BREXIT – a third referendum?

Just to put the record straight to all those arguing both FOR and AGAINST a second referendum – We had a SECOND referendum last year!!

It seems that all or most politicions and most of the media are are committed the idea that to do anything but charge towards leaving the EU is to be undemocratic. This is normally based on the mistaken assertion that the referendum itself was democratic, despite the lies served up to the voting public as facts, an abuse of democracy in itself.

But back to numbering referendums! The first referendum (in 1975) gave a very clear result. Whilst complying with the result, the Prime Minister Harold Wilson forcefully made the valid assertion that referendum results are NOT legally binding, and not a legal part of our democratic system of government. It is simply a snapshot of opinion. Incidently that was e also the UK’s first referendum ever as well as the first EU referendum.

The result on 5th June 1975 (the first EU referendum) was 67% in favour of REMAINING. Now did the brexiteers give up and respect democracy? No they did not!! They spent the following 40 years fighting their own Parties, (remember John Major describing his anti EU colleagues as “bastards”?) – arguing against EU membership and fighting for a SECOND referendum. A 40 year drip-feed of anti EU rhetoric and battle for a SECOND referendum.

The brexiteers managed to achieve only 51.9% of the vote in the second referendum, but suddenly remainers are labelled undemocratic. I would suggest that 51.9% for leaving is far less convincing, decisive and democratic than the 67% vote to remain in the FIRST referendum.

So to the Liberals and others who support a ‘second’ referendum when the real final deal is known, may I politely correct them that they are in fact calling for a THIRD referendum!!


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Tory Chaos

The Conservative Party seems to have completely lost control.  Is it time for our government to resign?

Whilst senior tory MP’s publicly battle to be Theresa May’s successor, the EEC exit is in turmoil and a total mess.  Business is suffering because of the uncertainty caused by the government internal civil war.  No-one has any idea how to solve the problem created by David Cameron,

The £ continues to be weak causing inflation to rise, the weekly food shop is costing more and more, whilst real family incomes are falling and real poverty is increasing.

The ugly poverty evidence of rough sleepers is alarmingly on the rise.  Analysis  has found that the number of homeless people in Britain will reach 575,000 2041, up from 236,000 in 2016. The number of people sleeping rough will more than quadruple from 9,100 in 2016 to 40,100.

The homelessness and housing crisis are entirely the result of Conservative Party policies since 1979, selling off social housing, blocking building of the same, replacing affordable housing with housing for super rich or investors. Mrs May and her dogma led colleagues are completely devoid of any idea or plans to solve the problem.  Perhaps more importantly they lack the will to solve, or the insight to recognise their own part in the problem.

They are starving the NHS and again failing to recognise the size or urgency of the problem THEY have created over the last 7 years.  Now it is reported they have embarked on a programme of asset stripping, selling off NHS property or land for development.  And still no sign of the will to address the NHS funding scandal or anything resembling a plan, whilst the service fails to meet more targets and waiting lists grow.

It is time for this Tory/DUP Coalition of Chaos to resign and either call a General Election or ask for Labour to form a National Government to sort out this Tory made mess.

It is high time the Tory shambles put Country before Party and drop the corrupt self serving dogma of heartless toxic toryism

Social Housing

A brief summary of historical social housing

David Lloyd George began a massive social housing program because he was appalled at the condition of conscripts in world war 1.  His declared policy of ‘homes fit for heroes’ led to the Town Planning Act of 1919, which set Councils on social housing programmes funded by the tenant, rate payers and taxpayers.

These houses were usually good quality solid builds with bathrooms, generous gardens, and as few as 12 houses per acre!!  For most this was a huge improvement of the privately owned slums they came from.

By 1933 ALL councils were required to compulsarily purchase slums from private landlords in a slum clearance programme and build affordable housing for the poorer workers. In city centres much of the slum dwellings were replaced with 3 – 5 storey flats.

At the end of the 2nd world war we had a massive housing crises. It was estimated over 750.000 homes were immediately needed. This was central to the Labour Party policy when elected to government in 1945,  and they embarked on a massive programme of social housing building.

By 1955 there were national league tables of council house building and councils engaged in fierce competition to join the leaders.

The percentage of people renting their home from the council rose from less than 10% in 1938 to 26% in 1961.

The winds of Tory change

During the Tory years of the 50’s and 60’s subsidies for house building were for slum clearance only and more money was available for blocks of flats above six storeys high. So ensued the birth of the tower blocks.

Thatcher’s Right to Buy Housing Act of 1980 changed the Council’s position where they were FORCED to sell their housing stock. This halted the growth in housing supply and began the decline.

The need for social housing first begun by Lloyd George (Liberal) and expanded by Clement Atlee (Labour) in 1945 was caused by the private sector being incapable of, or not wanting to supply demand. ButTory dogma was about to change our housing direction.

For some RTB was almost a lottery win!!! With 60% discount they could purchase their home for less than £10,000, and today the value of the same home will be around or approaching £200,000.

Further, the Councils were prevented by the Conservative government of replacing those homes, even if they could with the 40% of the value received. This was a direct and open attempt to change the political face of the country – nothing to do with the national need for housing.

The 60% that the Tories ‘gave away’ was tax and ratepayers money!

Even worse, the Housing Defects Act of 1984 gave buyers the right to insist that the Council carry out work necessary to repair or rebuild their houses. Again at ratepayers and taxpayers cost.

Philosophy and effects

What was the real philosophy behind this massive change in housing policy and what have been the effects.

An insight into this can be seen in the ‘reported’ conversation between Nick Clegg and the Tory leaders when they were in coalition. Reportedly they could not understand why Mr Clegg was so concerned with social housing because it ‘only served to produce Labour voters’!

I believe that is the true philosophy – as is the practice of bulldozing social housing and building ultra high price unaffordable housing for the displaced population; a common practice in Tory run councils in inner cities. A Tory version of ethnic cleansing, In effect changing the voting habits of a borough by artificially changing the population.

How does that stand with representing the constituants???  It is a joke.  It is nothing short of corruption. And a national shame that self serving right wing Conservative councils are allowed to continue the practice.

And what is the end result of nearly 50 years of Thatcher’s anti housing provision for the less well off?

We have the worst housing crisis in nearly 100 years. A crisis produced solely by policies of the Conservatives acting in their own self interest. A housing crisis of their own making which they have absolutely no idea how or intention to resolve, because the solutions fly in the face of all they believe.

The shortage of supply cannot be resolved by the private sector because it is not in their interest to threaten prices by increasing supply.

The shortage increases prices, so our young cannot afford to get on the housing ladder, and catch 22, the Tories have sold off and stopped building social housing they could otherwise have utilised.

This has fuelled the ‘Buy to Rent’ market, making new private landlords to profit from future slums.

Little wonder more and more people, especially the young, consider the Tory Party to be toxic!

Only a Labour Social government have any real chance of solving our housing crisis.

Theresa May’s hypocrisy.

During last week’s PM questions Mrs May was wagging her finger at Jeremy Corbyn as she said, “We’ve seen the introduction of the living wage – never done by Labour”.

"Labour didn't do it" she lies
“Labour didn’t do it” she lies

This taunt had to be the most hypocritical, arrogant and misleading statement I have ever heard.

So let’s look at the facts. When Labour proposed a ‘National Minimum Wage’, scrapping the low wage councils, the Tories spoke against the idea most vehemently. One Tory MP even boasted that he paid his workers 88p per hour!

Despite the Tories voting against the NMW ‘en bloc’ Labour brought this into law in 1999.

So May would have us believe the Tories have ‘replaced’ the National Minimum Wage (which they voted against) with their own version and re-branded it the ‘National Living Wage’

Nothing is further from the truth. The NMW still exists with Tories fighting to keep it as low as possible, BUT they have added a new tier for over 25’s giving only them an extra 45p. That leaves over 6,000,000 people working on LESS than the Tory so-called Living wage!!  AND they have quietly dropped the £9 by 2020 promise in favour of a 60% of average hourly rate.

I remember the huge grin on Ian Duncan Smith’s face as he shouted “fantastic” at the announcement by George Osborne, even having voted against Labour’s minimum wage in 1999.  He must be ecstatic now they have quietly dropped the £9 by 2020 promise.

So the ‘Living Wage’ is merely a re-branding of a Labour policy, the National Minimum Wage.  Methinks she should use the Labour manifesto more often!!

They even stole the title from Loughborough University who first used the phrase, and the Living Wage commission.

“The voluntary living wage adopted by thousands of employers throughout the UK is set at a level based on the Centre for Research in Social Policy’s Minimum Income StandardAccredited Living Wage Employers must currently pay £8.45 an hour outside London and £9.75 in London, to help enable workers to reach a minimum acceptable living standard.”

Despite hijacking the term the tories abused the privilege by setting it at a low £7.20, and bragging about the 4% rise to £7.50 in April this year – 95p lower than what is now being called the real living wage.

All this reminds me of Tory assurances that the NHS is safe in their hands, in the belief that the British people have forgotten their bitter opposition and voting against it’s inception during the 1945 Labour Government.

Historically it seems that you can always rely on a Tory to deceive. No wonder they get in such a mess.

Tories the party of low taxation? The truth

In last week’s PM questions May repeatedly claimed that the Tories are the party of low taxation. Is that true?

Well like most questions of this sort the answer is not as simple as the question, but for the super rich receiving an annual fortune in capital gains the claim is surely true.

For the 20% on the lowest incomes and Mrs May’s ‘just managing’ the exact opposite is the truth.

But firstly understand that tax is gathered in all sorts of guises. Obviously income tax, but also inheritance tax, VAT, tax on fuel, insurance policies, stamp duty, capital gains, council tax, TV licenses, road tax, corporation tax, national insurance and so on.

So when the Tories claim to have ‘taken millions out of tax altogether’, this is a straight perversion of the truth since those earning too little to pay income tax are hit harder than the better off by indirect taxation.  Taxes they cannot avoid paying.  e.g. VAT, fuel tax, council tax, inurance tax, road tax, tv license etc.

The above graph clearly shows how indirect taxes are regressive , increase income inequality, and the most painful for the poorest 20%.

The poorest households pay  more of their disposable income in indirect taxes at 27.0%,  than the richest at 14.4%..  Indirect taxation has been consistently increased by the Conservatives.

There has been a 14% increase in the average amount paid in Insurance Premium Tax for all households, reflecting the  Conservative November 2015 increase in the standard rate from 6% to 9.5%.  (Source ONS)

Taking just the VAT rate as an example one can see the consistent way in which the Tories have hidden proportionally higher rises for the poorest in our society.

  • VAT came into force under the Tory PM Ted Heath in 1973 a rate of 10%
  • In 1974 the rate was cut under Labour’s Harold Wilson to 8%
  • In 1979 the Thatcher Tory government almost doubled the rate of VAT to 15% -an increase of 87.5%.
  • In 1991 under John Major the Tories raised the rate yet again to 17.5%.
  • The Labour government reduced the rate back to 15% following the international banking collapse in 2008.
  • The rate was returned to 17.5% under Tory PM David Cameron in 2010.
  • Tory PM Cameron raised the rate again to 20% in 2011.

Raising the VAT rate by a massive 150% (8% to 20%) is not exactly the behaviour of a ‘Party of low taxation’.

But even that is not the end of Tory tax increases.  When Thatcher took power in 1979 the employees rate of National Insurance Contributions was 6.75%.  In 2017 this has increased to 12%.  Although if you are a mega earner pocketing over £3750 per month the rate falls to 2%.

Make no mistake, NIC contributions are a tax on income, raising the standard tax rate to 32% whilst the higher rate is is only increased to 42%.  If you include the indirect tax differential of 27% for the poorest and 14% for the wealthiest you begin to see the true picture of Tory taxation policy in modern Britain

But as I said the Tories are the party of low taxation for some.  The Capital Gains Tax  rates paid are 18% and 28% for higher rate tax payers, a saving of 14% over earned income with an additional £11,300 tax free!!  The Liberals intended to equalise the CGT with income tax when the entered a coalition with the Tories, but the Tories failed to deliver!

So Mrs May – Party of Low taxation??  If she believes that she is seriously ill informed for a Prime minister. If she does not, well people will judge for themselves.



Prime Ministers Questions.

I heard Mrs May described as having “unbelievable grace and steel” by Boris Johnson this morning on radio 4. Following yesterday’s PM questions I thought unelievable brass neck and arrogance nearer to the truth.

The claims she was making in non answers to Jeremy Corbyn’s questions have given me enough material to write about for days. I lost count of the number times she claimed the Tories to be the party of low taxation. She laid claim to starting the living wage, a term produced by Loughborough University, and a re-branding of Labour’s National Minimum Wage.

And her bogus claims went on – more doctors, more nurses, more homes, more employment. In fact if the claims were true we would have little to complain about. If only…..

So for her return to answering important questions she resorts to the Harold McMillan line “You never had it so good”.

I will give some reality checks to her false claims and arrogant blustering over the next few post.


Should we tax wealth rather than income?

I surprised my son-in-law yesterday when I said that people earning £70k+ p.a. are in the top 5% of earners. But this is true – those earning millions are in the top 0.1%.

But that isn’t the whole story because that is just earned income. As we know the truly wealthy have many sources of unearned income. What you may not realise is the favourable way our tax system treats them.

Take for example someone working hard and earning £27,000 p.a. After tax and National Insurance is deducted they will be left with just over £21,500. Someone who sits at home reaping £27,000 benefits of invested wealth will receive over £26,000 after tax.

Clearly under our tax system wealth pays better than work.

Here’s an interesting quote concerning landowners.
“He renders no service to the community, he contributes nothing to the general welfare, he contributes nothing to the process from which his own enrichment is derived … the unearned increment on the land is reaped by the land monopolist in exact proportion, not to the service, but to the disservice done.”
Winston Churchill 1909

Whilst a fair land tax may be difficult to devise and operate, capital gains tax is not.

Unearned income should be treated in exactly the same way as earned income – why one rule for the hard working British worker and a more generous rule for the wealthy.

Of course the wealthy will whinge – ‘oh but we’ve already paid tax on our wealth’. That may be true but by having this unfair tax advantage on what that wealth gains in unearned income is robbing the wealth reward of all other industries that the workers produce.

It is time to address this imbalance.


Hello world!

Please be patient whilst I organise my Blog.  Something to think about whilst I do that……..

The conservatives love their slogans – but they seem to have dropped ‘strong and stable’ and ‘coalition of chaos’ in favour of ‘There is no magic money tree’

Well guess what.  The British are not stupid.  We already know that.  We also know that as one of the richest economies in the world, where we spend our money is about ‘choices’ and not ‘money trees’.

If you don’t properly fund the NHS but reduce direct taxes to the top 20% and companies – THAT IS A CHOICE.

And how come they found a money tree in Northern Ireland anyway???