Paul Krugman made an appearance on "Newsnight" tonight and, much to Jeremy Paxman's amusement, made mincemeat of the right wing opposition to his ideas. In quick succession he routed Ken Ragoff, Paul Mason and Allegra Stratton, all of whom trotted out the tired and discredited mantra that austerity and deregulation will cure our economic woes. In one telling illustration he compared the present politicians, both here in Britain and in the rest of Europe, to Medieval doctors intent on bleeding their patients white - a comparison made by "The News In Shorts" in its report entitled "Tories Continue To Kill The Patient" on May 24th. So does Paul Krugman read "The News In Shorts?" We asked the nobel prize-winning economist; "The News In Shorts? Never heard of it. And stop pinching my metaphors before I use them." Oh well, chagrined as the editor was by this, this reporter is more a fan of Mr.Krugman than ever. After two years of complete failure, with economies shrinking across the world, unemployment rising through the roof and no sign whatsoever of the private sector magically expanding to save us all from an impending depression, all Ken Ragoff, Paul Mason and Allegra Stratton could say is that debts have to be paid off double-quick no matter what disasters befall us, that young people are straining at the leash to establish new vibrant businesses and are held back only by excessive employment regulation and that tax cuts for the rich are the key to prosperity. In other words more of the same. As Mr.Krugman pointed out this is merely ideology masquerading as economics as right-wingers scrabble to shrink the state while they have the opportunity. Everywhere the neoliberal-supporting establishment have tried to curb democracy, here in Britain by insisting on a full five year term for this woeful coalition government, in Greece and Italy where elected heads of state have been replaced by bankers and even in Canada where attempts have been made to outlaw student protests over rising university fees. Defending the indefensible, trying to save an economic system broken beyond repair, moronic national leaders have prevaricated, tried their best to have the poor pay for the mistakes of the rich and, after two years of utter idiocy, are now facing the prospect of a disorderly exit from the Euro by Greece -an event that any moron could see coming from a mile away.
Yesterday Christine Lagarde was lecturing the Greeks about paying their taxes. Today it has been revealed that as an employee of an international organization she actually pays no tax whatsoever on her salary, which is in excess of £300,000 a year plus fringe benfits. Unlike the Greeks she has no need to dodge paying tax. Meanwhile, here in Britain the right-wing think tank, Centre for Social Justice (now there's a misleading title), has said that the government should scrap targets to reduce child poverty on the basis that "the poor are always with us." Or at least they will be if the Tories have anything to do with it. Though the British super-wealthy have made tax dodging into the only growth industry in the country and George Osborne seems to become strangely incompetent when it comes to closing loopholes, the rest of us have to pay our taxes whether we like it or not. Still we can take solace in the fact that our tax money is being diverted away from the undeserving disabled, unemployed and feckless and is now being spent on more worthwhile things. Can't we? Well, that depends on whether you think that the Wildlife minister, wealthy landowner and keen shot Richard Benyon, should spend your money on shooting buzzards in order to increase the number of pheasants available for the wealthy to take pot shots at. His ministry, by the way, has no brief to help out gamekeepers in their struggle to provide suitable targets for their rich masters and her certainly has no brief to kill a protected species like the British buzzard for the benefit of a tiny minority of Tory landowners. Not to worry though because Michael Gove has used his appearance at the Leveson Enquiry to air his belief that our shools, and presumably our schoolchildren, should generate profits for corporations making room for more tax cuts - not for you of course, but for his rich mates. The "News in Shorts" has one question. How much longer are we going to have to put up with these latter-day robber barons, spivs and conmen?
"I'm afraid there's no money left," Liam Byrne told his successor at the Treasury as he left government. But what does "there's no money left" actually mean? Did it all disappear in a puff of smoke? Did it all leave for a holiday in the sun? No, it had all gone to the banks because they'd lost theirs. So what happened to it next? It was paid to shareholders and executives to reward their complete and utter failure. So where did this money to pay the banks for their incompetence come from? From you and me, from the ordinary taxpayer. In other words it was transferred from ordinary people to bankers who were utterly useless at their jobs in order to maintain their lavish lifestyles. Where is it now? Still with the banks who are hoarding it to protect themselves against the recession they caused in the first place. So why austerity? Because our governments are too incompetent themselves to get it back from the banks and because they really do not want to tax rich people to replace the loses. So, having made ordinary tax payers save the banks, they are now withdrawing support and services from the poorest in our society to make up the shortfall. The upshot of all this is that governements across world have been busily transferring money from the poor to the rich under the rubricks that "there is no alternative" and "we're all in this together." Enter democracy stage left. Ordinary people, unconvinced by the facile argument "there's no alternative," decided that they didn't want to give rich people all their money to fix a system that was broken beyond repair. So, in places like Italy and Greece, democracy was suspended and bankers were placed in charge as an "interim administration." In other words the banks were allowed to repossess entire countries. Of course there was an alternative to all this. The banks, who have spent the last 30 years lecturing us on the benefits of untrammeled capitalism, could have been allowed to fail like any other business that makes a serious mistake. But that would have meant that a lot of rich people would have lost their money as administrators called in all the debts. House prices would have collapsed, trade would have evaporated and most of us would now be out of work. Given then that the banking system had to be saved to avoid economic meltdown, what alternatives were open to governments other than pauperising the already poor? They could have fully nationalised the banks to take them out of the hands of reckless banking executives. As for austerity, they could have aimed that at the people who have gained more than anyone else out of the madness of the last 30 years - the rich. That governments chose not to do so nails the lies that "there is no alternative" and "we're all in this together." We, the people, have no money because they, the greedy and stupid, have stolen it all.
Nothing could demonstrate the double standards practised by world leaders under the influence of the neoliberal economic thesis than Christine Lagarde's outburst against the Greeks. Writing on her Facebook account she said that she had more sympathy for Africans than for Greeks who should pay their taxes and shut up. It is "payback time" for Greece she said gleefully, suggesting that the austerity measures imposed on the country are some sort of punishment. Like most ordinary working people in the world ordinary working Greeks have no choice about paying tax. Choosing not to pay tax is solely the preserve of the rich who benefit from tax systems that deliberately allow loopholes that can be exploited by anyone rich enough to retain the services of a battery of accountants. Dodging tax when you are an ordinary person is a dangerous course that can and does end in a prison sentence. Dodging tax when you are rich is a lucrative income stream that is often rewarded with medals, honours and increased influence. Lagarde has now revealed the utter arrogance of the new super-class that has sprung into existence across the globe. Utterly selfish, greedy, irresponsible and without any sympathy for those not rich enough to share the rarified atmosphere of their world, these are the people who see it as their divine right to order the lives of the rest of us. If austerity is called for then, perhaps, it should start with those who have too much rather than those who have too little. There is, however, no sign that this is happening. Fatcats started this crisis and it is the fatcats that are ordering events to make sure they get fatter at our expense. The Greeks should take note of this outburst and walk away from the "deal" they are being offered. They should do what Iceland has done - tell the banks to shove it, arrest their political leaders and bankers who led them into this mess, get out of the Euro and tell the Germans to clear up the mess that they so eagerly promoted when it suited them.
The extent to which the Tory party under David Cameron is little more than a gang of bullies has been thrown into sharp relief this weekend. Their policies in terms of the sick, the dying, the disabled and the unemployed are clear enough and it is to the eternal shame of Britain that more voices of protest have not been raised against it. However the extent to which Tories stand revealed for what they are began to become clearer in the report of employment law authored by Adrian Beecroft in which he outlined the case for bullying in the workplace in order for bad managers to hide behind those who work for them. More details were revealed of their tactics in the wake of the scandal over Baroness Warsi's expenses when Wafik Moustafa told reporters that not only did she not pay any rent to him for using one of his flats but that she had also vilified him in order to "to monopolise the Asian and Muslim voice...when the Conservative Arab Network (I) founded was told to severe its connections with the party and threatened with legal action by Baroness Warsi." "She doesn't want anyone taking the limelight. She's very obsessed about image," he added. Meanwhile it was revealed by the "Telegraph" today that the Tories have been orchestrating heckling of Ed Milliband in direct controvention of the 1693 rule against chanting and booing in the House. Cameron's recent embarassment over his "LOL" messages to Rebekah Brookes was a particular target for this with Tories being ordered to create "a wall of sound" to divert attention when the subject was brought up in parliament. However, they were also ordered to heckle Ed Milliband whenever he rises to speak, especially during PMQ's. Unable to rule except by trickery, knowing that their policies are unfair and inexcusable, unable to win the economic argument and unable to hide their true nature from the electorate, the Tories have reverted to type - spolit posh boys who regard everyone else with disdain.
Nick Clegg appeared on the Andrew Marr show today and seems to have forgotten to bring his usual script with him. Waking up to the public mood which doesn't see why it should pay the banker's bill and face austerity while the rich get away with it scot-free, he actually admitted that the current economic mess was caused by the banks and not by Labour. Frightened that he may have gone too far he couldn't resist saying that Labour only taxed the rich at 40% for most of their tenure in government, though he failed to point out that that was during a period of prosperity when ordinary people were not being asked to bail out the banks. As such it was the same old story - austerity for the poor is necessary while it doesn't apply to the rich becuase they're too important to tax. He was quite relaxed about the protest outside his house, saying only that his children were frightened. The fact that the protestor's children have been frightened and bullied in their own homes by this government didn't seem to register. Which is more than can be said for those sharing the sofa with him. They were "outraged" that ordinary people should target those who, from the safety of a security-cordoned cocoon, make their lives a misery.
Louise Mensch, the hatchet-faced Conservative MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, has today insulted protestors who held a street party outside Nick Clegg's London home. The protestors, tired of being completely ignored by the political establishment, decided to bring attention to the shameful way this government is targetting the disabled to pay for the crimes of the banks by targetting Nick Clegg in his £1 million pound house. This, according to the shameless Ms.Mensch on Twitter, amounted to the "intolerable bullying" of a poor defenceless politician and she appealed for Tories to send £5 each to the LibDem party by way of compensation. We asked the smug, self-centred MP for a further statement; "It is completely unjustified for unemployed and crippled scum to give politicians a dose of their own medicine. Working class people only exist to be abused and their fighting back is simply not acceptable. Bullying is a terrible crime, unless practised by me and my rich mates, and I feel its only right that these people should be intimidated to the full extent of the law. As for the appeal to send the LibDems £5, you have to understand that I only value money and I'm pretty sure that the newly corrupted LibDem colleagues now feel the same. I'm sure that if we can get all Tory supporters to contribute we should be able to raise at least £25."
Baroness Warsi has today joined the ever-growing number of MP's and Peers who have "inadvertently" fiddled their expenses. She neglected to inform the register of Lords' interests that she had moved out of one of her many London properties and was renting it out. "I take full responsibility for this rather lucrative oversight on my part and I informed the register of Lords' interests just as soon as they had already found out about it. This is completely understandable if you take into consideration that I am rather forgetful and confused when it suits me. I am not dishonest, I am a Tory." The House of Lords has issued a statement that no action will be taken against her. As a spokesperson for the Upper Chamber told our reporter; "Like any citizen who makes an honest mistake on, lets say, their income tax return, we take a relaxed view and feel that fair play should take precedence over the law - unless of course you happen to be unemployed, crippled or sick."
Our editor was able to get his hands on a copy of the Beercroft report today and, to say the least, it is a shocking document. Shockingly bad that it is. In the first place the report is just fifteen pages long and, surprisingly, contains no solid facts and figures or any kind of proof whatsoever. The reason is not difficult to find - all studies that have been carried out both here in Europe and in the United States demonstrate quite clearly that Beercroft is wrong. There is absolutely no evidence - none -that taking worker's rights off them aids productivity. In fact Germany has employment laws that are far more stringent than those in Britain and yet it has still managed to grow by 3% this last year which compares very favourably with our 0%. The only country in the western world that has less worker's rights is the United States and their performance, though better than Britain, is not particularly outstanding. Beercroft states that taking British worker's rights away would increase GDP by 5%. His proof? None, not one word, not one figure or statistic. In fact the document is nothing more than Beercroft's completely uninformed opinion and is based entirely on his prejudices, a view of the world as he would like it to be rather than as it is. As such it is a typical Tory document - long on simplistic opinion and short on any kind of evidence whatsoever. The Telegraph has reported today that nearly 80% of businessmen support Beercroft because they find worker's rights a "worry" when they seek to hire people. Oh dear, boo-hoo - pity the poor businessmen who have to face such "worries." Beercroft, after several months of what for him constitutes intensive effort, has managed to produce a document so thin it would shame a schoolchild and seems to be nothing more than a whinging complaint that he's not allowed to bully anyone he likes. A disgusting document, produced by a disgusting individual for a disgusting political party.
It would seem that its towering block of offices is not the only thing that is wonky about Spain's fourth largest bank, Bankia. Ahead of this year's board meeting the bank has asked the Spanish government to bail it out yet again. Once again we are to treated to the spectacle of a failing business failing to fail and to private debt being nationalised by a business that seems to think that it lives in a socialist paradise. Funny how capitalism seems to be suspended when banks screw up isn't it? And who is that will eventually pick up the bill? Those who have made vast fortunes over the last 30 years? Not on your life. It will be Spanish taxpayers (those that are still left in work) and, eventually, the rest of Europe's taxpayers or, as our governments like to call us, the mugs. In the meantime the banks are still handing themselves lottery wins for bonuses and patting themselves on the back for being so incredibly gifted. Perhaps Adrian Beecroft is right after all and the people who run these institutions should be summarily dismissed with no right of appeal - now that might just improve productivity.
Adam Smith, appearing at the Leveson Enquiry, has given us all an insight into how political decisions are reached in this country. Essentially its all done on a nod and a wink. The story of how Mr.Smith ended up before the enquiry is illuminating to say the least. The government originally appointed Vince Cable to oversee Murdoch's bid to get his hands on the rest of BSkyB but it soon became apparent that Vince wasn't too sympathetic and Rupert Murdoch was not pleased. Enter two young female journalists who cajole Vince into admitting on tape that he did not approve of Murdoch and that he had "declared war" on him. Revealed as being "partisan" poor old Vince was forced to resign. Enter Jeremy Hunt, who had been lobbying David Cameron for months to allow the bid to go forward, and who was now appointed by that same David Cameron to act as an "impartial" judge to replace Vince Cable. There then follows a series of emails between News International and someone in the government who signed the emails "JH." These make it abundantly clear that NI and the Cameron government are in cahoots to get the deal through no matter what the objections against it. When this is revealed Jeremy Hunt denies all knowledge and tells us all that his advisor, Adam Smith, is the guilty party and that he was acting without Hunt's knowledge or permission. So now we have Adam Smith giving evidence to the Leveson Enquiry telling us that he often used the initials "JH" for no particular reason and often appearing to not know his own emails too well. One thing is abundantly plain, however, and that is the whole process was both fishy and, at the same time, that the realtionship between the Cameron government and Murdoch was far too cosy to be labelled "impartial." One of the most important decisions for this country in terms of the future of the media was effectively being progressed on a nod and a wink, something that this government does in far too many spheres touching on our national ineterests. Treachery is not too strong a word.
The EU Conference ended today with agreement that growth should be their primary objective and absolutely no agreement as to how that will be achieved. France and Germany are now clearly on different tracks with their customary united front entirely absent. Angela Merkel's contribution was to tell the Greeks to continue pauperising themselves or else while that country's exit from the Euro loomed ever-closer. David Cameron stood up for the rights of bankers, making it plain that he would not support a tax on the finance industry because that would damage Britain's interests and cause job losses. Apart from the sheer hypocrisy of David Cameron worrying about unemployment, something that has never bothered him before, his fierce support of the City is sickening. One of the first excuses the Tories used against the idea of a finance tax was that it needed to be done on an international basis. Faced with just that he has no choice now but to fall back on a weak and specious arguments to protect his rich mates from the levels of taxation that the rest of us have to suffer. Of course he will soon be portraying his refusal to support the idea as a "veto" while Europe will still go ahead ignoring us completely. The Euro is now plainly falling apart and the EU itself is in grave danger of following suit with even Labour now considering a referendum on Britain's membership. The neoliberal economic thesis is edging ever closer to its inevitable endpoint - the effective destruction of the world economy as the greed and stupidity continues to pour sand into its metaphoric gearbox and engine.
In her speech about the British economy Christine Lagarde effectively told us that George Osborne was doing all the right things while it was only reality that prevented his policies from working. In other words the cure is working but the patient is dying nevertheless. We all laugh when we read about Medieval doctors bleeding their patients to remove "evil humours" but it isn't funny when George Osborne does the same thing to the economy. Neoliberal economics was once described by George Bush Snr as "voodoo economics" and he wasn't wrong. It is based on a self-serving mythology, mumbo-jumbo of the worst kind, and inflicted on the rest of us by the greedy and stupid for whom economics is not a science but a kind or religion - an irrational belief that if you do enough idiotic and utterly selfish things everything will turn out for the best. Well it hasn't, as everyone can now plainly see. Demand in Britain fell sharply in April with people, fearful of the future and having no faith whatsover in this woeful government, unwilling to spend. To add to the fear factor Adrian Beecroft has now unveiled his plans to make it easier to sack the very workers he depends upon to keep his businesses afloat. Nothing illustrates better the sheer idiotic vindictiveness of these people who seek to restore confidence by making everyone more fearful and promote growth by making everyone (except themselves) poorer. The madness of super-sized austerity is evident in the situation in Greece and will soon be evident in Spain and still people like Angela Merkal insist that administering poison is the only cure. The insane have been in charge of the asylum for too long.
Adrain Beecroft, the Tories own pet fascist, has come out fighting today after Vince Cable described his plan to remove all worker's rights as "nonsense." Describing Cable as a "socialist" because he doesn't agree with his idiotic notions, Beecroft has also suggested that the Tories are being "held back" by their LibDems colleagues. That Beecroft is a moron is clearly demonstrated by this statement since, without the LibDems, the Tories would have been out on their ears months ago and, indeed, would never have been able to form a government in the first place. “I think people find it very odd that Vince Cable in charge of business and yet appears to do very little to support business,” Beecroft told the "Telegraph". Strangeley enough the "News in Shorts" thinks it odd that a tax-dodging bloodsucker whose company, Wonga.com, preys on the poor and vulnerable, should be advising government on worker's rights. "The Tories have privately been very supportive of my ideas," he also stated, but seemed strangely shy of admitting as much. Perhaps that's another nasty little surprise for us all if this bunch of crooks, spivs and conmen ever actually win a general election.
Adrian Beecroft has finally laid out his plans to return Britain to feudalism. The tax-dodging millionaire who runs Wongo.com, the loan-shark outfit who prey on the poor, thinks that removing workers right and replacing it with a bully's charter is the way to end the recession. As part of the "frighten people so much that they are afraid to spend any money" school of economics, Beecroft seems to believe that underming people's sense of security will, in some unfathomable way, increase final demand and save the country from recession. Like most of his ilk he thunders on that business cannot thrive in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity and then does his best to increase fear and insecurity. Since this is clearly oxymoronic the only conclusion that can be drawn is that he is a frustrated bully, incensed by his inability to browbeat the weak with impunity. Why anyone would listen to a man driven insane by greed, as Mr.Beecroft clearly is, is one of those mysteries that can only be understood, though never explained, by a Tory. Instead of advising government this man should be in therapy or at least beaten with a heavy stick until he gets over it.
Christine Lagarde stood next to George Osborne and, according to the Tories at least, agreed with him. The truth is, as she herself openly admitted, she chose her words very carefully. She was at great pains to point out that, though the IMF broadly agreed with a deficit-cutting strategy, it only approved of the "policy mix" and not particular policies. She certainly did not think that increasing inequality and high unemployment was "a price worth paying" and archly pointed out that persuing such policies is counter-productive and, ultimately, dangerous. She then went on to say quite pointedly that if the British economy continued on its present course and remained in recession, then austerity measures would have to be relaxed. "Unfortunately the economic recovery in the UK has not yet taken hold and uncertainties abound," she said. "Growth is too slow and unemployment - including youth unemployment - is too high. Policies to bolster demand before low growth becomes entrenched are needed." Hardly a ringing endorsement of Osborne and his "austerity at all costs" strategy. Of course Tories only hear what they want to hear, but explaining the BBC's opinion that "Ms Lagarde gave a strong endorsement to the government's actions" is somewhat difficult to understand. Both the BBC and the Tories seized on one comment by Ms.Lagarde - "Sometimes you feel like you could look back and wonder 'what if?'. And when I think back myself to May 2010, when the UK deficit was at 11% and I try to imagine what the situation would be like today if no such fiscal consolidation programme had been decided... I shiver." Their take is that she was saying that if Labour had been in power then there would have been no austerity measures and Britain would have crashed and burned. Considering the praise that the IMF heaped on Gordon Brown for saving the banking system this seems a little odd. Of course she wasn't actually accusing Labour of being congenitally insane or that they would have done nothing - she was merely saying that if nothing had been done it would have been disastrous. The Tories are now running from studio to studio spreading the idiotic notion that a hypothetical Labour government would have hypothetically done nothing - despite the fact thay they have spent two years shouting that Labour's policy is little different to their own. Its cake and eat it time in Toryworld.
The editor was somewhat surprised today when, having clicked on one of his own headlines, his Virgin Media Security software warned that the "News in Shorts" is a dangerous site containing malicious malware. He was able to access the site by ignoring the "advice" but there is no apparent explaination as to why it was blocked in the first place. The editor is appealing to any readers out there who have experienced a similar event.
David Cameron, keenly aware that time is running out for him and his Tory chums, has today made clear his determination to inflict as much damage on Britain as he can as fast as he can. Under the banner of "radical reform" the Tories are eager to remove all workers rights and replace them with a bully's charter, sweep away the principle of progessive taxation by imposing a flat 30% on everyone, rich and poor alike, and destroy the NHS in preperation for privatisation. The removal of worker's rights is being sold on the principle that it will take us out of recession. How someone being sacked simply because their face doesn't fit helps the economy they are at a loss to explain, but they are visibly foaming at the mouth to give themselves the right to destroy people's lives on a whim. The flat rate 30% tax idea demonstrates quite clearly where they want the country to go. The rich, avoiding 30% as they avoided 50% and are now avoiding 45%, while the poor get a tax hike of 50% to pay for it. Meanwhile the NHS is to be literally stolen by Andrew Lansley and chopped up into small manageable bite sized chunks for the benefit of corporate vultures who are slavering over the prospect of asset-stripping the last thing of value owned by the people of Britain. The process has already begun in Birmingham and Sandwell where paid staff are being replaced by the unemployed working for their benefits in order to reduce the wage bill to make its sale more attractive. Cameron is intent on turning Britain into a third world economy, with workers reduced to day labourers begging for the priviligege of paying taxes to keep the rich in their customary idleness. This will suit Cameron who already has the reputation for being the laziest Prime Minister this country has ever known.
Francis Maude, having successfully negotiated a pension rise for MP's and cabinet ministers, is now embarking on his next project - destroying the national pay rates for Civil Servants and replacing it with "local pay rates." This simply means that Civil Servants working in London and the South East will be paid much higher wages than those who work in those other areas of the country that don't count - i.e Wales and the North. The reason for this is quite simple, threadbare arguments about saving money apart - it is about entrenching the North-South divide and making sure that those areas who tend to vote Labour are suitably punished. A similar project is in the pipeline for health workers. This, Maude hopes, will destroy unity in these two organisations and open the way for privatisation by introducing an "affordable" pay scale for his rich mates when they take over. Of course most of this will fall on lower grade Civil Servants since the over-paid mandarins tend to live in London. Once more there is direct evidence that the Tory mantra, "We're all in this together," actually means pauperising ordinary wage earners to protect the rich and elevating inequality to the level of policy. Nor is austerity primarily aimed at reducing the deficit as the recent budget so graphically illustrated. It's primary aim is to reduce the tax burden of the rich funded by increasing poverty and severely curtailed services for ordinary people. Realising that the neoliberal economic theis has failed spectacularly, they are determined to handcuff us to its corpse in order to protect their money and privileges.
The G8's official communique today was straightforward enough, they want debt-stricken Greece to remain in the eurozone. No disenting voices, no doubts, no alternatives. Now that, if you think about it, is rather surprising. Surely at least one of them would look at the situation in Greece and conclude that its exit from the Euro is not only sensible but perhaps the only viable solution. Then there's the Greeks themselves who, we are informed, are almost unanimous in their view that they have to stay in the Euro. Why? Staying in the straighjacket of the Euro is bankrupting them and bringing their society to the edge of collapse. Think about this. If Greece was about to exit the Euro it would have to be a closely kept secret to avoid panic in the markets and in order to put predatory speculators off the scent. In addition there would have to be a long period of preparation just to print the necessary new currency for Greece. Is it just me, or can anyone else hear the distant sound of printing presses?
David Cameron couldn't welcome the Olympic flame to Britain yesterday because he was at the G8 Conference in Washington making a fool of himself. His first move was to meet President Hollande of France, making up lost ground after having snubbed him when he was only a candidate, in order to inform him that any attempt to tax the financial industry in Europe will be "vetoed." Of course, in David Cameron's case, this simply means refusing to sign such an undertaking while Europe goes ahead anyway. After this auspicious meeting Cameron then went on to lecture the rest of Europe on how best to flatten the entire continental economy. Angela Merkel basically agreed, proposing a new EU treaty that would effectively prevent members from doing anything she disapproves of. Still she was still pretty pissed off with Cameron's lecturing and told him so. His idea of stoking hyper-inflation by printing more money across Europe was rightly dismissed out of hand. As an idea that was about as stupid as it gets. Not that the German's don't have halucinations of their own. One is the idea that the Maastrict treaty can be re-written by Germany without triggering a referendum in Britain - though it would interesting to see how Cameron would twist and turn to avoid one. Another is the astounding idea that Britain will be forced to join the Euro "sooner than it thinks." The only things that were clear is that Germany will not come to the aid of Greece and that country will be the Euro's sacrificial lamb, that Angela Merkel is as determined as Cameron to pauperise everyone else to protect the rich and that the French are now pulling for all their worth in the opposite direction. European Union? Not for much longer by the look of it.
We have millions of people in Britain without a house to call their own, rents that are so high that only banking executives can afford them, a building industry in the doldrums and an economy that is at an almost complete standstill. Given these circumstances a possible solution is obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than that of a goldfish. Why not build more houses? House prices would fall as supply once again equals demand while people on ordinary wages would be able to buy homes once more. Rents would fall as demand shrinks, bringing them into line with reality, while the building industry would pick up helping to ease unemployment and giving the economy a much needed boost. Even now the Bank of England is considering yet more "quantitative easing," which to them means giving the banks billions of pounds to shovel into a black hole. Why not spend it instead on housing? What's the problem? House prices and high rents, that's the problem. Falling property values would give the "have too much" a fit of the vapours as they watch their unearned income shrink. Rentiers would have a fit of the vapours as they watch their unearned profits disappear. Banks would have a fit of the vapours as they watch their investments disappear. Essentially a whole lot of wealthy people, who have done little to earn it, would suddenly find themselves in a more equal society and, of course, that would never do.
"The time has come," the Tory said,
"To talk of much more toil
Of wealth and tax and selling shorts
Of deficits and oil.
And why the Euro's failig fast
And whether peasants boil."
(No prizes for guessing who the oysters are!)
We've had the quiet and dignified Rebekah Brooks and, at the Leveson Enquiry, we've had the confident but sadly ill-informed Rebekah Brooks. Now, with news that she is to be charged with perverting the course of justice, we have the whinging Rebekah Brooks. Let down by her friends (she means Cameron), subjected to a "witch hunt" that she was only too willing to inflict on others and unable to explain where her files and laptop have disappeared to, she is now reduced to suggesting that her prosecution is "an expensive side-show." Professing to be "baffled" by the charges which she sees as the "result of an unjust and weak decision," she cannot understand the concept of taking responsibility for the way in which she allowed her staff to break the law on an industrial scale. Rather she sees herself as having "no involvement with the central issues," an innocent who was happy to wield the power and happy to take the money but is now trying to make us all believe that she had absolutely no idea what her job was supposed to be or what those who worked for her were doing. Of course in News International she was hardly alone. No one from Rupert Murdoch down, it seems, had any grasp of the business they were in and absolutely no idea of what all those strange people who surrounded them were up to. Sounds like any other highly paid executive to me.
The Bank of England has cut its forecast for economic growth in Britain this year from 1.2% to 0,8% and has warned that inflation will remain stubbornly high for the foreseeable future. Worse yet Mervyn King has said that the Eurozone is "tearing itself apart" and that Britain cannot remained unscathed as our chief trading partners descend into chaos. With Baroness Warsi warning against "radical thoughts" it seems that the British government is content to remain in its complacent lethargy safe beneath layers of thought-proof concrete. David Cameron remains distracted by his potentially disastrous appearance before the Leveson Enquiry. George Osborne is too busy protecting the rights of tax havens. Andrew Lansley is too intent on asset stripping the last thing of value in the country, the NHS, for the benefit of his rich mates. Ian Duncan Smith, believing himself to be Jesus Christ, is too preoccupied with inflicting revenge on the disabled for refusing his command to "get up and walk." Theresa May is too busy removing police officers from the streets and border guards from the airports. And what can we say about Nick Clegg except that he's the walking dead? Forget radical thought for the moment, any kind of thought from this sorry collection of misanthropes would make a refreshing change.
Greek politicians have now completed the final round of their new national game OXI! (NO!) and have failed once again to offer themselves up for sacrifice at the Euro altar. A disorderly exit from the Euro now seems inevitable. Yet the head of the European Bank, Christine Lagarde, has spoken of her bemusement over the present crisis, telling us that she thought she had "covered all the possibilities." All the possibilities except the most obvious it would seem. And that, apparently, is the nub of the problem. Many European leaders, though there are less of them every day, just cannot accept that their most cherished economic theories are more or less bunk. Nor can they bring themselves to see the glaringly obvious truth that the system is now broken beyond repair. It does not need fixing - it needs replacing. Growing inequality is no longer acceptable and, if we are to believe that "we're all in this together," we want concrete proof that it is so. Rewarding the wealthy for yet another failure is no longer an option. And if the wealthy can't accept this then they should be allowed to emigrate to Mars or Pluto or wherever they feel their money can keep them safe.
Baroness Warsi, the soon to be ex-CoChairman of the Tory party, had an attack of the vapours today. This was prompted by Ed Milliband's decision to appoint the free thinking Jon Crudas as his policy chief. "Labour has lurched to the left," she commented, as if this was enough to damn the Labour party out of hand. Curious, we asked the mentally challenged Tory peer to expand on her outburst; "When the Labour party starts to think in radical terms in order to tackle what is merely an economic disaster of unrivaled proportions it simply goes to show that they think too much about these things. We in the Tory party try not to think too much because it confuses us and we prefer knee-jerk reaction based on ideology. Its a well-known fact that talking to anyone who is not a banker makes you a Communist. Voters have to realise that our fiendishly clever plan to destroy the country's economy, flog off the NHS to our corporate mates, throw all disabled and useless people onto the street and reward the rich with even more privileges is the only way forward. At a time of mass starvation it is vitally important to serve the rich with ever larger meals - that's only common sense. Ed Milliband has abandoned the centre ground making it absolutely certain that we'll win the next election and, as CoChairman and chief ethnic token woman in the Tory party, that frighten's me to death. I mean, what are we supposed to do in a second term? It's not as if we'll have another economy to destroy or another population to bring to the edge of despair is it?"
Olympic VIP's who happen to fall ill or suffer and accident during the games will be "fast-tracked" by London A&E departments to make sure that they are treated within 30 minutes. The arrangement, which has been vigorously denied by the government, is reported "to be in force" at all the designated hospitals and is designed to make sure that rich, important people jump the queue ahead of those tax-payers who finance the NHS. "Of course this is nonsense," Andrew Lansley told our reporter. "Rich and important people have always been able to jump the queue ahead of the peasants. That's how it should be in any modern democracy where privatisation is king. You can't expect rich people, with their natural superiority, to wait around in a hospital corridor on a trolly for hours on end with working-class scum - especially if they're connected with sport in some way. It's inhuman and would embarass the government no end."
Nicholas Soames pictured above, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill and widely regarded as a member of the Tory party's "old guard" has today resigned from the influential 1922 Committee. He was forced to do so because he thinks that David Cameron is an idiot, which is true, and because Cameron's admirers want the criticism by the "old guard" of their leader to stop. As the country sinks ever deeper into economic disaster and the enemy, just about everyone who doesn't vote Tory out of habit or sheer idiocy, is approaching from all sides, Cameron has slammed shut the idea-proof door of his bunker while his admirers vie for his approval as the world around them disintegrates into rubble and dust. Hitler, in the end, shot himself. So has Cameron, though only in the foot. Perhaps Rebekah Brookes will now pick up the still-smoking gun and finish the job.
To be honest you can't blame Germany for taking the stance it has. Always productive, always efficient and always hard working, why should they pauperise themselves to save feckless countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy? There's no reason why they should except, of course, they allowed these countries to join the Euro for purely "political" reasons knowing that they were a disaster just waiting to happen. Now, in order to save the European banking system and their own economic future, they have no choice but to force austerity down everyone else's throat. If they don't the Euro will fall apart, European banks will either fail or have to be rescued by Germany alone and the German economy will go the way of all flesh. For the French, waking up to the realisation that the austerity strategy only gives them minimal protection, the temptation to jump ship is becoming overwhelming. Which leaves Britain. Why is it persuing austerity? For the narrow ideological interests of a tiny elite intent on protecting their money while the rest of us go under. In Britain the neoliberal economic thesis is being allowed to run its course to ultimate disaster, while Germany is forcing its neighbours down the same route even as it runs for the hills itself. For the German government it is a cold equation, for Britain it is the pure vindictiveness of Tory party that has no interest other than maintaining privilege for the wealthy. Unfortunately for Angela Merkel and David Cameron the ordinary people in Europe are not content to roll over and play dead. The message is clear. They said "We're all in this together." The people have said, "OK, then you can crash and burn with the rest of us."
"Neoliberalism is a contemporary political movement advocating economic liberalizations, free trade and open markets. Neoliberalism supports the privatization of nationalized industries, deregulation, and enhancing the role of the private sector in modern society." Hmmm. Well, we've had thirty years of this horse manure so far and how has it fared? Free trade has so far delivered only unemployment. Privatization of nationalised industries has delivered ever-increasing prices. Deregulation has led to ever-lower wages and less rights for workers. Enhancing the role of the private sector has led to ever-increasing inequality. The rich have got richer and the poor have got poorer. The rich pay less and less tax, the poor pay more and more. Corruption in high places, in business, politics and the media is rampant. And now, to add insult to injury, the whole rotten system has come crashing down, threatening to ruin us all, destroy a civilization that has lasted 2,000 years and delivered victory to our ideological rivals on a plate. After the so-called fall of Communism in the 1990's the West has managed to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. They sold us a pup and now are busy trying to sell us another one. When these greedy, smug, self-centred morons talk to us about austerity there is not the vaguest hint that they are ready to take the hit as well. "We're all in this together." Really? Of course not. They are busily engaged trying to save a system that is beyond repair because that is in their narrow interests. But the worst thing is that they are too dim, too unimaginative and just too plain stupid to see what is staring them in the face. The party's over, it's time to call it a day, the jig is most definitely up.
Andrew Lansley continued his campaign of softening up the NHS for privatisation by lying through his teeth at the Royal College of Nursing's annual congress. Hr trotted out the usual rubbish about "listening" to NHS professionals but his body language showed clearly that he wasn't listening and had no intention of doing so. Then he claimed that front line staff had actually increased during his ministry, prompting one member of the audience to shout out "Liar!" It was clear, by this stage, that Lansley wasn't actually talking to the congress but to the cameras hoping that his soundbite approach would bury the facts. But the truth cannot so easily be hidden. Lansley is deliberately undermining the NHS, destroying morale and preventing it from working as it should in a shabby attempt to retrospectively excuse his privatisation plan. He is wrecking it with malice aforethought, softening it up for the corporate vultures lining up to bribe the Tory party as their reward for this piece of criminal assett stripping.
While the likes of William Hague, Simon Hunt and Eric Pickles have been telling everyone today that they will have to work harder and longer their mate Francis Maude has been busy making sure that MP's and Cabinet Minister's pensions are even more gold plated than they were before. The changes to their pensions that came into force yesterday meant that they would have to pay an extra 2.4% in contributions, but the rewards they get will soar. For an extra £229 per year while they are in cabinet (which in the case of this lot means 3 years) they will receive a whopping £314 per year for up to twenty years. In other words for an extra contibution of £687 they stand to get back as much as £6,280. By any standards a good deal. All in all that means that today’s cabinet ministers can look forward to a £731,000 retirement pot - worth a potential £43,000-plus a year - for five years "work"! Many people regard such things as proof of hypocrisy. In fact its much worse then that - it is proof of sheer criminality.
David Cameron seems to be visibly mortified by the Leveson Enquiry which, it seems, intends to be even handed after all and has declared that it is not in the business of protecting Tories. As Jeremy Hunt's threadbare excuses have worn even thinner and details of both Cameron's and Osborne's rather cosy relationship with Rebekah Brookes has been revealed it is dawning on Dim Dave that he might be in trouble too. Given the sorry account he made of himself in relation to Coulson this is hardly surprising. He's already requested that he appears at the Enquiry after Tony Blair so he can point the finger at Labour and, hopefully, divert attention away from himself. “It’s all he thinks about,” said a source close to the Prime Minister. “He’s terrified of getting somthing wrong, or being caught off guard. He knows that if he fluffs his appearance it could be devastating.” Caught off guard? Can they mean he might inadvertently tell the truth or stumble over the lies he intends to tell? Perish the thought.
After William Hague and Simon Burns we were all treated to the thoughts of Eric Pickles on the BBC Sunday Politics Show. Having reitereated the empty phrase that "we should all work harder," that lack of demand in the economy is all the fault of too many worker's rights and reducing the deficit is the only priority, he was asked by Andrew Neil where economic growth was going to come from. He immediately disavowed government intervention and investment and said that the government was relying entirely on a non-existant expansion of exports. Pressed on this he then said that we shouldn't rely on business after all, especially in the face of competition from India and China and the economic dowturn in Europe. In short the answer was that he didn't have a clue - something he has in common with the rest of his Tory colleagues. Tories use words like "growth" but have absolutely no idea how that can be achieved and have no policies - none - that might deliver it. Instead they are straining every sinew to use the present recession as an excuse to impliment and entrench a worn out ideology that has delieverd nothing but poverty and inequality. Essentially they have commandered the lifeboats and left the ship of state rudderless while they make off towards the nearest off-shore tax haven.
William Hague, yet another Tory who has never done a real day's work in his life, has told people in business to "stop moaning" and "work harder. "We're trying to rescue the work ethic just in the nick of time," he told the Sunday Telegraph without a flicker of irony considering the number of people this criminal government has thrown out of work. His proscription, apparently, is for businessmen to get on a plane and flog things to the Chinese. What things? The Tories began the process if de-industrialisation in this country and it is typical of them to now call for an export drive and then blame industry for not being able to respond. In case he's failed to notice most of our industry now resides in China and India where it was exported in a cost-cutting exercise that benefitted only short-sighted greedy morons like him. Nor is the expertise still available as thousands of engineers have either left the country or retired without being replaced over the last 30 years. Winston Churchill once famously said; "Give us the tools and we'll finish the job." Nowadays, even if someone was generous to give us the tools, most people would stare at them and wonder what they are for. The Tories turned their backs on ordinary working people in this country years ago and their latest attempts to blame the victims of their spiteful and ultimately harmful policies are truly risible.
As the NHS is squeezed, hospital beds are reduced, staff continue to shrink in numbers and overheads are cut to prepare for privatisation, the number of patients being treated in corridors and on trollies is climbing steadily. This demostrates quite clearly to any intelligent human being that the Tory reforms consist almost entirely of making things worse. Hardly surprising considering this is what Tories do best. However, the reaction of Simon Burns, the lesser known but even more evil twin of Andrew Lansley, is nothing short of breathtaking.
"There is no excuse for patients to be left waiting on trolleys. The NHS has beds free and available, and hospitals should be supporting their nurses to ensure that patients are admitted to them quickly. We will not hesitate to take action where we find hospitals failing to do so."
He's absolutely right, of course, there is no excuse and he and Andrew Lansley are to blame. To try and pass this on to NHS staff is monstrous, but is understandable when you realise that Tory tactics are to undermine public confidence in the NHS in order to pave the way for further privatisation. He and Lansley are intent on stealing this national assett and flogging it off cheap to their corporate mates who are queuing up to press money into their hot and sweaty hands. It is an act of sheer criminality.
It seems we all have it wrong after all. Not only is Rupert Murdoch a "fit and proper person," this saintly old man has sacrificed his life in the interests of his papers readers and the persuit of truth. As Rebekah Wade pointed out papers such as the Sun have striven to tell those stories and only ever expressed those opinions that its readers approved of. As for hacking, that was perpetrated by a few naughty journalists who completely misunderstood the business ethos of their managers whose only wish was to serve the public interest. Nor do the executive management of News International bear any responsibility since it is completely unreasonable to expect them to actually manage. No, they were far too busy attending various birthday parties during which politicians, more or less unnoticed, drifted in and out and spoke to no one about anything in particular. Very confusing, especially when politicians and their advisors use each other's initials willy nilly and apparently had no idea what each other think or do. Secret meetings between News International executives and politicians were actually completely open and above board and were only "secret" inasmuch as no one else knew about them. Nothing fishy there then.
Lord John Browne, who was found guilty of perjury in 2007 but escaped prosecution because the judge in the case thought he'd been "punished enough" when it was revealed that he was homosexual, has called on the government to improve incentives for top civil servants in order the attract "the best talent." We asked the lying peer what he meant; "Well, as you know, many top civil servants have been avoiding paying tax and national insurance by having themselves paid through off-shore accounts using bogus companies. These are the kind of people we need in the civil service and, since the government is being forced to close this particular loophole by peasant opinion, we need to find another way to allow top civil servants to commit fraud. This is the only way to attract the best people with the necessary qualifications in greed, deviousness and theft from leading schools such as Eton and leading universities such as the Oxford or Cambridge Schools of Corporate Cheating. We are losing a great deal of talent from the Civil Service as these people are being attracted into banking and big business where criminal activity is better rewarded."
A report commissioned by BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme has conclusively shown that there is absolutely no connection between executive pay and the performance of top companies, either here in Britain or in the United States. In other words company executives on average bring nothing to the party and are paid huge amounts of money for doing nothing in particular. This seems to defy common sense until you have a close look at how the pay of these spivs and conmen is calculated. Essentially they get their mates - other overpaid executives - to fix their pay, while ordinary shareholders are effectively sidelined by corporate shareholders run by those same executives. Worse yet many companies are fearful that, if they fire their useless executives, share prices will fall damaging the company even more. Cosy isn't it? In the last 30 years these corporate vultures have turned the cut and thrust of capitalism into little more than a safe, risk-free gravy train, for them at any rate, and changed corporate survival of the fittest into survival of the greedy. These people like to see themselves as heroes, as ruthless captains of industry. The truth is that many of them are the corporate equivalent of benefit scroungers with little ability beyond milking the system and with absolutely no intention of ever doing an honest days work.
While bankers at J.P.Morgan have been busy losing yet more money and pocketing their unearned bonuses, while politicians across the world continue to put their ego's before the interests of people and pocket bribes while they're at it, domiciliary staff at Addenbrooke's hospital are being blackmailed to accept lower wages. This has nothing directly to do with the NHS, however, since the staff in question are employed by a private company called Medirest. They have told their employees that they can either accept this or lose their jobs. In microcosm it is a fine example of what is wrong with Britain. The cost cutting exercise by Medirest came about because their contract was up for renewal and the hospital, having had its money effectively cut by the Tories, had no choice but to negotiate a better deal. Medirest's immediate reaction was to cut its wage bill - not for the executives of course, but for the ordinary workers. Suddenly contracts of employment were not worth the paper they were written on (unless it was for an executive of course) and blackmail became the favoured tactic. This then is the destiny that the Tories have in mind for the rest of the NHS as it is increasingly privatised by stealth. Now a whole raft of ordinary people will find their disposable income curtailed and they will, innevitably, spend less in the wider economy. This will have a knock-on effect and, as demand continues to plummit, more and more businesses will either go bust or cut wages too. That is how austerity works - or rather doesn't work. Selfish, stupid and self-defeating, austerity is nothing less than a opportunity for rich people to increase their own wealth, pauperise the already poor and cut their tax bill at the expense of the rest of us.
If you thought that the world's major banks learned anything at all after the recent financial crash, dream on. J.P.Morgan, one of the United States "too big to fail" banks has managed to lose yet another $1 billion in dodgy investments. Not that that put a brake on management "bonuses" or, as the rest of us would call it, plunder. We asked the company's chief executive, Jamie Dimon, for his comments; "Who cares? Whats $1 billion to me? Its not as if we have to worry about loses when we have access to US taxpayers money. However, I am still surprised at the loses. We have consulated some of the world's most famous astrologers and they told us we couldn't lose. I suppose in a way they were right, but they led us to believe that reckless and idiotic gambling was actually a dead cert. We've learned a valuable lesson though. We've given up on the astrologers and decided that, from now on, we will only consult with soothsayers and phrenologists"
The Tories are like a gang of yobs who, suddenly looking up from beating up a helpless wheelchair-bound victim, see the hostility of the gathering crowd and say "What?" For the LibDems, who have been cheering on the Tory yobs from the safety of the gathering crowd, its a matter of running off before the police arrive.
A little old lady sat in Parliament today to tell us about austerity with a £1 million hat on her head. Ludicrous and inappropriate at best, it pales into insignificance compared to the twaddle contained in the speech itself. The government has promised to reform the House of Lords, perhaps, maybe. It has promised to tweak employment law so that women can pass their maternity leave to their husbands - useful if you happen to be one of the 15 or so women in the country with a better job than hubby. A new QUANGO (one of six) will be set up to make sure farmers get a better deal from the supermarkets. Oh, and they plan to make it easier for the police to hack into your phone, emails and social networks. Not one word about getting the economy growing again, not one word about rising unemployment or about the double-dip recession. Commentators have said that the speech had no overarching "theme." Yes it did - complacency. After the disastrous local elections David Cameron said "We get it." So what, exactly, did he get? Apparently that the British people have a deepening anxiety about the plight of farmers and are so frightened of terrorists that they want strangers snooping into their private thoughts.
While David Cameron and Nick Clegg celebrated the reaffirmation of their Faustian pact in a facotry that is about to upstakes and move to China, their mates back in London were busy trying to bury the truth about the smash and grab raid on the NHS. Despite demands by the Information Commission that Lansley should publish the transitional risk register on his grubby NHS Reform Bill, the Coalition has used its veto to stop it being seen - putting a purely domestic policy on the same footing as preperations for war. Usually such a veto would only be used under exceptional circumstances and, in this case, the exceptional circumstances seem to be the survival of the government which is blatantly putting its own interests before those of the country. We asked Andrew Lansley, Britian's most successful thief, for his comments; "This is not a step I have taken lightly. I am a firm believer in greater transparency except when it might cost me my job. There needs to be safe space where officials are able to give ministers the lies necessary for them to get away with criminal acts like this one. We can't have a thing like democracy pushing its way into government and allowing the peasants to believe they have a right to know things."
It's always sad when a couple split up and, of course, it's always the children who suffer. But, after the local election results, a split between the Tories and the LibDems became inevitable. Last year, when only the LibDems were savaged by the electorate, it was a different story since the Tories, the senior members of the Coalition, went unpunished. This time around, with the Tories now also feeling the full fury of the electorate, it suddenly matters. So seriously do the Tories take it they have decided, inevitably, that a sharp turn to the right is called for while the consensus in the party is that the LibDems can go take a hike. Realising that, after all, they are to be left at the altar, the LibDem party is readying itself to ditch their partner in the hope that the electorate will forgive them before the next general election. Both parties have completely misjudged the mood of the people who simply refuse to understand why they should have to pay for mistakes by the greedy and stupid and cannot see why kicking the disabled and vulnerable is a good idea. The Tories are like a gang of yobs who, suddenly looking up from beating up a helpless wheelchair-bound victim, see the hostility of the gathering crowd and say "What?" For the LibDems, who have been cheering on the Tory yobs from the safety of the gathering crowd, its a matter of running off before the police arrive.
In Greece the centre-right leader Antonis Samaras has found it impossible to create a coalition government based on austerity and staying within the Euro. In France the new President, Francois Hollande, has signalled that the compact with Germany will have to be renegotiated. Spain is fast approaching crisis as its industrial output slumps by another 7% and, in Italy, skepticism of the EU is growing apace. What does this all mean? It seems to indicate that the idea of a united Europe is fast coming unravelled. Not because it was a bad idea. Originally founded on two sound principles - preventing further European wars and creating a single market to increase wealth - it began to go downhill when the politicians forgot why it was created. They began to see it as a vehicle for their dreams and ambitions, a larger canvas on which they hoped to project an even larger image of themselves. The Euro was never necessary on strict economic criteria. It was only necessary for those politicians who saw the currency as a badge of honour and, as more and more European politicians saw it in those terms and clamoured for their countries to be included, it quickly lost its real purpose and was devalued even before it was launched. Now its continued existence and remaining within it has become a matter of pride for politicians who have been blinded by their own propaganda. Greece should and will probably leave the Euro, followed in quick succession by Spain and probably Italy. And if Hollande cannot get the Germans to change tack then France may well do the same. The Euro was a good idea ruined, like so many things, by the politicians - it will not be missed.
The French have thrown out Sarkozy, the Greeks have abandoned their traditional political parties and Iceland has prosecuted the bankers and politicians who destroyed their country. Angela Merkel immediately went on the attack deploying the "there's no alternative" argument for all she's worth. Meanwhile in Britain Cameron has licked his wounds after the bruising local elections and promised more of the same using simpler language so the peasants will understand better. Their message is the same - we have to pay our debts caused by the banking crisis to the banks otherwise its the end of the world. No, it will simply be the end of theirs. What is becoming increasingly clear - to anyone who isn't a politician at any rate - is that the financial system they love so much hasn't suffered a mild case of hiccups but a terminal heart-attack. It has been revealed for what it always was, a huge Ponzi scheme - not so much a financial system as a gravy train - and the victims of it have had enough. Time now for the politicians to do what they pride themselves on - catching the popular mood - and bloody-well do something about it instead of wringing their hands and thinking up catchy slogans. We don't want to hear "we're all in this together" or "there's no alternative." What we want to hear is that the people who were responsible for this mess - the bankers - have been detained, that the criminals have been apprehended, locked up and key thrown away. We want regulation, people put before profits and for the rich to realise that their wealth is a privilege not a right and that extraordinary rewards demand extraordinary responsibilities. This reporter agrees that austerity is demanded, but not for the poor - they've always had it, even during the "good" times. What we need now is austerity for the rich. They've revelled in increasing wealth for decades and now its time for them to pay their dues.
Ian Duncan Smith, who prides himself on drawing far-reaching conclusions without the benefit of evidence, has been forced to retract statements he made about Remploy for fear that will show him up for the ignoramus he is. In comments to the Sunday Express he said; “Is it a kindness to stick people in some factory where they are not doing any work at all? Just making cups of coffee? I promise you this is better. Taking this decision was a balance between how much do I want to spend keeping a number of people in Remploy factories not producing stuff versus getting people into proper jobs.” Four sentences, all quite short, and not one grain of truth in any of them - its a record even for the most evil and stupid Tory in the cabinet. Appalled that even IDS could be so casually nasty Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Government Education Minister, hit back; “I have visited every factory in Wales, since the Tory closure announcement, so unlike Iain Duncan Smith I actually have a clear idea of the good work that goes on in many of these factories. It is not just the callousness of these remarks that are shocking - I would expect little else from this Government - it’s the ignorance behind the remarks that is really troubling." After calls for IDS to be sacked the thick-skinned Minister went on the defensive by pretending he never said it and by issuing a statement; "We believe that the best way to help disabled people into work is not to hide them away in factories but give them every assistance in supporting them into mainstream employment." So there you have it. Working in a factory is only for those who want to "hide away" and does not constitute real work according to this moron who has actually never done a real day's work in his life. Sacked? He should be publicly flogged.