Tag Archives: Ed Miliband

How Easily The Fickle Rich Are Swayed, Russell Brand Puts Down His Pitchfork

brand-cancelledIt’s hardly surprising that Eddie Izzard, Alan Partridge and now even Russell Brand all want us to vote Labour.  They are the people the modern Labour Party represents after all.  Millionaires who feel a bit guilty about poverty and stuff but don’t want to change things too much.  At least not so much that it might make an impact on their own cosseted lives.

Russell Brand will never face a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee, the latest mass workfare scheme that Labour plan to introduce.  He will not have his income capped and be socially cleansed from his fashionable address like the families who will fall victim to Labour’s planned regional Benefit Caps.  He had his time dicking about on benefits when he was young, unlike the 18-21 year olds who will face their benefits being removed completely if Labour win power this week.

It is this last policy that tells us everything about the direction of any future Labour government and the so-called help they plan to inflict on the poorest.  Labour are planning to do just what Margaret Thatcher did to 16/17 year olds and implement a mass YTS style scheme for everybody under 21.  In return for the pittance of benefits young people will face full-time compulsory training.  Last time Labour did something like this, Tony Blair’s New Deal, this training quickly became workfare.  The truth is that’s all they can afford to do.  Real training, which leads to qualifications, costs a lot of money.  It’s far cheaper to pay private sector sharks like A4e to bully young people into unpaid work placements.

If the Tories had announced in 2010 that they were going to end benefits completely for those under 21 there would have been outrage amongst the mainstream left.  The Guardian and The Mirror would have run scathing headlines and ordered us to sign a petition.  Trade union leader Len McClusky would have given a speech.  Russell Brand would have made a youtube video.  And that by the way is as angry as the middle classes get about anything which doesn’t affect them directly.

Labour’s mass workfare plans go way beyond anything the Tory Party have pledged and yet they have still been met with hordes of gushing celebrities and newspaper columnists demanding that we vote for them. Anything to keep the Tories out – who don’t really seem to know what they will do in the unlikely event they actually win this election except that they will carry on being bastards  And they are bastards.  Horrible fucking arseholes in fact.  It is understandable that so many people would like to see the smug smirks wiped off their faces if they lose power this week.  But life will not change for the poor if that happens.

Sometimes having an enemy that is open in their intentions is better than a fake friend who will stab you in the back.  There is no doubt that a bunch of shambolic toffs embarking on reckless austerity policies has brought the questions of class and inequality back into UK politics in a way not seen in two decades.  The resistance to these policies has been well targeted and quietly ferocious – and it has not come from celebrities or Labour Party stooges.

That resistance is why there were less people on workfare schemes in the latest month’s figures than there were in the last period of the Labour Government.  It is why the number of people found ‘fit for work’ at sickness benefit assessments has plummeted from 60% in May 2010 to an all time low of 24% in the latest figures available.  It is why Atos, the company carrying out these tests, abandoned their contract as their name became a dirty word associated with cruelty and incompetance.  Benefit claimants and disabled people themselves did this, whilst the official opposition stood slack-jawed on the sidelines.

The danger of a Labour Government is that these inept traitors will be silent no longer.  It will be all of them, from the Labour Party to the Daily Mail, against us.  The regional benefit cap will be a tough choice, but necessary, we will be told by the people who once said they were on our side.  The reformed work capability assessment and further tests for disability benefits will be a beacon of compassion, getting help to those who need it most and killing off the scroungers.  Compulsory jobs that pay less then the minimum wage will become exciting opportunities.  And benefit sanctions will be fair and only aimed at really lazy chavs who refuse to get a job.

That is what a vote for Labour means.  Consent for the bastards to carry on as usual.  Popular permission to escalate the attacks on social security.  For Russell Brand – who called himself a revolutionary five minutes ago – to endorse this is both treason and boringly predictable.  It is astonishing and even quite funny that as soon as a rich person publicly denounces capitalism then the leader of a main political party dashes round their house and steers them gently back onto the path of neo-liberalism.  But it is a tragedy as well, at least for those who may have felt inspired by Brand’s crude radicalism.  His message, before Ed’s intervention, was essentially along the right lines.  They are all fucking wankers and only in it for themselves.  That includes Russell Brand as well it turns out.  Never trust a hippy, especially a rich one.

To send a real message vote for Class War, by the brick or the ballot.

This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.

Join me on facebook or follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Advertisements

Ed Miliband, A Nasty Clueless Idiot, Now Who Does That Remind You Of?

What if the reason Ed Miliband looks and sounds like such a dick is because he is actually a dick?

What if the reason Ed Miliband looks and sounds like such a dick is because he is actually a dick?

Once again the chinless fucking idiots at Labour’s favourite think tank the IPPR have spoken and once again gormless Ed Miliband has lapped up their vomit and turned it into Labour Party policy.

The contemptible idea that benefits for young people should be means-tested based on their parent’s wealth is a recipe for tearing fractured families apart.  Young people whose parents decide they don’t want to pay their dole will face having to declare themselves ‘estranged’ from their parents, a process which could see them leaving the family home.  Those  who have faced parental abuse will be trapped with their abusers for even longer as the welfare state fails to provide a safety net.  Of course posh wankers like Miliband don’t think this kind of thing can go on in higher income families, only the poor abuse their children in the minds of Hampstead liberals.  Speak to anyone who has lived or worked in a young person’s homeless hostel and they will tell you a very different story – all of those young people will be at risk if Miliband ever gets his way.

His endlessly complex plans to strip benefits from those under 22 and force them into training or Labour’s workfare plus a sandwich scheme is equally reckless.   We already know what kind of training ends up being on offer on these schemes once the grasping welfare-to-work sector has their hands on them.   Miliband wants to force hundreds of thousands of young people into insecure, temporary and part time minimum wage work with their salaries all funded by the tax-payer.  So why would any employer actually offer a young person a real job?

By far the nastiest element however of Miliband’s proposed reforms is yet more attacks on sick or disabled claimants.  Paying a higher rate of benefit only to those who have paid five years National Insurance contributions will enshrine disability discrimination in the benefits system.  Due to Labour’s last round of welfare reforms, thousands of sick or disabled people are now on the dole after being stripped of benefits due to the Atos regime.  Shamefully recent DWP statistics show that less than 2% of these people are actually finding work even after a year of help (stop laughing) from the Work Programme.

This group –  too sick to find a job and not sick enough to qualify for sickness benefits – would find themselves condemned to a lower rate of payment through no fault of their own.   A payment that will be vulnerable to further cuts as those on the lower rate of Jobseekers Allowance will fast become the official undeserving poor in the eyes of much of the press and the political classes.

It doesn’t even end there.  In the report on which Miliband’s policies are based, the IPPR are not just recommending that unemployed people be forced into training or workfare but also sick or disabled young people currently claiming Employment Support Allowance.  In a move so callous it would make George Osborne blush, the IPPR wants to cut their benefits as well with a new Youth Allowance set at the current rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Young sick or disabled people who are currently in the Work Related Activity Group of ESA would see their meagre incomes cut almost in half under these plans.  It is unclear whether this group would also be subject to the parental means test but it seems likely.  Anyone who thinks the Labour Party have changed and now give a shit about disabled people should take note.  This goes way beyond anything the Tory Party have proposed to date, although by playing their game Miliband has now  given them a reason to go even further.

It is not yet clear if Miliband will adopt this part of the IPPR’s recommendations as he barely seems to have a clue himself what he’s doing.  But these proposals show a genuinely repugnant side to the man who happily fucked over his own brother to further his career but can’t even eat a bacon sandwich without it turning into a national joke.  One of the hallmarks of the Tory administration has been the toxic combination of bungling and brutality.  Ed Miliband has shown this week that he is equally inept, but just as nasty as the very worst of the current slime in government.

The IPPR’s report can be read at: http://www.ippr.org/publications/the-condition-of-britain-strategies-for-social-renewal

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

The Private Rental Sector Is Out of Control And The Solution is Obvious

landlordsFor millions of the UK’s poorest people, the biggest weekly expense by far is the cost of buying someone much richer than them a house.  Almost 4 million people now rent privately and many will live their entire lives without ever knowing what it is like to have a secure home.  The gradual demolition of the social housing sector combined with buy-to-let vultures gobbling up low cost houses will only entrench this monstrous future.

No-one was ever asked whether this is a future anyone wants.  Instead it is presented as inevitable – this is just something the free-market is doing to us that we have no control over.  This is neo-liberal ideology at its most insidious.  The only ones who benefit from the majority of the population living in insecure private rented housing are landlords and property investers.  Therefore no alternative can even be imagined.  It is a done deal and so the rich get richer and our lives get shitter.

This illusion is constantly re-enforced by those who benefit.  Landlords will pull out of the market if tenants are given more rights they shrilly proclaim – as if buy-to-letters are all going to start paying their own mortages for a change.  To back this up new laws are created, such as the ban on squatting in abandoned residential properties.  If this law was removed then landlords leaving thousands of homes empty would almost certainly lead to the kind of squatting movement that was seen both after the second world war and in the 1970s when entire streets were squatted by homeless families.  That is why no major political party opposed the squatting ban, the free-market must be protected with laws as well as lies.

The Labour Party is happy with this consensus.  Ed Milliband talks about flimsy rights for private tenants, but never council houses for everyone that needs one.  That even these wet proposals were met with howls of outrage from landlords reveal a private rented sector that is now out of control.  Buy-to-let landlords even complain that the money they make from rents barely even allows them to make a decent profit, nimbly forgetting that they are not only also being bought a property, but that someone is paying them to live in it and look after it for them.  These parasites seem to think that houses are free, probably because they are if you’re rich and immoral enough to convince a bank to give you a buy-to-let mortgage.

In truth nothing shows up the failure of the free-market run rampant then the private rental sector.  Rents are now so high that the tax payer spends billions each year topping up the rent of even those in work via Housing Benefit. We are paying a fortune to keep landlords rich, whilst thousands still go homeless.  The idea that a competitive market leads to the best for consumers is rendered laughable by the private rental sector.  It is the customer, the tenant,  who has to compete, jumping through endless hoops and shelling out a fortune just to get a roof over their heads.  Landlords don’t increase profits by improving the service they offer, but by failing to carry out repairs, hiking rents and evicting anyone who complains.  On some of the many internet forums devoted to landlords the contempt they hold for their tenants is staggeringly apparent, especially if they happen to rent to people on benefits.  No other business would dare treat their customers this way.

Landlords discriminate at will.  The vile No Blacks No Irish No Dogs of the past has been replaced with No DSS, which in practice means no lone parents, no disabled people, no unemployed people, or put more simply no-one poor.  This is probably illegal, but no-one seems to care how landlords behave.  A survey carried out by the government in 2010 found that almost half of private rental sector housing failed to meet the Decent Homes Standards.  Many did not even meet the very minimum health and safety standards required for housing.  Don’t expect the Government to do anything about this, they believe that ‘peer pressure’ is better than regulation to manage private sector landlords.

From shortly after the second world war up until 1980  millions of council houses were built in England, Scotland and Wales.   The answer to the housing crisis is boringly obvious.  But instead of low cost secure social housing we get offered hugely expensive  ‘affordable rents’ that no-one can afford.  The so-called Living Wage isn’t even enough to pay Affordable Rents in many parts of the UK where they can run as high as several hundred pounds a week.  The situation would be laughable if it wasn’t such a fucking disgrace and didn’t cause such acute suffering.

And yet not one of the politicians who claims to represent us will even consider any alternative to this profit-crazed exploitation of our most basic human need – a safe, secure and genuinely affordable home.  This is hardly surprising.  Around a third of MPs are landlords themselves.  They really are all fucking in it together.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Don’t Be Fooled – The Modern Labour Party Are No Friends Of The Poor

atos_david_milibandLiam Byrne’s speech to the Labour Party this week shows that no matter how many platitudes Ed Miliband hands out to the poor it will be business as usual for claimants should Labour be elected in 2015.

Whilst the scrapping of the Bedroom Tax is welcome it will be far too late for most of those affected who will have been forced from their homes long before the next election.  The decision to sack Atos is also mere window dressing.  The re-assessment of claimants on Incapacity Benefit by the company, whilst woefully behind schedule, is likely to be near completion by May 2015.  And as Liam Byrne made clear in his speech ‘assessments have to stay’.  So instead of Atos it is likely to be G4S, A4e or Capita who are used to bully new sick and disabled claimants out of the benefits they need.

Meanwhile Byrne’s call for full employment is as redundant as the rest of his policies – although it is true that when the Welfare State was created it was underpinned by this demand.  But full employment doesn’t mean everyone has a job.  Beveridge thought his plans could be achieved with a full employment rate of 97%.  Some economists suggest that an economy can claim to have full employment even when over one in ten people are out of work.  Generally full employment means the minimum amount of unemployment a capitalist economy can cope with before inflation soars and the workers start getting a bit commie.  When politicians use the term today it seems to mean whatever they want it to.

So just like when Labour promised full employment in 1996, which would be delivered by the New Deal (stop laughing), Byrne’s full employment simply means everyone who’s been on the dole for a while will be forced into a minimum wage job for six months.  Then they will go back on the dole.  And other workers, not there because of the threat of benefit sanctions, will have their own pay and conditions undermined.  This is what happened on the New Deal, The Flexible New Deal and later the current Government’s workfare schemes.  And whilst politician’s only answer to unemployment is blaming unemployed people, it will keep happening.

What Byrne or Miliband didn’t say is as important as what they did.  This week’s conference offered no comfort for the 200,000 children staring homelessness in the face due to the Benefit Cap.  No let up for sick and disabled people facing the launch of a new raft of assessments for the replacement of Disability Living Allowance.  No clear plans to scrap workfare, and absolutely no plans to scrap the vicious benefit sanctions which are currently driving hundreds of thousands of people into desperate poverty.

In fact Liam Byrne loves benefit sanctions so much he is even planning to help save Universal Credit – as if the DWP needed another fucking idiot on the team.

Liam Byrne may have been told to tone down the rhetoric for a conference at which Labour have pretended to show that they give a shit about the poor.  David Cameron pretended to give a shit about the poor before he got elected as well.  Sacking Atos and scrapping the Bedroom Tax may have grabbed the headlines, but the impact of these policies will be over for the vast majority even if Labour manage to get elected.

There was nothing proposed at this conference for the very poorest apart from a couple of scraps thrown down to fool the party faithful.  Don’t be fooled. The Labour Party leadership are every bit as wedded to neo-liberal strategies to make the rich richer and the poor destitute as they ever were.  Like their Tory counterparts they have neither the imagination nor the desire to propose anything which genuinely challenges the inhuman onslaught of capitalism run rampant.  They just sometimes have slightly better PR.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

The Miliband McCluskey Love In And Why It Matters

mcclusky-tweet2There has been some mild criticism of the piece posted earlier this week addressing Unite boss Len McCluskey’s recent support of Ed Miliband’s ‘worklessness’ diatribe.

It may be uncomfortable for those who are involved in Unite’s Community Union – the section of the union recently formed for claimants – to find their organisation on the wrong side of the sanctions and benefit reform debate.  But they are and there should be no squeamishness about pointing it out.

At the end of Len’s McCluskey’s recent statement endorsing Miliband’s benefit bashing speech he is quite clear in his support for Labour’s Jobs Guarantee workfare scheme calling it a ‘good start’.

In case there is any doubt about whether this means Unite support benefit sanctions then this is what McCluskey is praising: “a compulsory jobs guarantee, young people will have an obligation to take a job after a year or lose their benefits”.

Of course this won’t be a real job, but a temporary six month placement funded by the tax payer and pegged at the minimum wage – despite Miliband’s so called support for the living wage for everyone else.  It is unclear whether they will even be paid in full for their work, with Labour only offering 25 hours wages and insisting companies provide an additional ten hours ‘training’.  If young people refuse, or are unable to take these jobs, they will be sanctioned.  These jobs are workfare, backed with benefit sanctions and sadly this is what McCluskey has pledged Unite can ‘help bring to life’.

Miliband also voiced his support for the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) along with the upcoming Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments.  The only purpose to these assessments is to slash benefits and Miliband calls them the ‘right thing to do’.  Just as importantly Miliband didn’t even mention the bedroom tax.  Over half a million of the UK’s poorest people are set to lose their homes or be plunged into debt and poverty, and this wasn’t even worthy of a mention in Miliband’s keynote speech on welfare reform.

And neither was it worth a mention in McCluskey’s gushing response and it is this that damns him.  What Miliband’s speech represents is an all too familiar strategy from the neo-liberal Labour Party.  It is an attempt to anchor the debate on welfare reform away from the demands of claimants and instead offer a pointless choice between Tory or Labour benefit cuts.

To Miliband, the debate on the bedroom tax, the WCA, PIP and other benefit changes is over.  There is to be no discussion about repealing these measures, merely a weak demand that they should be a bit nicer.  Perhaps there might even be a couple less suicides, or not quite so many people will be driven from their homes.  And with Labour’s track record on benefits, they shouldn’t even be trusted to achieve that.

McCluskey and Unite represent, in the popular debate at least. the left, or even far left, of Labour.  For Unite to back Miliband’s statement and ignore his shameful support for Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms means a a job well done for the Labour Party.  It drags the entire conversation away from the current demands of claimants and turns it into a petty neo-liberal squabble about how to fix unemployment by fixing unemployed people.  Whether knowingly or not, McCluskey is playing his part in an attempt to shut down the voices of those who want, and need, the bedroom tax, the WCA, PIP, the benefit cap and workfare scrapped, immediately.

Unite have talked a good game on social security up until this point, even setting up a branch of the union specifically for those on benefits.  This means it is McClusky’s job to represent the interests of benefit claimants.  If they are not prepared to do this then they shouldn’t have bothered wasting everyone’s time and money.  Miliband’s speech outraged most claimants and showed that if Labour are elected then we will need to fight them every bit as hard as we are fighting the current slime.

The head of a union which represents claimants should have been ferocious in condemning Miliband’s speech.  Instead they did quite the opposite, openly supporting workfare, and ignoring everything else. There was no ‘hope’ for claimants in this speech as McCluskey claimed.   If Unite Community Union’s only response to an open attack on claimants  is to call it a good start, then the question needs to be asked, what is the point of the Unite Community Union?

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Ed Miliband Fuck Off

miliband-cameronSo the chinless Adrian Mole clone in charge of the Labour Party has shown his true colours by launching a tirade against ‘worklessness’ and single parents whilst cheer-leading the murderous Work Capability Assessment.

Ed Miliband’s speech today reveals the modern Labour Party’s utter contempt for those who are poor in this country, as he tried to outdo Iain Duncan Smith with a string of vile slurs aimed at those with least.  Even his language is the same with his nasty insinuations that those out of work are idle and that idleness can be passed along through generations.  And anyone who uses the word worklessness, when they mean unemployment, is a cunt.

There was a time when the leader of the Labour Party might have been brave enough to challenge Daily Mail myths about welfare, but not Ed Miliband.  Today shows he’s just as happy to play the swivel-eyed fool as the worst of the Tory Party.

Some might have thought that a so called socialist (stop laughing) might have shown some anger at the tens of thousands of people about to be driven from their homes due to the bedroom tax, benefit cap and other changes to social security.

But not Ed Miliband, after all, he knows nothing of the lives of those he seeks to condemn.  Why would he with his Primrose Hill schooling, Oxbridge education and then a series of lucrative non-jobs before he stitched up his brother to take the Labour Party leadership.

Ed Miliband has never done a real day’s work in his pampered life.  You can hardly expect him to understand the suffering that has been brought to the lives of those with nothing, not even their health, due to the Work Capability Assessment.  An assessment process which has led to countless deaths and which the Labour Government introduced.  And an assessment process that Ed Miliband today praised to the high heavens.

Meanwhile his big idea on Tax Credits is to pay the money to businesses instead, whilst single parents with young children are to be hounded with pointless compulsory appointments at the Jobcentre – no doubt under the threat of having their benefits sanctioned if they refuse.  Hungry children mean nothing to Ed if he thinks there might be a vote in it.

And his other big idea, the Compulsory Jobs Guarantee – which he pretends will cure unemployment – is nothing more than a fraud. These so called jobs are not intended to be a job for life, but a six month period of enforced work on poverty wages before claimants are slung back on benefits.  No new jobs will be created by the scheme as employers lay off staff to replace them with tax payer funded workers.  In fact this Government is already handing a fortune to businesses in this way through the Wage Incentive programme.  This scheme has already been thoroughly rinsed by the private sector looking to hire temporary staff on the cheap before laying them off when they actually have to pay them proper wages.

Miliband’s speech today shows he is quite happy to further the myth that unemployment is caused by unemployed people, an idea which feeds off nasty, class-based bigotry and has no bearing in reality.  He even goes as far as telling the bare-faced lie that “among the biggest drivers of social security spending are the costs of unemployment”.

In fact spending on Jobseekers Allowance costs around 2% of the entire social security budget.  Even if you add Housing Benefit for those who are unemployed into the mix then spending reaches probably little more than 5% of the total cost of welfare.   The bulk of spending goes on Child Benefits, Child and Working Tax Credits and pensions.  But then these are benefits claimed by lots of people.  Far better in Miliband’s eyes to stigmatise the unemployed then stand up and admit the truth about the welfare budget.

Unemployment is a structural consequence of capitalism as Ed Miliband – with his Marxist Dad, who must be spinning in his grave – knows only too well.  To be more charitable than Iain Duncan Smith deserves, at least the Secretary of State is quite stupid and does seem to believe his own bullshit.

The treacherous piece of shit Miliband has no such excuse.  He knows he’s talking bollocks and that all his policies will do is further stigmatise and in many cases destroy the lives of sick, disabled or unemployed people.

But the squirming little scab doesn’t care as long as he gets a chance to be Prime Minister one day.  This is all we can expect from the new breed of Labour politicians.  No heart, no soul, no principles, just naked and ruthless ambition.  And if they leave a trail of bodies on the way then that is just collateral damage in their quest for power.

And Liam Byrne can fuck off as well.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid