Archive for the 'Coalition Awfulness' Category

12
May
12

Just don’t spill your gin yet…..

I was very kindly asked by Harry to pen a few thoughts on the whole political field we find ourselves in at this moment in time. I was naturally delighted, and have done my best…

So then, the Queen’s Speech was lacklustre in a legislative manner and has been decried from all corners of the political sphere… This is nothing new. Don’t spill your gin just yet!

Despite this Coalition’s first Queen’s Speech just over 2 years ago to the day – having paved the way for the most vicious Thatcherite parliamentary session this country has had to put up for nearly a hundred years: this one was remarkably unambitious, even by their particularly low standards. It is thus no surprise to see that it had been widely panned across the entire media sphere: irrespective of ideology.

Perennial brown-noser Louise Mensch apart, the criticism of it was universal from left to right. The Daily Mail screamed in anger as to the missing plan for jobs and growth: ‘the I’ were rather polite in noting how it was just “lacklustre”, but its fine columnist Steve Richards then lambasted it as a “ragbag worthy of Blair”. Unlike Redblog’s otherwise fine guest poster Alex Hylan’s take on Blair, I am no New Labour apologist. Personally, they owe the nation, and our party, an apology, for by and large wasting 13 years of possibilities on transforming Britain.

Even as an avid republican, you almost felt sorry for ol’ Liz sat there in her big golden chair as she read out this most incredibly vacuous, hollow and pompous plan – as if she was somehow about to take the blame for it.

The critique of the whole sorry farce that I laughed at most came from all places – of the Economist’s front cover, (courtesy of avid Tory, Sunday Politics regular and George Osborne biographer Janan Ganesh). Dave is stood in hunting gear on the left side – blissfully unaware of the fire behind him. It was poetically captioned “Crisis? What crisis!?”  

Do not mistake this Queen’s speech as a veiled intent of moderation from the coalition’s powers that be; we’ve got more chance of finding Lord Lucan on Shergar than this. Frankly, I’d rather have the latter running the country!

With Labour comfortably clear in the polls, Jeremy Hunt’s head being demanded on a plate, the Leveson inquiry in full pelt, double-dip recession returning for the first time since the 1970s, unemployment being abhorrently high – you’d almost think that the Coalition would be desperate to recapture some of the initiative. After all, as incumbents they have the ultimate advantage of the system, and quasi-authority to boot. It’s yours to lose. Indeed, Britain hasn’t removed a first term government since Ted Heath picked a fight with the miners and lost!

Yet – seemingly: Nero & co are rather too comfortable fiddling whilst Rome burns, and no pathetic Kim Jong-il-esque, stunt in an Essex tractor factory will change that.  With Dave’s texts to Rebecca, (lol!), revealing that he’d long since recognised that the horse had bolted – you’d think that they would try to usher the wee creature back home. Rather: the door has been slammed shut, so should the horse ever wish to return – it wouldn’t get in!

Sympathisers with this current, intolerable mob may point to such fond, cuddly measures as more flexible post-natal parental leave. Indeed, this is admirable: but on its own – fundamentally spineless and pathetic.

Not only is it increasingly unlikely that either, (let alone both!), will have jobs thanks to austerity and ideological neo-liberal libertarian fantasies, but if this is the best a government can do in a year – then it is not worth the urine I wouldn’t release if they were on fire…

As members of the British public, we all ought to mourn this scandal. For our government are indifferent to our plight, and actively worsen it with outrageous fabricated links to the likes of Greece and Ireland. No wonder a rather large slab of Scotland would like to go its own way. Frankly – with Labour up to 43, (Yes – 43!), points clear of the rest of the rabble in the North: it seems a fair few of us would rather join them!

But if I were a Labour strategist – I’d be quietly smirking to myself. Incompetence always trumps whether or not a government is seen as fair or otherwise: but lazy incompetence – which is increasingly becoming the by-word for this Coalition government. Quite right too. The Tories’s own backbenchers increasingly despair, and the civil war at the 1922 Committee is beyond hilarious. A change of government is easier to sell to the public if they believe that the government have been sat on their hands for a large part of the 5 years.

Also, the less damage there is for any future Labour government to reverse – the better. We will have our hands rather full from removing all profit motives and vested interests from the NHS, and returning our public services to anything like acceptable in a civilised society. A jolly full plate you might say.

This all follows an absolutely excellent night for Labour at the local elections – with comfortably north of 800 council seat gains defying all daft targets and demands set on us by the unsympathetic outsiders in hopes that we would fall at the first hurdle. Quite rightly, when Ed M was busy touring the newly-gained councils of Exeter, Southampton & Harlow et al – he was pleased but not complacent. Need I mention William Hague and his baseball cap?

But there is extremely good reason to be optimistic, and nothing that this current coalition of the damned is set on doing, looks like coming close to reversing that. 2015 is a long way away to say the very least, but all lights in the distance look green.

I hate to mimic Neil Kinnock, but onwards to government comrades… Just make sure you don’t mess it up now Ed.

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21
Apr
12

No round up this week, but a ‘toon

Ok, due to essay crises/campaigning/recess we’ve had no round up of the last few weeks, and that continues now but we do have another of @dochackenbush’s ‘photohacks’ so all is well!!

20120421-115649.jpg

30
Mar
12

Round up of the Week 30/3/2012 with 2 Photohacks*!

It has been a week which has swung from the sublimely ridiculous to the abhorrently ridiculous.

We began the week with some fall out from the frustrating but unsurprising “Cash for Cameron” tory donation scandal.. This means we can have our first amazing “photohack*” from the venerable @DocHackenbush!

…after that, there isn’t much more we really need to say on that subject.

 

The fallout from the Budget got a really silly this week when this became the week twitter went #pastytax mad! It turns out there is a change in the budget that means heated snack items are now subject to a tax, which means both leading Tories were asked when they last ate a pasty.. the answer seems to be “errr do caviar aperitifs count?”

This meant Labour wasted no time in running to a pasty and tweeting pictures of them eating the cornish delicacies.. oh dear oh dear. With this and the Tory donors story, Cameron is panicking…

 

More bad news for the government involved Francis Maude pissing off firemen (fire officers?), worrying the public and entertaining the rest of us by suggesting we each keep a Jerry Can of petrol in our garage in case of a tanker-driver’s strike…

 

All in all pretty bad for the Government this week with labour being able to capitalise..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, however, this man became an MP again rather than an incredibly well qualified labour candidate..

 

 

 

A very strange week in politics, we’ll blog about the last piece of news more next week…

Have a more settled weekend, and thanks to @DocHackenbush for his Photohacks*!

 

 

HB

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*photohack is our new name for the Doc’s creations as cartoons don’t do them justice!

23
Mar
12

A brief round up of the week and a CARTOON!

We’ve decided this is not a week those on our side of the political spectrum will want to dwell on. With the Destruction of the NHS in the form of the Health and Social care Bill, and a budget FOR millionaires and BY millionaires, lets just all try not to get to upset and instead get angry and get the Tory-led government out of office at the earliest opportunity. The hard work starts now…

We need cheering up so here is great Cartoon (hopefully the first of many) from the awesomely talented @DocHackenbush!

20
Feb
12

Homelessness – The shadows grow longer under this Government. A guest post from Richard Brooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hubert Humphrey, the ‘Happy Warrior’ who championed liberal causes across a vast swathe of the 20th century, once said that “The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.”

It would now be appropriate to list, in descending order, alphabetically and in a pavlovian manner, all the things which I believe this Coalition government is doing to increase poverty, inequality and suffering in Britain, today. Needless to say, I don’t have that sort of time – no one does – so instead I will focus on something particularly close to my heart, and an issue that Hull University Labour Club have been working on recently.

Homelessness is an issue that is so big, and so permanent, that it is hard not to be overwhelmed by it. It casts a shadow as large as the sun’s over our prosperous society, so people choose to stay inside. But you can’t hide forever, you have things to do, a life. When you do venture outside, there the shadow is; huddled in the shop doorway, hiding from the cold in cafe or walking past you in the street. This is homelessness in the United Kingdom, in 2012, shamefully invisible. How do you destroy something that you can not see?

One of the main problems with tackling homelessness, is that there is a severe dearth of information about it in general knowledge; much of it self imposed. It is our society’s hidden shame. Crisis, the U.K’s leading charity for single homeless people, estimate that there are around 400,000 hidden homeless people at any one given time in the United Kingdom, right now. How can such a large number of people, so obviously in desperate need of society’s help, escape our attention? Another huge problem is defining who exactly needs that help.

It’s a simple problem, but a serious one. What homelessness ‘is’ has different connotations, depending on who you ask. Shelter define Homelessness as ‘not having a home – most people who are homeless don’t sleep on the street. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. This is because you may not have any rights to stay where you live or your home might be unsuitable for you due to severe overcrowding or other reasons.” This is not how most of the population define ‘being homeless’.

Even if the extent of the problem is acknowledged, the homeless community are stigmatised and prejudiced against in wider society. They are often labelled as drug using layabouts, who bring their problems upon themselves. These wild accusations are neither true, nor fair. The idea that the homeless population are a sub-set of society, different to me or you, is a fantasy at best, and at worst, something far more sinister. A recent survey showed that 1 in 4 people have a serious fear of losing their home. Millions of people are genuinely afraid of being forced out of their homes. This is no way to live.

Due to the shocking nature of these statistics, the sheer scale in number of those affected, it would be foolish to not assume that a government priority would be to tackle this shameful situation. Consider yourself a fellow fool, as this Government’s current actions seem to be indicating the exact opposite.

The fact of the matter is, that this Tory-Led Coalition are assailing the most vulnerable in society, in a three- pronged attack unseen since the British invasion of Canada in 1760.

Firstly, they choke off any form of economic growth with their deficit reduction plan which results in a huge rise in unemployment, especially for the young. This means that far more people have to rely on the the benefit system, which is then promptly ‘reformed’ so that the only safety net for many people is taken away. If the worst should happen, and people do find themselves in abject poverty or even homeless, their rights are threatened – through measures such as the criminalisation of squatting – or the services designed to help them are no longer operating, due to withdrawal in funding. These actions are morally reprehensible and shows an almost herculean level of callousness.

To you, I say this – this Conservative led Government has failed this test of morality disastrously, for the ill of millions of people across the United Kingdom. Homelessness – in all its forms – is unacceptable in the 21st Century, especially in a country as prosperous and developed as the United Kingdom. But this government’s policies are making the situation worse, not better.

The real deficit here – is not of one of government expenditure, but one of a lack of common human decency, and respect for our fellow man.  I too, long for the day, when the books are balanced.

Richard Brooks is a nineteen year old politics student and has been an active campaigner for several years. He is the Campaigns Officer for Hull University Labour, leading their HomeLESS campaign. He enjoys Being Human, lasagne & Escalators. 

13
Feb
12

3 Policies for a better Britain…

We’re all quite depressed right now aren’t we? The Coalition are ruining our country. Cheer yourself up! what policies would you put in if you were in government? These are just three of mine…

Nationalised railways

It has become abundantly clear over the last decade that the privatisation of the railways and more crucially the way in which this was done, has resulted in the UK having a overly complex, overly wasteful and completely unaccountable rail system where the public purse  pays for the vast majority of the investment and the private companies reap the rewards.

Whilst I welcome the Government increasing the lengths of franchises in order that private companies will hopefully invest more, I do not believe that this companies can truly be relied on to do so as the increasing overcrowding, increasing ticket prices and increasing overall dissatisfaction in the railways shows that profit is clearly the only aim of these companies and they know people will still use the railways so long a they do eventually get them from A to B.

Clearly the simplest solution is to nationalise the railways (at least initially) in order to secure the accountability that is lacking so much currently. it is obvious that a situation where the track, rolling stoke and stations are owned by different companies is incredibly problematic and only solution seems to be to nationalise. when my train is late I currently have three entities who may be to blame; the train company? is it transpenine’s fault for not building a correct timetable around passengers (or customers which we are now referred to), is it the track maintenance? is Network Rail to blame? Or is it the company that runs a station for a particular bottleneck at a particular time?.

With a nationalised system the blame game, which now costs the railways an extortionate amount, is ended. British Rail would also not have to negotiate with different companies to run an improvement program or create a timetable or fix problems in the system. British Rail should be re- created as a unified body with the sole aim of improving the passengers experience. No longer should the taxpayer be pitted against the rail passenger as they are all to often one and the same, increase the standard of transport and you perform a vital service for both.

Robin hood tax

I can’t explain this better than Bill…

for more information click here.

National living wage

For some time in the uk there has been an argument about benefits. There is agreement (not always a universal agreement) that often the benefits system does not result in an adequate incentive to go back into employment as often wages can be worth less than the benefits one can derive from not working. It seems to this humble observer that the left and right both pose plausible resolutions to this situation, but that the left’s solution is superior by virtue of its moral worth.

The Conservatives (as well as many of their lib-dem) lapdogs seem intent on what is essentially a race to the bottom with benefits being lowered and given to less people in order to effectively force them to work for whatever wage they can get with the only alternative being destitution.

Labour’s introduction of a minimum wage reversed this and set in play a race to the top. The problem now is people are again arguing that benefits are too high and don’t act as an incentive to work. The next and only logical step is to introduce a Living Wage. The Living wage is currently calculated at £7.20 per hour outside london and £8.30 per hour in London and is aimed to let “every worker in the country…earn enough to provide their family with the essentials of life.” (more information can be found here).

One very important caveat, however, is that, small businesses must be given as much help as possible to be able to afford such wage.

HB
12
Jan
12

Prime Minister’s Questions…

Above is a video of yesterday’s PMQs…

We think that this was a success for Ed Miliband and this is why…

Ed’s questions resonated with ordinary people

We had questions on train fares, after peoples’ frustration was clear with the most recent rise. This prompted a long disagreement regarding who did what with Cameron half admitting Miliband was correct by the end. (We particularly liked the way Miliband pronounces “wrongue”)…The More Ed frustrated Cameron, the more ‘Flashman’ (the part of the PM we see when he turns bright red and his neck expands to fill the commons chamber) came out. Ed also mentioned the clear fact that the money was going to increase profits for companies rather than increased rail investments.

We also saw angry Ed yesterday; with Miliband showing how his irritation mirrors that of people up and down the UK.

Luciana Berger showed her fight as well yesterday asking about the adoption on Labour’s ‘cheapest energy tariff for the old’ policy. Cameron’s avoidance of the question again showing his weakness and anger.

It wasn’t just punch and judy though. Ed’s Second set of question showed his support for the union of the UK. On a side note, does anyone else HATE when Cameron uses the word “separatists’? It sounds like something from star wars.

It was clear to see that whilst Cameron was using slogans and words like “neverendums”, Miliband was a lot more statesmanlike, showing calmly setting out the case for the union.

On the whole, from yesterday’s PMQs it is clear to see that Ed is getting better at this and Cameron is getting, well, angrier…

HB