Obviously, I’m not feeling great this morning. But I also think I’m feeling better than a lot of my friends, so I wanted to take a moment to think about why that is. Some of it is just that I was never that invested in the possibility of a Labour win in the first place – over the last few days, great pieces from the excellent Johnny Void and Kate Belgrave have summed up a lot of the reasons why I didn’t hope for much from Labour. But I think there’s something more than that: ultimately, I don’t think that our defeat is something that happened last night. Looking at the big picture, our defeat, our lack of power over our own lives, is something that’s been happening for centuries, something that’s recreated every time we get up and go to work and make money for our bosses, every time…
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Local councils have been failing to check voter lists by making door-to-door visits – leading to a loss of no less than six million people from the electoral register, the BBC has reported.
This is before a new system comes into operation that will require people to put themselves on the register individually, rather than being registered as part of a household. This has been designed by the Coalition government and it is widely believed that it will discourage people who are not Tories or Lib Dems from registering – effectively rigging elections in favour of the ruling parties.
In addition, it is widely believed that the public in general is losing faith in democracy after being forced to put up with one government after another who have sidled into office with a minority of the vote – most people have voted against them. These governments have then imposed…
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Taking sides: Some of the demonstrators at Newtown, Powys. [Image: Mike Sivier] Were you one of the many, many people – both able-bodied and with disabilities – who gathered outside Atos assessment centres yesterday to demand an end to the system that continues to cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people every day?
I attended one of the 144 locations used by Atos to carry out the discredited work capability assessments – in Newtown, Powys – where I was just another face in the crowd that had gathered to remind the public of the atrocity being carried out with their tax money.
The Newtown campaign was undoubtedly small in comparison to others around the country, with a maximum of 15 protesters at its height, but the public response was excellent. The assessment centre is next to a major traffic junction, meaning there were plenty of opportunities to…
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Defrocked UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, a swivel-eyed loon of the first order, has come up with another one – ban the unemployed from voting.
He has attacked the fact that some will still get a vote even if they have “contributed nothing to the national exchequer at all and maybe never will”.
You might well think he’s talking about corporations who pay no tax here, or rich individuals who can afford accountants to bend the rules to avoid paying their fair share, but of course no…Bloom subscribes to that weird right-wing theory that the poorest are to blame for everything, and are probably doing it just to be spiteful.
No, his solution is that the electoral system needs to give “more electoral power” to the wealthy who “create the revenue”.
In other words, a system where the vote of the richest is always worth more than that of the poorer electorate, and those at the bottom getting none at all.
Good thinking Godfrey ! When the worst off in society cant even comfort themselves with the thought of voting idiots like you out at the next election (even though that prospect is a rank outsider at the best of times) then maybe bombs not ballots will become the order of the day. Because once you’re totally disenfranchised, what have you got to lose ?
He explained his rationale further – “I do not expect to vote in a Unite ballot because I am not a member and pay no dues. I do not expect a vote at Marks and Spencer’s AGM because I am not a shareholder. We need to get to a system where the interest of the individual and the state are more compatible.”
Yes Godfrey but… you see, this is a nation, not a company or a trade union. The vast majority didn’t apply to join it, we just ended up here as an accident of birth. If the accident had been slightly different some of us might have been born with silver spoons in our mouths and would spend our days trying to dodge paying taxes rather than scraping by.
And this idea that the poorest contribute nothing. Bloom, who apparently worked as a financial economist (although it may be worth noting that in 2008 Bloom’s company,TBO, was fined £28,000 by the Financial Services Authority for ‘posing an “unacceptable risk” to customers) doesn’t seem to realise that however poor you might be you still pay taxes – Council Tax and VAT at the very least. Some unfortunates also have to pay the Bedroom Tax. So lets have less of this “contributing nothing” crap.
Of course the man’s an arse, although what that makes the people who voted for him I shudder to think (and I am almost tempted to suggest that they are the people who should have their right to vote removed).
He is a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a tax-exempt libertarian organization located in Auburn, Alabama. Its website states that it is dedicated to advancing “the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention” and has published views critical of democracy, which authors in Institute publications have called coercive, and incompatible with wealth creation… so I think we have pretty good idea of where he’s coming from.
Bloom, who seems to hate women almost as much as the poor, confessed that has visited brothels in Hong Kong. He claimed however he never consummated the visits (even the most hard up prostitute has to draw the line somewhere …) and also claimed “terrified young women beaten into prostitution often from Eastern Europe […] is only a very small aspect of the flesh trade”, and concluded that “in short, most girls do it because they want to.”
After inviting students from the University of Cambridge Women’s Rugby Club to Brussels in 2004, he was accused of sexual assault, making “sexist and misogynistic remarks” and using offensive language during a dinner party. One student handed a formal letter of protest to the President of the European Parliament, heavily criticising Bloom’s behaviour.
Bloom who sponsored the club with £3,000 a year, admitted making misogynist comments but denied sexual harassment. Perhaps, given his Hong Kong experiences, he thought his three grand actually entitled him to act like that.
In December 2008, Bloom was carried out by an intern after making a speech in the European Parliament while drunk, the second occasion on which he was accused of being drunk in the chamber. During the speech, Bloom denied that MEPs from Poland, the Czech Republic or Latvia have the ability to understand economic relations.
On 24 November 2010, Bloom was ejected from the European Parliament after directing a Nazi slogan at German MEP Martin Schulz who was speaking in a debate on the economic crisis in Ireland. Bloom interrupted Schulz and shouted “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer“ at him.
Bloom was filmed at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen congratulating the French for bombing the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship, in 1985.
In the clip, posing in front of the present Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior II, Bloom said, “Here we have one of the most truly fascist boats since 1945, well done the French for sinking (it).”
Truly a prince among men…
According to the Newcastle Journal (04 Oct 2013), “the Conservatives have said their mission for the North will see them elected in Newcastle – but only within 20 years.”
Well, there’s nothing like optimism, I suppose. It could happen, though probably only after a few changes to the electoral system, such as removing the vote from the unemployed (far-fetched ? Maybe – but its an idea that’s been floated on right-wing blogs, and the Eton mafia do seem partial to anything that helps keep the poor poor).
Certainly Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman seems to think its a vision to believe in. Speaking at an event organized by think tank IPPR North, he claimed that “I had the joy of being what the call the candidate’s friend in the South Shields by-election – not a place you would think of as naturally ours. But on the doorstep, when you explain what we stand for, people say yes, I like those policies, when you tell them you want welfare capped or immigration down they like that and say that’s what they’d vote for.”
One can only wonder which parts of South Shields he did his doorstepping in. Certainly not the bits where the many people reliant on welfare live !
He continued – “But when you say, oh and I’m from the Conservatives, they punch you in the face and say ‘cap that, you bastard !’”
Sorry – wishful thinking there…
He continued – “But when you say, oh and I’m from the Conservatives, they say no, I could never vote for them. That’s the job ahead of us. That shows we need to be saying more about what we are doing, because the voter likes it.”
Sadly, some voters do like it, though inevitably not those actually being poked by the sharp end of the Tory stick. I’ve certainly come across plenty of (mainly) senior citizens who proclaim ‘I’ve voted Labour all my life,’ while espousing views somewhere to the right of the late, unlamented Thatcher.
They did alright in the relatively good times and with the support of the welfare state, but they’re damned sure no-one else is going to. Sadly for Opperman, they’re probably more likely to vote UKIP.
One thing I can’t quite get my head around – Opperman is on the one hand a supporter of the Living Wage, yet on the other hand appears to be supporting the Tory line that unemployment is the fault of the unemployed and they must be made to suffer.
Anyone existing on the basic Jobseekers Allowance of 71.70 a week, might like to consider the fact that Mr Opperman is a barrister who, not counting his MP salary and related perks, undertakes private work at rates of pay between 100.00 and 250.00 pounds per hour.
(source – http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24962/guy_opperman/hexham)
Now that’s what I call a living wage !