Former active IRA member serving as Tory Party councillor

A former active member of the IRA is now an active member of the Tory Party despite admitting she once celebrated the deaths of British soldiers and even civilians killed in terrorist acts:

Maria Gatland – once known as Maria McGuire – is now a Conservative Party councillor in Croydon after being reelected in 2014.

Ms Gatland was briefly suspended by the Tories in 2008 once her past was revealed but after an “internal investigation” she was then openly readmitted into the party.

Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of the fact she was an active IRA member on the Croydon Conservatives webpage:

I need hardly point out how this fact highlights the extreme hypocrisy on show by both the Tory Party and the UK press during this election.

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

featured image IRA

 

What’s The Past Got to Do With It? | TURN LEFT and Make June the End of May

According to Theresa May, and much of the broadcast and print media that support her, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party have in the last three weeks or so (through the policies they have announced and the much discussed leaked and actual Manifesto) ‘taken us back 40 years’ to the 1970’s. As many people have pointed out there was much about the seventies to applaud. In addition to many cultural references on which there will likely be much difference of opinion #GreatThingsFromThe1970s has prompted much political discussion. Here are just a few I found:

Nationalised transport. Bus fare was 5p, then 9p, then privatised and went up to 32p almost overnight #GreatThingsFromThe1970s

We had secure jobs + free education. Our NHS was in good shape. Work life balance was much better.We could breathe #GreatThingsFromThe1970s

#GreatThingsFromThe1970s Universities were places of learning and research not simply businesses

#GreatThingsFromThe1970s People could afford houses. People looked forward to careers not the gig market

Given that the focus of Labour’s policies is on making things better for the 95%, not least in terms of our health, education, security and income, the critique is clearly yet another attempt to smear and to scare. Not everyone is taken in. See for example this series of letters in The Guardian – ‘Finally, a Labour Manifesto to Really Get Behind’ – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/11/finally-a-labour-manifesto-to-really-get-behind. Just a couple of snippets, do read the letters in full:

. . . .predicable claims from the right that Jeremy Corbyn wants to take the country back to the 1970s, forgetting to mention that this was a time when corporations and high earners contributed a fairer share to the public purse and we had a functioning welfare state and regulated public utilities providing essential services.

For traditional Labour voters like me – someone who has not voted Labour since the Iraq war – this suddenly sounds like why I joined the Labour party, became a Labour councillor and voted Labour in the first place.

And although the BBC manages daily to find anti-Corbyn, lifelong Labour voters lamenting the fact that they can’t vote Labour anymore, there is much evidence on social media of longtime Tories turning left and others who have never voted before being energised by what Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour are offering.

The criticism of Labour as taking us backwards is ironic from a Prime Minister and a party that has a record of doing just this both in terms of attitudes and actions. It was after all Margaret Thatcher (PM 1979-1990) and her government who wanted us to return to ‘Victorian Values’ (a time notorious for poverty, disease, domestic abuse and other hugely significant inequalities). Thatcher’s legacy continues in that there remains a powerful misconception that the ‘have nots’ are to blame for their own misfortunes and that there are those that ‘deserve’ help and those that do not. Thus, the blame lies with the individual and not the unjust society in which they/we live. And the woman who would continue as Prime Minister for another five years, and who assures us that only under her is the country safe, herself has attitudes that many would consider outdated, divisive and cruel (from her support of grammar schools to fox hunting), and furthermore presides over a government with a sorry record. An example or two. First,in terms of health and illness:

Second, the economy (unbelievably an area the Conservatives claim as a particular strength of theirs):

And so:

With all of this in mind. Read the Labour Party Manifesto at:

http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Labour%20Manifesto%202017.pdf

OR view the policies in brief here (provided by Eoin Clarke @LabourEoin)

If all of this is indeed ‘taking us back’ to the 1970’s: BRING IT ON for what we need right now is change.

Changes David Bowie (released 1971) https://www.google.ca/search?q=Youtube+Changes+Bowie&oq=Youtube+Changes+Bowie&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.12097j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Perhaps I’ll pass on the yellow loons this time around though.

SO: What’s History Got to Do With It?

Answer: A LOT

You can follow Gayle on twitter at @GayleLetherby or at her webpage Arwenack Creatives | Gayle Letherby’s Blog  

Woman sanctioned after miscarriage was left in poverty and suicidal

A woman was left with just £24 each week of her social security to live on after suffering a miscarriage and being sanctioned. She has told the Daily Record how she considered suicide after being left with barely anything to buy food and pay bills.

Lyndsey Turnbull told of her ordeal as the Scottish Government formally launched their new welfare-to-work programmes.

Lyndsey from Midlothian, said: “I wanted to get into work but the whole thing seemed geared up to punish those who wanted to get off benefits.”

She was on approximately £140 a fortnight Employment and Support Allowance when she missed an appointment after having a miscarriage around nine weeks into a pregnancy.

She said: “I was in a bad place and couldn’t talk to anyone about it.”

Lyndsey was sanctioned because was too distressed to disclose the reason for missing the appointment, which is absolutely understandable. However, the punitive sanctions framework does not accommodate people’s circumstances and situations when they may be very vulnerable.

Having to face a stern and unsupportive bureaucrat, whose role is to discipline and punish people who cannot comply with rigid welfare conditionality, to discuss deeply personal and distressing circumstances – and such a traumatic event as miscarriage – is the very last thing anyone needs.

She added: “I went down to £24. I had no food, nothing to pay bills. It was awful.

“I really thought suicide might be the only option – and I wondered how many people would be just like me.”

Fortunately, Lyndsey eventually found someone to talk to at welfare service group Working Links, who helped her to get a second sanction reduced.

She later found a job at a petrol station and she said the new system’s voluntary focus will make it easier for people to get off benefits.

Lyndsey courageously contributed to a group meeting with Scottish National Party (SNP) Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn, to explain the problems she faced with the UK Department for Work and Pension sanctions regime.

Holyrood has no control over major benefits policy. However the new Scottish programmes will be voluntary – with no financial penalties attached – in a bid to get better results.

In other words, they will be genuinely supportive, rather than punitive and mandatory.

Around 4,800 people with disabilities and health conditions will get some help into work, the Daily Record reports.

Employment support is one of the first powers devolved through the Scotland Act 2016, made possible by the Vow of more powers before the independence vote.

Work First Scotland will help 3300 disabled people while Work Able Scotland will focus on 1500 people with long-term health conditions.

The Record revealed last year that the SNP would block any bid by Westminster to impose a sanctions system on the new programmes.

images

Batul Hassan, 49, who also met Hepburn yesterday, was made redundant after 11 years at a local authority and was helped into work by Remploy.

She has dyslexia, dyspraxia and hearing problems and said her previous employer struggled to understand her needs.

Batul, from Edinburgh, added: “The new system has the potential to be a good thing.

“Two contracts mean people can move at the right pace, not lumped together.”

Hepburn said: “The devolved services will have fairness, dignity and respect at their core.

“We believe people will see them as an opportunity to gain new skills through supportive training and coaching.”

The Conservatives have clearly changed the meaning of words such as “fairness”, “support” and “respect”, in order to persuade the public that their punitive policies are somehow acceptable, and to deny the negative consequences they have on people who need the most support.

They are not acceptable.

 

Why Don’t You F*^k Off Back to Scotland?

What do we learn about Tory England and its Englishness when Conservative MPs are roaring at little girls to get back to their own country? Not much. We just get to see the whole thing for what it really is: Pathetic aggressive thuggery.


Verbal abuse is violence, and can often be every bit as harmful as physical violence. It is important that we are clear on this point before we proceed. James Heappey, MP for Wells in Somerset, made the headlines for telling a Scottish schoolgirl to “fuck off back to Scotland” when he visited her class because she said she would vote for independence if she was given the chance. Not a single report on this incident called this an act of violence. It is time that we set the record straight.

This sixth form pupil at Millfield School in Somerset is Scottish. She lives in England with her family. Her friends are English, and she is perhaps the only Scots student in the class – maybe even in the whole school. As a foreigner she stands out, making her a little more vulnerable to being socially isolated and bullied. We hope that this was not the case for her, but the last thing in the world she needed was an adult in authority telling her to get back to her own country in front of her classmates. Imagine the outrage had she been Polish or Pakistani.

Yet this is exactly what happened to her. What is more shocking is that the adult authority figure who verbally assaulted her wasn’t simply a janitor or a teacher from her school, but her local member of parliament. James Heappey, a Conservative Party MP, is a 36 year old man with a formidable build – certainly for a school child. Heappey served as a British soldier in Afghanistan at a time in that conflict when LiveLeak and the Guardian were reporting on the vile behaviour of British squaddies towards schoolgirls and girls as young as six.

James Heappey

@JSHeappey

Have Afghanistan & Iraq swung public opinion too far away from intervention in Syria? Stuck between rock & hard place but chemical weapons!?

 


In what appears to have been in the context of political education, in which middle class English kids were being taught how to speak on Scotland’s behalf, this thug asked the class how they would vote if they were in Scotland during another independence referendum. Little did Heappey know that one brave wee Scots lass was there listening to his pish. She said that she would vote for independence, but instead of praising her for her political engagement – what one would have thought was the purpose of the class – he set upon her. This wasn’t about education. This was political indoctrination.

Of course she went home and informed her parents of the attack, and we discover that her father is a member of the Scottish National Party. In England the public are being informed that men like her father are violent ‘Cyber Nat’ extremists, but we have to hand it to him – many a father would have taken a wee stroll to the Tory constituency office to sort the matter out man to man.

Here is where we have come to in the politics of this island. England’s ruling establishment knows that its goose is cooked. It has finally dawned on people that Brexit is not a good thing. The Union is quaking and coming apart. It really is last throw of the dice stuff when you have MPs venting their frustrations on children, and this is far from an isolated incident. In a week we have had a House of Commons Defence Committee staffer pontificate about the inferiority of Gàidhlig in the Scotsman, another Tory telling Ireland to keep its “Gypsies,” Ruth Davidson describing the efforts to make peace in Northern Ireland as “offensive,” and this. England has only one real lesson to learn from all this: Its tea’s oot.

 


BBC Planning its Unionist Strategy on Scottish Independence


 

MY NAME IS SANDRA MARSHALL

MY NAME IS SANDRA MARSHALL, AND TODAY LIFE CHANGES!

TODAY I BECOME A WARRIOR FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, REAL SUPPORT and FACILITATION OF EDUCATION!

THERE IS HOPE, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE, YOU JUST HAVE TO PUT THE EFFORT IN!

NOTHING HAS TO STAY THE SAME FOREVER!

THE WORLD CAN CHANGE, YOU JUST HAVE TO CHANGE IT!

EVERYTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL IT IS DONE! (NELSON MANDELA)!

WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CHANGE EVERYTHING, IT’S TIME!

Yesterday, I heard some very sad news, yesterday a woman Lesley, in her thirties or forties died from an overdose, because, well we will never know the real answer to that.  A woman who had suffered trauma and abuse all her adult life.  A woman who fought a drug dependency for years and who I saw just two weeks ago, laughing, strong and happy as she graduated from rehab alongside my friend. She had a new flat, was going to a new life, had changed her life and was fighting hard with confidence. JUST WHAT HAPPENED.  Within one week of her leaving the Rehab she is dead.

I know I will not wait any more, it is time for action!

DID YOU KNOW THAT ONE IN THREE ADULTS IN THE UK HAVE SUFFERED SOME FORM OF ABUSE BEFORE THE AGE OF 20?

Did you know that it is in the teenage years that the brain decides what is needed for the human body it inhabits to survive.  Trauma and abuse at this age mean that the brain will see survival from these acts as the normal way of being for the body at a sub-conscious level.  The brain becomes hyper-sensitive and sees danger, even where there is no danger.

IT TAKES AN EXTREMELY LONG TIME TO RE-EDUCATE YOUR BRAIN!

Do you know what we are doing to our teenage children now?

We expose them to NEGATIVE CONDITIONING, they are forced to live with unbelievable pressure and anxiety put on them by our way of living, our present society.  It is too easy to brand someone a failure before they have ever had a chance.  The unique individual talents and gifts that we all have are smothered under the fear that things might change if everyone is allowed free choice and development.  Everyone is judged to be in one box or another because of where they came from or their “abilities”.  We are conditioned to be afraid of this group because of where they come from or how they have to live. WHY?

We all belong to different clans and live segregated lives, WHY?

Can we not accept that we are as diverse in knowledge, ability, practicality, etc,

Can we not celebrate and love that diversity instead of being afraid of it.

Can we not negotiate ways of working together instead of being afraid of each other.

Can we give up this mantra of divide and conquer and I need more power and create a sensible decent environment for everyone to live.

Can we not cast our barometer to hope instead of fear.

There is much more to this than you think but it is better let out slowly than all in one outburst, and for the avoidance of doubt I am talking about the brain and not politics.

However, here’s a question for you. JUST ASK YOURSELF, DO I HAVE HOPE?

IN MEMORY OF LESLEY

As a young girl I imagine you playing with your friends

Being the leader, the caring one I see,

At School I imagine the clever shy girl

Loved by everyone

As a teenager, trying hard, A young woman crying in pain

Made to feel worthless, useless, time and again

Looking for love that would mend everything

Caring and loyal, fighting hard to the end

Trying to break free

For your children, for your grand-child,

Always

Putting a brave face on everything, so hard

To find the light at the end of that long dark road.

But you, you are the strong one who succeeded

You did it, with bravery, sensitivity, a lot of laughter and tears.

You broke the devil’s bonds

The joy, strength, love in your heart

Showed through everything on that day 4th May 2017.

Although I only knew you for a few minutes, a few seconds in life

I will always remember that moment and the inspiration that shone in your face.

The shame of shames,

That there was no-one there, to help you through at the end

God bless you always Lesley, I will not forget that smile

With love from Sandra Marshall

twitter @leithunique,

linkedin sandra marshall,

 facebook sandra marshall

http://www.leithunique.wordpress.com

We Need To Talk About: A Financial Transaction Tax

“We bailed out the City 10 years ago when the crash came, we poured hundreds of billions of pounds into it. Since then £100bn has been given out in bonuses in the City. So we are asking for a small contribution…to fund our public services.” – John McDonnell MP

Image result for "corbyn hood" tax

Last night, Labour announced one of their keynote policies ahead of the 2017 General Election. A financial transaction tax on the City of London. Time for a blog to outline just what in the name of Jim it actually is and what it’s supposed to do.

A Financial Transaction Tax, also known as a “Robin Hood” tax or a Tobin Tax – after one of its early proponents – is essentially a form of stamp duty on the purchase of stocks, shares, currency exchange and derivatives based on them. Every time you buy one of these applicable items or services, you pay a small tax on it. Often on the order of 1% or less of the value of the stock or share. If you later sell it, the person who buys it from you pays the tax again but there is no further payment should you simply hold on to it.

This policy is being largely sold on the basis that it could raise a substantial amount of revenue for the UK Treasury. Estimates are that Labour’s scheme of a 0.5% FTT could bring in up to £5.6 billion per year (about the equivalent of that brought in by insurance premium tax and all betting and gambling duties combined). There’s another, potentially more important, aspect to a tax like this though and that’s its power to reshape behaviour and the economy of the country.

The history of the idea is solidly rooted in the Keynesian school of economics with Keynes himself being a solid proponent of the tax in the mid-1960’s and with American economist James Tobin bringing it to attention again in the 1970’s as the Bretton Woods monetary arrangement broke down.

When Bretton Woods collapsed the advanced economies, including the UK, started experiencing exchange rate fluctuations between their trading partners. Tobin realised that this would present an opportunity for market speculation to profit from these fluctuations or for speculators to outright attack currencies which tried to maintain stable exchange rates. By taxing this activity at a level which discourages making  these trades, especially those to try to make them rapidly and repeatedly, you can hopefully prevent them destabilising the greater economy.

Through the 1980’s and the Regan/Thatcher this fear would become magnified. The deregulations supported by those administrations coupled with increasing computational power brought in the ability to massively ramp up the frequency of trades. Now, instead of talking about holding on to shares for years or months or even weeks, traders increasingly started looking at holding on to shares for days, or hours, or minutes or even seconds. At this point one is no longer even pretending to invest in a company and hoping to support it as it grows. One is simply gambling on the basis of near-random noise and froth in the system.

And it gets more divorced from reality yet. The 1990’s saw the rise to prominence of the financial derivative market. Where before one would have to actually buy a stock or share in order to sell it for profit, the derivative market opened up something else entirely.

Imagine me buying a share on Monday, waiting for it to go up in value then selling it to you on Friday. Imagine instead I simply said to you “See that share? It’s worth £100 now. On Friday, if it goes up, you pay me the difference. If it goes down, I’ll pay you the difference. Deal?”

This is the wonderful world of the derivatives market in a nutshell.

Of course it gets worse. Maybe your friend sees our deal and says to his friend “Bet you £1,000 that Craig makes a profit on that contract”. And then people can create further deals and bets based on those deals and bets until the amount of money being traded is many, many times larger than the original real share on which the whole rickety pile rests.

Or, as it was so wonderfully outlined in The Big Short:

Today, automation and the derivatives market means that the London foreign exchange industry turns over some £730 billion worth of transactions PER DAY. and automated stock trading can turn over millions of shares every minute with barely any human interaction. The entire industry is now so complex that I doubt that anyone truly understands its complexity or from where the next big flaw or crash could emerge.

What is clear is that with the speed and ease of this kind of trading, those with the cash to splash have ever less incentive to invest in the real economy of actual goods and services. And why would you? Why would you go to all the effort to build a factory, fill it with plant and people and then wait months or years for it to start making money when you can just throw a pile of (someone else’s?) cash into the aether, move it from one pile to another until it magically comes back larger than it started and you make out with a profit in a couple hours tops?

It’s no wonder that there’s a clear correlation between the growth in a country’s financial industry and the drop in productivity elsewhere. This kind of activity crowds out everything around it.

Crowd.png

The financial transaction tax hits this kind of business the hardest. You might not notice at all an extra 50p on top of a £100 trade you make once to buy a share that you hold for ten years but you might notice if you were bouncing that £100 trade in and out once per second for a year. It’d cost you £15.8 million to do that. You might decide that investing in that factory suddenly starts to look like a better way to invest your money and we can move some of the UK’s economic activity outside of the Great Attractor that is London.

File:Gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant in purchasing power standard (PPS) in relation to the EU-28 average, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014 (% of the EU-28 average, EU-28 = 100) RYB2016.png

GDP/capita regional disparity in the EU28+EFTA. Compared to the rest of the EU, Britain isn’t Great. Britain is weird.

Of course it might also mean that you decide to move your gambling operation to another country which doesn’t have an FTT to which many might be just as fine with. This money isn’t part of the productive economy but you can bet as surely as you can that the finance houses which glut themselves with this business and demand ever lower taxes and fewer regulations will be the first to beg for a bailout and protection when the next crash they cause comes around. Maybe we’d like to insulate ourselves from that crash before it happens. Either way, our economy will be better for it.

So yes, I support Labour’s proposed Financial Transaction Tax, as the Green Party of England & Wales and the Scottish Greens have for some time now. It offers a genuine chance to boost revenue and redistribute and rebalance the economy. It’s an exciting idea in an increasingly politically moribund age and I hope it should spark some passionate discussion on the topic. I’ll finish up with the Artist Taxi Driver who is currently doing a good job of infecting us with just that kind of enthusiasm. Let me know what you think in the comments.

You can read more from Dr Craig Dalzell at The Common Green

 

Terminally ill woman lost her ESA, home and all her belongings after being told she was fit for work

Claire Hardwicke

Claire Hardwicke has stage four thyroid cancer. This means that it has spread to other parts of her body, and sadly, Claire was told that her cancer is terminal. She also has chronic osteoarthritis. Despite taking 80mg of morphine a day to cope, she still experiences considerable pain.

Additionally, Claire already had a life-threatening, acute allergy to latex. This means that she has to carry an EpiPen at all times, which is an epinephrine (adrenaline) injection to treat life-threatening anaphylaxis. Developing a severe allergy to latex unfortunately meant that Claire could no longer continue working as a mental health nurse.

Claire first became ill 9 years ago with uterine/ovarian cancer, but it was the allergy that made her unemployable and ended her career as a mental-health nurse, her partner, Alan King, told me

Claire’s first bout of cancer was treated and she made a recovery, which lasted only 7 years. Sadly, the diagnosis of her more recent thyroid cancer and metastases wasn’t diagnosed until it was incurable. The tumours had spread throughout her thyroid gland, neck, lymph system and adrenal glands.

All Claire can hope for now is palliative care, which is alleviatory only, as a cure isn’t possible.

Unbelievably, Claire was assessed as “fit for work” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year. Her Employment and Support Allowance was stopped. All of her financial support ended. This was despite being told by the Capita assessor (for Personal Independence Payments) that the report to the DWP would state that Claire was in need of more support, not less.

Overnight the couple lost every bit of financial support they had previously been entitled to, so Alan decided to use what little financial resources he had left to help Claire to fulfill some of  her”Bucket List.”

The couple were forced to say goodbye to their rented bungalow and 99% of their possessions because their housing benefit was stopped. They had no income, as Claire’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped, and the Carer’s Allowance also ended.

Claire explained to me that when she lost her lifeline support, the wait for appeal hearings was over 18 months. The couple couldn’t afford to wait that long, as they had no income. They also didn’t know if Claire would survive the wait.

Claire and Alan went to visit family members around the UK before setting off, in October 2016, on a Mediterranean cruise for a month, which Alan paid for, using his credit cards. They already owed a lot of money on their credit cards, but with no income at all, the couple were facing destitution.  The incredible distress the couple suffered took its toll on Claire’s already poor health, too.

On the return journey, both of them realised that coming all the way back to the UK – where they were homeless, with no income, and they no longer even qualified for free prescriptions – would be pointless. So the couple left the cruise when they got to Portugal, where it’s significantly warmer than the UK (and therefore less painful for Claire) – and they’ve been there ever since, living in a very basic, rented room.

Alan told me: “Claire’s cancer hasn’t claimed her life as quickly as we both had imagined, (which is good), but with medications, food and board, we’re now out of funds and out of options unless we can somehow fundraise for some subsistence.”

The couple have paid money in advance for their single room in Portugal, which covers rent until 14th March, after which time they will have absolutely nowhere to go.

Claire says: “There are new trial therapies for extreme cases of thyroid cancer like mine.

 I wish I had a pot of gold to pay for the experimental cancer therapy.
I don’t want to die, but choices and chances aren’t given to the poor people. We need a miracle, a winning lotto ticket. There should be equal opportunities for all patients.”

The treatment would possibly extend Claire’s life and improve the quality of the time she has left. She says: “I could have a chance of a longer, fuller life…. but I don’t have that option open to me….”

Tiffany Williams, a friend of Claire’s in the UK, has set up a crowdfunding page on JustGiving to raise £800 to help pay for her treatment. So far, 53% of the sum has been raised.

It’s such a modest amount for a treatment that will make a huge difference to Claire and Alan, who have lost their home and everything else they had in the UK. Now they are at risk of losing their room in Portugal, too.

You can make a donation at:  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tiffany-williams

Update

Claire informs me that the gofundme collection has now closed. But for those wishing to help in some way, there is a beautiful painting of Claire by Jason Pearce, which is up for auction with funds going to her medical fees.  

She says many thanks. 

Jason Pearce is an administrator for a very popular political group, and like me, he was originally contacted and asked if a member (Alan) could post a gofundme page to raise money for treatment costs to the group, as his wife, Claire, is seriously ill. Jason agreed, and offered to help. As Jason is an artist, it was suggested that he could paint a portrait of Claire and it could then be auctioned online to help raise some more money towards Claire’s ongoing treatment.

This is Jason’s lovely painting of Claire.

17358823_10211339136927882_1860474519176663615_o

“Claire”

20″ x 16″ Mixed media on canvas.

You can follow Kitty S Jones at her webpage Politics and Insights

 

23 Days to Build an Anti-Tory Alliance and Save the Welfare State – vote SNP in Scotland and Labour in England

Now that we actually have the Labour manifesto, we can see a wide and unquestionable band of clear blue water between Labour and the Tories, but when it comes to social security there is nothing but the proverbial cigarette paper between Labour and the SNP.

However, Salmond’s suggestion that Labour has copied SNP policies is more rhetorical than serious. Both the SNP and Labour are essentially social democratic parties.

We do not, as a matter principle, support any one party, but have called for tactical votes for the SNP in both last General Election and this, as the best, indeed only, vehicle for advancing working class interests. Whilst the SNP Government is far from perfect, they have protected us in Scotland from some of the very worst excesses of the Tory Welfare cuts. They have already mitigated and promised to scrap the bedroom tax, mitigated housing benefit cuts for under 21s, and promised that the Scottish disability benefit that replaces PIP will take account of doctors’ reports of people’s needs and not depend on assessments carried out by private companies. They have promised that the training schemes that they will run will be voluntary and unsanctionable, and they have provided vital short-term help through the Scottish Welfare Fund. Only a small portion of the benefit system is being devolved, but the Scottish Government has promised that Scottish Social Security will have a completely different culture from the current punitive UK regime. At the same time, the SNP has consistently campaigned in parliament against sanctions and benefit cuts, including leading the campaign against the two children (rape clause) policy.

Of course there are some Labour plans that the SNP could do well to copy, especially a stronger focus on public ownership – but Labour’s continued commitment to Trident cannot be hidden behind the novelty of a Labour manifesto with some left-leaning policies.

bairns not bombs

And then there’s Independence, where the manifesto writers appear to have handed the pen to Kezia Dugdale’s Scottish Labour Party. Perhaps this is their return for backing a manifesto that is considerably further to the left than the Scottish leadership and most of the Scottish party is comfortable with. But since when did Unionism become the touchstone of Labour policy, and how can they justify not only campaigning actively against Independence, but even opposing letting us decide our own fate in a second referendum?

Blair McDougall

The Labour manifesto, despite its Trident-sized problems, has caused a flurry of interest among the Scottish left, but when it comes to choosing who to vote for, that shouldn’t cause us any problems. The only way that manifesto has a hope of becoming UK policy is by maximising the anti-Tory vote.

Here in Scotland, especially if polls are correct about former Labour voters moving over to the Tories, any significant shift of votes from the SNP to Labour risks letting in Tory MPs. If you want to avoid letting the Tories in by the back door, you should vote SNP.  If the seemingly impossible occurs, and Labour support rallies and grows in England and Wales, the very possibility of a minority labour government might be jeopardised by voting for Scottish Labour. And, despite Labour’s pre-election protestations, we can be sure that if SNP support was needed for a minority Labour government, it would not be turned away. This would pave the way to negotiations for a second Independence referendum; and the process of any future separation would be more constructive. For such a development to occur, the zombie Scottish Labour Party, with their bitter Britnat stance, has to be seen to die conclusively and make room for new beginnings. They have fallen far, but they must be seen to fall even further on June 8th if we are to see any chance of a radical reformed Scottish Labour Party that can provide a socialist, pro-Indy force, and can, again, seek to represent Scottish working-class interests.

You can follow the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network on facebook and on there webpage click here

 

The Caring Conservatives…

KLAXON – Only 24 days left of campaigning and actual policies have been discovered from the Tory party!

Of course how much do you believe the election promises of a woman who said she wasn’t going to call an election in the first place?

We start with the promise to build social housing in England – it appears that it will be funded by selling off  “fixed term” council houses after 10 to 15 years, I was under the impression the longest tenancy secure tenancy is now 5 years, so…

  1. how many tenants will become eligible, and
  2. ISN’T THIS WHAT STARTED THE BLOODY HOUSING BUBBLE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

And rather than me copy & pasting the whole article I would suggest you read this by LeftFootForward.

Then under a line of “improving employee’s rights” people will be able to take a year off work to care for a sick relative.  Hmm.

So that’s a year unpaid to cover for the appalling state the Care Sector is in.

A year unpaid – now I don’t know anyone that can afford to do that. Will people get carer’s allowance while they are doing it? Because at £62.70 per week it is a pitiful amount when you think of how much carers are saving the country by not handing over their loved ones.

And what happens at the end of the year if the family member still requires care?

Also in this gig economy how many employers will actually support this? Because if they don’t it’s not exactly easy or cheap to take them to a tribunal = costs in England are between £390 and £1,200.

Then there will be statutory bereavement leave for parents who lose a child – How is this not a thing already? Honestly, they produce something which I would already expect to be part of our system and we are supposed to be grateful. I suppose it’s better than a letter informing you that the Bedroom Tax is kicking in

In Scotland, branch manager Ruth “No Referendum” Davidson has dropped her previously vehement opposition to universal free prescriptions. The woman who once declared that free prescriptions were causing deaths has not so much U-turned as handbrake turned, smoke pouring from her tank tracks.

And if you think the “death by free prescription” is bad, be aware that some are using that argument against Corbyn’s policy to scrap parking charges at hospitals in England. We seem to be doing okay in Scotland with free prescriptions and free parking. I say free – it comes out of our taxation and it what our government sees as a priority.

VOTE TORY and keep something you already have…..

Actually I suppose that’s quite groundbreaking for them.

More to the point – it is a devolved issue and has nothing to do with a General Election. In normal situations I would expect this to be leaped upon by a press eager to inform their readers however *sighs* we have ScotPol who come out with this:

Capture

Oh well….

 

Picture: Pexels

You can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat and at Mewsing Out Loud

 

 

Point of View – Election Schadenfraude – Fox or Faux

Point of View

There are three ways to do things; the right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power Way. FT 😄

Election Schadenfraude

Nigel Pompadour took a sick day after reading this story and refusing to report on it. FT 😛

Fox Or Faux?

Gene and I started a project called “Ask Gene Hackman” years ago solving real problems for real people. We were inundated with letters to the point where a hiatus was in order; however, since this is such a heinous issue that needed to be addressed, I asked Gene to bring his remarkable powers of common sense to bear and settle it…..once and for all. Thank you, Gene. FT

You can follow The History Twins at @thehistorytwins and at the webpage thehistorytwins.wordpress.com