The Best of British; The NHS, the Welfare State and David Bowie

Written By: - Date published: 12:39 pm, June 21st, 2015 - 24 comments
Categories: class war, political alternatives, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

Massive anti-austerity marches have just ended all over Britain. Tens of thousands of protesters in Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol and London have turned out to let the Tory government know that the fight against the right has not ended with the general election.

Speakers included maverick Labour Party leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, London Mayoral candidate Dianne Abbott, the Green’s Caroline Lucas, activist Russell Brand and Northern Ireland’s deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, who hit the nail on the head when he said:

“It’s David Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires, they are the people who are the real spongers. They are the people who are given free rein to live out their Thatcherite fantasies at the expense of ordinary, decent communities throughout these islands.”

Probably the best speech of the lot came from Welsh singer Charlotte Church, who has been saying in recent days that she would happily pay more tax to save the NHS. Her summary is that Britain is still better together and being British is still something to be proud of, but not for selfish reasons:

“One aspect of this that really gets under my skin is that it’s all wrapped up in a proud-to-be-British package.

“I’m proud to be British because of the NHS, the welfare state and David Bowie, not because of the Union Jack.

“Be proud for the right reasons. We need to win back these young minds and save ourselves from years of yuppie rule.

“If you are ashamed that you have to use a food bank, because this Government would rather see you starve than put a note in your pocket, walk tall. You have the moral high ground.

“We are not afraid of national debt and we will not let our public services be attacked!”

Britain is still united constitutionally. The challenge for the left there in the next few years is to find political unity on the issues that matter. These huge marches show that success comes from bringing progressive forces together.

Solidarity for a Better Britain!

 

24 comments on “The Best of British; The NHS, the Welfare State and David Bowie”

  1. johnm 2

    ” Under the UK’s ‘first past the post system’, the Scottish Nationalist party gained 56 seats with 4.8 percent of votes cast. The Greens gained one seat with a share of 3.8 percent. Under a system of proportional representation, the Greens would now have 25 seats in the new parliament. With the current system, a party could theoretically gain the most number of seats nationally but fail to gain a single seat. This is the nature of the ‘democratic’ voting system in the UK.

    What the UK now has in store is five years of an ideologically driven administration that will push through its welfare-cutting, pro-privatisation policies wrapped up in talk of a need for austerity and presided over by a millionaire-dominated cabinet which represents the interests of the richest echelons of global capital.

    Out of those who voted Tory, a good deal comprised people of relatively modest means: people who will have been led to believe that ordinary people’s interests equate with the ‘national interest’ as defined by Tory politicians. These are people who for some strange reason believe that more privatisation, more deregulation, more austerity, more inequality, more concentration of wealth and more attacks on the public sector will be good for them as individuals and good for the economy.

    The acceptance of this ideology is not just down to Tory methods of persuasion but is also due to its perpetuation by the corporate mainstream media and the other main political parties, which have fully embraced neoliberalism. However, many people feel that the Tories can be best trusted to see through such things, unlike Labour (Tory-lite) or the Liberal Democrats who might mismanage, waver or may not be quite as committed to the neoliberal cause. As a party by the rich, for the rich of and of the rich, they may have a point. ”

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/uk-election-aftermath-cameron-to-continue-waging-war-on-working-people/5448709

    Since Thatcher a massive transfer of social wealth has been done to the rich from the poor who depend on a social welfare state for their quality of life. This looting has gone exponential now with the current government. Britain is one of the most horrifically unequal societies in the World. Again: This Government is looting GB and making their rich business and banking and city of London buddies even richer. Since the 2008 crash when the neoliberal financialisation system sh@t itself big time they’ve intensified their efforts. Basically the tory attitude is: if you are ordinary, sick, disabled, unemployed you deserve nothing but to exist. Since 2008 the wealthy have doubled their asset worths and other wealth!

  2. Mike the Savage One 3

    The UK government is exploiting the fear of debt that many Brits have, to slash welfare and health spending, and to also privatise various state services. But the “debt” the UK has must be viewed more objectively, which the Conservatives though do not wish to do:

    ‘The truth about UK debt’, BBC, March 2012
    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-17398014

    “How big is the problem?”
    http://falseeconomy.org.uk/cure/how-big-is-the-problem

    The problem is, the Conservative government in the UK is doing the same as the National Party led NZ governments have done, exploit the public’s fear of supposedly growing debt, to justify slash and burn policies.

    Still these days we hear Bill English, John Key and Stephen Joyce repeat endlessly, they need to do this and that, because of the supposed “mess” the last Labour government left behind.

    Repeating lies hundreds or thousands of times does eventually make them sound like they are the truth.

    And sadly, the last general election (First Past the Post) in the UK has given the Cons a mandate, that they will of course try and use, as much as possible, to push through the nasty measures they always dreamed of pushing through. It is largely all based on ideology, as in the end nothing will be improved, and only certain vested interests will gain, and fill their pockets and bank accounts.

    And like in NZ, the mainstream media does not help, as it is not interested in reporting facts as they are, rather repeating spin, drivel and sensationalised news bites.

    So let us hope there will be more protests and actions, which is what should really also be happening here, but we know what the dire state of affairs is, with a divided society, where too many still give Key and his government too much credit, or space to breathe. A change is in the air though, it is coming slowly.

    • Tracey 3.1

      There is also a very good response to the Chancellor’s crowing about reducing the deficit here by Anne Pettifor

      http://renegadeinc.com/try-as-he-may-the-chancellor-cannot-eliminate-the-deficit-by-ann-pettifor/

      “The budget deficit is an outcome – of decisions made by both the private and public sectors to expand or contract activity; of the levels of both public and private employment; of the amount collected in tax revenues.

      However while the Chancellor can’t “eliminate the deficit” he can cut government expenditure and investment. Or increase government expenditure and investment.

      In other words, it is not possible to assess the stance of the Chancellor’s fiscal policy from estimates of the public sector deficit – the outcome. But an expansionary fiscal policy can lead to growth in activity and employment, so that, in a recession, public sector expenditure and investment creates employment, generates tax revenues, saves on benefits and welfare payments and thereby reduces the deficit.

      A policy of fiscal consolidation or contraction, at a time when the private sector is in a slump, suffering from an overhang of debt, weak productivity, a lack of confidence and is hoarding cash and withholding investment, will cause the deficit to rise.

      So the debate is not between those who would “slash the deficit” and those who would “postpone” the reduction in the deficit.”

  3. Charles 4

    Yay Charlotte!

    “Green MP Ms Lucas, who held onto her Brighton seat at the last general election, spoke to packed crowds in Parliament Square: “This Government is continuing to punish the poor for an economic crisis they didn’t cause… It’s time for all of us who oppose the Government’s self-defeating austerity programme to work together…”.

    Same shit government wherever you go, apparently.

  4. maui 5

    Wow, Brand’s quote at the end of that video clip rips the heart out of our current selfish, money grabbing societal beliefs.

    “I thought fame and fortune would make me valuable. I found out that it is empty. I am going to spend the rest of my life belonging to community, embracing community and helping in whatever way I can.”

  5. hoom 6

    I am a person willing to pay more tax for better Public Service.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      Let’s start with making the 0.1% and the trans-national corporations pay their fair share first. Including the hundreds of billions hidden in tax havens etc.

  6. Reddelusion 7

    And the silent majority just sit back and wait for the election to make their voices heard, queen of hearts screaming by celebrities is a big turn off

    until the left realise the reason people don’t vote for them is not because they have been duped or that people are voting against their self interest they are rooted. The average voter including blue collar workers make a more sophisticated choice than “we care more than the other guys” Most think caring is a family responsibility not the states The so called progressive of labour get it, Pagini etc, the far left don’t. National is labour in most people’s minds,( barring their cock up etc on balance they are seen as centrist) identity politics and focussing on entitlement and beneficiaries is not the road to government

    • Charles 7.1

      If you were right, there would be nothing for this government to sell off, no way for “Mom and Dad’s” to steal, oops i mean invest in, stuff that wasn’t built by an individual and wasn’t built for individual gain.

      Without the historical work and resources of The Left, the Right would have nothing to steal, destroy or relable as their own. NZ itself was stolen from one nation, by an Empire. The arrogance lives on. Without the discarded unemployed there would be no cheap labour available, outside of imported slavery, which they do now anyways, and squeal when the going gets tough for it. Without celebrity, they’d never sell their defunct ideas. Sitting in silence and casting an irresponsible selfish scared vote is the most they can manage. Then they sit back, smug, knowing that their fears won’t have to be faced during their lifetime. Their kids will pay for it, or at least someone else’s. They don’t care for families, their families are nothing more than clubs for privilege – if one deviates and doesn’t correct, to hell with them. No love there – everything conditional.

      Until the Right buy a history book, or mega-memory pills, their obvious end will come as a complete surprise – to them. They will find the “bluecollar” workers they thought they commanded, condescended to and treated like dogs, don’t have any loyalty to their greed and stupidity. It’d be better for everyone if the Right in NZ packed up an went to Bolivia, or the much applauded USA, where they would be welcomed with open arms by the elite… oh wait, would they welcomed? Yeah, nah, that’s why our “Right” don’t run to their ideal and already existing “paradises”. Our right are lazy gutless incompetent parasites, and their paradise is exclusive – they aren’t even invited! They’d be rejected and laughed at anywhere outside of NZ.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 7.2

      People don’t vote for Labour cause no-one has any real idea what they stand for and there’s a giant disconnect between the historical triumphs and the current policies.

      Why would a beneficiary or a unionist actually vote for Labour any more apart from historical allegiance?

      They, Labour, speak the language of the right and of the oppressors of those on benefit and of the workers.

      Are Labour looking to increase benefits, re-introduce the right to strike, increase taxes on the well-off, undertake regional development, bring back time and a half, general wage increases, anything.

      It seems pretty clear from that first edition that workers were very clear about defying the laws if need be to withdraw their labour to get employers to pay a fairer wage.

      We see what is currently happening with AFFCO where the employer is refusing to pay the same wages as last season and in the process not employing union delegates, etc. You realise whole families are being black-listed – if you have the same surname as a union delegate you are being turned down for work as well – whether you are related or not.

      Yet if the workers go on strike they get the blame despite the erosion year after year after year of their working conditions and despite massive increase in productivity in the sector.

      And what does Labour offer these people – sweet FA. Maybe run a cake-stall for them when they are on strike.

      Labour is supposed to be the voice of their political power not putting on a band-aid when it all turns to shit.

      I do get the frustration about Labour being tied up with gender politics and so on but I think that frustration comes not from the involvement in such politics but from the lack of involvement in worker politics.

      They seem unable, or unwilling, to do both.

    • Tracey 7.3

      What is your view on reducing the deficit RedD?

  7. Reddelusion 8

    Ideological rant I am afraid Charles, not very persuasive

  8. Northsider 9

    It was not an all British affair. Martin McGuinness gave a good speech at the London rally:

    “The Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, told the rally: “Sinn Fein will not do Tory austerity. Unlike the Tory millionaires, I live in the heart of the proud working class community of the Bogside in Derry.

    “The people the Tories are targeting are my friends, my neighbours, my family. They are fine, hard-working, proud and decent – just like our people in working class unionist communities.

    “They are not parasites or spongers. It is Cameron’s cabinet of millionaires who are the real spongers given free rein to live out their Thatcherite fantasies at the expense of ordinary, decent communities throughout these islands.

    “Austerity is devastating these communities. The working poor, public sector workers, the disabled and the vulnerable are the hardest hit by this bankrupt and ideologically driven policy.”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/london-austerity-protest-martin-mcguinness-brands-tory-government-a-cabinet-of-millionaire-spongers-31317057.html

    • Cheers, Northsider. I quoted McGuinness in the post, but not to the extent you do above. His speech seems to have been well received by the crowd, which goes to what I was saying about the basis for unity in all parts of Britain (including Northern Ireland!).

  9. Save NZ 10

    As a commentator wisely said,

    When are they going to make the armed forces have raffles and cake sales to raise funds, like our schools have to?

    There’s plenty of taxpayer money doing into government, it is how they are choosing to use it that is the problem.

    The ‘right’ message is that we have to cut welfare to save the economy.

    The ‘left’ message needs to be we need to clean up all the corruption and secret deals in government to save our economy.

    If they can just focus on ending CORPORATE welfare, getting rid of useless groups like ‘the productivity council which I bet these ‘working right wing think tanks’ have ballooned over National’s reign, stop bailing out Mediaworks (43million), Sky City, and enriching Meryl Lynch with power assets sales, Saudi Sheep exports, Iraq forces, bureaucrats on overseas junkets like the TPPA which is not going to help our country at all but enslave it, etc

    It really is not that hard. Get a bean counter to calculate how much public money has been wasted on these corporate handouts. Publicise.

    While I personally do not oppose tax increased of PAYE, it is a vote killer and if Labour and the Greens want to win over the declining middle class they need to actually focus on improving government spending first and ending corruption and cronyism.

  10. Steve Wrathall 11

    Proud of Bowie? The walking example of how socialist envy taxes don’t work. Moved his financial affairs to Switzerland in 1976 to avoid Britain’s 83% rich tax

    • Ha, I wondered if someone would raise that! While you’re right in a general sense, his business affairs were moved to the States in 1974 (and taxed there) when he signed to Mainman management. He actually lived in New York and Berlin before shifting to Switzerland. He wasn’t alone in leaving the UK around that time, Led Zep also bolted, specifically blaming the tax regime for the move.

    • North 11.2

      Studious in your ignorance there Wrathall. What ONE individual does or doesn’t do is not the point. A child can see that. Enough of your inanities !

    • Stuart Munro 11.3

      In fact the taxes worked well, it is the tax cuts and the massive austerity drive needed to support them that has made Britain miserably poor.

      But the taxes were poorly targeted – sociopathic and unproductive activities like property or financial speculation ought to be taxed more strenuously than art.

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