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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Demand for Food Bank assistance increases.

http://www.independent.co.uk/helpahungrychild/food-banks-christmas-hackney-london-uk-run-dry-trussell-trust-demand-high-help-a-hungry-child-a8092711.html


Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

This is the United Kingdom in the first quarter of the 21st Century.This is the United Kingdom where zero hour contracts, cuts in benefits and delays in payments, low pay and below living wage or salaries, increased mortgage payments and rents, ever increasing costs of fuel for heating, cooking and lighting are driving people into poverty. It is not only benefit claimants who are being forced to turn to the Foodbank and other charities in order to feed themselves and their families. Increasing numbers of working people now resort to regular referrals and visits to the local Foodbank in order to provide some sort of meal for their families.We have all seen the reports and perhaps some of us have first hand knowledge, of situations where nurses and other NHS staff have become regular users of the Foodbank charities. The obscenity of this scandal is compounded by the fact that many of these nurses are in fact working two or sometimes even three shifts in order to boost their meagre insufficient earnings.

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

This is the United Kingdom, where newspaper comments sections are full of ignorant, obscene and selfish contributions to the effect that people who resort to Foodbanks have only themselves to blame as they are more concerned with smoking, drinking, drug taking, and their 57inch plasma televisions

Image result for Food banks could run dry this Christmas as demand soars.

Sometimes, more and more frequently unfortunately, we should feel ashamed to be British. Perhaps not as repugnant, but certainly as divisive and loathsome as many comments in the media, many predominately conservative Members of Parliament have given tacit support to this vile and reprehensible judgement of those where circumstances have inflicted hardship and poverty on our fellow citizens. Rupert Charles Ponsonby, Dominic Rabb, David Gauke, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadhim Zahawi,  Iain Duncan-Smith and others have at some time over the years have made comments to the effect that those who use Foodbanks should plan their finances better, spend less time in pubs and restaurants, give up their expensive cars and televisions or some other combination of snide remarks which only demonstrate how divorced from reality they actually are but still seek to curry favour from the bigoted and ignorant sections of the British public.

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The crisis for over one million people resorting to Food Banks and other charities is here now. It is widely predicted that the figure of one million will grow significantly over the course of this winter.
The scandal of poverty within our society is a stigma which we all bear. For as long as we allow these attitudes to continue and as long as we allow our elected representatives to tacitly endorse the circumstances which encourage and perpetuate this degradation, so will the growth of demand for Foodbank and other such charities continue to expand.

We can and must reverse this outrageous blight on our society,


















Monday, 11 December 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 10th December 2017

https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/


Good morning everyone.




Image result for donald trump jerusalem

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, is a very dangerous man. Made all the more dangerous by his irrational policy decisions and his vitriolic outbursts against any who criticise or oppose him. His domestic policies in respect of scrapping Obamacare, withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement and other measures, coupled with his foreign policy decisions in connection with Syria, North Korea, Iran demonstrate a man who has no grasp of the subject and no plan or intention to resolve the issues. His latest miscalculation in recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, undermines and contradicts 70 years of United Nations efforts and defies International law and opinion. Perhaps even worse, his action totally destroy any prospect of a "Two State Solution", and condemn the region and its people to bloody conflict for years to come.
Read the full comment at: https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/recognising-jerusalem-as-capital-of.html (copy and paste link)


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Peeling away the euphoria of Friday morning's news from Brussels and the sketchy reports of late night or early morning meetings involving Theresa May, Arlene Foster, Jean Claude Junker,  Leo Varadkar, Donald Tusk et al, there seems to me at least,  to be a number of issues which remain outstanding and have perhaps been "kicked into the long grass" for resolution at a later date, if ever. The most contentious of these is the question of the border between Ulster and the Irish republic. Arlene Foster has said within the last few minutes that "there are still issues which need to be clarified".
It seems to me that the statements, "no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" and "no border down the Irish Sea", certainly implies that Northern Ireland will remain as part of the single market and  customs Union which is certainly contradictory to the position held by Theresa May and the hard line Brexit wing of her cabinet and party. I do not believe  that the majority of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016, actually agreed with a "Hard Brexit" departure, since so many issues not least of all the Irish border question, remained unresolved. From today's "Agreement" it is not possible to draw any other conclusion than Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market and customs union after March 2018. If this is in fact the intention of today's agreement, how does this reconcile with the "Hard Brexit" scenario which has become the objective of many conservative MP's and cabinet members over recent months. "Brexit means Brexit" has been the standard response to any question on customs union, workers rights, EU nationals, single market and all the other issues associated with leaving the EU. The problem facing Theresa May is the fact that if special arrangements are granted to Northern Ireland to resolve the Irish border problem, then the rest of the United Kingdom such Scotland and even London would have compelling arguments for demanding that they too should have their own arrangements for remaining at least in part as members of the single market and customs union. The hardline Brexiteers in government and cabinet, and also certain parts of the United Kingdom media, would never accept this as a part of a solution.
What is abundantly clear, is that any solution must be the same for all parts on the United Kingdom. To have one area treated differently from another area is completely unacceptable and therein lies the problem. On the one hand there are those who demand a complete withdrawal from the EU seeking to rely on creating some form of trading agreement at a later date, and on the other, those demanding that issues regarding customs union, single market, workers rights, EU nationals and all other issues should be resolved before we depart the EU.
Theresa May has a huge problem. It will be interesting to see her soulutions.

You may read further comments on the "Brexit" chaos at:


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https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/euphoria-in-brussels-but-devil-is-in.html

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https://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/after-only-48-hours-it-is-clear-that.html

Image result for a new book written by Alasdair Crosby – Cheers! Drinks and Drinking in Jersey Through the Ages.

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, In 1824 Isaac Coutanche of St Martin scoffed 18 raw eggs and some raw pork, before washing it down with ten glasses of gin and a couple of brandies.Not surprisingly, he was taken very ill and, within two days, the poor chap was dead.
That short tale is one of several fascinating insights into Jersey’s relationship with alcohol over the years, all of which are revealed in a new book written by Alasdair Crosby – Cheers! Drinks and Drinking in Jersey Through the Ages.
A little light reading for after Christmas diner, if there is nothing on television. 

Image result for Sunday Express we have the EU over a barrel

Finally, an absurd outburst from the Sunday Express (who else) but not this time, primarily concerned with the weather."After Theresa May's triumph in Brussels, we've got the EU over a barrel", screams the headline. Perhaps they should stay with weather forecasting and leave the grown ups to report the news.


Again, with appologies for the continued brevity,

Have a nice week

John

Sunday, 10 December 2017

After only 48 hours it is clear that all is not well.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/08/uk-cabinet-soon-to-hold-debate-about-ultimate-brexit-aims-sources-say


Theresa May secures Tory goodwill but preparations for next battle begin


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Now that the dust begins to settle after the frenetic and premature jubilation and plaudits flowing around parts of the media and amongst certain amongst Conservative MP's, hailing Theresa May's performance and early morning dash to Brussels as a "victory", there emerge strong rumblings from "sources", that all is not well in cabinet and government. 


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Notwithstanding all the praise heaped upon the Prime Minister from some very unlikely quarters, Iain Duncan-Smith, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and a particularly bizarre contribution from Michael Gove who claimed that, "the final whistle had blown and that Theresa May had won", it seems that closer examination of the "deal" reveals that, certainly from the hardline "Brexiteer" standpoint, the United Kingdom in the form of Prime Minister May, has caved in on practically every "red line" that ever existed in the UK "negotiating position" and that the way is now clearly set for the softest Brexit imaginable in March 2019. This will of course be totally unacceptable to the Members of Parliament and those elements in the media who have long been pressing and campaigning for a Hard Brexit at any cost and only now it seems, some 48 hours after the "victory" in Brussels are they coming to the realisation that far from achieving their objectives, they are still some way from ensuring that the United Kingdom leaves the EU completely, including the single market and the customs union.

There is already a simmering row in cabinet between the "Remain" and "Leave" elements, over the commitment to "full alignment" between the UK and the EU, which is meaningless in EU law. The provision was included simply to secure Republic of Ireland approval for the final document.
Hardline Brexiteers in cabinet and on government benches, are pressing for a "Hard Brexit" when Britain begins trade negotiations with Brussels as "payment" for their supporting Prime Minister May's deal last Friday. Brexiteers have now gained a majority in the cabinet after Gavin Williamson came out in favour of a "clean break" from European regulations.



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The stage is set for an epic battle over the course of the next few weeks and months as the "hardliners" in cabinet and commons seek to ensure that the United Kingdom withdraws from all EU regulations and commitments, which is diametrically opposed to the agreement of last Friday which amongst other things, ensured that there would be no border between the Republic of Ireland and Ulster nor down the Irish Sea. The whole of the United Kingdom must be subject to the same conditions as every other part. If there is to be no border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland then all of the United Kingdom must remain part of the single market and customs union at the very least.
The media will be lining up behind their respective camps and throwing their weight into the "Hard Brexit" or "Soft Brexit" arguments. For the most part, we might expect that the debate will be reasoned with perhaps a leaning towards their particular viewpoint. However, neither camp should pay too much attention to this mornings "Sunday Express" nonsense which is just another indication of the papers completely absurd grasp of a story.
"After Theresa May's triumph in Brussels, we've got the EU over a barrel", screams the headline. Perhaps they should stay with weather forecasting and leave the grown ups to report the news.




Friday, 8 December 2017

Euphoria in Brussels but the devil is in the detail

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/08/sufficient-progress-in-brexit-talks-announced-after-mays-dash-to-brussels


'Sufficient progress' in Brexit talks announced after May's dash to Brussels

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Peeling away the euphoria of this morning's news from Brussels and the sketchy reports of late night or early morning meetings involving Theresa May, Arlene Foster, Jean Claude Junker,  Leo Varadkar, Donald Tusk et al, there seems to me at least,  to be a number of issues which remain outstanding and have perhaps been "kicked into the long grass" for resolution at a later date, if ever. The most contentious of these is the question of the border between Ulster and the Irish republic. Arlene Foster has said within the last few minutes that "there are still issues which need to be clarified".

Image result for irish border brexit deal

It seems to me that the statements, "no hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland" and "no border down the Irish Sea", certainly implies that Northern Ireland will remain as part of the single market and  customs Union which is certainly contradictory to the position held by Theresa May and the hard line Brexit wing of her cabinet and party. I do not believe  that the majority of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union on the 23rd June 2016, actually agreed with a "Hard Brexit" departure, since so many issues not least of all the Irish border question, remained unresolved. From today's "Agreement" it is not possible to draw any other conclusion than Northern Ireland will remain part of the single market and customs union after March 2018. If this is in fact the intention of today's agreement, how does this reconcile with the "Hard Brexit" scenario which has become the objective of many conservative MP's and cabinet members over recent months. "Brexit means Brexit" has been the standard response to any question on customs union, workers rights, EU nationals, single market and all the other issues associated with leaving the EU. The problem facing Theresa May is the fact that if special arrangements are granted to Northern Ireland to resolve the Irish border problem, then the rest of the United Kingdom such Scotland and even London would have compelling arguments for demanding that they too should have their own arrangements for remaining at least in part as members of the single market and customs union. The hardline Brexiteers in government and cabinet, and also certain parts of the United Kingdom media, would never accept this as a part of a solution.
What is abundantly clear, is that any solution must be the same for all parts on the United Kingdom. To have one area treated differently from another area is completely unacceptable and therein lies the problem. On the one hand there are those who demand a complete withdrawal from the EU seeking to rely on creating some form of trading agreement at a later date, and on the other, those demanding that issues regarding customs union, single market, workers rights,  EU nationals and all other issues should be resolved before we depart the EU.
Theresa May has a huge problem. It will be interesting to see her soulutions.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, destroys the "Two State" solution.


Trump confirms US will recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

Image result for Trump signs order to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel

A stupid, provocative and bigoted announcement from an opinionated megalomaniac and dangerous man who demonstrates a complete ignorance of the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. His decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel attempts to appease an estimated 8.7 million people in one small country, but at the same time alienates billions of others around the world. His press conference yesterday at 1pm American Time, has destroyed any prospect of a "Two State" solution or any other kind of settlement and has ensured that fighting and resistance to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem will continue and intensify as resentment to on going occupation and the expansion of illegal settlements accelerates in the coming months and years.
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In one brief statement and signing of the Presidential Order, Trump has thrown his weight behind one side of the dispute and forever destroyed any claim for the United States to be an "honest broker", for Middle East Peace. Within minutes of Trump announcing this madcap intention, countries of the world were uniting in condemnation of the harebrained perilous promise. China, Russia, United Kingdom, France, Jordan, Syria, Vatican and others including the Palestinian authorities. Trump has confirmed his intention to drive this world into armed conflict with his constant flow of provocative policies and announcements. His intentions for North Korea, Syria, Iran and numerous other theatres testify that Trump is a threatening bully who's ignorance and self importance is a danger to the whole world.


David Davis and the non existent Impact Statements.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live

MP's renew demands for contempt of Parliament vote against David Davis after Brexit hearing.






Image result for https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2017/dec/06/david-davis-questioned-by-brexit-committee-about-impact-assessments-politics-live



Calling David Davis a liar in the house of Commons would be considered as "Un parliamentary language".
However, we are not in the Commons, and Davis recently said that the Assessment reports existed "in excruciating detail".
This morning he told the Brexit Committee that the Impact Assessment Reports do not exist. Either Davis was lying then or he is lying now.
Whichever way you look at it, David Davis is a liar.



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

The Democratic Unionist tail, wagging the Conservative government dog.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/05/pressure-grows-on-theresa-may-as-dup-reveals-brexit-shock


Pressure grows on Theresa May as DUP reveals Brexit 'shock'

Image result for Arlene Foster and DUP MP's no deal on brexit

It always was a bad idea. Bad for the country that is and bad for democracy in the United Kingdom.The only one to benefit from the sordid backroom bribe of £1.5 billion paid to the DUP in June of this year was Theresa May herself, who has managed to cling to the office of Prime Minister with the support of the 10 MP's from Ulster. That support collapsed on Monday (4th December) as Arlene Foster appeared in front of the cameras to announce that the DUP, "will not accept any kind of  regulatory divergence which separates us economically or politically from the rest of the UK" adding that, "The Republic of Ireland government is trying to unilaterally change the Belfast agreement without our input and without our consent. Of course, we will not stand for that." With those few words, the DUP in the shape of Arlene Foster its leader, effectively destroyed Theresa May's attempts to resolve the Irish border issue and move the Brexit negotiations onto the next phase and the crucial issues of the United Kingdom's future trading relations with the European Union following our departure.   

Image result for theresa May. dup refusal to back deal

Regardless of whether we as individuals voted leave or remain, or whether we agree with the government's position in the Brexit negotiations, there is a fundamental issue involved in this whole fiasco. The DUP have declared that it is they, rather than the government of the United Kingdom, who will determine the pace and the content of Brexit negotiations from here on and to an ultimate conclusion before the  "Brexit Agreement" is put to Parliament for debate and final ratification.
Theresa May faces a difficult if not impossible task over the coming days. Firstly, she has to get the conspiratorial DUP back "on side" in support of her position as Prime Minister, and we can only speculate as to what inducements may be necessary to achieve this objective. Last June, the exercise cost the British taxpayer £1.5 billion. Secondly, May has to placate those elements within her own cabinet and party who have, since last Monday regrouped led by Gove and Johnson and are now again openly challenging her commitment to "hard Brexit" and her competence to continue in the position of leader of the party. Thirdly she has to convince Jean Claude Junker, Michel Barnier and the European Council scheduled for December 14th, that she still has the authority and government support to continue negotiations. European leaders and MP's in the Commons, have already expressed grave doubts that Theresa May will be able to deliver any form of Brexit agreement.Three tasks which are of themselves complex and probably irresolvable without a significant shift in the ingrained mental attitude of Theresa May herself which has been conspicuously absent during her tenure as Prime Minister and even before that. Moreover,a solution to any problem would have an impact on the other two which would complicate and probably negate any resolution.
There can be no compassion for Theresa May and the position that she now finds herself in. The problems she is facing are entirely of her own making and result from her intransigence over the course of her Premiership, particularly over the past 12 months and her determination to cling to office no matter what the cost.
She deserves no sympathy, nor will she receive any. 














Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Any other person, in any other job, would, by now, have been sacked.

Metropolitan police chief condemns former officers over Damian Green claims

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As I have argued before, any other person, in any other job, would, by now, have been sacked for gross misconduct and misuse of company facilities. Why is Damian Green so different from the rest of us? What is it about this long term friend and associate of Theresa May, (pictured below, side by side at at an Oxford University Edmund Burke Society dinner in 1976, with Green's future wife sitting in the front row) that make him, apparently, immune from investigation or even criticism?.

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The way in which the political "establishment" are now rallying to the support of the First Secretary of State, Minister for the Cabinet Office and de facto Deputy Prime Minister, demonstrates quite clearly that retaining Green in government and in cabinet far outweighs the need to establish one way or the other, what the facts of this sordid episode actually are. The stench of political expedience again wafting around Westminster and Downing Street.

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In an effort to divert attention from the real issues, and to raise the possibility of prosecutions against others, Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick and some MP allies of Green, are suggesting that former officers Neil Lewis and Bob Quick were wrong to discuss allegations that pornography was found on Green's computer, and that they should be investigated and for "breaking confidentiality" with files being passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The observer might be excused for thinking that the establishment were already busy lining up their scapegoats for future punishment.
I return to the point I made at the beginning of this comment, that any other person, in any other job, would, by now, have been sacked for gross misconduct and misuse of company facilities. I cannot help but think that had an ordinary member of staff be found with such material on their computer, they would have by now been attending their local jobcentre seeking another position and drawing their benefits.



SCAPEGOATS.

Monday, 4 December 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 3rd December 2017



Good morning everyone.



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My GP tells me that this will last for, "at least a few weeks",which may go towards explaining the absence of the cynicism and warped sarcasm usually associated with this weekly note. She has always been very good with her prognosis (or is it prognoses?) in the past and I hope that she is on the ball this time too.

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Any other person, in any other job, would, by now, have been sacked for gross misconduct and misuse of company facilities. Why is Damian Green so different from the rest of us?

As recently as 18th November last, I wrote a piece asking "What has happened to the Damian Green Investigation?" It seems that we now have the answer. The sound of closing ranks and doors slamming shut in Downing Street, together with the refusal of Theresa May to direct that the cabinet office investigation led by Sue Gray be concluded forthwith and that the findings of the investigation be published without further delay, is in direct contradiction to the assurances that May gave in a previous commitment to full transparency.
The way in which Green is apparently immune from investigation and protected from any consequences in respect of his (alleged) offences, is outrageous and an insult to the public perception of justice.
Read the full comment at: http://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/damian-green-inquiry-negated-by-prime.html (copy and paste link)


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David Kirch

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, Sir David Kirch is giving away his usual Christmas gift vouchers to all Islanders aged 70 or over. This distribution of £110 Co-Op vouchers has been a Christmas highlight every year since Kirch's own 70th Birthday in 2006. It would be easy to question the motives of David Kirch, but I believe this is a genuine act of individual charity, which is rare. As Kirch says, " I am only too aware of how difficult it is for certain elderly members of our community in Jersey to keep up with the cost of living on a limited budget"
The vouchers are available from parish halls between 30 November and 15 December.


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It seems that the Express has now been joined by much of the media together with Sky Television News and even BBC News, in predicting that as from Wednesday night into Thursday, going on over the week end and up to Christmas, we will be hit by sub zero temperatures, minus 10 is forecast, frost and heavy snow! Get the thermals ready. If the BBC are predicting this calamity, then it must be true.

Again, with appologies for the brevity,

Have a nice week

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Damian Green inquiry negated by Prime Ministerial intervention?


Prime Minister May refuses to say when report will conclude or if findings will ever be published.



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As recently as 18th November last, I wrote a piece asking "What has happened to the Damian Green Investigation?" It seems that we now have the answer. The sound of closing ranks and doors slamming shut in Downing Street, together with the refusal of Theresa May to direct that the cabinet office investigation led by Sue Gray be concluded forthwith and that the findings of the investigation be published without further delay, is in direct contradiction to the assurances that May gave in a previous commitment to full transparency.
The way in which Green is apparently immune from investigation and protected from any consequences in respect of his (alleged) offences, is outrageous and an insult to the public perception of justice. What is even worse however, if that is at all possible in this wretched tale of conspiracy and cover up, is the role of the Prime Minister herself who appears determined at all costs it seems, to protect Green in his post as First Secretary of State and in effect the Deputy Prime Minister, thereby insuring at least one ally around the Cabinet table.
The government of this country has descended into the world of self interest and expediency where the good of the United Kingdom is relegated to second place, somewhere behind the ambitions and aspirations of certain cabinet members. Damian Green, is the epitome of the privileged politician from the Britsh establishment who believes himself to be outside the rules and laws to which the vast majority of ordinary people adhere and is therefore somehow exempt from any repercussions resulting from his actions or antics.


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As each day passes, Theresa May demonstrates the extent to which she, personally, is complicit in this continuing suppression of the facts surrounding Green's arrest for " "aiding and abetting misconduct in public office" and "conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office". The further allegations of inappropriate advances to a young Tory party activist and pornography being found by police on his House of Commons computer form part of the wider inquiry now stalled in Downing Street. We can only draw the conclusion that Theresa May is deliberately obstructing the investigations into these allegations, as part of her ongoing endeavors to cling to office at any cost and proving that self interest and expediency, comes some way before national interest.





Friday, 24 November 2017

Platitudes and rhetoric do not build houses.



How the Budget will affect ordinary people 


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Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is not of this world. His budget delivered to a noisy House of Commons on Wednesday, presented the usual give away to landlords in the form of tax breaks for those who offer longer-term secure tenancies, an additional £3 billion for Brexit planners, a change to the “millennial travel card” extending the 30% discount to those under 31, an immediate £350 million to the NHS for this winter followed by £1.6bn more next year, and the immediate abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000. The observer may be excused for believing that Hammond had presented a budget where everyone in the country was a winner and that all was rosy within the United Kingdom economy as the conservative benches erupted into baying and shouting "Hear, Hear, Hear" or "Yea, Yea, Yea" and other incoherent babel after each of Hammond's sentences if not every phrase.

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The reality of course is that this much trumpeted budget, hyped as the Conservative party getting back onto the front foot in British politics with new initiatives and programmes for the NHS, Education, Universal Credits, Growth in the economy and not least of all, housing. However, as is the usual case with conservative governments interested only in their own positions and the vested interests of those they represent in business and finance, the budget promised mountains but delivered only molehill's and very small molehill's at that. Of course, with the fractured and splintered cabinet, we may wonder how this Chancellor ever managed to produce a budget at all. Indeed, on the night before the budget speech, Hammond was summoned to a meeting at 10 Downing Street, where a small cabal of the cabinet and Theresa May herself, rewrote huge chunks of the Chancellors speech which, from any person with an ounce of honour and backbone, would have produced an immediate response "OK. Present the budget yourselves as I am resigning with immediate effect and will not be in the House tomorrow". However, backbone and honour are not to be found on the front benches of this government nor in the cabinet.

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To select just one element of the budget proposals, we should direct our attention towards housing. The housing crisis in this country, is amongst the most pressing problems we face, with thousands of families being unable to afford to purchase a house or rent a home, where ever increasing prices coupled with relentless pressures on earnings continue to push the price of a home beyond the means of the majority of people. Prime Minister May, pledged to take "personal charge" for government plans to fix the UK’s “broken” housing market and to build 300,000 new homes every year. The way in which this Conservative "miracle" is to be achieved consists almost entirely of a council tax "premium" on empty properties, new money for a "home builders" fund, a "small sites" fund, financial grantees to support private house building, urban regeneration, training of construction workers, Oliver Letwin MP to Chair a new body to look at ways to speed up planning permissions and an immediate cut in Stamp Duty for first time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000 (The average price of a home in London and South is currently in excess of £500,00).


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Even a cursory glance across Hammond's housing proposal's alone, reveal that the Chancellor does not fully understand, if at all, the reality of the United Kingdom's housing crisis. Tinkering at the edges and producing rhetoric for public consumption and to pacify the baying mob on Conservative back benches, (who were particularly abusive and ignorant on Wednesday) does not cement one brick with another to build a new home. Removing the starting rate of Stamp Duty, provides very few first time buyers with the opportunity to purchase a home particularly in those areas of the country where demand and the resultant price level is at its highest. Councils and builders throughout the country have no incentive or encouragement to build homes for rent to relieve the chronic shortage of rented accommodation and the proposal for the "privatisation" of Housing Associations is only to make "the governments books look better" and give the private sector another avenue of opportunity in their quest to make even more profits from the housing crisis and its victims.
The thousands of families desperately seeking homes have been betrayed by empty words and gestures which do nothing but grab the headlines of the Express or Mail or other news media of similar political persuasion. The first time buyers struggling to save enough money to put down a deposit even on a "low cost home" have been duped by rhetoric and deceit. The homeless on our streets have been abandoned by a government which pays lip service to an outrageous scandal, but does nothing to address the underlying causes because Hammond and May and the rest of this wretched government do not live in the real world.
The world where people are important and where decent housing is a right for all not a grudging gift from the privileged few.