Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Let's Bury Vampire Capitalism on June 8th

I was born in 1957. Back then this country was still getting back on its feet economically some 15 years after World War 2. I grew up in a country where around 13 million people belonged to trade unions. A country where work was plentiful. My dad worked as a diesel fitter/mechanic and mum did small cleaning jobs a couple of evenings a week. 

Their joint wages were more than enough to pay the  rent, feed, cloth, pay for holidays every year - all seven of us, five kids mum and dad.

At no time in my childhood was I ever hungry. Meat wasn't as readily available as it is today, for some. No, the Sunday roast was a treat. But we ate well, bangers, pies, offal, fish, etc during the week.

Leaving school in the early seventies I had the choice of the print, one of London's wholesale markets, an apprenticeship with McAlpines, etc. You could walk into a job, with or without qualifications.

40+ years on I speak to my niece who is a primary school teacher; and she tells me of her school children coming into class in the mornings, hungry! Kids hungry living in the second decade of the 21 century in the south of England in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Young people leaving university with little hope of decent employment; and as for a home to call their own, forget it, that's a luxury. Today many children are living with their parents into their 30s and 40s!

What an indictment to us as a society. Hunger, precarious employment, disabled people committing suicide as they are abandoned by government and homelessness on the increase. This is the bounty that has trickled down from the failed flirting with neo-liberal policies. What we have is the results of rampant vampire capitalism, a system that bleeds the many dry as the few luxuriate in obscene wealth.

On June 8th go to your polling station and vote Labour. Let's throw out May and her filthy Tory cohorts. Let's rebuild a social society where a safety net exists. A society where we build council housing; where food banks are consigned to the nightmare reign of the Tories. A society that doesn't punish disabled people but instead affords them a decent living without asking them to bare their souls.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Get Rid of May in June

May's decision to go to the country in June has created a do or die situation. We are left with two choices. It's either Labour with the promise of social infrastructure; or the Tory's dream of Offshore UK Ltd, a shitty tax haven dumping ground for rapacious Russian oligarchs, Croesus rich Chinese businessmen, oil rich sheiks, and drug dollar money laundering drug barons.

Labour offers hope of a better life for millions of disabled people. People who have seen the diminution of their benefits and services. Labour offers a £10 per hour living wage. A wage that goes some way to addressing the poverty lived by so many people in the UK. Labour offers free school meals for all children. Putting an end to children coming to school with empty stomachs. Labour offers us an NHS that delivers health care free at the point of need. Labour will take back privatised railway system. A railway system that has since privatisation ratcheted-up fares and cut services. A service that while making a few people wealthy, has brought misery to millions of commuters.

The Conservatives offer a hard Brexit. A Brexit that will see the UK turning its face away from Europe while drifting towards de-regulation. An offshore economy that favours the corporations, the financial sector and the 1% over workers and small business.   

Vote Labour. Get rid of this welfare wrecking-ball of a party.  

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mouse problem

Mickey mouse has taken up residence in my kitchen. Though there is little evidence of the cheeky little rodent, he has been spotted by both me and my PAs, albeit fleetingly.

One of my PAs is a very practicably minded no-nonsense young woman who has no compunction with slaughtering any wildlife that crosses her path. With this she laid a couple of traps in the kitchen overnight. The traps used are the small boards with an adhesive surface, loaded with a particularly tasty lump of Cheddar cheese – this while I’m going through the starvin’ Marvin phase of my diet.

Unfortunately, this means of rodent riddance hasn’t worked. Not only did we discover the cheese missing, but Mickey has also done a moody with the trap. Not a sign of cheese, trap or Mickey.

Back to the drawing board. I’m beginning to feel like Wile E Coyote. Before I resort to the Acme Corporation for a solution, do any of my Facebook friends know of any non-lethal ways of capturing mice?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Bring on the £10 per hour minimum wage rate

Here we go again. Howls of indignation from the Adam Smith Institute, Iain Dale, LBC presenter, employers and Tory MPs, as they declare: “The end of the world is nigh! We’re all doomed!”

Why the woeful words of wretchedness? Has Trump’s knee-jerk bombing of Syria escalated to a point where missile silos and nuclear submarines are placed on red alert? Is there an impending likelihood of a colossal meteor crashing into the earth?

No. But, Jeremy Corbyn has announced a £10 per hour minimum wage when Labour wins the 2020 election. By the time the rise comes in it will equate to around a £2 per hour rise. This rise will benefit around 6 million workers, around 20% of the UK workforce.

The five-day week, the Factories Act, 1961, statutory 5.6 weeks’ holidays, maternity payments, the Disability Discrimination Act, the minimum wage. Whenever progressive and socially advantageous policies have been mooted in the UK, the harbingers of reaction presaged the downfall of our economy.

Yet, each of these policies came in; and our economy and small businesses survived – many flourishing. LBC presenter Iain Dale referred to the rise as introducing ‘sky high salaries’!

For every reactionary view to the rise there is an obvious benefit for paying decent wages. Millions of workers would come out of workplace benefits trap. A massive saving in Tax Credit and Housing Benefits payments. Extra revenue pouring into the Chancellor’s coffers.

More disposable income in the pockets of workers, who unlike the wealthy don’t offshore their money, means they will plough much of it back into the economy. This boost to the economy will in turn generate more employment as the pay rise money is spent on DIY, new furniture, clothes, gardens, etc creates greater demand. This in turn will increase the profits of the very reactionaries who are wringing their hands at a prospect of £10 an hour minimum wage.