penalty for any function not in use whilst maintaining ongoing cover for capital value without charge
  • Stop any other form of contract subscription which is non-essential in any form

And a here are some proactive steps that the Government should also begin by taking:

  • Provide a Basic Income to cover the cost of food and essential items for everyone, their dependents, and the people they care for, who has lost their income as a result of the Crisis 
  • Provide a top-up for anyone, their dependents, and the people they care for who’s income has been reduced to a level below that which matches that above
  • Take all former public services that were privatised back into temporary Government control
  • Provide gas, electricity, and water to every household for the duration of the crisis without charge
  • Create legislation that outlaws profiteering or price gauging of any kind, with companies, their directors or the individuals fined heavily or jailed when charged
  • Create legislation that prevents any commercial or private interest seeking compensation or interest of any kind from anyone or any business who has not paid them for the duration of the crisis, in the future at any time.

Setting any of us up to fail in the long term as a result of implementing policies during a time of crisis that have not been through will not be in the best interests of anyone. Least of all the Politicians who are failing us by coming up with such stupidity or lack of foresight in the first place.

Fundamentally, the approach currently being taken is morally as well as practically wrong.

This National Crisis and the future of this Country of ours simply demands thinking from them that is new.

Labour’s plan to impose yet more regulations on business that prioritise wages and employee conditions will help nobody – least of all the employees themselves

October 31, 2019 Leave a comment

GE2019aOne of the most regular topics that people bring up when we discuss politics is an inherent disbelief in the attraction of Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party for many younger people and others who seem to have become intoxicated by the socialist cause.

Sadly, calling people names or making a joke of their beliefs – however much you might question those beliefs yourself – doesn’t actually settle the issue. In fact it can be highly counterproductive and end up doing a lot of damage to your own cause.

Socialism is attractive to younger and idealistic people because everything it stands for is idealistic.

Young people are idealistic by nature, simply because the practicalities of life and reality have not yet got in the way.

There are also many adults who have also been hurt and felt pain from trying to live and make their way in a horrible world that offers very simple and obvious answers to what are actually very complex problems when they are looking around for someone to blame.

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn as their leader have, are and will continue – either by design or through ignorance of the practicalities of the world – to sell solutions to the problems we face that sound very attractive to those looking for the world to be the place that it should be, rather than accepting the world as the place that it actually is.

Idealism, by its nature, doesn’t deal with consequence.

Idealism is an easy tool for cynical politicians to use in their bid to secure power.

Idealism I’m politics peddles the myth that you can simply create perfect outcomes through legislation, whilst overlooking the real outcomes that are guaranteed to come from all the changes that would or will be involved.

One of the policy areas in which Labour have already began playing fast and loose with truth and reality in this General Election campaign, has been with their continuation of their attack on wage levels and zero hours contracts. All without any recognition of what the impact of their idealistic assault on wages would actually involve.

Let me be clear here before I continue. There is no doubt that people in the lowest paid jobs should earn enough – after the tax and contributions that each of us should fairly make – to feed, cloth and home themselves, transport themselves to wherever life requires that they need to be, and that they should be able to do all of this without having to go into any form of debt.

But that is not the result that we will experience from Labour playing politics in this way.

Yes. In this context, a promise to push up wages to a level that appears to reflect a living wage sounds like a great policy – particularly if you are one of the millions of employees currently on about £8 an hour, thinking about what an extra £2 an hour spread out over a week or month in your pay packet would involve.

But what it doesn’t tell you about is what the impact would be on the businesses who employee people who cannot immediately push up their prices to accommodate what would probably be the cost of around at least £100 per week or £433 per month per individual employee.

Most of the businesses involved and impacted by thoughtless policies like these would not be the commercial leviathans that Labour would have us all think.

They are the small and medium sized enterprises run by the self employed, families and perhaps a few partners that form the back bone of UK commercial enterprises.

Businesses that don’t have the impossibly large profit margins that these ignorant politicians think exist within every privately owned company and would in their minds eye make the rise in employee costs very simple to absorb.

The fallout for the businesses which this policy roll-out would impact the most would be the loss of jobs, perhaps even the closure of those very same businesses – whilst pushing all the business they lose or are then unable to service to the very companies that Labour want to destroy with their hate in the first place.

These reckless policies are akin to little more than putting a sticking plaster on a broken leg whilst doing nothing about the cause of the fall.

Yes, we desperately need a Government that can see and respond to the hardship and pain that People are really facing.

But Labour and their socialist idealism aren’t it.

The response from Government needs to be both appropriate and meaningful.

Getting wages to a level where the poorest can be self-sufficient in every way is a much bigger problem than simply paying people more today and then sitting back and watching the usual suspects raise the price of everything in only weeks and months ahead to the point where the wage earner will quickly wonder what or rather who the wage rise was actually for.

The harsh reality and truth underpinning all of our Political Parties today is that none of them are equipped with the policies, philosophy, understanding, motivation or direction to know what having the responsibility of being in government is really there for.

Problems like these are influenced and effected by, and influence and effect many more. They cannot be addressed in isolation and good politicians will appreciate that dealing with any and all of them requires so much more.

These problems will not be solved by clinging to any of the political tribalism or philosophies of the past.

They will not be addressed by the left or by the right and they are certainly not the preserve of the political centre.

In fact, the kind of government that will address and solve all the problems like these is not even on offer in this General Election today.

Until we have top-to-bottom reform of the political system and everything that exists within it, the injustice in our society is simply set to remain.

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