Universal Credit cut goes ahead.

Moving the same people around shows the sheer lack of talent and for Johnson rewarding loyalty is more important than any discernible competence. Musical chairs. Moving people around who are useless whilst getting rid of a few you’d never heard of.

The whole thing was a timed distraction as drooling establishment journalists pored over who was in and who was out in varying states of euphoria depending on who was losing a trusted source and who’s had survived. It was timed to distract from the biggest cut to social security in British History and it worked – the intended cut to Universal Credit being voted through that evening was by and large even on social media, buried.

The Tories intended cut to Universal Credit, what they are terming the withdrawal of the uplift was passed last night. £1040 a year taken away from the poorest, often working households given this extra money to help with the additional costs of the COVID crisis. It came in in March of last year and has helped keep many afloat with children at home, work uncertainty and of course the uncertainty of whether or not you’d contract the virus and need to isolate. It is another evidenceless act of cruelty from Johnson’s regime that they’ve done this, but for him it probably brings back happy Bullingdon memories of burning £50 notes in the faces of the homeless – here he’s been able to burn a virtual twenty in the face of 5.5 million families every single week. I’m sure he’ll sleep like a baby at night.

The fact is the COVID crisis is still ongoing as much as Johnson might wish to pretend its not. So much stock has been put in a vaccine that loses efficacy over the course of several months that he feel the country can get back to normal and keep on opening up, ignoring the fact 200 people died yesterday alone and those figures, along with hospitalisations and positive cases are on the rise too as we head into a winter period, so where is the justification on withdrawing this money? Need to pay off those ministers you actually sacked? £17,000 a piece they get, 17 families worth of annual Universal Credit uplift each and many of them have just moved to a new post just to rub salt in the wounds.

Its not like this is the first instance of the Tories doing away with restrictions that make no sense either. The most vulnerable were required to shield for the longest time and then this was again, completely done away with overnight, so much stock being placed in that vaccine. When double vaccinated people are losing their lives still because the vaccine was never 100% effective and always needed to be taken in conjunction with other social mitigations, its little wonder despite the good the vaccine is capable of, we’re still seeing rising cases. All this the poorest families, 40% of whom are working already, so seeking more work may not be a solution, are having to deal with on worse incomes.

The UN special rapporteur on poverty has also implied that human rights law may have been broken to force this through. I’m sure Johnson will get human rights hater, now the new justice secretary Dominic ‘Afghanistan can wait, I’m off for a swim in the closed sea’ Raab to fix that little detail given half a chance, but it is damning that once again we’ve been seen to flout our human rights obligations and to be doing so against our own people and over social security. Previously it was people like the original minister for death Iain Duncan Smith the UN were getting heated with, but this cut is so bad Smith had actually spoken out against it himself!

But the very fact the UN have attacked the Tories over regressive cuts to the poorest incomes, particularly while not asking the rich to pay more shouldn’t give anyone any hope that that’ll change anything. Somebody would have to be willing to take the UK government to an international court of law over it and so far nobody has seemed very willing. Not when we were an EU member for example certainly not now that we’re out.

The fact is the uplift, entirely spent within the economy, helping to support it, made all the difference. Thousands more people now face the choice between heating and eating. The reliance on foodbanks is going to increase significantly as Energy bills are due to rise by an average of £139 per year this winter. As I mentioned before 40% of Universal Credit claimants are in work and many of those face that National Insurance tax increase as well as this cut and rising energy bills. A Trussell Trust survey has indicated that 20% of Universal Credit claimants, that’s 1.2 million people expect they’ll have to skip meals and fractionally more, 1.3 million say they will not be able to afford to heat their homes and perversely it’ll be mostly those in the colder north of the country disproportionately affected by this. All whilst we’re still in the COVID crisis! Another 900,000 are expected to rely on foodbanks to help feed them as well. All so the richest and most able don’t have to pay a penny more, though some have said they’d be prepared to. Fact is, Johnson isn’t prepared to let them or make them. It’s the poor, non-Tory voting ordinary working classes being oppressed again, by an Old Etonian born with a silver spoon. It is class war, make no mistake about it.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Labour Party suspension of Young Labour Chair jumps the shark.

The Labour Party has truly demonstrated what an utter cesspit it has become under Keir Starmer and David Evans in the wake of so many suspension letters being sent out, often at a ridiculous hour, midnight or 1am, designed to cause maximum distress to people unable to act at that time, or to start their day with. Young Labour chair Jess Barnard was one such recipient, a fantastic advocate for the party, someone who genuinely wants to make a difference, someone who has a particular interest in mental health awareness and has spoken of her own struggles publicly. So what did Labour do? Chose to send her a suspension letter at 1am in the morning on Suicide Prevention Day for, of all things, standing AGAINST transphobia.

The Labour Party has become a regime of diktat under the current leadership, flouting the rulebook in order to impose orders to not discuss certain topics, block no confidence motions in the leadership, block solidarity motions with some of those already suspended and meting out suspensions for the most ridiculous reasons, such as those given against people who had ever had anything to do with proscribed groups at a time before they were proscribed, leaving the Party open to legal challenges as it has. You’d think given Starmer, as he always likes to remind us being the former Director of Public Prosecutions, he’d know when he’s doing something legally stupid, but perhaps he, or Evans really don’t care as long as they can keep purging socialists, keep driving more members away, so the party, in as dire a state as it is, remains in their control. Above all else, this is about control.

So it is that we come to Jess Barnard, the elected Chair of Young Labour, the representative body within the Labour Party to represent members below the age of 27 – a weird figure, but there we go – who has herself been targeted for suspension.

Jess has found herself on the wrong side of the Labour leadership, but hasn’t let that stop her from doing what she feels is right and that means highlighting causes the leadership would rather not and it has invited pile-ons from right wing supporters of the Labour leadership, most recently for inviting the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to speak at the Young Labour event at Labour Conference.

She’s also found herself on the wrong side of the right wing press with Murdoch Times scribbler Oliver Kamm going as far as to derangedly accuse Barnard of wanting a second holocaust for Young Labour’s advocacy of Palestinian rights. Thankfully, there are journalists out there who will write factually, such as the Skwawkbox, who has covered this story in detail. No support from the Labour leadership whatsoever, they’d already cancelled Young Labour’s rulebook mandated Conference of their own, so you can see how much regard the leadership have for young members – about as much as they have for members full stop. This Labour leadership would rather have rich donors.

However at 1am in the morning of Friday the 10th of September, she found herself presented with a suspension letter for challenging transphobia – I repeat, she was challenging it. Not defending it. It is indefensible to defend hate speech of any form after all, identifying as trans is a protected characteristic, but that is not what Jess Barnard was doing and was not what she’d been issued with a suspension letter for. She was challenging transphobia in a twitter exchange with a right wing Labour Councillor and had been issued with a suspension letter for it. It was on Friday. Suicide Prevention Day. Often such letters, knowing they cause significant distress, particularly to long time members are supplied with contact details for the Samaritans. I don’t know if that was the case with Jess, but my goodness, can you imagine if anyone sent suspension letters that day was?

Here are the tweets in question, where Jess makes reference to TERF’s, an acronym standing for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, emphasis should be on the first two words since as I said before, identifying as trans is protected in law. I also fail to see what is so feminist about behaving this way towards such people either. The label fits the behaviour, Jess had done nothing wrong, in fact if its not obvious in the first tweet it is with the exchange with the councillor where she is clearly defending the rights of trans people and not attacking them.

To her credit, Jess went straight to the NEC and also got her legal team involved. Lo and behold, later that day the suspension order was rescinded. The claim from the Party is that this was sent in error, but the Communication Worker’s Union General Secretary Dave Ward hit the nail on the head when he sent a tweet saying the Labour Party disputes process is in disarray. It is not an error to hunt through somebody’s tweets, compile an investigation document, attach it and send it. This is clearly factional and wrong.

Of course he’s right, a fair amount of work goes into investigating anyone to the point a suspension is warranted, but you get the feeling they’re being doled out like sweets, especially when they’re being sent out for standing up for a protected characteristic! Are we the Transphobe Party now? It’d be good to get a statement from Starmer on this, but he’s been too busy tweeting about tennis to show interest in this or show Young Labour’s top representative an ounce of solidarity.

It had been suggested that all of this was the work of a rogue senior official with a vendetta against Barnard, but again, the work involved shows that is a risible, weaselly excuse. She was targeted for her beliefs, which are not in keeping with the current leadership even if they are in keeping with the party ethos and she’s not alone. Another example publicised in Evolve Politics this morning shows a Labour member, who shared one of that publications tweets relating to supporting a 4 day working week and championing free broadband has been suspended on the basis that they’ve shared racist content. Free broadband isn’t a protected characteristic last time I looked and I’ve yet to meet someone who self identifies as broadband who might be offended! Something has got to give and with Labour Conference just around the corner, things may well be explosive. A lot of hurt and upset is being caused by these often hilariously stupid suspensions, that sadly the people affected do not find funny at all. Exposed for being based on absolute idiocy, on factional vengefulness as they have in this and many other instances is incredibly damaging to the party’s reputation, its electability and we need a change. That change has to come from the very top.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Can migrants be sent back to France by Priti Patel?

Can migrants arriving in the UK, or attempting to get here be sent back to France? Priti Patel the home secretary, who’s favourite nursery rhyme is ‘I’m a little despot, short and stout’ seems to think so. Does she honestly ever bang on about anything else? Well I’ve got some news for her, since incredibly, she doesn’t seem to know, or rather her own inbuilt dislike of people fleeing warzones or poverty appears to dominate her thinking.

Firstly, referring to these people who may be trying to get to the UK as all being ‘migrants’ is a media spin tactic and one Patel embraces, since it implies these people do not need to be here, they just want to come here, no doubt to ‘steal our jobs’, or other common refrains to that effect. I had no idea Brexit was a migrant! It is racist baiting rhetoric from racist right wing sources and that should be condemned by anyone with an ounce of sense.

The fact is these people may be coming here for a whole host of reasons, but put yourself in their shoes for one moment and imagine how desperate their plight may well be, if they’re prepared to try and cross the channel from France to try and find a better life for themselves, particularly if its families with young children. We’ve all seen the pictures of rescues at sea, we’ve all seen the horrific images of when these crossings go tragically wrong, so just think about that. A great many of these so-called migrants are in fact refugees and that’s a major, but often omitted difference.

Now sorting out refugees from migrants happens when these people arrive and seek asylum. Nobody can be turned away when they apply for asylum it is law that they have every right to remain here whilst their application is reviewed. Sadly under the Tory regime we are enduring, they’re not doing a great job of this. We are not supposed to send people back to unsafe destinations, yet it happens. For years, the Tories have been sending people back to Afghanistan under the pretext it was safe, when actually it was only under occupation by Western forces. How did that work out?

While the rest of the world takes tens of thousands of legitimate refugees from there now, we’re only taking 5,000 a year over the next 4-5 years. How I wonder will those in the years long queue to come here survive in the meantime? We said the same thing over Syria, Theresa May as Home Secretary pledged to take 20,000 Syrians over 5 years too. Target was missed and government attitudes have not changed, in fact they’ve only hardened further. Every legal means of coming here to seek asylum have been removed, so whilst the Tories can do nothing about international law regarding people seeking asylum once here, they’ll make it as difficult as possible to get here to start with. and so we come to that question of France.

Can we turn people around and send them back to France? The answer is no. I’ll repeat that again for the serially inept Tory MP Helen Whately who was doing the media rounds on this this morning, the answer is no. It is a violation of international maritime law – if you find someone in trouble, you have to rescue them. Can you order them to turn around? Not if it is unsafe to do so and when many of these people are arriving in small boats and dinghies, attempting to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, it is beyond doubt that they are in danger and should be rescued. Our rescue services can only bring them here, the RNLI for example, so it is dependent upon who exactly rescues such people as to where they end up taken.

Now when it comes to Priti Patel, she’s got serious form for this. She’s already attacked the RNLI for daring to rescue people and has threatened them with legal action if they don’t stop rescuing people and bringing them back here. It is their remit, they will not leave people at sea to die no matter how much she might want that and fair play to them – her attack on them led to a massive upsurge in donations to the RNLI, which operates as a charity and I’m sure such donations were indeed very welcome.

Nonetheless, Patel as recently as July paid the French £55m to increase their border patrols to stop people leaving France and heading here. With the best will in the world however, we’re talking massive stretches of coastline on both sides and you simply won’t catch them all. Sure there’s a safety aspect to stopping them leaving, if they can be stopped for their own safety they should, but it is impossible to stop the most determined from trying again and some will inevitably make it. Of course if this country provided a legitimate means of coming here to seek asylum, they wouldn’t need to take such desperate measures, so perhaps think on that as you ponder the realisation Priti Patel would rather throw tens of millions of pounds at the French to stop tiny boats leaving France, typically at night, often overcrowded, rather than provide a safe route to asylum.

Of course the other concern is that if you want to return people to France, you kind of need France’s permission to do so. They’ve refused. They won’t enable Patel to violate maritime law or endanger lives, as our border force are instructed to actually turn boats around. Our government would face legal action if they did so, so much as once.

Priti Patel has a problem with migrants. It never ceases to amaze me that her own parents came here as refugees in the 70’s from Uganda, that she has such a hardline stance against anyone wishing to come here and seek asylum from another country. The fact is her desire to turn boats around would be illegal, France will never accept these people back anyway in order to safeguard their lives, something our government refuses to prioritise. The RNLI thankfully will and it remains to be seen if Patel follows through on threats to target them for doing so. Anyone once here can claim asylum, it is for them to make their case for that, with the odds stacked against them even if they’re fleeing a warzone, such is the state of that system under the Tories. Our government are spreading racist, divisive rhetoric and desperate people fleeing goodness knows what shouldn’t be scapegoated by despotic little madams like Patel, or anyone else.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

The National Insurance Lie: A Tax on Work not Wealth.

A manifesto is a roadmap for how a political party wants to run the country during the next parliament. It is their mandate to rule. However, we’ve seen it before and we’ve seen it again now, these promises, these manifesto pledges are not binding. They should be, they are what gives a governing party legitimacy, but having broken 3 of his manifesto pledges in one day, and inflicted more hardship on low paid workers rather than taxing the rich, Boris Johnson’s government should no longer be legitimate as they seek to tax work instead of wealth.

Is he going to call a General Election now that he’s shredded his mandate to run the country? Of course not, Boris Johnson has a massive majority and can do what he likes, however the question of breaking manifesto pledges is a big deal because it means he lied to the country in order to get elected. It’s not like Keir Starmer can exactly force the matter on that point either, given that he lied to the Labour Party to get elected leader himself, his 10 pledges have long been ditched and he’s done nothing but attack his own party, but he’s also failed to offer any alternatives and again that’s the case here, crowing that the Tories can no longer call themselves the low tax party, but failing to offer a plan of his own, not even to tax the wealthy, which, ironically, even the wealthy are calling for! It’s pathetic and the public will warm to him no more over this, than they have over anything else.

The attack on National Insurance is a vile one. The Tories promised it would not be raised and they’ve done it anyway. Work is the route out of poverty they’ve said for years, a lie as it was then, but now its even more dishonest, as they tax work instead of wealth. Johnson might well be blaming the pandemic for needing to do this, but when his plans will bring in and estimated £36bn, most of which is going to the NHS in actual fact, not social care, so it doesn’t even fix the social care crisis anyway, you can’t help but think hang on, Test and Trace cost £37bn – you didn’t put up any taxes to pay for that? and you’d be right, because taxation to pay for stuff is a myth when we as a sovereign country with our own currency can print however much cash we need for whatever we need it for. That is exactly how test and trace was paid for – numbers typed into a spreadsheet – magic! You start being charged national insurance before you even start paying income tax, meaning the lowest paid and often that means the youngest workers on the most rubbish of minimum wage are getting clobbered by this. These are people scraping by, many won’t even be able to do that, relying on foodbanks and working to earn their poverty and not working their way out of it as so many Tory mouthpieces have promised before. Now even more will be affected adversely. The money they spend goes straight into the economy as they spend what they get on food, on utilities, on essentials all the things which keep our economy going unlike the wealthy who just hoard their wealth, which does absolutely nothing to help the economy. By removing some of what little cash they have, it reduces their spending power and is harmful to the economy, this is why so many have said this national insurance rise will actually damage the economy – reducing spending power shrinks the economy, we have to spend for it to grow. Further compounding this will be the withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit Uplift, Energy bills set to rise £139 a year, furlough ending combined with COVID spiking which we know will disrupt work, we’ve seen it before now so things are looking very scary indeed for those on the lowest incomes. National Insurance is also only paid on earnings and profits as well so anyone making money from annuities, investments, or property rental evades it completely, along with anybody on whatever wage still working past retirement age. Anyone earning over £50K only pays 2% national insurance instead of 12% as well! It is a wicked tax, unfair on so many levels that amounts to an assault on the poor and the young and this 1.25% hike makes it even worse.

It could’ve been so different, but the way to pay for this is to hit those with the broadest shoulders and when UK billionaires have added more than £100bn to their wealth in the last year, why can they not foot the bill? Many are calling for it! One third of what they’ve added to their wealth in the last year would raise what Johnson is projecting, it doesn’t even have to touch what they had before, so why can they not pay it? As it stands 2.5 million households look set to lose an average of £1,290 a year in the next tax year. All families that can most ill afford it. It is a depraved move by bottom feeding, money grabbing, big bucks worshipping maggots for whom greed is their God and the wealthy shielded from paying their share.

A 10% tax on the wealth of everyone who has more than £100m would raise £69bn – is that not fairer? It legitimately would fix social care as well as inject more cash into the NHS though it remains to be seen if it’s the NHS or private contractors running former NHS services who actually benefit. Why are the poor having to pay for the rich? Why is work being taxed instead of wealth? There is no other way of viewing this and the Tories are prepared to betray their voters, betray their mandate to rule to do it.

But it’s not even the only example of pledge breaking that day. By apparently having to do this to pay for social care, Johnson’s manifesto commitment to a plan for social care during the 2019 election campaign has been proven to be a lie.

If pensioners who wouldn’t be hit by the National Insurance clobbering thought they were protected, they’d be wrong as Johnson has decided to scrap the pensions triple lock for a year. Anyone really think it’ll ever be put back into place? Only right before the next election as a sweetener, you can bet on it, that or a promise to reinstate it, but why honestly would you trust a Tory manifesto ever again after this?

How about after you have to sell your house to pay for social care? Yes, even with all these cuts, all these shattered promises, you’ll still have to stump up up to £86K to pay towards your social care. The Tories promised nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for social care, but who has that kind of cash not locked up in their homes? £86K is a cap on costs and kicks in after the first £100K of a homes value, but when the remainder of the property value is divided up as an inheritance, a wealthy homeowner sat in a half million pound property is going to leave a damn sight more to their family than the owner of a house somewhere in the red wall who’ll leave scarcely anything behind at all. Again, it’s war on the poor, it’s a class war. Protect the wealthy, guard their wealth, hammer the poor, they either don’t vote for us or don’t vote at all anyway. The poorest people across the board are paying so the richest don’t have to. This is what happens when you elect an elitist fool without the faintest idea of what life is like for ordinary families, not that he’d give a damn if he did, he only thinks of himself after all. Johnson doesn’t give a damn that he’s broken so many promises and wrecked his mandate, he is a serial liar that couldn’t lie straight in bed and anyone believing a word he says is a fool. The question now is, are we going to just take it, or are we going to do something about it?

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

October Lockdown: Blame the Tories not the NHS!

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister and seemingly Boris Johnson’s go-to guy to promote whatever twaddle he wants broadcasting on the days news programs has said that an October firebreak – another lockdown in other words might be needed if the vaccine booster rollout is not done well – as ever with Zahawi you have to read between the lines.

The booster rollout, as with the vaccine rollout is being overseen by the NHS, so guess who will cop the blame?

While COVID restrictions have been all but completely done away with in schools, the biggest vectors of transmission, Nadhim Zahawi implies it’ll be booster jab failures, not their stupidity in lifting restrictions that’ll be to blame. They’re going to scapegoat the NHS if we let them.

Now it should be said the department of education, led by former fireguard salesman and professional stupid boy Gavin Williamson have said this isn’t true, that they are not planning a firebreak around the October half-term, but given it’s the Tories we’re talking about here, I’d read that as needing a firebreak sooner than that, I’ll give it 4 weeks after all schools have reopened as they will have by the end of this week.

We have had over the course of this pandemic, a need to wear masks, a need to social distance, a need for contact tracing, a need for isolation, a need to support families at home from work and from school to reduce the spread of the virus, an acknowledgement eventually that this virus is airborne, a need for those who’s health makes them particularly vulnerable to shield and of course the vaccine rollout, yet what we have now is a return to the point before we acknowledged the airborne transmissibility of the virus, we’re back to hand washing, of catching coughs and sneezes, shielding went ages ago, support to stay at home from work ends at the end of the month, families are being threatened with all sorts to coerce their children back to school, despite no need for masks, no contact tracing, no bubbles, no social distancing, at this moment in time, still no news on vaccinations from the government,  nothing. You will get notified if your kids class has a nits outbreak but not a COVID outbreak, there is only one logical conclusion to draw from this and that is the determination of this government to intentionally infect our kids. Herd immunity is still order of the day despite 18 months of absolute failure. The Good Law Project have recently stated that the department of education could be in breach of the law over this, I should think they damn well were.

Already as not all schools have returned over 41,000 new cases have been reported just yesterday along with nearly 1,000 new hospitalisations and over the last week we’ve seen nearly 800 deaths. Johnson recently said 1000 deaths a week was acceptable to him to open the country up, a man who apparently almost died of this virus himself does not care if you or a member of your family dies instead. What is he keeping the country open for? In who’s interest is the country being run for if we are so expendable to him? Clearly it isn’t being run in the interests of the people.

The danger with continuing on this self destructive path is that people will get fed up with it. Already on social media the voices saying we won’t do it, no more lockdowns, we must resist this, we must disobey, are getting louder and louder, cheered on by the typically odious far-right blue-tick mouthpieces that always seem to get involved with such behaviour. The longer the government fails to take a realistic stance on this, the harder its going to be to enforce it, until it becomes unenforceable and things become catastrophic.

As for the booster rollout, it has emerged recently that the protections offered by the vaccine’s wanes with time, with a worst case scenario of falling to just 50% efficacy in those vaccinated first, the elderly, by the time winter gets here, hence the need for boosters. How often are we going to need boosters? As new variants consistently keep appearing, how will they impact the booster rollout? By the time you roll out boosters to younger people, will older people need doing again? How will the NHS keep up with this, when its underfunded and understaffed as it is? Which brings us conveniently back to Nadhim Zahawi’s not so veiled finger pointing – in all likelihood they won’t be able to with the schools reopening with no mitigations driving the next COVID spike. The Tories will again point at the NHS as unfit for purpose – bear in mind the massive success of the initial vaccine rollout was down to the NHS – they’ll bring in more private firms and make a convenient scapegoat of them, aided and abetted by their friendly media outlets.

We’re facing another COVID lockdown. It’ll be driven by the schools having reopened with little to no mitigations worth their salt, the government having done nothing to make them safer all summer either and the onus will be put on the NHS to rollout boosters as the perceived pushback against what is going to come from their incompetence. Vaccination on its own without other mitigations isn’t enough. The NHS is being set up, don’t fall for it.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

National Insurance rise to pay for social care persecutes the youngest and poorest.

So Boris Johnson is proposing a National Insurance rise to pay for social care. Now as a Socialist I’m certainly not against higher taxation to cover necessary costs, things any of us may rely on in the future, but who is actually paying here and more importantly, who isn’t?

The Tories plan to raise National Insurance to pay for the increasing cost of social care according to numerous reports and to do so they’d be breaking not one but two manifesto commitments they made going into the 2019 General Election. Not only were National Insurance increases ruled out, but they clearly stated they had a plan for social care at the time, a plan Boris Johnson had refused to set out then, has refused to set out for 2 years now – the utter waste of oxygen stood on the steps of Downing Street after election and repeated the lie that he’d fix social care and probably pissed himself laughing after the door closed – and with this latest announcement it would seem that this social care plan really was a pack of lies from a career liar.

So they’ve broken a pledge or two, big deal you might think, I’m busy, I haven’t time to be worried about you and your leftish whinging because social care needs paying for after all and you’d be right, it does need paying however the fact the Tories will say stuff to get elected and then not mean it should be a concern to us all, that manifesto pledges are not binding is a big problem in the UK, because it betrays trust, wrecks faith in our electoral system, is acting in bad faith on the part of those doing it, and ends up promoting apathy amongst voters which is bad for democracy. But y’know, you’re busy! They’re busy too, rigging the system against you and there’s more coming down the road! But I’m not going to get into those particular issues here and now, the issue I’m going to focus on here is social care needs to be paid for and this is how the Tories are thinking of finally doing it, unless of course they don’t and just use the money for something else, that trust issue, it doesn’t just go away. Now many of you will be familiar with the fact that National Insurance Contributions show up on your payslip along with income tax and these are both deductions you pay anyway. Many of you might not begrudge paying a bit more and yes, I would agree with that, however the choice to charge more national insurance and not more income tax is a relevant one because of who it actually affects.

National Insurance is paid by businesses, the self-employed and employees who earn over £9,568 a year and it goes to pay for certain social security benefits like state pensions, statutory sick pay, maternity leave and gives you an entitlement to additional unemployment benefits should you need them, its supposedly an insurance policy against ill health and falling on hard times, hence the name, but it is basically just another tax. Now £9,568 a year is not a lot, you start paying National Insurance when you could be earning as little as £797 a month, a really low wage and that matters if you’re going to be asked to pay more of it to pay for Social Care, all while your energy bills are rising, your rent is rising, food prices are rising if you can actually find what you want these days and now they want to hit you with this too! They really do hate the poor. If you’re self employed it’s even worse, you start paying National Insurance on profits of just £6,515 a year – £540 a month! Now Income Tax on the other hand doesn’t start to be charged until you’re earning £12,570 a year, so you can see this National Insurance hike would be targeting the very poorest paid people in the country, hardly the sort of people you imagine that should be paying extra for social care in a fair society, they’re scraping just to get by and finding it harder by the day. Now because it goes to pay for your state pension, when you reach state pension age you stop paying it, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve retired – you may keep working, but you still stop paying National Insurance at age 66. So whereas the poorest paid and this typically is the youngest workers on the crappiest levels of minimum wage anyway, would face increasing national insurance costs to pay for social care, the oldest workers, those aged over 66, wouldn’t pay it at all and would not contribute whatsoever to the increased cost of social care and that’s true regardless of how much they earn. The other ridiculous thing about National Insurance is if you earn more than £827 a week, over £43,000 a year, the level of National Insurance drops from 12% of earnings to just 2%, so if you’re on a very nice wage above this level, are pretty well off all things considered, the less of a percentage of your earnings are taken through National Insurance. So far its looking like a bit of a scumbag move isn’t it! Well I’m not finished yet!

National Insurance is also only charged on earnings. If you rent property out, you don’t get charged it on the money you make, if you own a business and get an annuity from that, you don’t get charged for the money you make, if you’re rich and have lots of lovely investments bringing in more cash for you, you don’t get charged for the money you make. All in all, National Insurance itself, is actually a very unfair tax because of who it targets and how they are targeted.

Therefore, to raise this particular tax to pay for social care is a political move by utter bottom feeders, its seriously regressive as it compounds that inbuilt, inherent unfairness. It discriminates against the poorest paid, it discriminates against the youngest workers, it is an attack on the young because it is not a proportionate tax across all ages in society.

Raising the needed revenue with an increase on income tax would be far fairer across all demographics, all revenue streams, would be based on actual income and not discriminate against you based on age and earnings. It would be charged against older, better paid workers more rather than attacking the poorest paid and the youngest in work, but the point needs to be hammered home again and again that the most unfair aspect of our society when it comes to income and wealth is that the very wealthiest in society – the UK billionaires added £100bn to their wealth last year, more wealth than they could possibly spend in their lifetimes and that huge sum, let’s say it again, is in addition to what they already had. No matter what they spend therefore, they never even dent their capital. They can therefore afford to pay more than anyone else without any impact to their daily lives whatsoever and yet a wealth tax to address the rampant inequality in this country never gets addressed by this government. The playing field needs to be levelled, but with a government more intent on taxing the youngest and poorest workers into poverty and an opposition party leadership, incredulously still calling itself Labour, spending the entire weekend hand-wringing over whether to oppose this blatant attack on them – newsflash Starmer, you mug, its bloody obvious! What the hell took you so long? What chance is there of that?

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Starmer ‘paint a picture in primary colours’ relaunch. WTF?

Keir Starmer, Labours absolute shambles of a leader is – you’ve guessed it – relaunching himself again!

He’s gone from embracing Blair’s legacy to finally admitting those 10 pledges were a sham and now wants to paint a picture in primary colours – what the hell does that even mean?

Keir Starmer has announced a departure from his 10 pledges, a pledge lest we forget being a solemn promise, made to us, the Labour membership. This is hardly news to those of us who have been or still are members of the Labour Party. He departed from them on day one, its just taken him 18 months to admit he never really meant a word he said in order to become elected. His war on the left of his own party just confirming that. His promise to build on the success of Corbyn’s leadership translated as rip it all up and suspend him from the party for far longer than the rules allow and suspend any CLP’s that dare try show solidarity with him. Any semblance of socialism he appointed to his front bench was ousted on the flimsiest of terms as fast as he could manage and its been diktat ever since.

He’s lost support, lost volunteers, lost members and has now thrown out even more by proscribing various groups on the left of the party and as a result is no longer competitive in by elections, losing one after another, only hanging onto Batley & Spen as a result of emotional blackmail and a bit of luck in the Green Party stepping aside.

Pledge one was the easiest to keep as it was on economic justice. Lowest corporation tax level in Europe, a tax only on profits as this is, raising it should’ve been a no brainer. He said now is not the time to this at the same time he was campaigning to be Labour leader – he literally broke it before even getting elected!

Pledge 2 was social justice – well where’s the social justice in saying nurses deserve a 2.1% pay rise, after the Tories promised 1%. They needed 12%, they were owed 15%, the Tories went 3% and Starmer broke his pledge and faith with nurses needing a fair deal.

Climate justice was pledge 3, for heavens sake all he had to do was stick with Becky Long-Bailey’s excellent Green New Deal and Corbyn’s 2030 climate crisis target. Nope, ditched it within months of becoming leader, has offered a limp ambition since. Always ambitions and never actual policy announcements.

Promote peace and human rights was pledge 4, just look at his treatment of Labour Party members, his abuse of the Labour party rulebook, the payoffs to shush up legal cases we had, and you’ve got an authoritarian who has been far too profligate with Party cash. No wonder Labour is worried it can’t even cover payroll now, but besides internal abuses he’s been a serial abstainer on the issue of human rights and he’s a former human rights lawyer! From the overseas operations bill, to the spycops bill he whipped his MP’s to abstain and was going to on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill until Clapham Common happened, forcing him to grudgingly oppose. Pathetic.

Pledge 5, common ownership – he ripped that up when he rowed back on the prospect of nationalising BT saying Labour under him is pro-business. In other words, he’s a red Tory.

Defend migrants rights was pledge number 6. When we have a sociopathic migrant hater in Priti Patel, it should be easy to just oppose frankly anything that comes out of her mouth. Starmer has failed to ever do so, so hasn’t kept this pledge.

Pledge 7 was strengthen workers rights and trade unions – what a sick joke this one is. When Becky Long Bailey sided with the teaching unions over concerns regarding covid in schools, she got the sack, allegedly over calling actress Maxine Peake a diamond, but we all know the truth. Useless Kate Green replaced her and Starmer just went, schools must open no ifs, no buts, no equivocation. He backed Unite over Fire and Rehire on twitter, then panicked over it and deleted it and now he’s using fire and rehire tactics to sack 90 staff, whilst recruiting more on temporary part time contracts, causing the trade unions to consider industrial action against Starmer and Labour! He broke this in the most egregious possible way.

Pledge 8, radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity, was torn up when he defended Boris Johnson’s trip to Scotland to promote the Union during the pandemic and has been utterly silent on Tory cronies ending up in the House of Lords – so much for equal opportunity, the gravy train rumbles on.

Pledge 9 was promotion of equality, but then he called Black Lives Matter a moment and has expelled members, most notable Jeremy Corbyn and most recently Ken Loach over factually questioning the prevalence of antisemitism or standing in solidarity with suspended members, plus he’s still burying the Forde Report, which, lest we forget is a report into internal racism in the party and BAME members in particular are furious this has still not been released.

And pledge number 10, to provide effective opposition to the Tories. I’ll never forget the people on Gogglebox saying ‘if him saying I agree with the Tories were a drinking game you’d be pissed!’

So lets bury this notion that he might scrap his 10 pledges, he’s already broken every single one, some several times over and they are no longer worth the paper they were printed on.

Now, on top of his agile ceremonies and multi-disciplinary collaboration in iteration, he’s talking about painting in primary colours. Why the hell does this brylcreemed advert for suited and booted nothingness insist on talking in such a meaningless fashion? His speech is now a direct reflection of his persona, it’s like he’s from an alien planet, there’s no sense in anything he says! Painting in primary colours, what are you three? Well you’ve torn up any semblance of socialism, so you won’t be using red, you stand for a metric ton of sod all, so Liberal yellow might suit, but with all your constant agreement with the government your tenure as leader is most definitely blue. Some might argue that mixing them makes green, but we’ve already exploded pledge number 3, so lets not go there.

The top priority is a Labour government he says, great, tell us something we don’t know, how are you going to achieve that when you lie, break your promises and have no policy? Are you going to announce some? No you’re apparently going to paint.

What is the one thing that connects Attlee, Wilson and Blair? They all had vision, had policies, they all increased Labour’s seat count, you missed Corbyn out in 2017 who did the same though, but that little nugget doesn’t suit you does it?

By officially announcing the 10 pledges might be on the way out, broken as they are anyway, merely confirms you lied to get elected. You lied to members who might have supported you and that makes you fundamentally untrustworthy. You’re dishonest Keir. You have no policies, still, to this day for anyone to base an opinion on your ability to lead, and the longer that goes on for, the worse people’s opinions of you are going to be. A recent YouGov poll of people’s attitudes towards you was excoriating. Of 12,000 respondents – huge by YouGov’s measure – 76% think you’re incompetent, 80% dislike you, 80% don’t believe you’ll ever be Prime Minister and as for people voting who they thought did a better job of leading the Party, you scored 35% compared to Jeremy Corbyn leading with 44%.

‘Win the Future’ is the new strapline you’re sticking to, how handy for a guy with no policies and no direction that the future isn’t written yet, but it won’t be primary colours with you still leading, you walking absence, it’ll be beige, beige, beige. The fact this abbreviates to WTF and what that usually stands for hilariously sums up how the majority of not just members but voters feel about you and what passes for your leadership, but how cringingly awful you are at promoting yourself or the party.

Nobody trusts you after you broke all your promises, nobody knows what you stand for when you relaunch yourself more often than you change your underwear and so I’m afraid I have to break it to you that you will never lead the country, you will never win, because unlike the Tories, we won’t support somebody with so little substance, nor back a liar. Next month at Labour Conference I really hope some home truths are going to hit you hard, you useless little man.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Ken Loach Expelled! This has to be the last straw.

Oi Keir, over here, I’ve got something for you!

Keir Starmer’s polling took a hammering the day he overturned an NEC panel to ensure Jeremy Corbyn remained suspended from taking his place as a Labour MP.

Today he demonstrated in no uncertain terms that he intends to prove he can poll even lower by seeing Ken Loach expelled from the Labour Party.

We knew already that he was coming after members of left wing groups, proscribed by the now majority right-wing NEC in an effort to purge socialists from the party and Ken was an official sponsor of one such group, Labour Against the Witch hunt. He was apparently deemed unfit to be a member because he refused to disown those he stands alongside on this and why on Earth would he do such a thing?He’s not you Starmer, you spineless Twunt!

His has been a life of socialism and film-making, more often than not the two blending, shining a light on the injustices of society and exposing those responsible over the last 60 years. Films like Cathy Come Home, Kes or I, Daniel Blake have exposed the gritty hard-nosed reality of life for too many people over far too many years, the rank inequality and the preservation of that from successive governments, finally coming close to ending it with Corbyn’s leadership, snatched away from us by the very shits now leading Labour into electoral oblivion, believing the only way they can win is to purge anyone who wouldn’t be just as good a fit in the Tory Party.

Starmer’s defenders, chiefly coming from the Tory press, have opted to smear Loach with accusations of Holocaust denial, something he has absolutely never done. Litigation would be a deserved response to this, but when Starmer’s supporters have demanded the proscription of left wing Jewish groups, apparently with no action required, they’re skating awfully close to accusations of antisemitism themselves. Lets also not forget that the party that is apparently no place for Ken Loach, is a place for Trevor Phillips, readmitted to Labour despite complaints of Islamophobia made to the party about him remaining unactioned upon.

It was almost predictable though. The left had a good day yesterday securing the votes to elect Seema Chandwani and Billy Hayes back onto the Conference Arrangements Committee, so Starmer has spat his dummy and decided the left need reminding that they aren’t wanted, that we should know our place, so deals us a psychological blow in the form of expelling one of our best loved, highest profile members. Make no mistake, this move was made to demoralise us, to encourage more of us to leave. It’s Labour Conference next month and there’s every chance dictatorial David Evans, Starmer’s as yet unratified General Secretary will get voted down. We need to make sure our delegates know in no uncertain terms that that is exactly what they must do. We need to stay and fight because right now there is no viable alternative to power for us. Yes we want the Tories out above all else but for that we have to be electable and we cannot be electable when our leaders are more interested in attacking us then attacking them and why? Because they have more in common with those bloody Tories than they do with us.

Never forget that Starmer has been shown to have lied to get elected leader, he has not kept his 10 pledges, he has not been an effective opposition, he is losing council seats and by-elections around the country and he absolutely must, must be sent a message from us now that it is he, HE, that must go and we can start by ensuring he has the Labour Conference from hell. He’s asked for it, his attacks on us, his appalling treatment of so many members not least Jeremy and Ken. We can start by sending Evans packing. We can start by calling him out for the snivelling Tony Blair wannabe he is and we need to send a message as well to those left Labour MP’s that their strongly worded letters are only ending up in an often emptied bin. Stop writing letters, stop hand wringing, stop procrastinating and do something about this before there’s no party left for you to belong to. Len McCluskey’s words the other day are absolutely on point, with Starmer at the helm the Labour Party could well go under. There’s nothing positive that can be said of Starmer’s tenure as leader, there’s literally nothing. It’s time we took our party back, its time the Socialist Campaign Group stood up and made themselves counted and Conference is our chance to fight back. Lets not waste it, otherwise what sort of a party is there, for the likes of Jeremy and Ken to come back to?

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Where’s the money gone Keir & Dave?

Fire and Rehire, the pernicious practice of firing your employees unless they accept new contracts with poorer conditions. Made illegal in many countries, the Tories won’t do it here, so its up to the Trade Unions to defend their members from being mistreated in this way. You wouldn’t expect the political arm of their movement, the Labour Party to indulge in this practice however, but sadly, such is the decline of the Party under the regime of Keir Starmer & David Evans, Fire and Rehire is exactly what they’re doing. Labour is in a financial mess entirely of the making of the two aforementioned idiots. When they took over the party, they enjoyed being debt free and had reserves of £13.5m in the bank. 18 months later, we’re told that the party is one payroll away from bankruptcy. Where’s the money Keir & Dave? What have you blown it on? Settling stupid legal fees and driving away members, losing their dues to the tune of an estimated £6m, a figure quoted this morning by Howard Beckett on The Not the Andrew Marr Show.

What has been reported by Skwawkbox and later by The Independent is that a third of Labour Party staff have been made redundant, yet the party is still taking people on, employing them on temporary contracts on much poorer conditions. Starmer made a big speech not long back condemning Fire and Rehire, but given he’s lied about pretty much everything since he got elected leader, not least of which the 10 pledges he stood for election on, it’s no surprise he’s actually gone back on this as well, made even worse by many of the staff in question finding out from the Guardian newspaper instead of the party.

You can imagine the Trade Unions are up in arms with this. Unite and the GMB, both affiliated unions, both considerable donors to Labour, but not typically from the same wing of the party are singing from the same hymn sheet now. They’ve slammed this action, done without consultation, they’re particularly scathing that they’ve gone for redundancies straight away instead of trying to cut costs in other ways first, such as reducing upper management pay – none of them are getting the axe – and have demanded a response from Labour. So far I’ve not heard that this has happened.

Beckett this morning has also said Labour would be treated like any other bad employer. The party of the workers facing strike action from the very trade unions who fund them and rightfully so as that party seeks to turn away from representing the working class, turning away from socialism and turning into the same Blue Labour, Blairite, tory-lite party that turned so many of us off before. With so many of Starmer’s recent LOTO staff appointments being essentially a Blairite reunion – I bet they got a good employment package – that’s where we are. A party both financially and morally bankrupt at the top, becoming ever more distanced from its own founding principles.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Labour First conference motion is a violent, incendiary, Islamophobic declaration of war on Palestine.

If you want to see how right wing, so-called Labour moderates hope they’ve engineered this years Labour Conference, you only have to look at the ridiculous motion the right wing Labour First group, sadly not proscribed, but then they’re right wing, have put forward, that they hope to see pass, courtesy of their secretary, Luke ‘The Nuke’ Akehurst. Never met a war he didn’t seem to like. Supports Saudi Arabia attacking Yemen, the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world, because he ‘doesn’t want Iran to win it’ and of course is to this day a staunch defender of Labour’s disastrous intervention in Iraq under Tony Blair. Offering support for military interventions and selling bombs because he’s picked a side and wants them to win despite being totally unaffected by it himself. You have to be utterly twisted to cheerlead over such things, it takes a special sort of fucked up to agitate for war where we have no business waging it and make no mistake, when we’re selling the weapons, we’re part of it, the blood is on our hands too, it’s just that most of us don’t choose to bathe in it. Take a look at this motion.

Two-state solution, not everyone agrees with that but it’s a debate to be had sure, first paragraph talks of peace, no arguments there, but I want to draw your eyes down to where it gets properly batshit and that’s the fourth paragraph, I’ll read it out:

Conference condemns all acts of terrorism unequivocally. Conference calls for free and democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority and the restoration of Palestinian Authority control over Gaza. Conference calls for the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to be removed from power in Gaza and disarmed in return for massive investment to improve life for citizens in Gaza.

Terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad eh? Its funny that it’s only the West and Israel that designate them such.

In fact, in the case of Hamas, the UK only recognises their military wing, Hamas’ Izz ad-din Al-Qassam Brigades as a proscribed terrorist group, not the political side of it because hey, guess what? Hamas were elected to power in Palestine and run the Palestinian state. That wasn’t the West’s plan, but hey, the likes of the US and UK have form for not acknowledging election results in other countries that they don’t like. Venezuela anyone?

But this motion truly goes full Luke the Nuke when it talks about removing them from power. How are you going to do that? They’re elected. Fairly. Given Akehurst’s penchant for violence as long as its not on his own doorstep, it really does look like they’re agitating for military action here. As if Palestine doesn’t already have enough on its hands. I’m not excusing the fact they fire rockets at Israel, but they’re firing at a nuclear power with an iron shield defence system preventing most rockets getting through. When Israel fire on Palestine, and of course they bloody do it as well, all their rockets hit. It’s David vs Goliath stuff. There’s no talk of engaging in diplomacy in this motion, of compromise, of bringing two sides together, it simply says removal, then going on to say we’ll offer you pots of cash to improve and invest for citizens in Gaza. Bribing the population into civil unrest? They’ve dealt with this shit for 60 years, they aren’t about to stop now because you’re prepared to raid the piggy bank. Armed invasion instead then? We all know how much you love them. But for all your talk of benefits, do you really mean the Palestinians though Luke? Or more illegal settlers? Once ‘settled’, bulldozing family homes, driving farmers off their land, they’d technically be Gazans themselves. Given that aside from being secretary of Labour First, which he regards on his Twitter profile as a ‘spare time’ role, his work, his main role is as director of We Believe in Israel, an outfit to promote Israel’s right to exist – not Palestine’s –  and is funded by BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications Research Centre, so any recommendations for the betterment of Gazans doesn’t convince me its Palestinian Gazans you give a damn about. In fact, you’ve got form for arguing that the illegal settlement of Palestinian lands is permissible insofar as it doesn’t contravene the Geneva Convention! This motion is so ambiguous and your bias so well documented you’d have to be a fool to think otherwise of you.

With people like this on Labour’s NEC, the pressure to go to war again should we attain power is significantly raised. Our taxes once more being used to spill blood elsewhere. Akehurst is no representative of Labour members, how he came top in the last NEC elections after years of repeatedly failing to get back onto the NEC I still find incredibly suspicious. His family doesn’t suffer, his family isn’t affected, he isn’t affected, but he doesn’t give a shit and for as long as he works for We Believe in Israel, he’s taking money from one state, despite calling for a two state solution. More like a two-faced solution. He is as I’ve said previously, probably the most dangerous man in the Labour Party today and it shows. Conference needs to throw this filth out the door, not least because it’s blatantly Islamophobic and falls foul of Labour’s brand spanking new Code of Conduct over Islamophobia. I guess we’ll soon see how seriously they consider that to be, but I fear given how the delegate structure has been rigged, that instead this ‘declaration of war’ motion may yet pass.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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