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.

Brexit big shot now says it was a bad idea! Who would have thought it?

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-latest-news-vote-leave-director-dominic-cummings-leave-eu-error-nhs-350-million-lie-bus-a7822386.html

This is one for all you Brexiters out there to ponder on as you followed the line put out by such folk and you got us into the mess that the UK now finds itself in.

Yes I know that 80% of the electorate voted for a hard Brexit in the recent General Election as both Labour and the Tories promised such in their manifestos. And yes its more than the 52% you Brexiters gained in the EU Referendum so I am sure you feel you have won the argument hands down. But what exactly have you won?

A stable economy – No, a stable Government – No, an opposition (Labour) that will oppose Teresa May’s headless chicken Brexit – NO, more opportunities for future generations – NO (in fact less as their rights to travel in the EU will be restricted), Getting rid of faceless EU bureaucrats who make laws we have to obey – No (there weren’t any), an extra £350m a week for the NHS – No (you were lied to about that one). I could go on but you get my drift. You won for us nothing worth having whilst chucking away things that were worth having. Wow and thanks very much!

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

Brexit – What on earth are Labour up to?

Tim Farron my party leader sent me this e-mail yesterday:-

Tonight, in the House of Commons MPs voted on an amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would have kept us in the Single Market.

All Twelve Liberal Democrat MPs voted in favour. As did 89 MPs from other parties.

Unfortunately, Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to abstain – and as a result, the amendment was defeated by 221 votes.

I wish I could say I was surprised. But once again, Jeremy Corbyn has shown his true colours.

Yet again, he has forced Labour MPs to back a Tory hard Brexit.

On the most important issue of the day, Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to sit on their hands.

I’m sorry we didn’t win tonight’s vote.

Thank you for all your support and commitment – together, we have kept our membership of the single market on the table.

Tonight’s vote isn’t the end of our campaign. The single market is so important, for jobs, for our economy and for our future.

We have to keep on fighting. We have to persuade this Conservative Brexit Government and their staunchest ally, Jeremy Corbyn, to change course. Before it’s too late.

Thank you,

Tim
Tim Farron

Leader of the Liberal Democrats

I have also seen Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson being cornered on Channel 4 News and asked what the difference is between Labour’s policy on Brexit and that being pursued by the Tories. He could not answer and responded by saying that he did not know what the Tory policy was, or words to that effect. Trouble for him is he could easily have been talking about Labour’s Brexit policy muddle!

Pleased to see that some Labour MP’s defied the Corbyn whip and voted to keep us in the Single Market though.

Farron, religion and Liberalism

That a thoroughly decent man has been forced from public office is a given and I say that as an atheist.

Yes I was very uncomfortable watching Tim contort himself into knots when asked about his religious views and yes the media were out to do him harm over his religion. Just think about it, how many other leading politicians have strong religious views and how many of them have been hounded out of office for holding them? Blair got some stick because he was Roman Catholic but I struggle to think of many others in recent times.

Did Tim bring trouble upon himself? Well yes to some extent because of this contorted answers that had us all scratching our heads. And you know despite his odd answers he actually did a lot to back minority rights and the LGBT community have acknowledged that apart from what I will call their more militant fringe.

Can you be a Liberal hold religious views? Well you must be able to as there seem to be many people out there who do. Anyway one of the significant strands of liberalism comes from ‘Chapel Liberals’ and Methodism. I am sure my dear old Mum was a Chapel Liberal and I personally know many Lib Dem’s who hold strong religious views and I count them as my friends.

The crunch issue as I see it is this. As a Liberal your guiding light is the rights of others and your being willing to stand up for those rights even when you personally do not subscribe to them. That’s what Tim Farron tried to do, that’s why he stood up for LGBT rights even though his religion was seemingly telling him otherwise. His problem was being unable to publicly reconcile his liberalism and religion when the contradictions were put to him by the media. And once he had shown weakness the first time he was asked about the matter it was always going to be where the media homed in.

Were the media involved in bullying and intimidation? Yes of course they were, indeed they were acting as though they were from the 1950’s and steeped in intolerance with more than a hint of the Spanish Inquisition thrown in for good (or is that bad) measure. It’s as though Farron were being treated as a criminal for holding religious and political views, it’s a sad reflection on our reactionary media and the intolerant times we live in.

Yes of course opposition politicians also exploited Tim’s inability to answer straight forward questions on the potential conflict between his religion and his liberalism. I picked up what I viewed to be political trolling comments on this very matter.

Brexit has split us very deeply because it has brought back into focus views that people used to be ashamed of talking about – racism, intolerance, homophobia, etc. Farron in my view became a victim of that new intolerant culture and it shames our society greatly.

One last thing, the schism on the left of British politics is not actually so much about policy but about libertarian versus authoritarian approaches. In general terms socialism is more authoritarian and liberalism is obviously libertarian. Tell you what is good for you as opposed to giving you the facts to make your own mind up you could say. Quite obviously our society is by its nature these days far more authoritarian and less libertarian. I hope it goes without saying that Conservatism is also authoritarian.

Authoritarian societies don’t tolerate differences from the norm and the norm is usually set by the ruling classes. Farron is, like many Liberals before him and those who will follow him, too libertarian to be tolerated by a media and a political establishment that see most things very black and white, right and wrong.

Don’t look upon Farron as someone you liked or disliked in party political terms, look upon him as someone our society showed the door to because he was not conforming to the norms as interpreted by the media and the establishmnet. Then look at other minorities and think about them too, who will be next?

Oh yes and Farron stood in 2017 General Election on a policy of tolerance!

General Election – Final thoughts

Teresa May is an appalling politician in my view. She comes across as harsh and uncaring. Her attack on pensioners is breathtaking via her Dementia Tax. And on the very Brexit issue she claimed to have called the election on she has clarified nothing whilst looking just like the very last person you would want to be negotiating with the EU for us.

Jeremy Corbyn is an old fashioned socialist from the 1970’s with a hankering for nationalisation. However, on the issue of poverty he is far from being robust. My view is that despite what looks like a left wing Labour Party they have all but abandoned the poor and those with nothing. Top that with backing Brexit and Labour are not really a progressive party at all.

Tim Farron is someone that I voted for in the party leadership election some time back. I do have my differences with him on issues such as Right to Die where I believe he has been fundamentally wrong. But on the wider picture he comes across as a true Liberal who is passionate about fighting for those with nothing. He’s condemned the Tories Dementia tax, he’s strong on environmental policy, he is a big backer of the NHS and of our personal freedoms which Teresa in particular wants to curtail.

Well you knew it anyway if you are a regular reader of this blog site – I’ll be voting for Tim’s party the Lib Dems.

Labour – Another stab at why they are all but abandoning the poorest in our society

Or put it another way, some of us on the left have not been taken in by Corbynism

labour-uncut.co.uk/2017/05/31/why-doesnt-corbyn-just-go-and-join-the-tories/

At the risk of driving some of my friends in the Labour Party over the edge in their frustration with me I present, via the link above, another piece about why Labour is no longer on the side of those with little or nothing in our society.

This is a theme I have been developing for a while now and it seems that others have been having similar thoughts too.

My own guess is that the Labour manifesto is really aimed at the middle classes who are both earning and who will most probably vote. Whilst still trying to give the impression of being on the side of the poor the reality is that Labour are actually looking for middle class votes from those with a little nostalgia for nataionalisation.

There are too many voices now saying that only the Lib Dems are trying to seriously address the issue of poverty in our divided society for it not to be worth seriously thinking about.