Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the category “government”

We Shall See Won’t We

Well, that’s it! The election is over and the Lib/Dems have done some sort of deal with the Torys.  The lust for power must have been overwhelming for both parties involved because the Torys and Lib/Dems are hardly natural bed fellows. Mind you Cameron went to Harrow and Clegg Westminster so I can see them getting on. Both have said they were working together for the good of the nation and if you’ll believe that you’ll believe anything.

So, time for a prediction or two? We’ll be alright for a month or two due to plans set in place by Labour which are now coming into fruition and Cameron gets a feel for power. We can then expect a rise in unemployment as the new government sets about sacking public sector workers in an over eager attempt to reduce the national debt. Most still in employment will be working harder and longer for less (in real terms) and the effectiveness of public services will decrease. Stealth taxes will add to the impoverishment of the population and there will be some civil unrest put down by a larger and even less uncontrolled police force.

The much vaunted referendum on a fairer electoral system will be denied or put in such a form of words as to be almost certainly rejected despite what the Torys may say at present; they are as slippery as eels. Another election will be called within 18 months at which the Lib/Dems will slip back into obscurity taking the blame for Conservative mismanagement.

Uncertain is whether Labour can learn from it’s mistakes as well as the good things that it did whilst in Government or tear it’s self apart.

Time will tell.

Manifesto You Wont See (Mine)

DEFENCE: We believe that threatening the annihilation of millions of fellow humans is wrong so we are getting rid of all nuclear weapons. This will make us less of a threat and so reduce our risk of attack. We will also save billions of Pounds.

We will have a review of the past few hundred years to see just why we have rampaged around the globe engaging in acts of aggression and stop doing it. Our military services will have only defensive weapons and therefore we will finally pose no threat to any other nation thereby further reducing our risks to near zero.

HOUSING: No further second homes will be allowed and existing ones will pay treble Council Tax until there are no more homeless or sub standard housing. All private property will become State owned on the demise of the current owners. (This will reduce house prices enormously and make them affordable places to live in and not investments for profit)

ENERGY: Rail, Electricity supply, Gas and Water will be re-nationalised.

WAGES & BENEFITS: All State benefits (except unemployment) will be cancelled and in their place the national minimum wage will be raised to a level fit to live on, along with pensions. There will be no unemployment benefit on leaving education until at least two years of employment have been completed. Benefit will be earnt by community service to prevent drifting into benefit dependency. No one will be allowed to earn more than ten times the minimum wage and bonuses will be outlawed. A fair days pay for a fair days work will be the norm.

TRANSPORT: Cities and urban areas with good public transport will be subject to an extra vehicle tax similar to the London congestion charge. Money raised will offset fuel reductions to those in rural areas where personal transport is essential.

DEMOCRACY: A good idea which will be adopted starting with an elected Head of State rather than an unelected monarchy. The second chamber shall also only have elected members. A fair voting system will be adopted where no vote is a wasted vote.

All connections between religion and the State shall be severed and all tax advantages currently applied to churches, mosques etc will end.

CRIME: All drugs will be de-criminalised and available on prescription thereby cutting up to 70% of crime. This will have the added benefit of slashing the prison population which doesn’t work anyway and saving huge sums of money.

The creation of a more fair and equal society would of itself reduce the incidence of crime. The current method of sentencing is ineffective, there being no point in a fixed time inside, therefore custodial terms will be opened ended. That is to say when it is considered the offender is ready to take his/her proper productive place back in society then they are released with adequate support and not before.

EDUCATION: Management costs will be no more than 1% of the budget and teachers will revert to running the schools and colleges. Choice of school will be abolished and all schools will be of an approved standard in all areas. University fees will be abolished but a small lifetime increase in income tax will enable graduates the satisfaction of repaying society for the privilege.

Private education establishments will be abolished by ever increasing taxation.

HEALTH: Management costs as for education. Medical staff taking more responsibility for running hospitals and clinics etc. A State pharmaceutical research facility will be set up and tight controls put on those in the private sector. Drugs which are highly expensive and merely prolong life by months will not be available.

Private health care will be abolished by progressively rising taxes.

LAND: All land will be nationalised without compensation and a rent paid for all private property upon it.

Our Election Humiliation

Well, that’s it, the General Election date is finally to be announced today. The date when we, the electorate, shall decide to whom we will lend our power for the next probable five years. Yes, our power, as citizens in a supposedly free and democratic society.

Before this can happen though our elected Prime Minister must go to Buckingham Palace and ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament in order for the election to take place. It is a national humiliation that the permission, even if somewhat symbolically, of an unelected, undemocratic, Head of State who is only there by virtue of being born into one particular family, should be sort.

If we elect a party with an overall majority then the Government is not effective until the Monarch has given her approval and in the event of a ‘hung Parliament’ again it is the Queen who ‘invites’ one Party to form the Government. In addition it is through the Monarch’s Privy Council that powers that we, the people, did not give to the Prime Minister of the day are wielded. It is time to embrace true democracy and end our humiliation.

Stephen Byers A Different Angle

There is justifiable outrage at the antics of Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon apparently offering their services to lobby groups in order to further feather their own nests. Cynic that I am of course, I wasn’t in the least surprised which goes to show how low politicians have sunk in my estimation. However, that’s another matter.

What struck me though was the expected going rate for this ‘service’. Three to five thousand Pounds per day for advice and I use that word advisedly.  Now that is around ten times more than the average worker gets for a whole week never mind for just a few hours in a day. It just goes to show what a rarified atmosphere these people live in and is symptomatic of the greed that has helped to bring our country to parlous state that it is today.

AWRE Aldermaston – Heard of it?

Today CND along with other Peace groups and including two Nobel Peace Prize Winners,  are today blockading the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston. So far I have not heard one word about this remarkable event on BBC news and there is nothing at all on the BBC web site. I find this more than just curious and I have a great deal of trouble in suppressing the thought that the BBC, as an undoubted part of the establishment, is keeping this news very, very low key.

Billions of Pounds are scheduled to be spent on ‘upgrading’ this place which for decades has seen out taxes spent on unusable,  Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) and we’ve heard that acronym before haven’t we? In these times of near economic collapse the time is even more right to recognise that these weapons have no place in the modern World and their only purpose is to prop up the ego’s of those in power.

Light Relief

A little topical humour to hopefully cheer us up amid all the gloom.

The hair cut
One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber replies, ‘I cannot accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The florist was pleased and left the shop.

When the barber goes to open his shop the next morning there is a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door..

Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, ‘I cannot accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The cop is happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up there is a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.

Later that day, a college professor comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill, the barber again replies, ‘I cannot accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The professor is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber opens his shop, there is a ‘thank you’ card and a dozen different books, such as ‘How to Improve Your Business’ and ‘Becoming More Successful.’

Then, a Member of Parliament comes in for a haircut , and when he goes to pay his bill the barber again replies, ‘I cannot accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.’ The Member of Parliament is very happy and leaves the shop.

The next morning when the barber goes to open up, there are a dozen Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.  (but not of course Hazel Blears – she’s far too nice don’t you think?).

What Now for New Labour?

It’s anyone’s guess at the moment whether Gordon Brown will be able to survive the current political crisis although I suspect that he may hang on until the bitter end next year and the end will indeed be bitter.

When New Labour with Tony Blair were elected in 1997 the electorate would have given power to anyone rather than the Tory’s and at that point a golden opportunity was lost. With a huge majority Blair, with Brown as Chancellor, could have transformed the UK into a far better nation. Together they wasted the first two years by sticking with the economic plans put in place by the previous administration and then proceeded to expand the ‘free market economy’ and embraced and encouraged the money grubbing, me first culture of  profit before people. They increased the gap between the rich and the poor by deviously cutting the taxes of the wealthy and increasing the taxes on the less well off. They believed their own spin that the City of London could go on creating money from thin air and that house prices would increase exponentially for ever. They took us into an illegal war costing billions of Pounds and tens of thousands of lives and into another futile and expensive escapade in Afghanistan from which we have yet to be extradited. They have progressively introduced draconian state control of our citizens by way of surveillance, police powers and data linkage. Yes, they have done some good things and improvements to the NHS and Education spring to mind but even they are tarnished by the Public/Private Finance Initiative which will result in a huge outpouring of money into the private sector over many, many, years.

So what now for Gordon Brown and New Labour? The next election is lost so with nothing to lose why not make some real change in the time that is left. The MP’s expenses must of course be sorted out and pushing through some form of PR in time for the General Election would be mostly popular and have the advantage of limiting Labour’s losses. Abandon the ridiculous and unpopular ID Card Scheme along with Trident replacement and huge aircraft carriers, thus saving tens of billions of pounds. Recognise that killing Afghan tribesmen and devastating villages is an unwinnable war and in any case will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks here and in fact will make such attacks more likely. Some of the cash saved could be used to increase pensions towards the poverty line (£165) per week as pensioners are more likely to spend it and so help in the recovery of  industry and employment.

All of this could be done prior to the General Election and may go some way to ensuring a wiser Labour re-election in maybe five years rather than our nation suffering once again under a Tory government for ten or fifteen or more years.

Nuclear Weapons Sell Off

Without it even being announced in Parliament let alone debated there, the government has sold it’s remaining 1/3 share in the Atomic Weapons  Establishment to Jacobs Engineering, a US company.

US companies now control 2/3rds of AWE and any last remaining myth that our nuclear weapons are independent have disappeared into thin air along with £billions of our money to America.

AWE is currently undergoing the biggest investment programme in recent decades with operators boasting it to be ‘on the scale of Heathrow Terminal 5’. Spending on capital programmes, over and above routine running-costs has mushroomed from £24m in 2000 to £420m last year.

If you ever wonder what happens to your taxes or why there isn’t enough cash for decent pensions or repairs to your local school and so on, then look no further than the billions wasted on nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. There are no circumstances in which we would use them because to do so would likely bring about our own demise so why do they waste 100’s of £billions of our hard earned money on them? We must demand an end to these toys for the boys.


Standing Down

So far a bakers dozen of MP’s have announced that they will stand down at the next general election over expenses claims that at the very least were not within the spirit of the rules.

The MP’s whilst remaining in their posts for the next twelve months will now benefit by up to £200,000 made up by their salary, expenses and a generous severance payment. Not bad for being found out fleecing the taxpayer!

A means must be put in place whereby constituents can hold their representative to account without waiting for a General Election.

Public Anger

The public are rightly outraged and angry over the subject of MP’s expenses and perhaps we could do with some more anger.

If only the public would show more anger then perhaps we might get some worthwhile changes. Like anger over our young soldiers dying in a futile invasion of Afghanistan; like wasting billions on nuclear weapons, submarines and aircraft carriers; like billions more on ID cards and intercepting all our ‘phone calls and emails. Like refusing to allow the imposition of Unitary Authorities when the people, on the rare occasions they have even been asked, give a resounding no. Let’s get angry about the unaccountable House of Lords and yes, let’s get angry about that bastion of anti-democracy, the Royal family.

If this current anger over expenses helps to make voters take note of politics and realise that power really does lie with the people but that we have to fight to keep it, every inch of the way, or risk losing it altogether, then it will turn out to have been a good thing.

Post Navigation