Robert Peston hits nails squarely on the head as he resurrects the Radical in UK politics

www.theguardian.com/media/2017/nov/24/robert-peston-interview-im-not-saying-britain-is-finished-but-our-current-problems-are-not-a-blip

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

After generations of UK political leaders who have just managed our political system and economy at the margins we have almost forgotten (well us Liberals haven’t of course) how only leaders with Radical views can really change things for the better and the common good.

Frankly Peston sounds very much like an old fashioned Liberal Radical in much of this analysis of him, by Decca Aitkenhead, and what he is advocating.

Go on, have read of this fascinating piece (linked above) because whether you agree with him or not he is pointing to real issues where we need radical reform. I’m pretty sure his general analysis is right. If we don’t address things the UK will turn into an economic and social disaster that makes the foolishness of Brexit look like it was only a first if hugely significant starting point in our decline and ruin.

His opinions on Corbyn are interesting but if he (Corbyn) is the nearest political leader we have to a Radical then we really are struggling. A reinvented 1970’s class struggle type-politician will only flatter to deceive.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Paradise Papers, tax avoidance and austerity

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/07/end-offshore-games-democracy-die-paradise-papers

The Guardian has this opinion piece on its web site – see link above

This is an interesting piece indeed and I agree with its general thrust.

On austerity though Aditya Chakrabortty tells us that there was an alternative to it. Well yes there may well have been but how come the UK’s 3 major political parties went into the 2010 General Election promoting austerity (in one form or another) as the major solution to the mess our economy had gotten into? The brightest minds in all 3 political parties seem to have reached a similar conclusion, some even thought that Alistair Darlings Labour version of austerity could well have been worse than the Tory plan although clearly he was not given the chance to implement it.

My personal view is that a form of austerity was always on the cards as part of the overall solution to the economic crash, together with tax increases and of course dealing with tax avoidance.

That it (tax avoidance) is legal in this day and age speaks volumes because of course it’s only the seriously wealthy who can engage in it. Tax rules for the poor and tax avoidance for the rich you might say.

Also the ‘Three hundred billion quid’ referred to in the opinion piece is not what the Treasury would or could have picked up surely but only the avoided tax upon it.

But quibbling aside, as I say, the general thrust of this piece is right; there’s no place for offshore money or tax avoidance in a functioning democracy. Time to stop both UK Government.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

Brexit – This piece by Nick Cohen hits the nail on the head

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/28/where-are-the-heroes-who-will-lead-brexit-retreat

The Guardian has this opinion piece on its web site – see link above

Powerful stuff indeed and Cohen could not have hit the nail more squarely on the head.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Gulf between UK rich and poor and does anyone speak for the poor anymore?

The generally widening gap between the rich and the poor (the haves and the have nothings) in the UK has been a worrying issue for many years now, but just take a moment to read the document accessible via the link below from the Institute for Fiscal Studies:-

www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9539

I think you’ll agree that this is a matter which is deeply worrying and one that is seemingly out of control; its a gulf between the richest and poorest in our society not a gap. And no amount of comforting ourselves by be being mid-range in the international comparators of such matters is any good either as we complacently slip further down the league.

Soon after I read the IFS report (and actually by coincidence) I also became aware of a very recent report from the Rowntree Trust which raises concerns about the poorest in our society increasingly feeling that no political party speaks for them any more. This has been an issue on my mind for a long time now.

Yes, of course Labour traditionally spoke for the poor but I bet I’m not the only one who has gained the impression in recent years that this is something it would rather not do any longer. Under Miliband we started to hear his people saying things along the lines of ‘we represent working people’, whilst they joined in the Tory attack on those needing to rely on welfare/benefits. And the line has not really changed much under Corbyn as significantly Labour did not pledge to reverse many of the working-age Conservative welfare cuts at the last election. What’s more Labour is fully behind Brexit and it’s the poor who will suffer the most from that act of national madness.

Of course the reason politicians don’t really want to represent the poorest in our society is that often the poor don’t actually vote. The cynical political managers and strategists, who of course run our political parties, simply point this out to those seeking high office and the effect is clear. The politicians then either ignore the poor or even attack them for relying on welfare because that’s a message the tax paying people who do vote have been trained to want to hear.

My own party has a preamble to its constitution which says this:-

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

Unsurprisingly as a Liberal I agree with the statement but can the Lib Dems hand on heart really say that campaigning to improve the lot of people being ‘enslaved by poverty’ has been a top priority in recent times? Having said that Tim Farron the last Lib Dem Leader clearly did get it to give him his due.

Yes we went into the last election pledging to address poverty and the causes of it and our pledges probably went further than Labour’s, but should we not have gone further again? The Lib Dems said they would reverse cuts to child tax credit and the plan to freeze most benefit rates for example but despite railing against Tory welfare cuts over the years, Labour did not plan to reverse most planned cuts to working-age benefits.

But, few of the poor voted for what the Lib Dems were proposing, even though to have done so may have been to their advantage from what was on offer across the political parties. Then again they probably didn’t vote for any of the main political parties, if indeed they even voted at all.

Yes I know this latter argument virtually justifies the positioning of the political managers but it is still a sad reflection on our broken society in my view.

So we have a society where the rich have become bloated whilst the poor have to keep tightening their belts. What’s more we have an underclass of poor people whom the major political parties have all but abandoned. Could you think of a greater reason for us to be concerned about civil unrest never mind that we should be utterly ashamed of the state we are in.

By the way the objective of many politicians is to keep those in the middle on side because if they get upset politicians lose seats. So if our economy is being run to keep those in the middle and above happy you also have to feed that large group propaganda to ensure they resent welfare payments to the poor and the press step in to provide that propaganda of course.

Oh and as a slight aside, with talk of a rise in interest rates just think who will benefit from that. It certainly will not be the poor so take a look at this piece in the Guardian from Polly

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/31/taxes-interest-rates-mark-carney

With thanks to Roy Connell for his contribution to this posting.

The state they are in – The Tories over Brexit

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/03/planet-tory-radio-signal-earth-weaker-brexit

The Guardian has the opinion piece on its web site – see link above

There can be little doubt that the Tories are indeed in one hell of a mess, although her Majesty’s official opposition are in effect sharing the same political hole that they have jointly dug and keep on deepening.

Brexit will be the ruin of us all, be in no doubt.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

How our elections are bought – when just maybe you thought they were fair?

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/12/britain-country-elections-can-be-bought-first-past-the-post

If you are a democrat, which I hope you are if you are reading this blog site (if not please read elsewhere), then this piece by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian should be very sobering indeed.

Our political system is to put it bluntly corrupt.

With thanks to Bob for the lead to this posting