Friday 28 February 2014

The bizarre Tory effort to rebrand themselves as "The Workers Party"

If you ever needed another demonstration of how insanely out-of-touch the Tories are with reality, you just need to consider the plan by Tory party chairman Grant Shapps Michael Green to rebrand the Tory party as "The Workers' Party".

There is so much wrong with this proposed rebranding it's incredible. It would be funny if it weren't so Orwellian.

Party funding
[Main article]
The Tories, and their braying supporters in the corporate controlled press have constantly attacked the Labour party over the fact that their party is mainly funded by small donations from hundreds of thousands of ordinary workers, via democratically organised institutions (the trade unions). Meanwhile the Tory party is funded by a rogues gallery of extremely dodgy rich people, without the faintest trace of democratic accountability.

How on earth could anyone be stupid enough to expect a political party that is majority funded by donations of over £50,000 a shot from the super-rich, to represent the interests of ordinary workers?

How on earth could anyone be stupid enough to expect a political party that has a secretive inner cabal of super-rich donors that it refers to as "The Leaders Group", to represent the interests of ordinary workers?

How on earth could anyone be stupid enough to expect a political party that allows their wealthy donors to write up their own wish-list of anti-worker legislation as official Tory party policy, to represent the interests of ordinary workers?
Wage Repression
[Main article]

One of the strongest pieces of evidence that the Tories actively work against the interests of ordinary workers is the fact that since they came to power in 2010 the ordinary workers of the UK have suffered the longest sustained fall in real incomes since records began!

The Tories have fueled this decline in real incomes with their derisory increases in the minimum wage, their attacks on public sector pay, their refusal to legislate against companies that employ the majority of their staff on Zero-Hours Contracts, their massive expansion of Stalinist forced labour schemes, their cuts to in-work social security payments and their constant claims that "Britain is Bankrupt".

All of these factors have driven down the incomes of the poor and ordinary. What makes this deliberate Tory campaign of wage repression even worse is that the super wealthy elite have spent the last four years making themselves richer than ever.

Workers rights

The Tories have a long history of attacking workers rights. Just think of their ideological attacks on the trade union movement during the 1980s. These attacks have continued under the current government. There's the financial attack against people that have been unfairly dismissed, the revocation of established workers rights from people forced onto Iain Duncan Smith's Stalinist mandatory labour schemes, the increase in the state pension age, George Osborne's ludicrous "Shares for Rights" scheme, the parts of the "Gagging Law" designed to silence trade unions from speaking out on behalf of their members, and there's also the element of the "Gagging Law" designed to attack the right to privacy of trade union members.

If the Tories were really "The Workers' Party" would they really have spent the last four years deliberately undermining workers rights?

International Labour Day
[Main article]

If there is one thing that illustrated the Tory contempt for the value of labour more than any other, it must have been their plan to scrap the May bank holiday, which is celebrated worldwide as International Labour Day.

Grant Shapps Michael Green

I don't normally go in for the personality politics side of things, but it is impossible not to note that the man behind this ludicrous Tory rebranding exercise is the Internet conman turned Tory party chairman, Grant Shapps Michael Green. Grant Shapps' Michael Green's Internet con involved selling a programme that stole the creative content of other websites, changed a few keywords, then packaged the stolen content up into fake websites, in order to cash in on Google Ads. As he was doing this scam, he hid behind the false name Michael Green, and allegedly a number of other fake names too.

When Google figured out his scam, they blacklisted any site using the Grant Shapps Michael Green programme from their Google Rankings. Grant Shapps Michael Green is a man so corrupt that his dodgy Internet scams have even been blocked by Google!

It's no wonder at all then, that this corrupt con man has devised a new fraud, designed to con gullible members of the public into believing that the Tories represent the interests of ordinary workers, when the evidence is so absolutely clear that they don't.


This Tory rebranding exercise is a plan built on the assumption that the public are so extraordinarily gullible and ill-informed that they will simply accept this ludicrous new Tory narrative, in the same way that they have lapped up so many other ludicrously counter-factual Tory narratives (the Great Neoliberal Lie, The "Making Work Pay" fallacy, the "We're All in This Together" fallacy, the "your human rights are a burden that need to be scrapped" narrative ...).

The evidence is absolutely clear; the Tories are the anti-worker party, yet they believe that there are enough hopelessly gullible people in the UK that this blatant propaganda effort to rebrand themselves as the opposite of what they are will win them a significant number of votes, otherwise they wouldn't be trying it.

The Tories are once again assuming that the people of Britain are such a feeble-minded bunch that they'll believe any old rubbish they're told, no matter how blatantly counter-factual it is.

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 The Tory ideological mission
The Great Neoliberal Lie
What is ... Wage Repression?

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Reasons Scotland should vote yes: Uncertainty

Introduction to the series

Before I start out on this series, let me first declare my interests. I am a Yorkshireman, so I suppose that technically makes me English. I wish my beautiful region had more autonomy from Westminster, because perhaps if we had, our local representatives would have fought to protect our vital industries (steel, coal, fishing, transport), rather than letting Westminster deliberately ruin them as part of their insane ideological experiment in turning the UK economy into a supposed "post-industrial society" built around the city of London financial sector (and we all know how that turned out).

I know there is no chance of Yorkshire achieving regional autonomy from London in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean I begrudge the people of Scotland their opportunity to end London rule, in fact I'm delighted for them. The only concern I have is the possibility that the people of Scotland will decline this magnificent chance to assert their autonomy. Come September the 18th, I hope we'll be celebrating the rebirth of the Scottish nation.

I hope I'll be drinking a toast to "Scotland the brave", not mournfully lamenting for "Scotland the servile".


One of the most crucial arguments I can think of in relation to Scottish independence is the uncertainty issue.

The naysayers have repeatedly tried to frame the independence debate around uncertainty. They like to fearmonger that Scotland faces an uncertain future should the Scottish people choose to go it alone. In my view this argument is absolutely ludicrous because Scotland would face an equally uncertain future should they vote to remain part of the United Kingdom.

If Scotland votes to end London rule, then there will be an element of uncertainty over Scotland's membership of the European Union. However if Scotland votes to remain part of the United Kingdom, these uncertainty issues will not be resolved, in fact, they may be made a whole lot worse.

Several high profile EU technocrats have tried to intimidate Scotland out of voting for independence. It is absolutely clear why they are opposed, they are under enormous pressure from countries like Spain, Belgium, France, Finland and Italy, who are all desperately trying to prevent their own regions from achieving greater autonomy/independence.

As well as numerous EU technocrats making this point, the odious William Hague chipped in with his opinion that:
"if Scotland left the United Kingdom, it would also be leaving ... the European Union."

The idea that these threats are anything more than hot air is ludicrous. The EU would be much poorer without Scottish oil and Scottish renewables, so to drive Scotland out would be an act of grotesque economic illiteracy. Even if these ludicrous threats to lock Scotland out of the EU are followed through, who would want to be part of a political union that is intent on driving their own country out of it anyway?

Let's say that Scotland votes no because of this uncertainty over Europe. What then? Well, given that the Tories and UKIP are promising an EU referendum in the next parliament, it seems inevitable that one will take place. The problem for the Scottish people being that their votes will be massively outnumbered by English votes in an EU referendum. This means that if the English do as the corporate press has been conditioning them to, and vote to leave the EU, Scotland will be dragged out with them, no matter how the people of Scotland vote.

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only sources of income for  Another Angry Voice  are small donations from people who see some value in my work. If you appreciate my efforts and you could afford to make a donation, it would be massively appreciated.

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This article was reproduced (with my permission) on the Wings Over Scotland website. You can see that version (and the huge comments thread) here.

What is... Neoliberalism?
The "UKIP are an Alternative" delusion
Margaret Thatcher is dead
The "New Labour are Left Wing" fallacy

Who is to blame for the economic crisis?
George Osborne's economic extremism
The "unpatriotic left" fallacy
The Tory ideological mission
The Great Neoliberal Lie

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Richard Benyon's Housing Benefit hypocrisy

If you ever needed another example of the vile hypocrisy of the Tories, you should check out some of the stuff that Richard Benyon, the Tory MP for Newbury, has said about benefits and the welfare system.

He repeatedly uses the term "something for nothing" to slam benefits recipients, yet he himself is a much bigger benefit recipient than any unemployed person, or member of the ever increasing demographic working poor.

What he fails to mention every time he rants about the size of the welfare state, is that he is one of the very biggest beneficiaries of the welfare system, as his company (Englefield Estate Trust Corporation Limited) raked in £625,964 in housing benefit from West Berkshire council last year. It is likely that his company receives much more from other councils too, given that it holds land and property all over the United Kingdom.

What people fail to realise about housing benefit is that when it is paid out to help poor families cover the cost of private rents, the idle rentier class (like Richard Benyon) are the beneficiaries, not the tenants themselves. The DWP themselves admit that it costs well over £1,000 extra per year in housing benefit for every tenant that is housed in private accomodation, rather than social housing.

Since the Tories came to power and launched their economically illiterate austerity experiment, the size of the already bloated housing benefit bill has grown dramatically to £24 billion in 2013, as hundreds of thousands of families (mainly the working poor) have been driven into such poverty that they have become entitled to help with the cost of their rent. The number of working poor families reliant upon housing benefit has soared 104% between 2009 and 2013. The beneficiaries of this soaring housing benefit bill are not the tenants themselves, but private landlords like Richard Benyon.

Here's a direct quote from Richard Benyon's website:
"The Government is reforming Labour’s ‘something for nothing’ welfare culture, by capping the amount one household can get in benefits"
Given that his company rakes in hundreds of thousands per year in housing benefit, this simply isn't right, because the amount of cash his household receives in housing benefit hasn't been capped at all.

Yes, the government has capped the amount that "the lower orders" can claim in welfare, but there is absolutely no limit on the amount that the aristocracy and the idle rentier class can siphon out of government coffers through housing benefit.

Here's a response from Eileen Short, of Defend Council Housing:
“How dare Richard Benyon lecture us about ‘something for nothing’ when he is living off the poorest and milking taxpayers all the way to the bank?"
And here's a quote from David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, on the subject of housing benefits:
"We hear a lot about 'making work pay', but a decent job won't even cover the cost of a home in England. Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money is wasted, lining the pockets of private landlords, when it could be better spent building more homes people can afford"
If the government were serious about cutting the benefit bill, here's what they would do:
1. Cap private rents. So that private landlords can only charge the same as social housing rates. This would save £billions every year.

2. Bring the private rental sector up to the same standards as the social housing sector. This would prevent slumlords cashing in on housing benefits by renting disgracefully poor housing stock to the poor.

3. Build more social housing. This wouldn't actually cost money in the long run, because the construction of social housing is one of the strongest fiscal multipliers going.

4. Establish a national house buying scheme. Lots of idle slumlords will see their profit margins disappear if they are forced to rent their properties at reasonable rates, and keep them decently maintained too. The government should offer to buy up their property assets and convert them to social housing.
A Tory led government would never do any of these things because it would harm the financial interests of Tory MPs like Richard Benyon, as well as the interests of countless Tory party donors that also cash in on the housing benefits gravy train as they slam their own tenants as "something for nothing" scroungers.

The Tories have absolutely no intention of cutting the vast flow of welfare payments that find their way into the bank accounts of the wealthy rentier class, so all of their so-called "welfare reforms" are aimed at cutting the amount that goes to the people the welfare system was actually designed to help (the unemployed, the disabled, the working poor and pensioners).

In conclusion, The Tories are quite happy to allow the idle rentier class to keep pillaging the welfare system, and Richard Benyon is a grotesque hypocrite, who bitterly criticises the welfare state over and again, yet he sucks out far more cash from the welfare budget than any benefit claimant could ever dream of getting.

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More articles from
The Tory ideological mission
What is ... A Scrounger Narrative?

What is ... Wage Repression?
The economic case against tax-dodging 
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The Tory "War on Justice"
The JP Morgan plan for Europe
What is ... Fiscal Multiplication?

The "All in This Together" fallacy

Friday 21 February 2014

The destruction of the NHS

I realise that because of my tendency to present lots of facts and conduct rigorous analysis on them, my articles are usually extremely long. Today I am going to try very hard to write a short and concise article about what is happening to the NHS.

Before the Tory party were enabled back into power by the Liberal Democrats, the NHS was one of the most efficient and popular health services in the world. In fact, public satisfaction with the service reached an all-time high immediately before the Tories got their hands on it.

Before the election David Cameron lied, and, lied, and lied about his intentions towards the NHS.
  • David Cameron  said "no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS" - then launched the biggest top-down reorganisation in the entire history of the institution.
  • David Cameron promised that he wouldn't privatise the NHS - then proceeded to carve it up into little pieces and sell them off to the private sector.
  • David Cameron said that the NHS would be safe in his hands - then set about deliberately dismantling it from within.
The true Tory intentions towards the NHS should have been obvious. The Tory party has an ideological hatred of the public sector and consider the NHS an abomination. They know that more than 80% of the public support the NHS, so they very rarely admit their desire to dismantle it, but sometimes the truth slips out.
  • In 2004 Tory MP Oliver Letwin reportedly bragged to a private meeting that the Tories would destroy the NHS "within five years" of getting back into power. [source]
  • In 2009 Tory MEP Daniel Hannan described the NHS as a "60 year mistake" and rubbished the service on Fox News. [source]
  • In 2009 three Tory MPs (Michael Gove, Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt) called for the NHS to be dismantled. [source] Incredibly Jeremy Hunt is now the government health secretary, meaning that he is in charge of an organisation that he has openly stated that he wants to dismantle.
  • In 2011 the former Tory leadership candidate Michael Portillo admitted that Cameron and the Tories had lied to the public about their intentions towards the NHS: "They did not believe they could win an election if they told you what they were going to do because people are so wedded to the NHS." [source]
Since the Tories and Lib-Dems voted through their Health and Social Care Backdoor Privatisation of the NHS Bill, £1.5 billion worth of NHS services have been sold off to Tory party donors.

It is incontestable that the NHS is currently being dismantled from within. The government had absolutely no mandate to do this because they didn't mention it in their manifesto (and in fact they repeatedly lied that they wouldn't do it). It is also incontestable that many of the biggest financial beneficiaries of this sell-off are direct donors to the Tory party.

The Tories are trying to convert the NHS from the public service model to the profit driven US model (even though studies have found the US system to be less efficient than the UK system, despite being the most expensive in the world). They are hoping that if they just keep the NHS signs on the outside of the hospitals, nobody will notice that everything inside has been sold off, or given away to the private sector.

Not only are health outcomes much poorer in the US, prices are much higher too. The Washington Post found that countless drugs, treatments and services were vastly more expensive in the US than they were in the NHS. Privatisation represents extremely poor value for the taxpayer, but then the Tories are not interested in value for the taxpayer in the slightest, what they are interested in is allowing their corporate chums to extract as much profit from every aspect of human existence as possible.

One other factor which is very rarely considered is the inflexibility that privatisation builds into the system. If the NHS signs a 30 year PFI contract for a hospital, or hands out a 25 year contract for some private health company to provide an NHS service, these contracts can only be escaped from at enormous cost in compensation. Even modifying the contracts to take account of changing needs is extraordinarily expensive. This private sector inflexibility is precisely the reason that in March 2014 Jeremy Hunt awarded himself the power to shut down any NHS hospital, no matter how good it is, in just 40 days. If a neighbouring PFI hospital or private service is losing loads of money and providing terrible services, the Tories can now quickly shut down a neighbouring NHS run hospital to cut costs, no matter how efficiently it is run, nor how high the quality of service.

On the whole, the mainstream media oligopoly have no interest in explaining the truth about the dismantling of the NHS, they're more interested in spreading Tory anti-NHS propaganda and recycling the absurd narrative that privatising NHS services to make it more like the American system will make it more "efficient".

This failure of the press to accurately explain what is going on means it is increasingly down to the public themselves to spread the truth about what is happening. You can help to spread the word by sharing this article and/or sharing the picture to the right.

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only source of revenue for  Another Angry Voice  is the  PayPal  donations box (which can be found in the right hand column, fairly near the top of the page). If you could afford to make a donation to help keep this site going, it would be massively appreciated.

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Thursday 20 February 2014

David Cameron's Orwellian word games

In February 2014 the Archbishop of Westminster spoke out against the so-called "welfare reforms" being conducted by the Conservative party (and their ever wiling Lib-Dem enablers). Vincent Nichols is the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and has recently been brought into the inner circle of cardinals by Pope Francis. Here's a quote:

"The voices that I hear express anger and despair … Something is going seriously wrong when, in a country as affluent as ours, people are left in that destitute situation and depend solely on the handouts of the charity of food banks."
Nichols is by no means the first religious person to speak out against the immorality of imposing ideological austerity and cuts on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society whilst ever more wealth gets distributed to the tiny establishment minority. The Church of England has criticised "welfare reform"; At Easter 2013 a coalition of smaller churches spoke out against attacks on the poor by Tory ministers and the mainstream media; and other groups such as the Quakers have been constant champions of social justice. It's not just religious people that are complaining either. Countless charities, voluntary organisations, anti-poverty campaign groups and social activists have spoken out too.

David Cameron's riposte to this latest condemnation of his government's attacks on the poor and vulnerable was absolutely extraordinary. He claimed that the sustained attacks on the social safety net his government have been conducting (which affect far more working people than unemployed) are part of a "moral mission" aimed at giving "hope" and "opportunity" to "people who had previously been written off with no chance".

Given the appalling history of the Catholic church, even after Pope Francis has begun steering the institution towards the path of social justice, few people would accept a high ranking Catholic as an perfect moral arbiter. However, nobody in their right mind could accept the leader of a political party which is absolutely obsessed with their bankrupt "greed-is-a-virtue" neoliberal economic ideology speaking as a moral arbiter on their own brutal welfare policies.

If the religious organisations of the nation, charities and the voluntary sector are speaking with one voice to condemn Tory "welfare reform" as immoral, it is absolutely extraordinary that Cameron could attempt to defend his attacks on the poor and vulnerable by describing them as being part of a "moral mission".

The idea that Tory welfare reforms bring "hope" and "opportunity" to the poor and vulnerable is yet another extraordinary assertion. Here are a dozen facts about this supposedly "hope" inspiring welfare system.

  • Comparison between the official Labour Market Statistics published in February 2014 and the same period in 2010, we can see that the Tory welfare reforms have been an absolute disaster. The total number of people out of work for more than two years has skyrocketed from 250,000 to 448,000 and the number of 18-24 year olds out of work for more than two years has more than doubled from 55,000 to 114,000.
You may have noticed that I didn't even mention Bedroom Tax in these twelve points, so here are a few articles on that particularly vile demonstration of Tory malice against the poor and vulnerable:
Returning to David Cameron's attempted justification for his so-called "welfare reforms", it is clear that he is using Orwellian language. Recall the slogans from 1984 "War is Peace", "Freedom is Slavery", "Ignorance is Strength". Well David Cameron's defence of the Tory attacks on the welfare system are remarkably similar, the two over-riding themes being that "Morality is Immorality", "Opportunity is Destitution" and "Hope is Fear".

If we look through David Cameron's extensive back catalogue of lies and distortions we can find many other examples of this kind of Orwellian use of language. Cameron's pre-election lies about the NHS are some of his most famous, so we'll start there and move on to some of his other lies.

Cameron said that he'd cut the budget deficit, not the NHS, then imposed £20 billion worth of austerity cuts on the NHS: "Cutting is Not Cutting".

Cameron said that the NHS would be safe in his hands, then he carved it open for the private sector and fed £1.5 billion worth of NHS contracts to Tory party donors: "Safe is Not Safe".

Cameron promised "no more top down reorganisations of the NHS" then pushed through the biggest and most controversial top-down reorganisation in the entire history of the organisaation: "No More is Another"

Cameron claimed in a 2013 party political broadcast that the Tories are "paying down Britain's debts" when the reality is that they have increased the debt by more in their first 3.5 years than New Labour did in the previous 13: "Paying Down is Dramatically Increasing".

In October 2013 Cameron claimed in parliament that Labour "bankrupted Britain" even though the UK kept their AAA credit ratings until George Osborne lost them due to his blundering economic mismanagement several years later: "Bankrupted is Investment Grade"
David Cameon's long track record of subverting the meanings of words means that we shouldn't be surprised that he is at it again with his "Morality is Immorality", "Opportunity is Destitution" and "Hope is Fear" nonsense, but it is enough to make us wonder whether this is some Old Etonian game to test how much cognitive dissonance "the lower orders" can endure.

I can't help thinking that this is some kind of game, like the England footballers at the 1998 World Cup trying to sneak song titles into their interviews with the press, David Cameron is perhaps trying to impress some of his Old Etonian chums with his Orwellian word games.

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More articles from
 The Tory ideological mission
The Great Neoliberal Lie
What is ... Wage Repression?

Tuesday 18 February 2014

David Cameron and divisiveness

In February 2014 David Cameron outright refused to recognise the sacrifices made by some 10,000 British military personnel that were exposed to intense levels of radiation during the 1950s and 1960s.

These men were ordered to do things like watch nuclear detonations at close range, fly aircraft through mushroom clouds, handle radioactive materials and explore blast zones, all with no protective gear.

Many hundreds have died of cancer and other radiation related illnesses but this isn't even the most horrifying legacy. Due to the genetic damage these men sustained, the families of many of these men have been affected by birth defects, meaning that the legacy of suffering is continuing down the generations.

Many other countries have begun to recognise the suffering inflicted on their military personnel due to radiation exposure, but the United Kingdom steadfastly refuses to offer recompense to our nuclear veterans.

A pressure group of victims and their families called Fallout has been calling for some recognition for the nuclear veterans and their families, but their concerns have been stonewalled by the government.

The Fallout campaign group have asked for the creation of a £25 million benevolent fund to help descendents that are born with genetic illnesses, a campaign medal for nuclear test veterans and a "thank you" from the Prime Minister.

The government have refused to engage with the group, and David Cameron has refused to even publicly thank the surviving veterans, perhaps out of fear that the the slightest hint of recognition would be the first step on the path to awarding these men compensation, which would hardly be unprecidented given that the United States government have been compensating their nuclear test veterans.

David Cameron's excuse for refusing to acknowledge the nuclear test victims is teeth grindingly bad, even by his appalling standards. Here's what he said:

"It would be divisive to offer nuclear test veterans this level of recognition for being involved in this project, when those who have undertaken other specialist duties would not be receiving the same."
This is the same kind of feeble justification that was used to deny campaign medals to the survivors of the Arctic Convoys until the establishment finally caved in and awarded the Arctic Star to the few remaining survivors in 2013.

British nuclear test veterans: Snubbed by David Cameron.
What is even worse than the recycling of an argument that has already been lost is the claim of "divisiveness" from a Tory leader whose party is currently trying to rename the August Bank Holiday "Margaret Thatcher Day".

How on earth could the awarding of a campaign medal to those surviving nuclear veterans that have been fortunate enough to avoid contracting cancer for all these years, be classified as "divisive" by a man that has made no complaint about the divisiveness of his own parties attempts to name a bank holiday after a famously divisive woman, who is hated by millions for her toxic political and economic legacies?

In my view, the benevolent fund should be established to help the descendents that are born with genetic conditions. It would take a hard-hearted git to begrudge something like 45p in tax per person going towards the innocent victims of the British nuclear tests.

I also believe that a nuclear test veterans medal would not be divisive, in fact "those who have undertaken other specialist duties" could always appeal for their service to be recognised too.

The worst thing of all is the refusal to even thank these men for their service. The benevolent fund would cost money, the production of a few medals would cost a tiny amount of money, the production of more medals for veterans of other "specialist duties" might cost a tiny amount more, but a public acknowledgement of these men would cost nothing.

The refusal to even thank these men, and David Cameron's ludicrous "divisiveness" narrative are yet more demonstrations of the absolute contempt the Tories and the establishment classes have for the disposable "lower orders".

 Another Angry Voice  is a not-for-profit page which generates absolutely no revenue from advertising and accepts no money from corporate or political interests. The only source of revenue for  Another Angry Voice  is the  PayPal  donations box (which can be found in the right hand column, fairly near the top of the page). If you could afford to make a donation to help keep this site going, it would be massively appreciated.

More articles from
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies
The Tory ideological mission