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?

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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.

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

From Beckett or Bust to voting for Steve Turner: Why I believe it’s the right thing to do.

Beckett or bust, Beckett or bust, Beckett or bust. I was singing that line, pushing that hashtag, I felt so deflated after the guy I felt with the most exciting manifesto, the guy absolutely hammering the mainstream media, shaming them, which as an independent left media chappie spoke absolute volumes to me, pulled out. It’s that whole inspiration thing again.

I’d resolved to not vote in the Unite contest, I’d spat my dummy, I’d thrown my wobbler, but ultimately Howard Beckett’s decision was his own and for some weeks now I’ve felt that that was that.

Even if I’d decided to step away from this contest though, it was carrying on regardless.

I think the break has done me good, looking at other issues was a welcome distraction and I think some perspective was needed. Turnout in these Unite elections is always appallingly low and sadly that’s not good for democracy and it also emboldens the minority within the union, just as it does in political parties and that can lead to disastrous results.

Gerard Coyne is still on the ballot. The right winger. The guy who in 2017 had the English Defence League out leafleting for him, the guy who misused Labour Party data he had no right to, the guy who wasted Unite funds on pointless legal actions to overturn Len McCluskey’s win, a guy who ended up being sacked from his paid position in Unite as a result of his gross misconduct and made an absolute mess as West Midlands Regional Secretary for Unite, a position Howard Beckett actually took over and had to clean up! Here’s what Howard said recently, speaking out about this very subject:

“He used data to try and influence our trade union General Secretary election and he was dismissed for it. Well, I followed him into the West Midlands, as the replacement regional secretary, and there hadn’t been a political school in 15 years in the West Midlands. Whenever I went in there, there was no connection between the communities and the workplaces. There was no lay structures. There was no idea of decentralisation in order to empower people. So any narrative that you hear from Gerard Coyne about supporting the nation’s or supporting decentralisation is not the truth in respect of his own record, trust me in respect of this. Steve Turner has signed up, not only to the decentralisation platform, not only one that believes in regions, but also one that says that there will be an assembly of the nations, that Ireland, Scotland and Wales will come together to share their experiences, to talk about federalism, to talk about our own union structures. This is about delivering our union for the future. This is about safeguarding everything that we build over the last 10-12 years about making sure that we stand up to employers not returning to the days of repudiation, about making sure that we take those disputes, like blacklisting that John mentioned, about making sure that we, when we talk about resources for our reps, that we are talking about modern resources. Whenever we talk about giving a message to the next generation, that we understand the importance of being ambitious about how we deliver that message. About the importance of our role in society, about making sure that our political narrative does not go away and we continue to talk for people and continue to say to people, that politics run through everything that we do in society and anyone who talks about less politics and more workplace does not understand the principles of collectivism and trade unionism, does not understand that the reason why the NHS has been privatised is because of the politics of society. The reason why we take precarious work is because of the politics of society, the reason for fire and rehire is because of the politics of society. Distinguishing between our roles, our industrial roles, our community roles, our education roles, our legal role, or our political role is fascile and defeatist and brings division where division is not necessary. Our union is best whenever it is working as one, where no departments work in silos, where we work together, where we create lay structures to give activists the opportunity to come through where we as officials understand that we are only the custodians of what lay activists want us to deliver. That’s the union that we are fighting for right now. And I’m saying to all of you, firstly, to thank you, to give you my love, and also to say to you that I trust that Steve Turner will deliver on this, I trust on his individual commitments that he’s made to me. I believe that he is the best of the three candidates who are standing. I think we as a campaign took the right moral decision to support his campaign to make sure that the right wing do not win this union. I believe that Sharon should have stepped down once an agreement was reached between Steve and myself and that’s why we have to fight like we’ve never fought before, to make sure that this left vote is not split, to make sure that we deliver where we know that we’re strong, to make sure that the union remains in the hands of a left wing General Secretary going forward and to make sure that we fight for everything that we believe in. Thank you. Solidarity.”

Quite frankly, with a track record such as Coyne has got, how he was even allowed to stand is beyond me, but more terrifyingly is the fact the hopelessly outdated First Past the Post system which has made such a mockery of our parliamentary democracy is the same used in this Unite election. So he has every chance of winning.

This is the guy Union buster and proud boaster of determining our General Election results for the last 40 odd years, Rupert Murdoch and his hateful rag The Scum are endorsing. Why wouldn’t they? Where we are reviled by that awful publication, Coyne has written for it.

Another who writes for that odious rag and attends Murdoch bashes is right-winger Jess Phillips, she who laughs when her own party loses. She’s done a mailshot for Coyne, I do hope he’s not breaching GDPR rules by using Labour Party data again! Another backing him is Tom Watson remember him? Least said the better in all honesty, you all know the score there I’m sure.

Frankly despite Gerard Coyne’s odious opinions, his right wing associates and his billionaire backers – ever noticed how all those ads he puts out are paid for promotions? – its what he’d do to our union that’d be most harmful. He’d give Keir Starmer free reign to carry on wrecking Labour with his dire, bland, stands for nothing idea of leading. He’d waste our dues on such a man and if anything drive him further right. When our members are in need of their Union, he’d repudiate action. He’d abandon us. And for Community members such as myself? We’re worth nothing to him. The most politically motivated, active members along with retirees and he’d bin the lot of us by scrapping community membership.

Everyone should be in a Union, but a Union led by Gerard Coyne would be pale imitation of what trade unionism should be about, a union for the few and not the many. Standing together, in solidarity, collectivism, supporting one another as our numbers make us stronger. This man would drive us apart, weaken us and get a pat on the back from the worst elements of our society.

So you can see, when he unfathomably got onto the ballot, it really did give Howard Beckett pause for thought. He felt, with three left candidates on the ballot, that the risk of the Union falling to Coyne was too great, the risk of splitting the left vote was too great and so he decided to stand aside.

That’s stand aside mind you, not stand back.

He joined another campaign, he’s fallen in beside Steve Turner and Turner has embraced that, so much so that he’s agreed to adopt some of the biggest and best parts of Howard’s manifesto as his own. As a gesture of good faith both to Howard and to us, he’s made them legally binding. What we’ve seen is two campaigns effectively join forces, what we’re actually witnessing is the solidarity and collectivism that so much of trade unionism relies on and its happening in an election between candidates. Ambition and egotism have been set aside to instead offer a transformative vision of what can be for our Union, for the sake of our Union.

So am I still saying Beckett or Bust? Yes I am. But by voting for Steve Turner now, we’re getting Beckett too, but more importantly what he stands for. Devolution of power to regions and nations, the £50m strike fund, tackling racism, an international solidarity fund, a promise to never repudiate strike action and abandon our members in need, Unite TV will become a reality, expand Unite’s remit to gig economy workers, regional member units, a leadership school to find the true working class councillors and MP’s of the future and a helluva lot more.

Not voting at all, as far too many of our members do, is exactly what a shark like Gerard Coyne wants. It’s incumbent on all of us as members of Unite to ensure we cast that ballot when it drops through the door and encourage our colleagues and comrades to do so as well. Lets get turnout up here, we can bloody well do it, it only takes a conversation or two. Unite represents such a wide breadth of professions, for it to be lost, divided, failed would be a bitter blow for workers rights in this country, already under attack as they are by this wicked regime running the country.

So I will be casting my vote. I will be voting for Steve Turner I am endorsing him for whatever my word is worth. I hope lots of you will be doing likewise with me as soon as that ballot paper drops.

It only takes a little cross and then you bung it in the post. So when it gets there, put a cross in the box. Get it posted. Do it now. For the sake of our union.

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.