Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Some of the most vocal supporters for Nick Clegg during the Lib-Dem election campaign were students. Many lib-dem constituencies have universities, and this was reflectd by Clegg visiting many uni's and having lots of snaps taken of him standing alongside students and holding his famous pledge to oppose any tuition fee rise.
We know now that Clegg was doing nothing more than electioneering. It's shameful that he was so good as to actually fool so many people. I mean, there's a big difference between Blair making promises in 1997 and not fulfilling all of them, and Clegg's down right lying.
Honestly, we've come to expect misery from the tories, but from a party that champions it's progressive attitude and policies, the self-proclaimed saviours of Britain and British politics... it's kind of sad to see how they really weren't any different. Had it been the case that I was in a liberal-tory marginal, I would have voted Lib-dem, which is what Lord Adonis advocated late in the election campaign, and that means it hurts for me too.
The only good thing to arise from this is that students seem to be finding their voice again. Since the shameful lack of action on the trade union front, students appear to be 'leading the fight' as the guardian puts it.
This is all well and good, if overstated, but students alone isn't enough. Student action needs to increase, and increase by a lot, alongside trade union activity and the population in general.
If we don't act now, then they'll get away with this mutilation of Labour efforts, and I'm not just talking the last 13 years, I'm talking universal benefits, social care, work and pensions. The whole shebang. They're leaving no prisoners.
They're not operating inside of a mandate. The tories didn't achieve a majority. In 1997, Labour's victory was a clear mandate, and the 2001 election was a mandate to 'keep up the good work'. The reduction in seats in 2005 can be largely attributed to the Iraq war and the handling of the whole thing. The point is that neither Cameron nor Clegg came even close to achieving that kind of mandate, so they're acting on ideology (well, the tories are... God knows what drives the 'Liberal' Democrats... either a misguided sense of 'What's best' or more likely power starved) and that's just wrong. The tories are nothing more than the largest minority.
So you're not a student? Why does that mean you can't protest? If we all looked at things from a selfish perspective society would get nowhere, we'd still have the death penalty, corporal punishment in schools, no NHS...the list goes on. the tuition fee battle has taken on the persona of the entire fight against cuts, we need to recognise this. If they win here, they could very well steam roll their way through opposition to other cuts and hikes. If you oppose any aspect of the ConDem coalition government and it's policies, then you need to back the students. I'll barely be affected by the tuition rise, but that doesn't mean I think everyone after me should have to be paying off their fees till they're fifty.
Back the students.
Sunday, 31 October 2010
|'No Pasaran' has been re-adopted by Anti-Fascists such as UAF|
I don't know if any of you saw the videos or news footage of the recent EDL rally in Leicester, but since I live there, I bore witness. I saw their taunting, their rally cries of racist fascism, Nazi-like salutes.... But I also saw communities come together to fight this. Unite Against Fascism, who recently re-envisaged 'No Pasaran' using it in response to the growth of 'English Nationalism' better known as 'Fascists'. People of all religions and colours came together against the EDL en mass to protect themselves as well as places like mosques.
The EDL were violent, and aggressive. Just google it, better yet, search for videos. It really is disgusting what they were like.
With these spending cuts hitting the poorer and working class hardest, to the point of wiping out some local economies and mass unemployment, and the growth in support for nationalism.... I think it's about time Unions gathered, and reorganised to hold strong against a government intent on destroying the working class and a group of (mainly) working class out to institute hatred and fascism. We all need to take a lead out of the international brigades' book and make a bid to combat these Europe wide cuts and Europe wide growth of nationalism - although the EDL has had little success expanding overseas.
No Pasaran.To cuts. To Fascists.
Posted by Tom Greaves at 00:44
Thursday, 21 October 2010
|George Osborne announced the Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday, on top of earlier cuts.|
This 'slash and burn' approach is not the way to run a government. I was under the (perhaps false) impression that our government exists to represent the people and facilitate the needs of the nation by providing services and funding to it's people. It's a brief description, yes, but the no matter how you phrase it, the principal stays the same; Our government is supposed to help, and not hinder, the people both collectively AND individually. It's wrong then, in this view, to simply destroy the lives and livelihoods of individuals and families for 'the greater good'. I'd go as far as to say that there is no circumstance where 'the greater good' can be fully justified. Then again, I'm a leftist, so I would say that. In this case though, the greater good is the idea that if unemployment has to exceed 10% for a few years to reduce the deficit, then so be it.
I already made a brief point in my last post about the national debt and the deficit, and I while do agree that some cuts do need to be implemented to reduce the deficit and eventually get rid of it (over a period of time) I do not think this should be at the cost of millions of people's lives.
£7 billion was slashed from welfare, making it a total of £18 billion from welfare since they entered office on the fateful day of the formation of the coalition, the selling of the Liberal soul. That's not even melodrama. When you promise to cut tuition fees, and raise the support of hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country, then go ahead and double it and in some cases triple it, then actually - thatcounts as selling your soul to the Tory devil.
You can't scale back the welfare state to this degree, then cut 490,000 public sector jobs. You cut from one angle or the other. This pincer motion will result in mass unemployment, mass homelessness and mass general unrest up and down the United Kingdom.
Let me spell it out. Public sector workers already took a pay cut in the form of a pay freeze (inflation devaluing their pay means essentially they're taking a cut in real terms) cutting money to pension schemes whilst the pension age rises (probably up to 70 by the time I'm ready to retire, grim future) and then slashing 490,000 public sector workers, means something, yes something, WILL HAPPEN IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR TOO. Think of all the areas in the private sector that rely, in some way or another, on the public sector. If you're cutting 490,000 public sector workers, then maybe 300,000 (or possibly a lot more) will be cut in the private sector. The cuts made to other departments will result in similar knock on effects, like the department which handles housing, the housing budget has been slashed by over 60%... that's a huge cut!Especially in a time where theres already a housing shortage. Now, with that kind of budget cut, less houses will be built (an estimated 300,000). Less houses being built means less construction contracts and less money going to the construction industry. Which will result in job losses, numbered at around 280,000.
Add that to the expected 100,000 job losses as local councils make mass lay-offs due to funding shortages now.
That's now 1.17 million people added to the unemployment pool.
But again, we have to add to those numbers, this time with mass redundancies made in retail, financing and core industries. Supermarkets and fast food stores will cut staff without batting an eye when they notice their profit margins dropping rapidly as people now relying on state benefits (which have been slashed) find themselves scrimping and scraping (and possibly homeless). As a result of further decline in demand, core industries like steel will again find large scale redundancies, leading to yet more unemployed. The finance sector won't get by either, lack of consumer confidence and general lack of money means they'll be bitten by the cuts bug too. As tuition fees sky rocket, there'll be less young people in higher education, so that's an influx of young people jobless and with inadequate qualifications.
Now, I'm certainly no expert, but you tell me - how is this beneficial?
Friday, 15 October 2010
|Borrowing only became 'a problem' during the global banking crisis in 2008.|
They're not a problem. I'm deadly serious. We don't even need to make cuts, that whole idea is, frankly, bullshit, but as per usual the mainstream tabloid media has sided with the fat cats in Whitehall.
It's not an issues because simply; we can grow our way out of this.
We could switch to the euro as well, that would only help considering how strongly the euro is bouncing back, and if the UK took it up we'd be in an even better situation as that can only serve to strengthen the euro. Arab oil is going to be traded in euro's, not dollars anymore.
We could have just invested further, and we'd grow our way out. After WW2 and the US war loans, we didn't decided to just pay it off in one go did we? No. We paid over time as our economy grew.
When you have a mortgage, you don't pay it off in a single lump sum do you? No. You pay it off over 25 or 30 years.
Same thing applies. We're risking double dip by cutting left, right and centre. There's no justification to cutting university budgets and raising uni fees. They're already removing universal benefits, the most important British advancement since 1945, they're saying this will actually improve things, I think they should cast their minds back to pre-1945 after means tested benefits came in, and the lower-middle class became worse off than the 'poor'.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
So I've devoted most of the text on this blog to bashing the tory party (and rightly so), but once again I find myself discussing the Liberal Democrats.
Not sure how many of you caught Vince Cable's speech today, but I was listening to it intently and he said some pretty important things giving some pretty powerful impressions. First up is that Cable placed himself to the far left of the lib-dem party, knowingly, and second is that both the lib-dem and tory leadership let him. He addressed the hall of people as 'comrades', obviously a poke of fun at his critics who cite him as being too far to the left, but what was vitally important was his very blatant criticisms of capitalism and his pointing out that currently 'competition' is only speeding up the crushing of new and small businesses, counter to right wing claims. But his solution is to correct this and make a fairer and 'more free' market, laissez faire, still a liberal economy, and hardly what Labourites and lefty lib-dems were hoping to hear, but then again, lib-dems are prepared to accept it as gospel.
I haven't fallen for it. I'd like to trust Vince Cable, heck I think he's a brilliant man and would love to see him as a labour minister, but even if this really are his own words - the fact that Dave and Gideon are happy for a major minister to blurt out policies and intentions (sometimes) counter to the official line is evidence enough that Cable is being used as a lib-dem 'leftist outlet' of sorts. It keeps enough of the further left lib-dems happy to let the con-dem's continue their work.
As ingenious as it is, it's also damaging. Damaging to the progressive liberal agenda and damaging to Labour's chances of converting leftist lib-dems.