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It’s come to this then. A General Election.

You have to admire Boris Johnson, who by some fluke (or subterfuge) is now our Prime Minister; despite (or because of) his downright shamelessness.

His lies (to parliament, to the Queen, to the population at large), his misdirection’s, his sheer gall when dealing with the thorny Brexit problem and his two-facedness have now resulted in a General Election.

Screenshot 2019-11-02 at 14.36.20

This will be first General Election to be held in December for almost a hundred years.

And, the Tories will win.

In reality, this General Election has been called because Johnson leads a minority government.

It has not been called to sort out our relationship with the EU, although that is the bluster Johnson has used.  There are enough ‘single-issue’ Brexit supporters in the country to believe that this is the only thing that matters. 

Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 09.47.54Johnson eventually managed to present parliament with a ‘deal’ that they really could not deny, given that their previous (many) denials were because of the Irish Backstop

All he had to do was move the border from where it used to be (from Lough Foyle in the north of Ireland to Carlingford Lough in the northeast [1]) and into the middle of the Irish Sea.

I’m not sure what the Irish government think of that – or, in the long run what the inhabitants of Ulster think.

The Tories will, for the first time in two years, govern with a comfortable majority.  By the time this term is finished, we will have had a Conservative government for the best part of fifteen years (although it was initially bolstered by the Liberal party, who jumped at the chance of being in power for a while). My friend Jim Scott used to say “scratch a Liberal, find a Tory”.

Screenshot 2019-11-01 at 00.12.43Economy
So, despite ten years of austerity caused by the crash/recession of the late noughties and despite the ensuing (many) redundancies and bankruptcies, there still seems to be a feeling amongst the general public that the Tories have been good for the economy over those ten years. 

They have not!Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 14.35.45Despite all the most painful government cutbacks, the national debt has almost doubled since 2010.  The UK National Debt went over £1 trillion in 2011 and by budget time in March 2020 it is estimated to be £1.84 trillion [2]

The public has have been so misinformed by the popular press over the last four years, that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, has been demonised beyond redemption. Despite his party’s successes in the 2017 General Election, he is still thought by many to be a terrorist sympathiser, an extreme left-wing ‘communist’ and a downright baddy.  And, because of that, many say they will not vote Labour.  That is like turkeys denying that Christmas is coming.

One man is not his party.  Which is something we should remember when ‘we’ think that Boris Johnson is a lovable old rogue.

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The Liberal Party say that they will ‘Revoke Article 50’, which, if this were a normal General election, would make no sense on its own, but as many voters think that Brexit is the one single issue, they (the Liberals), may well pick up some votes.  However, I wouldn’t trust a word the Liberals say in their as yet to be seen manifesto, because in 2010 they said they would not implement university fees and they said they would fight for proportional representation, amongst other things. Yet none of these promises were fulfilled once they had snuggled up with the Tories.

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The NHS
The NHS has been under funded and under scrutiny for many years now.  I know that the initial bids for private tender were first allowed back in the 1980’s – but this has continued to increase exponentially over the last ten years.

‘There are clearly different ways of calculating how much NHS money is spent on NHS services provided by private companies. However, the bottom line is that – however the figures are arrived at – healthcare in England is now much less directly provided by the NHS than most people think.’

Also

‘There are also concerns about whether or not private companies are avoiding paying tax on their profits. For example, Virgin Care pays no tax in the UK: it’s parent company is registered in the British Virgin Islands.’

http://www.patients4nhs.org.uk/private-companies-involvement-in-the-nhs/

Screenshot 2019-11-02 at 08.43.16

Hospitals up and down the country are also under threat of closure, e.g.

and yet, we see stories of a future Tory government issuing more contracts to private companies, including drug companies based in the USA. The Conservative party really couldn’t care less about the NHS.

Screenshot 2019-10-30 at 15.49.13I know that this has been a fairly long rant, but I had to get it off my chest. I still have lots of thoughts about how the future will affect me personally, but I worry much more about the future for younger generations. If zero-hour contracts are allowed to flourish, how will young families ever afford to make their way in an increasingly ‘dog-eat-dog’ world? Since the Tories took over, the education system has become one that teaches young people to ‘pass the test’, rather than ‘how to think’. Perhaps that is because ‘the elite’ don’t want to have a well educated ‘under class’?  Who knows. Perhaps I don’t and never will, but I do feel much better for having had this rant.

I know that many will have differing views to me and I respect that. Please respect mine.


Previous election rants.

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/feeling-disenfranchised/

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/come-what-may/

https://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/staying-in/


Like I said:

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Staying IN

I decided several years ago that my opinions counted for nothing when it comes to politics. After all, I only voted Liberal in the 2010 election because they (the Liberals) had promised electoral reform AND to see that student fees would not be increased. Both promises were reneged on once they were given the chance to share a harsh Tory-led coalition, which saw poor and working class folks bear the brunt of re-paying evil bankers for their unforgiven thievery.

I have survived, one way or another, all of the political crap thrown at me (and mine) over almost forty years of working life.  I’ve been lucky. Yet, after six years of an uncaring, banker-loving Tory government many others have been less lucky. However ….

however, after those many years of ups and downs, fuel crises, recessions and occasional years of plenty I’m now being asked to vote on something so inconceivably important that it amazes me we have (need?) a government at all. I am still not clear WHY David Cameron decided to make the EU referendum a manifesto promise (which less than 37% of those bothered to vote (66% turnout), voted for) but here it is – we go to the polls on 23d June. See http://www.parliament.uk/eu-referendum

The question we’re asked is ‘Europe: in or out?’.  We are never asked questions like:

  1. a) ‘Syria, Libya, Iraq: bomb or not bomb?’,
  2. b) ‘Bankers: give them all our money or let them sink?’ or
  3. c) ‘NHS: kill it or not kill it?’ – but yet we’re being asked whether we should remain part of the EU or not.

This is the most horrendous plebiscite you could imagine. The populace is ill-informed and lied to by self serving politicians, who are similarly ill-informed about a future outside Europe.

And yet, this would appear to me to be the most important issue – if we vote ‘out’, what will change? No one knows!

So, because no one really knows what would happen should we vote to leave, issues have revolved around the current state of immigration and the economy, both of which seem to have become ‘European’ matters, rather than ‘all-world’ problems – which they are.

This country was on its knees when we joined the common market, or whatever it was called back then; we’d just had a three-day week and Jim Callaghan was about to face a Winter of Discontent – only working together with partners and some sound Euro-management by Margaret Thatcher (hate her legacy as I do, I cannot deny that she knew how to deal with the EU) did we become the economic power we now seem to be.

For whatever reason, our economy is currently as good as if not better than most in Europe, but I don’t see that as a reason to leave the club we have nurtured and been nurtured by over the last forty years.

I’m staying in.

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A piles of copper penniesI’m getting a bit fed up now of the constant carping by Government and the national media on how ‘wealthy pensioners’ are the new scroungers and that they don’t deserve the benefits they currently enjoy.

I have to state here and now that I have always, throughout my working life, thought that we – the working majority – have a duty of care towards those in retirement and those unable to care for themselves.  As I am fast approaching this venerable stage of life I see no reason to change my opinion now.

Nor do I believe that the rights and benefits I have worked towards all of my life should be reduced or removed.

What is wealth? What do politicians and newspaper columnists mean when they talk about wealthy pensioners?

We are all led into thinking that millionaires like (for example) Lord Sugar should not be entitled to a free bus pass or winter fuel payments. Because of course, he is wealthy. He is wealthy by any scale we use – but I still think that if he and others like him have paid their dues for all their working life, as I have, then they should the same benefit as the rest of us. However – can you honestly see him using a bus pass or actually noticing his winter fuel payment? Really?  He and his businesses will pay more BACK through taxes and the various other ways that HMG suck us dry than we can possibly dream of.

The real issue is that once the populace have accepted, as they are now being led to accept, that wealthy pensioners are scroungers and that those benefits (which all pensioners have worked for, all their lives) should be removed, everyone will lose out.

If HMG remove the right to free bus passes, they will stop funding the bus companies and the bus companies will stop running socially needed buses. In many areas, this is already a huge problem but if bus company revenue dries up even more, they will provide less services. If winter fuel payments stop (which don’t actually cover the cost of winter fuel anyway) then more ‘wealthy’ and not-so-wealthy pensioners will die.

I don’t want my parents (in their 80s) or their contemporaries to have to remain in the house simply because there are no buses or worse, to die because they can’t afford to eat AND heat.

And I don’t want to be faced with the same options myself at any time in the future.

Remember – my generation has paid its dues for over forty years; everything various governments have asked. We have done so in the knowledge (the belief?) that our payments were being invested in a social service that aimed to improve the lives of pensioners and those unable to fend for themselves. And to secure our own futures.

Do not let this change. Do not let the insidious drip-feed of lies become the truth.

 

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I’ve just received this email from The Public Services Union PCS. I’d urged my MP to vote against the bill. I took his reply to mean that he would vote for it – because he’s a Tory and he’ll do what he’s told.

Dear Equality Campaigners,

I’m absolutely delighted to inform you that as of this morning, the government did a U-turn. ITS A WIN!

Last night the House of Lords voted again to keep the general equality duty (Section 3) and this morning the government finally gave up the game of ‘ping pong’ and said that they are not going to scrap it any more.

We knew your emails were having a huge impact from the uneasy contact we were getting from some government MPs who were not happy about what was happening. Your emails, together with our joint working with members of the House of Lords, independent experts in equality and human rights law (such as Professor Sir Bob Hepple QC), trade unions, equality organisations and Liberal Democrat grass roots activists, have all helped in this great victory.

As a legacy equality law coming from the Macpherson Report into the Stephen Lawrence murder, this win could not have been more timely.

I do hope you enjoyed campaigning with us, and interacting with your MP on such an important issue (even when, as I know, some were less than pleasant in their responses)!

There are more campaigns to come on equality as we know that the government has other laws in its sights and we fear further plans to scrap equality law, including more of the Lawrence legacy.

Please, if you’d like to keep campaigning with us, respond ‘yes’ to this email and I’ll contact you again next time we need to mobilise a campaigning crack team!

Great job – take a bow.

Yours sincerely

Natasha Burgess, Campaign Officer
Campaigns and Communications
Public and Commercial Services Union
Web: www.pcs.org.uk

PCS, 160 Falcon Rd, London SW11 2LN

I’m not a member of PCS, I stayed with UCU when I left employment (became self-employed) – but I was formally a member of Cohse which must have evolved into Unison and/or PCS.

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