JC – Hugely popular with his adoring fans BUT….

That Jeremy Corbyn has almost God-like status amongst his fans is undeniable. And why not he’s pledged to do many wondrous things that few people could argue with. He’s going to save the NHS with massive injections of cash. Save our railways with nationalisation and massive injections of cash. Save students with no more student loans/tuition fees (despite Labour previously bringing in such loans/tuition fees) and possibly paying off/refunding all the old/outstanding loans/tuition fees too. I could go on but I’m sure you get my and indeed JC’s drift.

Does he mean it? Will all his pledges come about if the electorate gives JC a majority at the next election? I’ve been asking such questions of folk I know who are involved in politics and their answers are illuminating.

Labour Party members/supporters (excepting the Momentum crowds and JC adorers of course) seem generally downbeat to me. And no, I’ve not been talking to those right wing Labour Party members who some refer to as Red Tories.

What Labour members who are sceptical of JC say is generally summed up like this:- We know he will not be able to deliver at least half of what he promises/pledges because there won’t be the money available to any incoming Labour Government to do it.

And of course this line is backed up by the present state of the economy following the the financial crash some 10 years ago and the many years of austerity we have suffered. Having said that JC is also going to kill off austerity of course!

Why only recently it’s been revealed that Brexit, which of course JC is hugely in favour of, will lead to the average household being around £4,000 per year worse off so government revenues will obviously fall, possibly dramatically too. What’s more leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, as JC wants, will in turn mean that to compete the UK will need to slash taxation (and things like the regulations that protect workers rights) so government revenues will be hit hard there too. The question being how will JC deliver his pledges with far, far less money being available to his government?

What I am saying is that Labour supporters, who are not wedded to Momentum, see a huge problem brewing for Labour in that it will fail spectacularly to deliver if it gains power at Westminster. Not my words but those of credible Labour people I have spoken to.

Wanting to do all the things that we all want doing in our society is very different to being able to deliver them and many Labour members know this.

And then you look at credible people outside of the Labour tent and the answers/comments are very similar to those skeptics within Labour’s tent. Look at this write up from Cllr. Ian Brodie-Browne:-

birkdalefocus.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/sefon-lab-councillor-decalre-year-zero.html

Whilst Iain’s blog posting is predicated on what has happened at Sefton Council meetings the thrust of it fits with what I have heard from within Labour’s tent. Indeed it’s not just me as Roy Connell told me only recently about a chance encounter he had with a senior Labour figure locally who had all sorts of worries about JC’s pledges.

I seriously want many of the things JC is pledging to be delivered – A better funded NHS, no more PFI deals to deliver public services, no more tuition fees etc. etc. But economic reality can’t be controlled to deliver enough money into the government’s purse to make wishes come true. Leaving the EU is not going to make things better economically, its going to make things worse! We will still be living in a global economy no matter how much we pretend to be little Englanders who are unaffected by world issues. Investment in the UK needs stable economics, yet we are heading directly for unstable waters due to Brexit and unrealistic spending pledges by the likes of JC.

He may be loved, he may be adored and believed (indeed he may passionately believe that all his pledges are deliverable himself) but that does not mean he can and will deliver when all the pointers say he can’t.

As Iain Brodie-Browne points out you can’t just say the new world begins today and everything that was done before it, even by Labour in government, is irrelevant history. It’s not irrelevant because it has put us where we are socially and economically. We might not like where we are, I for one certainly do not, but that does not mean we can change our situation by simply believing another better world is possible. Slamming on the brakes does not stop a massive oil tanker; our economy is like an oil tanker. No matter how much we wish and vote for massive social and economic change it will only happen slowly over many years. Stop the world we want to get off could be the slogan of Brexiters and indeed Momentum but what will actually happen if we pull the wrong leavers is that we stop economically and the rest of the world keeps spinning.

JC your world like Brexit is a seriously false and damaging fantasy and there are many in your party who know that.

Tuition Fees and Student Debt – Labour’s in a tangle all of their own making

I have been trying to get to the bottom of what Labour generally and Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner MP in particular have been saying about this controversial matter.

Let’s kill one piece of fake news first – Labour brought in Tuition Fees when in government, end of. No they weren’t brought in by Nick Clegg, he just made an almighty mess of pledging to fight them before doing his spectacular U-turn and in effect reversing that pledge.

So ownership of Tuition Fees belongs to Labour but both Tories and Lib Dems in Government have backed them.

Of course the big news of this June’s General Election was that Labour had decided that their flagship policy to bring in Tuition Fees had been wrong and that they would be abolishing them if the electorate gave them a majority. That pledge went down very well indeed with young voters who flocked behind the Labour banner in the ballot box but not in sufficient numbers to give Labour a majority, indeed Labour were nowhere near a majority.

But what’s been going on since then is interesting as Labour spokespeople seem to have been trying to build on their success of attracting young voters by suggesting, saying and promoting the righting off of student debts. Clearly that talk has given the impression (intended or otherwise) that already held student debts (going back to when Labour introduced Tuition Fees?) would be written off.

And that of course begs the question of what would then happen about the Tuition Fees that have already been paid off? Would it lead to the students who have paid off their debt getting a refund? The logical end of this policy process is that yes they should and obviously folks are drawing that conclusion.

Clearly Labour has by loose talk put itself in a position where there are great expectations over Tuition Fees being abolished, debts being written off and already repaid debt being refunded. Oh how a political party can talk itself into a a hugely significant and expensive policy stance!

But what seems to be going on now is that Labour are trying to talk the expectations down (backing off the pledges?) and saying they had not promised this that or the other.

Have Labour learned nothing from Clegg’s U-turn and how young people took against him?

General Election – Reflections of a radical lefty

Brexit – Well it now seemingly has huge support as both Labour and Tories were backed to pursue it. What happened to the 48% who voted against Brexit because many of them must have effectively voted for it this time around?

Nick Clegg – Probably for the best that he lost his seat. In many way he was one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable MP in Parliament but because of his poor judgement over tuition fees (he said he would oppose them and did the opposite) he found himself in a place from which there was no return. Indeed, he ended up being blamed for tuition fees when in fact they were brought in by Labour who, in this most recent election, pledged to abolish their own previous policy!

Diane Abbott and Teresa May – They had terrible campaigns, end of. Diane was seemingly incapable of fielding incoming fire whilst submarine commander May kept ducking under the waves to avoid the fire. Has any Prime Minister/Party Leader been so detached from an election campaign before?

Jeremy Corbyn – Well he did not implode as the hostile press said he would, in fact did reasonably well as a 1970’s socialist with a love of nationalisation. Maybe Labour kept sending in Diane Abbott because they knew she would be terrible so taking the pressure of Jeremy? If they did it was a well thought out move.

Ulster Unionists – Oh dear what will become of us now the fate of the Government is probably in their hands? Yes, they will get the blame for supporting the Tories when unpopular things are done but then again on Brexit and Welfare reform the Tories may be relying on Labour backing/abstaining based on recent history. It certainly makes me feel very uncomfortable that our country will in effect be in the hands of a political party which promotes sectarian politics! What’s the chances of it not ending up in tears?

Polarised UK? – Well yes when viewed from some angles but on the biggest issue of the day – Brexit – the Tories and Labour were actually united over pursuing what will inevitably be a disastrous economic process from which the poor will suffer the most.

Pensioners – How many pensioners actually voted Conservative despite their triple lock pensions (brought in by the Lib Dems) being under threat from the Tories? And what about the Conservative’s Dementia tax and their promised cuts to Winter Fuel Allowance? Did some pensioners vote Tory because they still want Brexit at any cost.

Young People – Many voted Labour because of their promise to abolish tuition fees but in doing so they also voted for some Labour MP’s who in effect support the restriction of freedom of movement, via Brexit, which is in no way in the interests of young people. And how on earth did Labour MP Kate Hoey survive? She has been the female bookend to Nigel Farage, representing a constituency which voted heavily (76.6%) against Brexit, yet she was re-elected with a thumping majority?

Tim Farron – He had a decent campaign with the limited exposure he got on TV and radio. He lacks the charisma of Charles Kennedy or Paddy Ashdown but he made a good fist of it.

Conclusion – Not a good election for us radical lefties but then again are they ever? Each time the deck chairs get moved around but the government of the day is always too right wing!

Why do we allow ourselves to be lied to?

I am sure that the vast majority of folks reading this will say I don’t want to lied to. But…….

And the but is this. We are all lied to on a regular basis by the media, politicians, businesses etc. Some lie openly but most lie in a way that some of us will not detect because the lies told feed our prejudices. So, in my case, if I hear a story slagging off Yorkshire County Cricket Club I will want to believe it as a Notts supporter. Now are you getting my drift?

But what if the lies we are told are about far more important things than a sporting allegiances? Without doubt we have been told lies [unless I am lying to you now of course] about the EU, immigration, the NHS, tuition fees, the Iraq war, taxation etc. etc. etc. in recent years.

Beware someone who tells you something that they know you are likely to want to agree with because it may well not be true, particularly if they are selling you something, trying to get your support or indeed wanting your vote.

Look at it this way newspapers play to the prejudices of their readers. They work on the basis that if we tell our readers something often enough they will believe it and repeat it as fact. Some of the more disreputable politicians do the same thing, but we know that don’t we?

I was once told by a politician that you need to find out what people are most upset about and then keep sending them messages (e-mails, leaflets etc.) that repeat those concerns and that whether those concerns are real or not does not matter.

Our problem is that with our busy lives we do not have the time, or say we don’t have the time, to find out the facts before we take a stance on things. We repeat what our family, friends and neighbours tell us without question at times and that is how falsehoods become ‘facts’ in public mind.

You could say that we are too lazy to check things out when someone we trust gives us an easy answer that fits with our prejudices, but that’s exactly how we are had by newspapers, politicians and businesses. They all put a lot of time and money into how messages are played to us so that we will react as they wish us to.

So if Auntie Mary or Uncle Fred for example is hooked by a dodgy message or ‘fact’ and then repeats it to the rest of his/her gullible family, who take it on board, then that dodgy message is spread just as the originator of it intended or at least hoped.

When polled we say that we hate lying politicians, rip-off business people and that we don’t trust what the media tells us but the fact that we are had quite often indicates that we are not actually very good at knowing when we are being lied to. This is particularly the case when we hear a ‘fact’ that we want to believe but is in fact a lie or a gross distortion of the truth.

Let’s look at few examples:-

* The NHS – we all now seem to take it as fact that we were lied to during the EU Referendum about £350m per week going into the NHS if we voted to leave the EU. Indeed, the very people who told that huge fib have openly now said it is not now going to happen! A big lie indeed.

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* Tuition Fees – This one sunk Nick Clegg (and rightly so) as he negotiated away his pledge not to increase them and indeed to scrap them. Strangely though some of us who were angry with him then voted for alternative politicians in the Labour or Conservative parties who were the instigators and promoters of Tuition Fees! So we were upset that Clegg had said one thing and done the opposite but by our actions we endorsed the policy of tuition fees. Now there’s a odd muddle for you.

* Taxation – It probably started under Thatcher but certainly Blair, Brown and Cameron built on it i.e. that we can have low taxation and great public services. And guess what, we can’t! We even had some recent nonsense from the Tories about a law to make it illegal for Parliament to increase some taxes. Their stance is built on the fact that we don’t like paying taxes so we like a message that says we don’t have to. We are also distracted by media messages that tell us that our taxes are wasted by fat-cat public sector bosses – we like that message too. That message may well be true at the margins but those that spread the message intend us to think that public money is wasted by hundreds of billions of Pounds each year. We want to believe it, so many of us do. Of course, this one is difficult for us to check out so the media and politicians who peddle that message are on to a winner.

If we keep believing what media outlets, businesses, politicians etc. tell us without checking things out, whilst trying to keep both an open mind and sceptical inquiring outlook, we will keep getting had! But are we too busy or too lazy to become better informed and less gullible?

Tuition Fees – Labour brought them in – Tories & Lib Dems promised to scrap them!

This is one of those political subjects that truly gets my goat as there has been so much hypocrisy and so many lies told about tuition fees.

When the Labour government introduced them the opposition rightly, in my view, labelled it a tax on learning and they pledged to scrap them. And that was the Tories too, not just Nick Clegg’s Party. See the recent revelations concerning George Osborne’s views on scrapping tuition fees when he was in opposition via the link below:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-36323823

Now it looks like they are likely to increase year on year so another row is breaking out with Labour saying there should not be any increase. You can bet that Corbyn is treading carefully as he won’t want students and their families reminded that tuition fees were originally Labour’s idea to tax learning. And let’s be honest if Labour had not invented this tax it would surely now be pressing for its abolition.

And here’s an odd thing. If you ask folks who was responsible for tuition fees they will probably respond by saying Nick Clegg or the Lib Dems. This is because that infamous and utterly disastrous (for the Lib Dems) retreat from saying they would scrap them is what sticks in the public’s mind. So the Lib Dems are seen by many as being responsible for the fees as well as for breaking their pledge to scrap them when they were actually only responsible for the second sin.

But the reason this troubling subject sticks in my mind is because it illustrates the dishonesty that is at the heart of our party political system and which fuels voters distrust of politics and political parties. Or look at it another way what pledges are being made now which will be reneged on further down the track.

You would have thought that with the advent of 24 hour news and social media that the chances of pledges being forgotten about when the political wind changes would be slim but I bet despite that dodgy pledges are still being made especially by those in opposition.

It is probably fair to say that we don’t really expect our politicians to be honest although in public we usually say we want them to be. And we are pretty good at looking shocked and horrified when an MP does something wrong over his/her expenses claims even though most of us will soon forget about it.

And there’s the rub ‘we will soon forget about it’, because that is what those making dodging pledges are relying on together with the media being too lazy to remind folks of course.