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This is what “austerity measures” do.

August 18, 2011 5 comments

Nations choose to adopt policies that force their public into austerity.

The number of people unemployed in the UK rose by 38,000 to 2.49 million in the three months to June.

This took the jobless rate from 7.7% to 7.9%,the Office for National Statistics said.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance also rose, by 37,100 in July to 1.56 million, its biggest increase since May 2009.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14555264

Of course, throwing thousands of public sector workers out of a job and squeezing the ridiculously low welfare benefits of the poorest were always going to lead to more jobs, well maybe if you had swallowed some serious drugs during your economics lessons as a Bullingdon Clubber. After all a riot is acceptable if you can throw the cash back at the place you trashed.

The official figures also showed that between April and June:

  • The youth unemployment rate rose to 20.2%, up from 20% in the quarter to March
  • There were 949,000 16 to 24-year-olds without work, a rise of 15,000
  • The number of unemployed men increased by 18,000 to 1.45 million
  • The level of unemployed women rose by 21,000 to 1.05 million – the highest figure since May 1988
  • The number of employees working part-time because they could not find a full-time job increased by 83,000 to 1.26 million – the highest figure since comparable records began in 1992
  • The unemployment rate remained the highest in the north-east of England, at 10%
  • The south-east of England still had the lowest rate of unemployment, with a rate of 5.8%
  • The unemployment rate in Scotland was unchanged at 7.7%, in Wales it jumped to 8.4%, and in Northern Ireland it crept up to 7.3%
  • Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, were 2.6% higher than a year ago
Just to add to the last point, inflation is nearing 5%.

Meanwhile, in the Countries that decided not to starve their poor, the economy is rebounding very nicely, thank you very much.

If there is a “political message” behind the riots in the UK it is being lost.

August 9, 2011 1 comment

It started as a vigil for Mark Duggan, a man shot, perhaps in cold blood by the Police. It was a peaceful prayer led vigil. Anger behind the secrecy justifiably turned to protest, that escalated to a riot in Tottenham, a borough of intense contrast between the haves of the nearby City and the have nots.

What has followed has been nothing more than copy-cat looting. It is indeed mindless violence. Few out smashing and burning will have heard of Mark Duggan. At best they are not fighting a “class war”, at worse they are doing everything to undermine any gains made the poor in the UK.

It is not sticking it to the man to burn poor people out of their own home.
It is not sticking it to the man to kill businesses in unemployment blackspots of London.
It is not sticking it to the man for riotous thugs to storm Birmingham for gay bashing.

It most certainly does not help the family of Mark Duggan. It does not help deal with police racism or police intolerance and in fact it drives people right back to full unquestioning support of the police. It does not help the children being drawn into this who now face being charged with aggravated burglary.

Who does it help? The far right who will exploit this in every way they can.

The UK is hit by a tsunami of violence as copy-cat riots hit major towns across London, Liverpool & Birmingham

August 9, 2011 5 comments

Many will dismiss the rioters as “scum”, many others will give them a political credibility that they neither aspire to or desire. Others will say it is because they have “nothing better to do”.

One thing is for sure, these riots are no longer (if ever) about Mark Duggan.

For many on the streets it is a protest. Youth unemployment is hitting 1 million. The “cure” proposed by the government is not job creation but punishment for unemployment.

I got a lucky break 4 months ago. I found a new job. Yes temporary but still good. Before that job, I was depressed, on the verge of suicide and angry. Government cuts mean that there is very little carrot left to find a job and a lot of stick to find that non-existent job.

My next door neighbours, scientists, were raided by the police because they were Muslim. I see no other reason for the anti terrorist police storiming up the stairs like a scene of out oflife of Brian.

For those demanding racial profiling in the US – this is the inevitable consequence. It is not an excuse it is a response. If people are poor, trodden on and see no way out people will react back. Young black people, young Muslims are targeted for no other reason than they look black or Muslim.

As I said, a fair chunk of the rioters outside of Tottenham are just copy-cats. Their interest in Mark Duggan is minimal to say the least. However the rich had their riots over student loans, they never once spoke up for the very poorest who were having their very minimal benefits cut.

Do not be angry at the rioters, even the opportunist thieves. They may have “damaged the economy”, they do not and will not ever have the power to hold it to ransom or to crash it entirely.

Most looters are opportunists. Somebody else broke the glass first. The first are violent but the rest are just quite literally taking advantage, something we are all told to do.

Robbing a tv is far less worse than being able to decide who runs a government as a result of illegally hacked telephone messages. It is far less worse than a politician dancing to the tune of their big money interests instead of the public who voted for them. It is far less worse than being able to fiddle your expenses as a Member of Parliament or win a no bid contract for a war against a Country that did nothing to anyone.

Not one of these kids could have caused the damage to the economy of the World that Goldman Sachs did. GS gets the ear of Washington. The poor of the World only get the ear of the top when they do riot.

The rioters are wrong to do this but at the moment, those in power are making the rioters look like chewing gum thieves at school. Something needs to give.

While real incomes for ordinary people fell 15%, 1473 of the $1m+ per year earners paid NO US income tax

August 4, 2011 3 comments

Ordinary families have much lower salaries and pay a much greater share of their income as tax for fewer government services.

Average income in 2009 was at its lowest level since 1997 when it was $54,265 in 2009 dollars, just $18 less than in 2009. The data come from annual Statistics of Income tables that were updated Wednesday.

The average tax rate was 11.4 percent, up from 10.5 percent in 2007, the Internal Revenue Service data showed
While the very richest paid nothing.

No income tax was paid by 1,470 of the 235,413 taxpayers earning $1 million or more in 2009, compared with the 959 taxpayers with million-dollar-plus incomes who paid no income taxes in 2007.

When the left sleeps the right wins

The Tea Party protested in support of cuts. There was no answer from the left in America. The largest protest group in the US, with the exception of Wisconsin is the Tea Party, campaigning for their own redundancy notices.

When the Tories attacked social security in the UK there was no protest, sure the middle class and rich protested against student fees (which actually benefit the poorest) but welfare, nowhere.

Austerity budgets lead to more austerity. The great plan for Europe was to ride the wave of a resurgent US and a growing China. Say goodbye to the idea of a resurgent US.

The only budget that would have actually started to cut into the US National Debt would have been that proposed by the Progressive Caucus. It still makes that passed by the right wing UK look “far left” (UK top rate taxes of 50% and a partial removal of the National Insurance (Social Security cap). It was however completely ignored in media debates. The left was represented by the “middle”, that of President Obama. The right was the Tea Party and the middle was somewhere in between the two. A position far more right wing than anything Bush could have proposed.

We can not and should not blame the President for this. The message from November was clear from those selling that message. Cuts are wanted. That is the message that was sent to the President. That is the message Washington heard. That is the message the IMF and the Credit Agencies are forcing down the throat of European Nations.

We scream only at our own side. There has been no effective answer to the right.

There are real alternatives to austerity. Germany reduced their working week. Everyone took a hit but few became unemployed. They are now booming. They have no need to cut their social programmes and they have absolutely no desire to cut their social programmes to bail out Nations who did not do what they did.

In our great Anglo-American Economy, the richest 1% have had their incomes grow massively while those at the bottom are being forced to pay. The top end market for house prices in London has never been higher. The bottom end has collapsed because ordinary people can not get mortgages. Who paid to bail out the banks to save the wealth of the top? Ordinary every day workers.

An Empire died 20 years ago because they gave a higher priority to military spending than spending on their own people. Another Empire is now coming to an end.

There is one man responsible for the phone hacking scandal in the UK.

July 7, 2011 3 comments

This one man has been able to control the agenda of the political parties of the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. He has been able to create and destroy politicians.

This one man has wiped out the differences between the political parties. His empire has dictated the response of politicians to the created issues of the day for at least the last 30 years.

The closure of the News of the World is not enough.

Now is the time for politicians to say no to this man

Rupert Murdoch is not a fit and proper man to take over BSkyB, not is he a fit and proper man for politicians to fawn over.

The disgrace of his paper hacking the telephone of a murdered child as well as war widows should be enough to end his stranglehold over politicians from both sides of the hemisphere and the pond.

Election 2011. Britain doesn’t go to the polls.

There are elections and a referendum taking place across the UK today, as I type 3/4 of an hour remain before polls shut. The referendum is on whether the UK should switch from first past the post to Alternative vote, voters really do not care and as a result polling has been difficult at best.

I’m not for AV, but want it to win because I believe in electoral reform and proportional representation. I won’t lose sleep if the No campaign wins today.

Elections for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly are being held, as are polls in 279 English councils, there are however no elections in London, so it will be very interesting to see if turnout rises above 30%.

In the constituency of Leicester South, there is a by-election to replace the former MP, Peter Soulsby, who resigned to contest the newly created position of a directly elected Mayor for the City of Leicester. Mayoral contests are also taking place in Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Torbay and Bedford.

Peter Soulsby won the seat from Liberal Democrats. Leicester South and the City election will be worth watching. Soulsby has in the past competed with Lib Dems about who was more anti-Iraq War.

Some lunacy has already gone on.

In Stockport nearly 100 people cast votes now recorded as invalid because wrong ballot papers were delivered to the polling station and in Carmarthenshire (Wales), a polling station was closed for hours after two escaped dogs bit four voters. Stick to the roads, keep clear of the Moors.

Council and Mayoral elections do nothing to change national government, although nearer the end of a Parliament Prime Ministers often used them to judge whether to run a General Election, however a wipeout for the Liberal Democrats may make their “partnership” with Cameron’s Conservatives somewhat more bitter.

My updated predictions – the Conservatives won’t do too badly despite massive cuts to public services because 1) they have their own fall guy, the Liberal Democrats who take the blame and 2) Ed Milliband is not really a shining star. So therefore Milliband and Cameron will have something to crow about and Clegg will be licking some painful sores (especially if the Yes vote loses).

UPDATE Polls have now closed, expect no politician to say how bad it was for democracy as a whole that turnout was abysmal.

Last update before bed: Nick Clegg is going to have a nightmare in his own Constituency, his City, Sheffield, is Lib Dem Controlled with no overall majority, I expect to wake in the morning with at least 12 Lib Dem Councillors defeated.