web analytics

Austerity in the UK

Written By: - Date published: 5:16 pm, November 2nd, 2010 - 62 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, uk politics - Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now, but what with Paul Henry and The Hobbit there hasn’t seemed like room. Now international news is likely to be dominated by the fallout from the American mid-term elections for a bit, so now or never.

Pity the people of the UK. Decades of neoliberal economics haven’t worked there any better than anywhere else in the world. The UK has hollowed out its real economy, and over invested in parasitic “financial services”. The last “Labour” government didn’t have a Michael Cullen being cautious for a decade, so the UK entered the financial crisis over-committed and under-prepared. They spent billions of taxpayers’ money bailing out banks that are “too big to fail” (more! more! cry the banks). Now the UK is now facing the bill.

The new Tory / LibDem government is embarking on a program of vicious cuts to public spending. This account is typical:

Spending review axe falls on the poor

Ceorge Osborne claims sweeping cuts will take the country back from the brink of bankruptcy

George Osborne drove his axe deep into the heart of the British state today, with a range of sweeping cuts to welfare, higher education, social housing, policing and local government that he claims will draw the country back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Outlining his long-awaited comprehensive spending review, which will cut £81bn from government spending, Osborne vowed to restore “sanity to our public finances and stability to our economy”. Perhaps the most striking of the new cuts announced was a package of £7bn in extra welfare cuts on top of the £11bn already made in the last budget.

No need to quote too much more, but here are some headlines:

But it’s not all doom and gloom! No no no, I wouldn’t want you to get that idea. Some folk are doing just fine: “UK boardroom pay leaps 55% in a year”. And internationally for example: “Goldman earmarks $17b for self-congratulation”. The ultra-rich are like cockroaches, no matter what kind of crisis is going on around them they always make out just fine…

62 comments on “Austerity in the UK”

  1. Vicky32 1

    I spoke to my penfriend in the UK on Sunday night about this amongst other things. He is angry! He and his wife are pensioners, but they have a son with severe disabilities (indeed my friend has a new and severe disability himself, due to medical misadventure…) Their housing is secure but that’s about all!
    Deb

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    And even though the UK has been sharing the same wealth of North Sea oil as ‘socialist’ Norway all these years, the UK is in the dunny while Norway is sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund*.

    It seems these ‘socialists’ really have their shizzle together when it comes to managing economic assets for the betterment of their countries. Righties/centre righties like Thatcher, Blair, Brown? Not so much.

    *That’s equivalent to US$105K for every man, woman and child in Norway.

    • Rob 2.1

      I wish we had the economic policies of Norway lol. One day I plan to visit there to find out first hand just how they run things as they do. It is incredible.

    • john 2.2

      Colonial Viper, I agree 100%. The Wretched Thatcher blew North Sea Oil Wealth following the NeoLiberal garbage ideology of the US. Now the ordinary Brit is going to pay Big Time! What a bunch of toffee nosed (Public schooled bent) gits the current governing bunch are. Gawd ‘Elp the Poor Poms!

  3. Rob 3

    The Austerity measures in the UK disgusted me. They also made me want privatisation for once. On their cuts calculator I saw that selling 10% of their roading to private companies would be 50% more than they are cutting this year from all the services. Realised I really am not that attached to the idea of governments owning roads because of what a poor investment they are becoming.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    The cost of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq this financial year has soared to more than £4.5bn, an annual increase of more than 50%, figures released yesterday reveal.

    That was from a Feb 2009 news story. War costs have only accumulated since then.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/13/afghanistan-iraq-bill-british-military

    So as Dwight D Eisenhower said, war in its final analysis represents a theft from citizens who are left hungry and who are not fed, who are left cold and are not clothed.

    Its awful that big banks and war interests have drained the public purse and ordinary people are left to rot. What the hell is wrong with these political ‘leaders’.

    • Vicky32 4.1

      Absolutely true CV! War is theft, amongst other things…
      Deb

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        have a listen to him.

        This is what US Republicans used to sound like. Some of them.

    • James Stephenson 4.2

      Norway vs UK is hardly an apt comparison. They’ve had pretty much the same revenues from North Sea Oil but Norway has only 5m population versus 60m. Ferchrissakes they’ve only got one real city, Bergen at #2 isn’t even as big as Christchurch. Have you ever travelled there? Thanks to their own little inflationary micro-climate it’s eyewateringly expensive.

      Their biggest advantage though, was the sensible decision to stay out of the EU. Britain’s contribution to which will be nigh on £6bn this year.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        Yeah your points are fair enough. The two countries are vaslty different in size, but I bet the Chancellor of the Exchequer would love to be sitting on a US$500B sovereign fund right this very minute. And £15-20B from the Iraqi/Afghanistan wars would’ve been nice too.

        I’ve got no actual idea about the costs/benefits of joining the EU but it does not look like its done the UK many favours. However I know that UK/Irish businesses did get lots of cheap immigrant labour out of it. (Not saying that was a net benefit for their wider societies though)

      • KJT 4.2.2

        Thats funny. We are continually being told by those who want more cheap labour that a small population is a disadvantage.

      • Rob 4.2.3

        Doesn’t that mean they should both have a $500bn fund but the UK have more people to share it between rather than a huge mountain of debt? Being a larger country doesn’t justify you spending all of your revenue.

    • Bill 4.3

      Defence spending has steadily declined as a %age of gdp in the UK from 9% in 1953-54 to 2.6% in 2010-11.

      Here’s the link

      Anti-spam BUTTONS Indeed

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Between this and whatever hellish alchemy the teabag infested cadaver of the once Grand Old Party come up with, we should have some empirical evidence, in time for our elections, of what slashing demand does to an already stagnant economy.

  6. Bill 6

    Looks to me like there is something very suspect going on in the UK.

    The Guardian published a chart of total public spending as a %age of gdp going back to the late 40’s.

    As a %age of gdp, total public spending was as high during most of the Thatcher years as it was under Brown. And debt interest levels are sitting at 3% of gdp…one of the lowest levels in over 50 years.

    Can’t see where the bankruptcy claim factors in.
    What am I missing?

    edit Oh, social security spending, surely a measure of general immiseration is pretty damned high. So hit the poor that market dynamics brought into being because…?

    • George.com 6.1

      What are you missing?

      Hmmm, a massive global economic slump which was caused by under regulated markets imploding and neo-liberal policy prescriptions reaching their used by date?

      That is, expenditure premised on the neo-liberal free market house of cards economy continued, whereas the house of cards economy collapsed.

      Had the house of cards economy continued then there would not be a massive deficit, although the day of reckoning would have come sooner or later.

  7. Jeremy Harris 7

    I read about 4% cuts… Not exactly welfare state armageddeon…

    • Bill 7.1

      18 billion from a total of 156.15 billion = 11.5% (approx)

      • Jeremy Harris 7.1.1

        The cuts are spread over the next five years and are a £83 billion reduction compared to the Gordon Brown budget. What does that mean? Well it is actually only a £28 billion reduction in real terms (taking into account inflation). From a total budget of £697 billion, it is a reduction of only 4%.

        The total budget in pegged to inflation while the cuts are not from my understanding… Given their deficits and that many of the cuts are aimed at benefits enjoyed by the middle class it doesn’t seem too outlandish… Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          link?

        • KJT 7.1.1.2

          They could. Tax the banks who caused the problem.

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1

            I hear Vodafone owes 900 million quid in taxes they have been given leave to delay paying back to the UK Govt. Nice to be a fat cat corporate huh.

            Also we are looking at 490,000 layoffs. That’s 10% of the public sector workforce. That is not a 4% cut, that is just spin Jeremy.

        • Rob 7.1.1.3

          Whoever said that was being quite dishonest. It doesn’t make the cut smaller to have a delayed implementation system.

          As others pointed out also a few billion are crucial depending where you cut them from.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4

          Given their deficit projections they have to stop the bleeding somehow…

          Dumb question: Why?

          Why extend unemployment queues now, when they are already so long? When there are no jobs out there for people who get laid off? Why not wait to cut back once the UK is out of recession and there are jobs for people to go to? Why not spread the cuts out over more years to give people time to adjust and for the private sector to bounce back?

          This is disaster capitalism from a Tory Government.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.4.1

            I think Labour would’ve done much the same, had they won.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.4.1.1

              In the sense of general direction perhaps, but bear in mind that the Tories have increased Labour’s planned budget cuts by around 30%, and are implementing them faster.

              Anyhows Ed Milliband has his chance to differentiate Labour now.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      Jeremy, the welfare state will still be there in the UK. But the destruction of Government capability and increasing of unemployment lines should not be underestimated.

      UK Govt slashing 25% from most departmental budgets

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7847238/Budget-2010-Whitehall-departments-braced-for-25-per-cent-cuts.html

      UK city council budgets to be cut by 25%, some 30%

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2010/oct/28/cuts-worse-deprived-areas

      490,000 public job losses expected

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/22/spending-cuts-labour-urban-areas

      And the banks still have their Get out of Jail Free card

      • Bill 7.2.1

        Hmm. Na. Surely not.

        Public bodies whose purpose is to hold corporations to account are being swept away. Public bodies whose purpose is to help boost corporate profits, regardless of the consequences for people and the environment, have sailed through unharmed. What the two lists suggest is that the economic crisis is the disaster the Conservatives have been praying for. The government’s programme of cuts looks like a classic example of disaster capitalism: using a crisis to re-shape the economy in the interests of business.

        George Monbiot

    • Bunji 7.3

      In graphics.

      I think you missed a zero Jeremy – departments other than health and international aid were all told to look at cuts of up to 40%, with an average aim of 25% across the entire budget. In the end local govt was the biggest cut at >35% (watch those rates rise… and tenants pay in the UK) – but there are some eye-watering cuts in there.

      In the BMJ there’s a good editorial – an excerpt:

      Welfare spending took the biggest hit: to already announced savings of £11bn ({euro}13bn, $17bn) another £7bn was added, to come “mainly from making working-age benefits for poorer households stingier” (The Economist 2010, 23 Oct). “Was it fair that children should emerge as the prime losers?” asks Polly Toynbee in our online debate over the fairness of the cuts (doi, doi). In every income group families with school age children lose the highest proportion of their income (6.7%, compared with pensioners losing 2.9% and the childless 2.3%). Women will also lose out disproportionately. “Of the £16bn cut from benefits by the treasury, £11bn is being taken from women’s handbags and only £5bn from men’s wallets,” Toynbee writes. Low earning mothers will lose £1500 worth of childcare credits a year, forcing many on the minimum wage to give up work.

      Clare Bambra dissects the government’s changes to incapacity benefits (doi). Its underlying intention, via various ruses, is “to move all the current 2.6 million recipients of incapacity related benefits on to other benefits.” As she points out, many of the claimants have been out of the labour market and dependent on low value state benefits for a long time: “they did not benefit from the economic boom, but the coalition government seems determined that they will bear the brunt of the bust.”

      • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1

        How could I have missed a zero if I say 4% and Bill a fellow socialist (he must be to quote Monbiot) is saying 11.5%..?

        • Colonial Viper 7.3.1.1

          Wheres the reference for your 4% figure?

          There are plenty of business stories quoting 25% budget cuts in Whitehall, and 30% or higher cuts by city councils.

          Anyhows it is way more than 4% unless you are saying 4% of UK GDP, which would make the cuts a truly massive sum.

            • Jeremy Harris 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Yip, that’s where I read it…

              Surely this can’t be too hard to figure out, the amount in Brown’s budget, the amount in the new budget, the projected inflation rate…

              • Colonial Viper

                ffs you took that number off some dude’s blog?

                490,000 added to the unemployment queues and 25% slashed off departmental budgets reported in REAL news sources not good enough for you?

                • Jeremy Harris

                  I didn’t know we where presenting university essays here CV…

                  Am I under some false impression that we are having something more serious than a coffee room chat..? Am I being graded for a Bachelor in Socialist Studies..?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Jeremy you are Right Wing which is fine and dandy, so why not at least quote something with credbility like the Financial Times or the WSJ?

                    Instead of pitting the numbers of some random blogger who’s come up with his own budgetary formula against The Guardian, The Telegraph, Aunty Beeb,…

                    Anyways I thought we were having a serious discussion about a serious topic affecting millions of people, not why the All Blacks lost their last match.

                    • Jeremy Harris

                      I simply mentioned I’d read 4% and then quoted where I read it, I didn’t really want to go in depth on this issue…

                      There seems to be confusion as to the total amount, Bill’s 11.5% looks right if the total is divided by the cuts, there will be an inflationary effect, Rob makes a good point about fixed interest… I think the cuts are not over the top when the situation is considered…

                      I don’t see how the Tories/Lib Dems are responsible for Council cuts unless they run their rating system very different to ours…

                  • Rob

                    Generally if you are going to post something not a mainstream media source it needs to provide its own evidence/the numbers working it out. Unfortunately the blog you cited is not the type to do that it merely stated they had done calculations to say it was 4% and provided no evidence themselves. i.e. your reference had no backing and so the person could just me making shit up. In this case they weren’t making shit up I don’t think but they got the way “real terms” applies the wrong way around. They took the fact that the budget will increase according to inflation to mean that the cuts will be less severe. Inflation is a measure of the currency losing value meaning a budget which increases for inflation (as it is claimed the UK budget does I had never heard this before today) remains stationary in real terms rather than increases. Thus the 4% figure is wrong. Well not so much wrong as completely useless in dollar terms the budget will increase due to inflation but the value of the budget will decrease.

                    Here our budgets are not aligned with inflation and thus constantly decrease in real terms every year in many areas regardless of which party is in government although less departments suffer from it under Labour usually.

            • Bill 7.3.1.1.1.2

              Cheers Rob.

              Jeremy. You claim a fact based on….ah fuck, never mind. Bye.

              • Jeremy Harris

                I didn’t claim a fact I stated I read a statistic…

                If I had said definitively the cuts are 4% you’d be right…

        • Bill 7.3.1.2

          Jeremy.

          Still waiting for that link. Meanwhile. The 11.5% I calculated came from the link I provided (The Guardian). They are using figures and calculations provided by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and provide links to their raw data.

          The BBC links that Bunji used are using Treasury figures.

          Stephanie Flanders BBC Economics Editor points out that

          The Institute For Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that the entire package of tax and benefit changes coming into force by 2014-15 is clearly regressive, including the tax increases put in train by Labour.

          The Treasury analysis for the spending review document, which suggests otherwise, excludes a third of the benefit changes planned by the government and does not go up to 2014-15 The changes excluded by this are clearly regressive – they have the greatest effect, relative to income, on people at the lower end of the income scale.

  8. Rob 8

    Can I also point out the 11.5% figure is also not that helpful. I feel the more important thing to look at is how much public spending is cut not how much the budget is, the budget includes repaying debt which cannot be altered and provides no services now. The fact that the government spends lots of money does not necessarily make it a good one, that it is spending it in important areas is what makes it good.

    The average government department faces cuts around 20% according to the guardian/heritage and this is after certain departments like the NHS and the Ministry of Defence are isolated to be given only small cuts. As Viper points out some of these in key areas are massive, there is also redistribution at the same time as these cuts going on with some things not being cut at all or increased while others are left to languish.

    • Bill 8.1

      As I asked here

      • Rob 8.1.1

        Oh right I only skimmed that comment. You may also want to look at the fact that there were some capital expenditures in those years and sales of state assets to pay for things or privatisation of services which leaves more money for the government to spend on other things. Battleships cost a lot of money and they used to love them.

  9. My source for 4% is this:

    http://www.cityam.com/news-and-analysis/allister-heath/there-was-no-other-choice-%E2%80%93-now-george-osborne-must-hold-his-nerve

    Which is actually 3.3%. Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

    However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_completereport.pdf

    The problem with journalists is that too many don’t understand that £1 today is worth more than £1 4 years from now, so the idea of “real terms” value eludes them (bless).

    The report goes line by line to every department. At one end of the spectrum is 37% real increase in internationla development, at the other is 33% reduction in the local government communities grant. Health is rising by 1.3% in real terms. Education cut 3.4% in real terms. Work and pensions (welfare) rises 2.3% in real terms. Capital budgets were cut further, but any painting of this as vicious is pure propaganda. The welfare cuts are about removing child benefit from the top 15% of income earners (heaven forbid), capping total welfare to be received by any family at the average wage, plus capping housing allowances so that people can no longer afford to rent homes at more than £1600 a month (so housing beneficiaries could live better than the average family, and landlords could also milk this). In other words, welfare is being cut from those on above average incomes and those who are gaining more in benefits that those on average incomes.

    The real story is that overall spending is increasing in nominal terms, in real terms the drop is modest. Of course the unspoken story is that Labour wanted to make 50% of the same cuts over that period (without protecting health or international aid), but wont say what it would have cut (naturally).

    Given the tax increases that have been (the new 50% top tax rate introduced by Labour and not being discontinued) and the increase in VAT to 20% (which tends to fall on middle income households, as food is exempt, and energy is at a far lower rate), then it is hard to say that this is some serious neo-liberal slash and burn.

    • Rob 9.1

      From Dictionary.com

      Real (Economics) (prenominal) Economics (of prices, incomes, wages, etc.) considered in terms of purchasing power rather than nominal currency value

      1b today is not worth more in a few years it is worth less. The only way it could be worth more is if you are planning on having several % of deflation. You will need more than 1b to buy today’s services worth of 1b dollars.

      When looking at government spending you subtract inflation from the total not from the cut (i.e. the cuts can only get bigger unless you expect deflation).

      You are taking the dollar amount and then applying the calculations to turn a figure in real terms into the dollar amount to it. If you do as you seem to describe.

      What they appear to be doing is looking at government spending as a % of GDP completely unrelated to either the dollar or real terms value. This doesn’t measure whether it is a % increase or decrease in the amount in the budget. It simply says how much of their income they are spending. If your income reduces 20% and you spend 20% less on stuff it doesn’t mean you didn’t spend any less it means you had less income.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      However, here’s an astonishing idea, read the actual report itself rather than the Guardian.

      Oh I see. You’re with the club of Pain Deniers

      The New Statesman also has your game down pat:

      The pain deniers haven’t got their sums wrong. Public spending will rise from £637.3bn in 2010/11 to £711.4bn in 2014/15. But the claim that the cuts are mythical is only achieved by the old trick of measuring public spending in cash terms, rather than as a percentage of GDP.

      As Will Straw has argued, the latter is by far the more sensible measure. At times of economic expansion, it is only reasonable to assume that some of the proceeds of growth will go towards improving public services. In addition, public-sector inflation is usually higher than the average growth in prices.

      Here’s an amazing idea, instead of trying to slice and dice the numbers in a way that no one else is with the object of minimising their impact, look at all the Whitehall departments having to find 25% to slice off their operating budgets *this year*. Look at the estimates of 490,000 to 1,000,000 job losses which are coming down the pike over the next 4 years.

      Public spending as a proportion of GDP will still be 41% by 2015, hardly a massive rollback of socialism.

      This is a 6% drop from current spending levels. It represents tens of billions of pounds no longer being spent on jobs, on benefits for the poor, and on services that everyone uses.

      People in the lowest socioeconomic sectors are going to be hardest hit by some of the most regressive cut backs ever considered. 3/4 of sickness beneficiaries (or their equivalent of) are simply going to be reclassed as fit for work. Somehow, with a stroke of a pen. But as usual the human and societal collateral damage is OK because as I have been reading, the Tory Right in the UK think that even more damage should be done while Cameron has the chance, and he is being too soft in his goals to reorder British society.

      And meanwhile, all the bankers still have their ‘get out of jail free’ cards.

      Personally I blame Blair and Brown for giving this frakin’ lot the look in at Whitehall.

  10. A 10

    Friends tell me that British universities may well be charging upwards of 6000 pounds a year in fees (through loans, but there you go).

    That’s crazy even for vocational degrees.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Yep, most uni fees in the UK are set to double. No problem if you come from a rich family though.

  11. john 11

    Yes and millionaire Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is cutting Corporation tax further! Oh bye the way! He’s also let off Vodafone from paying a 6,000,000,000 Pounds tax bill they owe without explanation. This has generated protests at Vodafone’s stores throughout the UK,but here in Oxford Street.
    When you combine this with the bank bailouts the cream crim rich class are looking out for themselves not the ordinary Pom! This is a brilliant clip a must watch:
    http://keithpp.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/vodafone-6-billion-unpaid-tax-bill/

    There is 12 billion corporate tax evasion in UK yearly

    • Bill 11.1

      But John, in feudal Europe, did the landowner pay much in the way of tithe,levy or tax? I don’t think they did.

      And so the argument would run that it’s preposterous to expect corporations to pay any taxes under corporate feudalism…or put another way, Caesar would pay unto Caesar why?

    • john 11.2

      Comments from the UK,they’re at the coal face!

      The UK is now a country of the rich
      The poor shall pay for the decadent sins of the rich and be told that they are scroungers and lazy
      the media will support this lie as there is no truth in the media.
      we are back to the elite and the slaves and this is just the beginning !

      Funny how its allways across the pond that they look for ideas
      Funny how they never look to Germany or Norway or any other nation that looks after the vunerable
      Noooooooooo just the land of chain gangs soup kitchens …food stamps ..and children living in trailers with no healthcare and tea party nut jobs screaming at an old man with Parkinsons disease
      USA is a broken society …suttre its got Nukes and a Big empire
      but shit …so was Rome and we all know how Glorious but Brutal that was
      Thing is why ask a load of Yanks how they punish the sick and poor and humiliate them ? not enough brain cells old chaps?

      USA has a broken underclass living in cars tents and millions destitute ……….and you want copy their ideas?

      The point of the workhouses back in the day was to make them so terrible that people would do anything rather than have to go to one. And yet they were still full of people. My point is that making life more shit for the unemployed has never yet been proven to motivate and energise them. Often quite the opposite.

      Its actualy a Govt that has declared ….economic Civil war on its own citizenry
      Tea Party versus the poor and vunerable
      Come back Oliver Cromwell ….the Toffs are at it again

      George Osborne

      Chancellor of the exchequer George Gideon Oliver Osborne is filthy rich, but we don’t really know how filthy. He is one of only a handful of upper crust millionaires invited to join C Hoare & Co, the oldest secret bank in Britain—and the most elite.
      Osborne, heir to the baronetcy of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon, County Waterford, has a mortgage on his £2 million London home with the 338‑year old bank.
      This didn’t stop him “flipping” his expense claims and avoiding capital gains tax on a London house. Osborne’s personal wealth is discretely hidden from view at Hoare & Co.
      We do know he has around £4 million as the beneficiary of a trust fund that owns a 15 percent stake in Osborne & Little, the wallpaper company co-founded by his father.
      Some details of the Axeman’s personal wealth.
      He won’t be too worried about losing child benefit

      • Bill 11.2.1

        C Hoare and Co…wonder how they pronounce that. Any bets on the ‘e’ not being silent?

        Anyway. According to wikipedia, the CEO is A Hoare….founded by Sir Dick Hoare…I’ll stop now.

    • john 11.3

      Further link discussing God Father Osbourne’s Mafia heist with Vodafone at the expense of the British People he is supposed to represent:
      http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=22936

      Shades of the Hobbit deal here? In my opinion I think what’s happening in the UK is going to lead to social disintegration with negative stats soaring skywards because the economy can’t grow out of this due to North Sea Oil gone and World Peak Oil. So the rich are girding themselves with wealth transfer to themselves and pulling up the ladder to their ivory towers leaving the masses below to their Dickensian poverty, probably been happening most of British History, although in the past the poorer AG labourers had the beauty of the countryside to comfort them especially in Summer, but now the UK is a hugely over urbanised featureless aspalt desert, hard to get a natural high there! And no cheap scrumpy in the pub available either.

      • john 11.3.1

        John Pilger writes with withering contempt for the UK’s current shallow money feeder so called government, which is totally possessed by the US garbage ideology of NeoLiberalism and is destroying what’s left of the UK’s Social Democratic society. Refer link:

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26743.htm

        “Born of the “never again” spirit of 1945, social democracy in Britain has surrendered to an extreme political cult of money worship. This reached its apogee when £1 trillion of public money was handed unconditionally to corrupt banks by a Labour government whose leader, Gordon Brown, had previously described “financiers” as the nation’s “great example” and his personal “inspiration”. ”

        ” the Blair gang, assisted by venal MPs, finished Thatcher’s work and built the foundation of the present “coalition”. This is led by a former PR man for an asset stripper and by a bagman who will inherit his knighthood and the tax-avoided fortune of his father, the 17th Baronet of Ballentaylor. David Cameron and George Osborne are essentially fossilised spivs who, in colonial times, would have been sent by their daddies to claim foreign terrain and plunder. ”

        “Today, they are claiming 21st century Britain and imposing their vicious, antique ideology, albeit served as economic snake oil. Their designs have nothing to do with a “deficit crisis”. A deficit of 10 per cent is not remotely a crisis. When Britain was officially bankrupt at the end of the second world war, the government built its greatest public institutions, such as the National Health Service and the great arts edifices of London’s South Bank.”

  12. Jeremy Harris 12

    The post title: Austerity in The UK, would make a good sex pistols song…

  13. Jeremy Harris 13

    I think the Sex Pistols were disbanded before I was born, but some things are too classic to fade away…

    • lprent 13.1

      More like fell apart, and not a moment too soon in my opinion. Rocky (my neice) had the same opinion about the SP and inflicted them on me when she was doing year 11 under my supervision. In self defense I gave her access to my music archives with the likes of Patti Smith, The Clash, early Cure, Placebo, etc. In fact anyone that knew how to play their instruments was allowed on the sound system. That excluded the sex pistols.

      • Bored 13.1.1

        I remember the Pistols coming through like a rush of fresh air into a world of pompous up itself rock, truly liberating, then gone. Musically dire in retrospect, but Lydons lyrics (Johnny Rotten) truly inspired. His words definitely stand the test of time for those who are dissaffected.

        God save the queen
        We mean it man
        And there is no future
        In England’s dreaming

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future,
        No future for me

        No future, no future,
        No future for you
        No future, no future
        For you

        Could have been written for todays UK.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • The Few are on the run, again, it still won’t stop reality catching up…
    We are seeing what has been termed “a greater challenge than the crash of 2008” by a growing number of economists and more rational, sane commentators, because whilst that was a shocking exposure of the levels to which hubris had sunk, right down to the blank cheque given those who ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 hours ago
  • Speaker: Locked down in Jersey City
    I am a Kiwi living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Jersey City is the second-largest city in the state and is located directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan. Locals call it New York’s sixth borough. More than 350,000 New Jersey citizens, including myself, commute to New York daily ...
    7 hours ago
  • Expanding houses
    It’s  a beautiful autumn afternoon, we need to get out of the house, and so our bubble sets off on a bike ride around our local neighbourhood, Cambridge Park. The bikes come out of the garage, and, being really certain we have a front door key, close the garage door ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    8 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 13
    . . April 7: Day 13 of living in lock-down… and unlucky for those who are superstitious. A day when there was a ray of sunshine from an otherwise bleak day of worrying signs. Today, as RNZ reported; Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported 54 new confirmed and probable cases ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    11 hours ago
  • A UBI in Spain
    So far, universal basic income policies, which see people given a regular income without any conditions, have been trailed only on a small scale. But now, Spain is introducing one nationwide as a response to the pandemic: Spain is to roll out a universal basic income (UBI) “as soon as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    12 hours ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
    Paul Connet, head of the anti-fluoride propaganda group, Fluoride Action Network, claims that the IQ of children bottle-fed in fluoridated areas drops by 9 points. But he misrepresented the research. There is no observable effect. For earlier articles in this series see: Part 1: Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only ...
    15 hours ago
  • The Role of Government
    The Queen’s coronavirus broadcast, with its overtones of Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn, prompted me to reflect on the tribulations my parents’ generation suffered during the Second World War – and I imagine that those parallels, given her own wartime experience, were very much in the Queen’s mind as she ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    16 hours ago
  • How to complain about MDC’s unreasonable LGOIMA charging regime
    Back in February, the Marlborough District Council increased the mount it charges for LGOIMA requests. I used the LGOIMA to poke into this, and it seems the case for increased charges is unjustified: the supposed increase in request volumes it rests on is an artefact of the Council suddenly deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 12
    . . April 6: Day 12 of living in lock-down… Another day of a near-empty Park N Ride carpark; . . And another day of near-empty Wellington streets; . . . Light traffic on the motorway. No apparent increase in volume. Commercial vehicles sighted; a gravel-hauling truck; McAuley’s Transport; a ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • A Lamentable Failure of Imagination.
    Imagination By-Pass: Had the Communications Minister, Kris Faafoi (above) taken a firm stand with Bauer, reminding them of their obligations to both their staff and the wider New Zealand public, then a much more favourable outcome may well have ensued. He should have made it clear to the Bauer board ...
    2 days ago
  • Simon Bridges can’t connect
    We all know that Simon Bridges has, at the best of times, an intermittent relationship with the truth. However you would think that during a pandemic and economic crisis the current opposition leader would pull his head in and start to do the right thing.Obviously leading by example should be ...
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
    Connett promotes Riddell et al (2019) as one of the only four studies one needs to read about fluoridation. But he misunderstands and misrepresents the findings of this study. Image credit: Fluoride Action ...
    2 days ago
  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    2 days ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    2 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    3 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    6 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago