Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time For Labour Leadership To Crank Up a Couple of Gears & Start Exposing Tory Hypocrisy!

OK we saw a rejuvenated Ed Miliband at the Labour party conference and some of us couldn't resist being smug and said: "I told you so". By the way I voted for the older one and had my doubts too at the beginning, however, I stood back and gave Ed a chance. I can't say hand on my heart that I agree with everything, but who can agree with everything and everyone? Show me someone who says that and I will show you a stranger to the truth!
I pretty soon realised that we had something very special in Ed Miliband and I realised that his winning of the Labour leadership was as I always tell my children; "meant to be- even though we sometimes cannot immediately identify the reasons why". I have my internet friends Peter Robson and Graeme Burrell to thank for reassuring me when I was doubtful and anxious at the beginning (I haven't forgotten Peter and Graeme).

Now for the real reason I write this post, my gut instinct (which is usually pretty good) is telling me that the Labour leadership needs to crank up a couple of gears. People out here are anxious, worried for their futures, terrified for their children's and their grandchildren's futures, worried about their jobs, paying their mortgage and for some on low paid part-time work, worried about paying their rent, council tax and soaring out of control costs of utilities.

First I want to mention the disabled and I am going to be honest, as Ed said in his fantastic conference speech, there is nothing to fear about having the debate, so let's have it!

Ed Miliband's Illuminating 2012 Conference Speech

For those who missed it, here is Ed's Q&A session to Labour conference 2012, this is every bit as brilliant as his main speech, in some ways better as it is us the ordinary people that get to ask Ed our questions. This Q&A says a lot about where I now believe the Labour party are heading and I just want to help them on their way, because this country of ours is being dismantled and ruined by this hopeless incompetent Tory government, even as I write this, no doubt they have made yet more blunders, with our lives, that is your lives and your children's and grandchildren's lives!

When Labour introduced Atos my heart sank and to be honest and  I have never come to terms in understanding why. I am not stupid, and I know the vast majority of disabled people are not stupid, they realise that reform has to happen at some stage, people change, their needs change, our country changes, the world in which we live in changes and depicts how we live our lives, we understand this, "we get it".

In my experience most disabled people would love to be part of the working world, if only part of the working world let disabled people work!

Yes Tories and Liberal Democrats I am referring to Remploy! How can the Tories (the orange Tories too) say they want to help disabled people work and make work pay then turn around and do this? how could Cameron cry crocodile tears in his speech and talk about when he awarded medals to paralympians it made him proud, while all the time he is making the lives of disabled people hell on earth and as difficult as he possibly can?

Some disabled people would love to work but it remains impossible, some can partake in sports, some can win medals, but remember, some able bodied people like sport and some can win medals, but most of us cannot, it is beyond our capabilities, this is the same  for disabled people - stop judging - stop condemning - stop believing that disabled people are scroungers, fraudsters, malingerers because they are not. Wake up and realise that this is exactly what Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and IDS and all the rest of them want you to think, they are playing the "divide and rule" game, stop allowing them to pollute your minds and souls, turning you into bitter human beings which you probably are not.

Here lay the first crank-up - The Disabled.

Lately I have been heartened to see changes in the Labour party's stance on this, they seem to be edging towards an admission that they got this one wrong. Hopefully soon we will see some hard and fast policy proposals coming from Labour that may give a little reassurance from the constant fear, worry and torment which is being heaped on them by Iain Duncan-Smith, Cameron, Osborne and Clegg. I ask that they do not take too long in announcing it, yesterday an announcement would not have been soon enough. Come on Labour, disabled people are crying out for you to help them. They cannot wait, the pressure must be applied now. People are losing everything, their lifeline to the world, their cars, their funding for care and their independence is being snatched away by this God forsaken Tory government, these are our people, listen to them, they are not wrong and remember, if Labour had listened to them in the beginning,  even though Labour never implemented or intended that Atos be used in the way it is currently, this situation would probably never have come about!

We must start actually helping disabled people now, they cannot wait until the next election. I know it is hard and being out of power seriously limits our powers, but we have to try. These are good starts:

But we must have more, we must have outright condemnation of these kind of headlines that come from a bullying Tory government and appear in the bullying right wing press on a daily basis.

There is more, I could add reams and reams of proof about how unfair this Tory government are treating disabled people, however, I'm sure you get the general gist of what I am saying. Labour must do more, much more to help disabled people, Labour could be the lifeline for disabled people to cling onto and the people to go to when they need intervention of yet another crazy Tory policy about to be forced undemocratically upon disabled people. Labour is for disabled people, it epitomises who we are and what we believe in, there is no weakness in standing up and being counted by defending the weak - only strength. There is much proof that we can use to back our stance up as we help those who mist need us. After all we could start by pointing out that there is very little in the way of benefit fraud in the system and that a colossal £16bn in benefits is going unclaimed, this is a huge disparity with the lies the Tory government is putting out and we must stop them doing it.

Second crank-up - The Economy.

Please stop the Tories from promulgating lies about how Labour handled the economy.

If the *global* financial recession and banking crash were to be stripped out of Labour's economic record over their thirteen years in office, it would reveal an excellent record.

It is a myth that the Tories are good with the economy and Labour bad, in fact it can be proven that this is the other way around. Why are you allowing this myth to take hold? Stop apologising, so we did not regulate the banks enough, fine we should have done and we didn't, but neither did the Tories, so turn the argument back onto them. Remember that Cameron and Osborne were backing John Redwood's call for even less regulation of the mortgage market in 2007 just as it was all about to come crashing down. When Gordon brown was arguing for more regulation of the banks, Cameron was arguing for LESS regulation of the City and not MORE, just before the crash. There was a video of him doing exactly this, but mysteriously all trace of it has vanished from Google and YouTube. (If anyone has the link/copy please send to me - I'd be really grateful - thanks)

LIE: The last government left the biggest debt in the developed world.
After continuously stating the UK had the biggest debt in the world George Osborne admits to the Treasury Select Committee that he did not know the UK had the lowest debt in the G7? 
This is also, confirmed by the OECD  - Those who use cash terms (instead of percentages) do so to scare, mislead and give half the story. This is what Cameron and Osborne do continually. this is how they talked down the economy before they assumed power in 2010. This is how they fooled people - It is about time Labour nailed this lie!
Its common sense - in cash terms a millionaire's debt would be greater than most peoples. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the UK would have a higher debt and deficit than most countries because, we are the sixth largest economy. Hence, its laughable to compare UK's debt and deficit with Tuvalu's who only have a GDP/Income of £24 million whilst, the UK's income is £1.7 Trillion. This is exactly what Cameron, Osborne, Clegg, Alexander and Cable have done by comparing the UK to Greece, Spain and Portugal etc and will continue to do unless Labour stops them.
  • In 1997 Labour inherited a debt of 42% of GDP. 
  • By the start of the global banking crises 2008 the debt had fallen to 35% - a near 22% reduction! (ONS Page 6)
  • Surprisingly, a debt of 42% was *not* seen as a major problem when it had been accrued by successive Conservative governments and yet at 35% where labour had *reduced* it to, the sky was falling down?
Labour must start correcting the Tory myths, we are only a couple of years out from the next general election, there is no time to lose, we must start exposing the Tories as the incompetent liars they actually are. Not only does Labour success at the next general election depend on it, millions of peoples livelihoods, their standard of living and their children's futures depend upon Labour doing this - now!

Most people do not know that Labour *did not* create the biggest deficit in the developed world by overspending, this is a complete nonsense! 

The idea that Labour created the problems in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Italy because they recruited the thousands of doctors and nurses we so desperately needed and built 149 brand new hospitals, supplied new schools and thousands of extra teachers and police, is completely barking mad insane, yet this is what the Tories are saying and this is what they are getting away with!

  • In 1997 Labour inherited a deficit of 3.9% of GDP (not a balanced budget ) and by 2008 it had fallen to 2.1% - a reduction of a near 50% - which is Impressive! 
  • Hence, it's implausible and ludicrous to claim there was overspending. 
  • The deficit was then exacerbated by the global banking crises after 2008. (See HM Treasury. Note, the 1994 deficit of near 8%)
  • The IMF have also concluded the same - the UK experienced an increase in the deficit as result of a large loss in output/GDP caused by the global banking crisis and not even as result of the bank bailouts, fiscal stimulus and bringing forward of capital spending. It's basic economics: when output falls the deficit increases.
The large loss in output occurred because the UK like the US have the biggest financial centres and as this was a global banking crises we suffered the most. Hence, the UK had the 2nd highest deficit in the G7 (Not The World) after the US and not as a result of overspending prior to and after 2008- as the IMF concur.

Labour should correct the myth of the UKs borrowing rates.

Our borrowing costs are not low because the markets have confidence in George Osborne's austerity plan and without it the UK will end up like Greece.
Geo reg Osborne doesn't tell you this but actually PIMCO the worlds largest bond holder have been warning against buying UK debt. 
And why doesn't Labour correct the Tories when they keep saying that they have got interest rates low? They have not! Interest rates have been unchanged since 2008, so the low interest rates are because Labour got them down. (Remember under the Tories when interest rates shot up to 15.9% for over a year and the misery that caused?)
The real reason why our borrowing costs have fallen and remained low since 2008 is because, savings have increased. As a result, the demand and price for bonds have increased and as there is inverse relationship between the price of bonds and its yield (interest rate) the rates have fallen. Also, the markets expect the economy to remain stagnate. Which means the price for bonds will remain high and hence, our borrowing costs will also remain low.
Secondly, the UK is considered a safe heaven because, investors are reassured the Bank of England will buy up bonds in an event of any sell off - which increases the price of bonds and reduces the effective rate. Note, how rates fell across the EU recently when the ECB announced its bond buying program. 
Thirdly, because, we are not in the Euro we can devalue our currency to increase exports. Moreover, UK bonds are attractive because, we haven't defaulted on its debt for over 300 years.
David Cameron would like people to believe the markets lend in the same way as retail banks lend to you and I.
Another Tory myth shattered: Who kept us out of the euro? It was *not* William Hague and his daft £ sign lapel badges, it was Gordon Brown who devised five stiff tests which had to be met before he would even consider taking the UK into the euro and as every expert knows, the criteria for those five tests was such that the UK would never be able to enter the euro, he made quite sure of that!
Overall, when the facts and figures are put into context these juvenile deficit narratives and sound bites ("mere words and no evidence") simply fail to stand up to the actual facts. The deficit myth is the grossest lie ever enforced upon the people and it has been sold by exploiting people's economic illiteracy.
So, David Cameron when are you going to apologise?
Cameron is playing the blame game to:
  • Depress confidence and growth to justify austerity
  • Secondly, to use austerity as justification for a smaller state to gain lower taxes. 
  • Thirdly, to paint Labour as a party that can not be trusted with the country's finances again.

The Tory hope is that this will work as it did in 1979 - 1997 (18 years) So Labour must start work now to stop the Conservatives in their lying tracks using the truth. Exploiting people's economic illiteracy is a disgraceful way for a government to behave, but manipulating them and misleading them and misrepresenting the facts is a criminal act and all adds up to black propaganda - disinformation.
For more reading on the economic myths of the Tories please see: Ramesh Patel - Huffington Post

Third crank-up - Unemployment

labour need to start informing people about the truth about unemployment

  • There are 2.5 million unemployed 
  • There are a further 8.5 million in part-time work -This adds up to a third of the workforce.
  • During the last year hardly any full-time posts have been created
  • According to Office national Statistics 125,000 new positions created were part-time
  • Another 1.4 million people failed to find full-time work
  • 897,000 had been out of work for 12 months or more in 3 months up to August 2012, this was up 13,000 on the previous quarter.
  • Olympics and volunteer work placements helped youth unemployment to dip below 1 million mark for first time in a year
  • But long term youth unemployment has tripled from 25,300 to 78,600 for the same period.
  • The reduction in youth unemployment has partly been because the government are taking young people off the unemployment register and forcing them to work full-time for nothing under threat of having their benefit sanctioned - the Tories are manipulated the unemployment statistics
  • The recent fall in unemployment has mainly been in the South and was largely due to the 100,000 temporary positions created by the Olympic games
  • There are still 1.6 million in temporary jobs
  • There are still at least around one million on government work schemes where people are forced to work for six months without any pay whatsoever and without hope of being offered a position at the end of it as employers simply get rid of those ending their placements and the government sends them fresh placements. This helps unscrupulous employers to keep their costs down and employ slave labour and it helps the government to manipulate further the unemployment statistics.
  • Part-time work is soaring because it is cheaper for employers to hire two part-time to one full-time worker as employer national insurance contributions are cheaper. Mark Wallace of the Institute of Directors admits this is an unequal national insurance system.
  • With part-time workers and the government taking away workers rights to a contract, holiday pay and unfair dismissal tribunals etc, this has created flexibility in the work place for employers and is allowing them to abuse their employees.
  • The government plans to get still more people off of the unemployment register by trying to force them into low paid part-time jobs and if they don't manage it, they are going to have their benefits stopped. So even if it is not economically viable for them to work, which means it will be costing them to work they are going to be forced to do it and the government will *not* be helping them to work by making work pay (like they promised) because if they do not manage to get a job working more than 16 hours a week, then the government will cut their benefits. 
  • We are going to see a steep rise of homeless jobless poverty stricken people on our streets in danger of having their children torn from them and placed in care or foster homes through no fault of their own.
Mark Hoban the newly appointed minister for employment he said:  there are some out there who don't want to roll up their sleeves, and who think they can play the system. Well I've got news for them – they can't.
That is why, from tomorrow, there will be tougher penalties for people on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) who don’t play by the rules. Mark Hoban has been playing th system himself, the expense system see below for details, he is nothing but another lying Tory hypocrite.
This and much more is how the Tories are skewing the unemployment statistics and not only should Labour be informing us for their own political reasons, it is their duty to inform us be cause as citizens we have a right to know just what our government is doing. One of the first rules of government is a duty of care to its citizens, this Tory led government is failing this on all fronts!
Labour must start exposing what the Tories are doing, this is one cut too far and Labour can quite ethically oppose this and win the argument and force this government to stop treating our people like this.

Utility Costs

The latest energy company EDF is putting up its charges by a huge 10.8% and David Cameron describes this as disappointing! We do not need his mealy mouthed platitudes, what we need is for him to keep his word and force these companies to lower their prices. If he doesn't, more that one in four households are going to be plunged into fuel poverty this winter. 7.2 million of Britain's 26 million households will be below the fuel poverty line, p spending more than 10% of their total income on heating, light and cooking.

When David Cameron was in opposition he said he would not cut pensioners winter fuel allowance - he has already. the Tories cut it in the first year they came in. Since 2010 they cut £50 from pensioners aged 60 to 79 and £100 from pensioners aged 80 plus.

The other week Cameron made policy on the hoof in PMQs and said he was going to force companies to lower their bills, this was a blatant lie which he later repeated. he put t his government's whole energy policy into a tailspin and still nothing has been done about it.

Labour is trying to do something about the costs of our gas and electricity by devising a scheme whereby groups of people can by it cheaply, however, not that many people have heard of this scheme, they need to get it into information packs and distribute it to every household in this country because the cost of utilities is soaring and the Tory led government is doing absolutely nothing about it.

Labour owes it to the nation to inform them exactly how this government is doing nothing at all to help them and who are preaching to us about work and ethics and scrounging, yet are getting up to all sorts themselves.

Some of the ministers who have been and are currently imposing these draconian measures and who are forever in the right wing papers preaching to us about work ethics and accusing the unemployed of "something for nothing" are:


R33 said...

I think one thing the right-wing excel at is sophistry. They are masters at coming up with dumbed down very simple populist narratives and repeating them over and over again. It's dishonest and unprincipled but it works. It's what the majority of the public respond to.

It works so well because the majority of the population just tune out and stop listening once you start going into complicated detail about policies. Most people don't have the time, inclination or desire to study issues in detail. They respond to short, easy to understand, simplistic narratives. They think about the world in a very basic, simplistic way. We on the left have the truth on our side but that doesn't count for very much. Labour need bitesize very simplistic talking points that are designed to resonate with people on a very basic level and they need to hammer them into the public consciousness through repetition.

Gracie Samuels said...

You are exactly right R33, I could not agree more. Here is an example: People ask what Labour policies are and why they haven't got any and when you tell them they have got polices and start telling them what they are it goes in one ear and out of the other. The very fact that some people do not think Labour have any policies, is precisely because they have bought the Tories narratives, as with the economy, we see it repeated over and over again that Labour caused the mess, the fact they didn't does not resonate.

So I believe you are right, Labour has to condense down into bitesize simplistic points and then repeat them over and over again, like they are doing with "One Nation". The time we can hammer home the policy front a bit more is when the next election is close, this is when people do take more notice of policy.
This is why punchy slogans on billboards work and why political parties spend so much money on them! However, they have to be careful, as Cameron learned by insisting on appearing airbrushed and wax looking on the "I'll cut the deficit - not the NHS" posters. That backfired spectacularly as did their poster depicting Tony Blair as Satan!