Tag Archives: politics

Eight Reasons to Vote Labour Tomorrow

This election campaign has felt like an emotional rollercoaster. I have gone from despair when the election was called and it seemed as though the Conservatives were guaranteed to win by a landslide, to anger at some of the things said by the Conservatives, fear at what another five years of this government could mean for our public services, and hope that real change could be possible. I feel privileged to have been actively involved in a campaign that has been like no other. There are many, many reasons to vote Labour tomorrow and it would take up too much valuable campaigning time to go into all of them in depth so here are just a few.

  1. The NHS This is perhaps the most important issue in the election campaign. Labour are pledging to increase funding for the NHS. They believe strongly in the principle of the NHS whereas the Conservatives believe in privatisation and Jeremy Hunt has said he would like to see it privatised. Theresa May is planning to force NHS trusts to sell off their land and properties cheaply to the rich. Just imagine what a privatised NHS would be like. Receiving a bill for tens of thousands of pounds for a stay in hospital. Having to sell your house because your child needs an operation.
  2. Schools As a teacher and a parent, education is extremely important to me. Our state schools are being starved of much needed funds by the Conservatives. Labour would give them the funding they need. Check out schoolcuts.org.uk for more details.
  3. School Dinners Hungry children cannot learn. Making sure every child has a nutritious meal is an important step towards reducing inequality of opportunity between rich and poor.
  4. Tuition Fees When I went to university I did not have to pay tuition fees and I had a full grant. I left university with a very small overdraft which I quickly paid off as soon as I started working. The prospect of starting out in life with a huge debt is putting off talented young people from entering higher education. This can’t be good for our economy and it is holding young people back and stopping them from reaching their potential. We need to invest in the education of our young people. It is an investment that will pay off in the long run because graduates earn more and therefore pay more tax. With a university education, these young people will make a positive contribution to our economy.
  5. Nationalisation Labour will bring back services such as energy and Royal Mail into public ownership where they belong. In the long run this will make money for the economy as profits will go to the state rather than private companies. At the moment, when privatised companies make a loss they ask taxpayers to bail them out but when they make a profit they give it to their shareholders. That can’t be right.
  6. Council Houses Labour have pledged to build more council & housing association homes. These are desperately needed as private rents have been allowed to soar under the Conservatives and are out of reach of many families. Theresa May only a few days ago made a U turn on her pledge to build more council housing.
  7. Living Wage The Conservatives claim to have brought in the Living Wage. This is a lie. They have slightly increased the minimum wage but it is not a living wage. The living wage is set by the Living Wage Foundation and it currently stands at £8.45 per hour outside of London. Labour would introduce a minimum wage of £10 per hour. This money will be spent in our economy and it will mean that taxpayers no longer have to subsidise employers who don’t pay enough; the tax credit bill will go down.
  8. Our Leader Jeremy Corbyn is exactly what this country needs at the moment. His honesty, integrity and compassion have really won over people who in the past saw politicians as all being the same. His manifesto is bold. The big surge in support for Labour during this campaign coincided with the release of the manifesto. This manifesto would not have happened without Corbyn. Before Corbyn, Labour were voting with the conservatives in favour of austerity. He is the strong and stable leader that Britain needs.

A different kind of politics is possible. A fairer society is possible. Vote Labour on June 8th. For the many, not the few.

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Five Parallels between Brexit andTrump

puzzle-268905_960_720On November 8th I went to bed feeling cautiously optimistic. Surely the American public can’t really elect someone like Donald Trump, I thought. The polls were putting Hilary Clinton in the lead.  I awoke the next morning and listened to the news in shocked disbelief. It was a feeling I remembered from June when, on the day of the EU referendum I also went to bed with the same optimism that surely everything would be OK, surely we wouldn’t really vote to turn our backs on the organisation that had protected me and safeguarded me all of my adult life, and I also woke to the devastating news of a terrifying unknown future.

That feeling of sickening dread and disbelief was so similar to how I felt the morning after the EU referendum that it got me thinking about other ways in which the two events were alike.

  1. The Polls. All through the EU referendum campaign the polls put Remain ahead. Sometimes Leave managed to close the gap a little but they were always far enough behind to make a victory for Leave look unlikely . Likewise during the US election campaign, although at times Trump managed to inch forwards in the polls he never got close enough to make a Republican win seem at all likely .
  2. The Lies. There were so many lies told by the leave campaigners that I wrote a blog post on the subject which you can read here. Trump’s campaign also did not let the truth get in the way of success. Trump said that Hilary Clinton wanted to let anyone come into the USA without doing anything about it. Trump also claimed that Obama founded ISIS and Hilary Clinton was the co-founder. I could go on but Trump’s lies would need a blog post all to themselves.
  3. The Slogans. Some of the slogans used by the Leave campaigners were remarkably similar to Trump’s slogans. “Let’s take back our country!” “Make America /Britain great again!” These slogans are actually completely meaningless but I can see how they might sound appealing if you don’t think too deeply about their lack of meaning.
  4. Targeting immigrants. With Trump it was Mexicans. With Brexit it was EU migrants and also, rather strangely, Turks, who are not even in the EU. Outlandish claims abounded about how many would arrive and what they would do .
  5. Hate crime. Perhaps partly as a result of number 4 above, hate crimes against foreigners increased after the referendum result and now sadly the same thing is happening in the USA. Trump’s appeal to the perpetrators to “stop it” is perhaps one of the most insincere things I’ve ever heard him say. I don’t think people suddenly started hating foreigners when before they hadn’t, but they believed that the vote legitimised their hatred. Whereas before they kept their hateful opinions to themselves, now they feel they have the right to act on them.

It has been said many times that the popularity of Trump and of Brexit are due to the fact that politicians are not listening to ordinary people. These are protest votes by people wanting change. But is this really the sort of change we want? By all means let’s protest and demand change but not like this. We are better than this.

One More Analogy About the EU Referendum

euflag.pngYou may have read my recent post Why Brexit is Like a Mid Life Crisis. Another analogy came to my mind the other day. Many people are complaining that we are not being given any facts and figures about what would happen to the UK if we leave the EU. Well the reason for that is that there are no facts or figures. It hasn’t happened so nobody knows. We can predict what might happen but we don’t really know what will happen to the economy, immigration, and all the other things that people worry about.

It’s a bit like your house. Do you like your house? There are probably things you like about it, otherwise you wouldn’t have bought it or rented it. There are probably things you don’t like and things that you would like to change. Some of the things can probably be changed with a little work. You might be able to afford a new bathroom. You could easily fix that dripping tap in the kitchen if you put your mind to it. Other things are not so easily fixed such as the area in which you live. But if somebody asked you to hand over the keys to your house, and they would give you another house instead, would you accept the exchange?

You have no idea where this new house is. You might need to look for a new job because it might be too far from where you work. It might be in a much nicer neighbourhood than where you live now but it might not. Think about a neighbourhood that you really wouldn’t want to live in. What would you do if this new house was right there?

You have no idea how much the rent or the mortgage will be. It might be cheaper than what you pay now, but it might be completely out of your budget. It would be nice to think about all the things you could spend the extra money on if it turns out to be cheaper, but what would you do if it was much more expensive and you couldn’t pay?

You don’t know how big this new house will be or what it will be like. Will it suit your family’s needs?

What if your new house has even more defects than your old one? You might be lucky and find the house of your dreams but what are the chances? You are not the one making the choices.

And there would be no going back. Once you had made the swap you would have to live there forever.

The EU has its defects. There are things we like about it and things we don’t. We might be able to change some of the things we don’t like with a bit of work; others we might just have to put up with. But if we leave, what will we find? I have heard people saying that the money we pay to the EU could be put into the NHS, but do you really believe it would be? This government has shown utter contempt for the NHS. If there really is any money saved, which is not certain, you won’t have a say in where it goes. It is more likely to end up in some Panamanian bank account. I have heard it said that we need to leave the EU to stop immigration. It won’t stop immigration. Yes, there will be fewer legal immigrants – the ones who pay their taxes, employ UK citizens and make a net contribution to the UK economy – but how is that going to solve the problem?

If I knew what house I would be moving to, if I had chosen the new house myself and had surveys carried out, if I had done the maths and made sure I could afford the mortgage, then of course I would move if I was sure that it was a change for the better. But let’s not take a leap in the dark when the issues are so huge.14444-illustration-of-a-house-pv.png

 

Take a look at my other post on the EU referendum: Four Reasons Why Britain Should Stay in the EU

 

 

 

 

Four Reasons why Britain Should Stay in the EU

EU-flag

This is a hugely significant time in British history. The EU referendum is an extremely important decision, but many voters still seem unclear about the ins and out of staying in or going out. Here are just a few reasons why, although the EU is certainly far from perfect, I’m in the “in” crowd.

  1. The European Convention on Human Rights This convention protects some of the most fundamental rights and freedoms of all of us such as the right to a free trial, and freedom of expression. leaving this protection behind could be a very dangerous move.
  2. EU Employment Law. This legislation covers such fundamental issues as anti-discrimination, equal treatment of men and women in the workplace, maternity rights, pension rights and parental leave. It regulate the contracts that employers have to draw up with their employees containing information about the length of the working day or week, amount of paid leave etc. Without this protection I fear that we could go back to an era where employers could exploit their workers in ways that seem unthinkable now.
  3. Freedom of travel. When I was in my twenties I decided that I wanted to travel, so I went to Italy and got a job teaching English in a language school. I was able to do this because of the EU. I made friends with an Australian girl while I was there and she was only able to work for language schools that were prepared to pay her cash in hand. I was able to work with a proper contract and I paid taxes to the Italian government. I want the same opportunities for my children and for everyone in Britain.
  4. Immigration. Research shows that people coming to the UK from other EU countries make a positive contribution to the UK economy. They pay more in taxes than they take in benefits. You can read about the research here. According to an article in The Economist, “Immigrants’ overall positive contribution is explained in part by the fact that they are less likely than natives to claim benefits or to live in social housing”. This is contrary to what certain political parties would have us believe. If we were to leave the EU, these immigrants would still come but they would find illegal ways of earning a living thus making themselves vulnerable to exploitation, working for less than the minimum wage and so threatening the livelihoods of UK workers, and paying no tax to our economy. There is much talk of “controlling our own borders” in the media at the moment, but how would we control our own borders without the support of the EU? Would we build a fence around our 18,000 km of coastline and police it 24 hours a day? It would be impossible. Immigrants would come; let’s just make sure their pay their share by staying in the EU.

These are just a few of the reasons I will be voting to stay in the EU. What do you think? Post your views in the comments.

Seven Significant Things that Happened in Britain in 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, I would like to reflect on some of the news stories that have been significant throughout the year. There have been moments of great despair but also of great hope for Britain.

  1. May 2nd. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a baby. However, since several hundred thousand other woman also gave birth to babies in 2015, this event wasn’t actually all that important or significant, except to the family involved.
  2. May 7th. The Conservatives won the general election with an outright majority. This was a day of deep despair for Britain (Unless you were a millionaire in which case you were probably pretty smug). Without the Liberal Democrats to tone down their more extreme destructive policies, the Conservatives were free to wreak havoc on Britain, doing things like selling off Royal Mail at discount prices to their rich friends, and cutting the welfare cap thus plunging tens of thousands of children into poverty.
  3. September 12th. Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party. This was my personal high point of the year. It was a moment of hope and optimism after a summer of wretchedness and gloom. I could dare to hope that my children might continue to benefit from the NHS, and might even be able to go to university without saddling themselves with huge debts. Corbyn’s popularity showed that British people were hungry for a new kind of politics based on honesty, integrity and fairness rather than the lying, self-serving unjust politics of David Cameron’s government.
  4. September 20th. It was alleged that our Prime Minister, David Cameron, had during his student days, had oral sex with a dead pig. This confirmed to anyone who was not already convinced that our Prime Minister was a depraved, inhuman, disrespectful being devoid of normal human decency. It also gave rise to a brilliantly entertaining Twitter storm #piggate.
  5. October 26th. The government’s plans to cut tax credits (despite claiming to be the party of working people) was seen to be so destructive and damaging that it was defeated by the House of Lords. This brought hope, not only to the families affected, but also to the whole of  Britain, that the Tories would not be able to carry out whatever pernicious and murderous policies they wanted.
  6. December 2nd. MPs voted to allow bombs to be dropped on Syria. This decision was met with whoops of joyous laughter by some MPs, delighted at the prospect of being allowed to play their war games and kill real people.  Despite the fact that the government were making catastrophic cuts in public services, it seemed we had plenty of money for killing people. Despite Europe’s inability to cope with the vast numbers of people fleeing bombs in Syria, we decided to go and drop some more, and make some more refugees. Despite the government’s promise to make us safer from terrorism they decided to go and do something that would make us less safe.
  7. December 15th. British Astronaut Tim Peake set off for the International Space Station. He was not the first Briton in space – that was Helen Sharman in 1991 – but this was nevertheless a very exciting and significant moment. He will spend six months doing some very exciting scientific experiments. Among other things he will carry out research on muscle wastage that could help people on earth with osteoporosis.

So there we have it. 2015 was a significant year for Britain. Let’s hope that in 2016 we can protect the most vulnerable from the psychopathic Tories, and continue to be optimistic about the future.

Seven Reasons Why Dropping Bombs on Syria Would Be a Bad Thing

David Cameron wants to drop bombs on Syria. I think this would be a bad thing. Here’s why.

  1. Innocent civilians live there and they would be blown up. Blowing up innocent civilians is a bad thing to do, as everyone agreed after the Paris attacks. Or is the life of an innocent Syrian worth less than the life of an innocent Parisian?
  2. Lots of countries are already bombing Syria, and it hasn’t stopped ISIS yet. How would one more country joining in make it any more effective?
  3. More bombs on Syria would mean more refugees. We already have a lot of refugees coming to Europe from Syria. Most people would probably agree that more refugees would be a bad thing. Some people think that the refugee crisis helped the terrorists to come from Syria to Europe. More terrorists coming to Europe from Syria would be a bad thing.
  4. Trying to kill terrorists with bombs is going to make the terrorists want to blow us up. Being blown up by terrorists is a bad thing.
  5. Bombs cost rather a lot of money. According to the British government, we don’t have enough money for everyone in Britain to have a decent standard of living. Benefits are being cut and a lot of people are relying on food banks to feed their children. If we don’t have enough money to keep all the people in our country alive, how can we afford to kill people? Surely keeping people alive is a higher priority than killing people?
  6. Blowing people up does not defeat a society. It makes the society more determined to stay strong and not to be defeated. This was proved by the Paris attacks. Making ISIS stronger and more determined would be a bad thing.
  7. Part of the reason why we have ISIS terrorists is because we dropped bombs on Iraq. So dropping bombs on another country is going to make the situation worse, not better. This would be a bad thing.

As far as I can see, the only people who would benefit from Britain dropping bombs on Syria are people who manufacture bombs. So I guess those people must be friends of David Cameron.