Labour should make inhumanity of Tories a key electoral issue

The Tory government’s decision to withdraw from the search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean where tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing their war-savaged homelands is an act of pitiless inhumanity.   Already this year alone some 25,000 people have arrived in Italy, and similar numbers from Eritrea, with thousands more from Iraq, Nigeria and Somalia.   The numbers who never got there and drowned on the way are not known, but they certainly run into thousands.   To back out of this humanitarian mission is callous and despicable, especially when the motive is plainly to compete with Ukip in being hostile and harsh to migrants.   It is made even worse when the Home Secretary hides behind the disingenuous pretext that saving lives only encourages more persons to risk this treacherous escape route.   It is a shameful indictment to Britain’s reputation as a haven to the persecuted that the UK has resettled less than a tenth of the number of Syrians taken by Germany and Sweden and is now washing its hands of a fundamental humanitarian duty.

Tragically this hard-heartedness has also been played out across the whole spectrum of domestic policies too.   It is displayed in sanctioning – now affecting a million persons a year – whereby a recipient of job-seeker’s allowance or employment and support allowance have their allowance withdrawn in full if, for example, they are 5 minutes late for a job interview or are in hospital when they’re supposed to be on a work programme.   And for a second infringement they’re deprived of all their income for 3 months, and for a third the loss extends to 3 years!   No wonder so many are forced to steal, especially when they have dependants, and then are given a fine which they cannot pay when they only stole because they had no money in the first place.   It even leads to the penniless deliberately stealing expensive items because then they’re sentenced to a few months in a warm cell and are fed 3 means a day.    Then there are the further million a year – not the same people, but with some overlap – who are forced to use foodbanks.   Plus the hundreds of thousands of disabled people subjected to flimsy work capability assessments and signed off as capable of work, which often their GPs deny, with a halving or more of their benefit – supported by the Tory welfare minister, the ineffable Lord Freud, who told us the disabled weren’t worth £2 an hour anyway, and that the spread of undreds of food banks was because people like a free meal.

Then there is the freezing of pay for public sector workers (when MPs are being offered an 11% rise by Ipsa), the extension of the waiting days (before any benefit is paid) from 3 to 7 days implemented last Monday, the housing benefit cap, the increase in social rents to private rent levels, the bedroom tax, and on and on it goes.   Most of these impositions will save little money and make a minuscule contribution to paying down the deficit.   But what they all share is a gratuitously punitive attitude towards to the poor and downtrodden.   Inhumanity is now the defining characteristic of this Tory government, and Labour should nail this on their electoral coffin.

14 thoughts on “Labour should make inhumanity of Tories a key electoral issue

  1. Absolutely 100% right! There are far too many people who still have absolutely no idea of how despicably badly the Tories are treating the most vulnerable of our society. Even if they do have some idea, they either don’t believe it or don’t want to believe it, so the details have to be spelled out to them; there are plenty of case histories all over Facebook.

    One chap was actually jailed for stealing about £12 worth of food, because he had no money due to being sanctioned.

    People need to know how stupid many of these sanctions are. People are losing their JSA because job interviews clashed with their Job Centre appointments, even when they’ve contacted the Job Centre in advance and were told it’s OK for them to turn up late! Yes, this does all need to be widely publicised by Labour.

    As you know, there have been many cases of people dying after being found “fit for work” and before their appeals can be heard. One of my Facebook contacts recently was suicidal just through the stress of not knowing whether her ESA would be stopped, as the thought of being left with no income was just too much for her.

    The “great British public” needs to be made aware of all this, and it really has to be hammered home, over and over again, (like the Tories constantly repeated the lie that Labour caused the economic crash).

    I do hope that Labour’s publicity department will take this on board, and that Ed Milliband will listen and act on all of your other good ideas!

  2. Here’s a link to the case I mentioned above:
    http://alanwyllie.info/sanctioned-starved-jailed/

    Quote: “Yesterday’s news that Ian Mulholland, a 47 year old recovering drug addict, received a custodial sentence for stealing food after he had been sanctioned by the DWP should have been front-page news throughout the nation. The sad fact that it isn’t tells us how far the media has been normalised to the harshess of Westminster, neo-liberal politics.

    Mr Mulholland, who is facing leg amputation, was sanctioned for 9-weeks by his local jobcentre for missing an appointment. Mr Mulholland missed this appointment after his ulcerated legs left him unable to get to the jobcentre.”

  3. There is very, (characteristically,) American, (and Milliband grew up in states,) and a very callous myopia, (some would use the term schizophrenia,) about the poor, poverty and destitution running through this debate and these despicable policies.

    I actually loath the states; although most Americans still firmly believe it’s greatest place to live on earth, which perhaps, (then again perhaps not even then,) it is for their middle classes who seem to exist increasingly behind armed private security, in gated communities, entirely dependent on cheap personal credit and continuity of employment.

    In the USA, (perhaps still the most prosperous nation on earth,) the poor for whom, (in the words of Hobbs/Smith?) life is short, brutal and nasty, are now all but invisible.

    Let’s not let that happen here.

    Being poor, (for whatever reason,) is a tragedy not a crime.

  4. I particularly enjoyed, (though not a good way,) the quintessentially sick comment from May, “that saving lives only encourages more persons to risk this treacherous escape route.”

    But surely that still doesn’t go nearly far enough; clearly we also need to send the RAF out to shoot and to bomb these poor and desperate people as well.

    Oh but wait a minute; (silly me,) isn’t that what many of them are running away from in first place?

  5. For decades we have been bombarded with demands for charitable donations to save the starving children in Africa, to welcome refugees from War torn Countries, to provide help and financial aid to Foreign Countries who – presumably cannot provide for themselves, and the guilt card is played, encouraging us to donate to save Children in Need in our own country and orphans from other countries too. “Save the World” and “Make Pverty History” campaigns put a bandaid on a gaping wound.

    Foreign Aid is sent to two types of Countries – one type is in order to provide Tax Payers funds to a foreign Government so they can buy weapons from us – like India. We give foreign aid to India – a Country with it’s own Nuclear deterrent and Space Program. Another type of Country is one that is truely poor – partly becasue the IMF has gone in andlent them money and enforced conditions that help large corporations bleed that country dry of any wealth or natural resources, and force them to pay for costly infrastructure projects that only help boost profits from Western Contractors.

    Refugees are coming from Iraq becasue we helped destroy the infrastructure and government of that Country. We funded Saddam Hussein when he fought a War with Iran – on our behalf, and when he no longer did what we wanted, we first tried to bribe him, then assasinate him and finally (when that failed) we sent the Military in.

    Nigeria is being destroyed partly due to corruption due to it’s sale of Oil to the West. Despite having Oil (which would create wealth as it did in Iraq) the Oil is being flogged off to the West and only top Political and Industrial Classes benefit, while everyone else lives in poverty and fear. The West turns a blind eye because they only care about the Oil.

    The Somalian economy was also destroyed by the West. The Somalian Fishing Industry was robbed blind by Foreign Fishing Fleets operating within the Somalian Fishing waters. They tried to defend themselves but big business pushed them aside and so now they become pirates as it’s the only way to make a living.

    It’s not rescue ships we need to focuse on it’s are own lack of lawlessness that is creating instability around the World and destroying other peoples countries, becasue Money is more important than people.

    Libta speaks for itself – anyone who voted for the NATO bombing of Libya should have their head examined. Libya is now crumbling away into lawlessness and greed for petro-dollars. What a triumph for NATO.

    The EU, UK and US support for the Pro western Kiev Government (coup d’etat) was an act of international interference against international law and ukrainian law – it demonstrated a mind boggling lack of concern for the law, and the Law was ignored. When Russia took back Crimea (remembering that Crimea had been given to Ukraine as a gift by the Communists in the 1950s), this was hailed as the return of the Soviet Union, all of a sudden Internaiton Law mattered again in a breathtaking exhibition of hyprocracy. The Russians did not take Eastern Ukraine – which one would you rather live in – Crimea or East Ukraine?

    The foreign policy of the West has actively destabilised the World by meddling in other peoples Countrys domestic affairs – like Syria – which has now created ISIL – hte World most feared Terrorist State, funded, equipped and trained initially by the United States.

    So before making us shed a tear for the “poor imigrants” perhaps we should have a Foreign Policy that doesn’t focus on geopolitcal, military and corporate interests against the will of foriegn nationals. Labour is just as guilty as the Tories on this one – what’s Tony Blair doing now – helping starving children in Africa or Libya or feathering his own nest with profits from JP Morgan and his own offshore Swiss Investment Firm?

    Why did Michael Meacher vote to bomb Libya?

  6. This has all been going on for so long now under the so called ‘coalition’ with ‘new labour’ watching furtively from the shadows and it’s quite clear that most people in the UK – especially if they have their health and decent jobs – couldn’t give a toss.

    The ‘plutocracy’ here have never had it so good: for a long time.

    Even the Daily Mail bragged recently that joe public was too lazy and apathetic to complain about anything. It seems we have the ‘dictators’ we deserve: by default.

    The only type of mission that the ‘coalition’ are interested in – with new labour conspiring to assist where at all possible – is in sending a couple of RAF Tornadoes off on a ‘sortie’ somewhere or other with a bomb-bay full of ‘brimstone missiles close to their ‘sell-by-date” to ‘take-out’ the odd ISAL pick-up truck and mini-bus they see hanging around. At a cost to the British tax-payer of around a million pounds a time!

    And we are lectured about the ‘deficit’! And the desperate need for more ‘austerity’ and for longer!

    There are other agendas being attended to here but until such time as the bulk of the UK public wake up from their dream-like sleep-walking state and get a grip then . . . . . but I think it’s too late now. Forget it: dream on!

  7. Sandra – the problem isn’t about not enough money, but about the unfair distribution of the country’s wealth.

  8. Wanda I am with you of course. I support tax justice as well as monetary reform.

    I am convinced that government needs to create money as well as control tax avoidance and evasion, and tax more fairly.

    My reason is that private debt is a very serious problem that is causing debt deflation (debt service destroys money).

  9. Wanda – ” the problem isn’t about not enough money, but about the unfair distribution of the country’s wealth.”

    The unfair distribution of wealth is a symptom, the cause is the way money is created by Private Banks.

    In 1968, approximately 15% t 20% of the total money supply was created as a non interest baring debt. Today, only 3% is created as a non interest baring debt.

    The reserve requirement for Banks is no longer enforced by Law, we have a zero percent reserve requirement on Bank Lending. As Steve Keen has pointed out on many occasions (and he references comments from the Federal Reserve) Banks do not need to increase their reserve amounts to make a loan, they create the loan then look for the reserves later.

    The Banks operate on a voluntary reserve requirment and can always get bailed out by us if they create too many loans.

    It is no coincidence that the American IRS (their income tax) was created at the same time as their Central Bank (The FED). Central Banks have one task only, to protect their member Banks interests. The Fed lends “money” to the U.S Government and this is an interest baring debt. The interest payments are fed via the new income tax that was created in 1913. So wealth travels from the Tax Payers (workers) to the Government who then pass on this wealth to the Central Bank and Financial Institutions through the mechanism of interest payments on Government Bonds.

    this is similar to the Bank of England and the UK Government except that our Bnak Notes are created as public money – not borrowed. But for deficit spending requires Treasury Bonds which are sold to the Banking System and Banks create money as debt to pay for them. We, the public, have to pay the interest payments on the Treasury Bonds through Taxation. The bigger the debt, the larger are the Interest payments.

    If a Government can create a Treasury Bond out of Nothing, why can’t they create a Pound out of nothing rather than allowing the Banks to create a digital pound out of nothing?

    Our national debt is about 1.5 Trillion pounds, it has doubled since the Tories got in, inheriting the financial mess that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair both ignored, even praised the Bankers (Gordon Brown’s speech in the City of London in 2006/7). Tony Blair got a job at JP Morgan – part time for around 500,000 Dollars a year.

    The Financial System is based on fraud as it is deceiving the public on what it does and finanically benefitting from that deception. Banks do not act simply as intermediaries, they do not need depositor cash before making a loan. If any other business charged for creating the National Currency out of thin air and then charged us for providing it- they would be arrested for counterfeiting, deception and theft.

    It is also against National Security to be so vulnerable to Foreign Investors who could change their policy and wreck the economy of the UK if they saw a profit to be made – like George Soros and the devaluation of the Pound during the ERM crisis. Who had more power over the UK economy, Norman Lamont or George Soros?

    We have all sleep walked into a hostile financial system that now has swamped the money supply with 97% debt. It is no surprise that we have increasing poverty as Banks have relentlessly (with help from Labour and Conservative Governments) decided to produce ever deregulised loans into the Property Market – createing brand new money aimed at Housing and other speculative investments. With no reserve requirement and no gold standard to restrict their loan creation activities, the money supply has increased exponentially far ahead of wage growth. Therefore House Prices have more than doubled in real terms and rents have also skyrocketed, with the old exploiting the young. It was possible to buy a house in 1996, do absolutely nothng to it and then sell it for three times it purchase price a decade later. Wages did not increase by three times and so House Prices became inflated, extracting wealth from workers (anyone employed by a company or agency) to Banks, The inland revenue through stamp duty, council tax banding, estate agent fees, solicitor fees and inheritance tax. The increases in house prices have meant that many homes have pushed through exemption barriers safe guarding against unfair tax – like Council Tax Banding levels and Inheritance Tax threasholds.

    So we get robbed blind from all directions.

  10. Conrad Jones; As clear and as comprehensible and account of our current financial mess, (worldwide,) as I’ve come across recently. Well put.

    But the real and all too familiar underlying problem, (persistent and perennial,) is this, what exactly can we, (meaning our elected government,) actually do about it even if they wanted to?

    In his interesting book, The State We Need, Mr Meacher, has suggested a number of approaches, breaking up the banks, limiting their business remit, separating investment from retail banking, breaking up the too large to fail banks into smaller operational and financial units, much stronger regulation and oversight and so on; but the real question might actually be this, does our elected government still have enough jurisdiction left, (under TAFT, TIPP, the EU and the various World Trade Agreements for example,) to implement and enforce any of these proposals even if the political to do so existed?

    Which I question.

    It’s worth remembering that this is no sense a new problem or one that was unanticipated and that this is something which statesmen and world leaders have been grappling with, largely unsuccessfully, for at least 2 centuries.

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks…will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered…. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

    Thomas Jefferson, (in the debate over the Re-charter of the Bank Bill 1809)

    “History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance.”

    James Madison

    The issue of currency should be lodged with the government and be protected from domination by Wall Street. We are opposed to…provisions [which] would place our currency and credit system in private hands.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    Despite these warnings, Woodrow Wilson signed the 1913 Federal Reserve Act. A few years later he wrote:

    “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilised world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

    Woodrow Wilson

    Which is very close indeed to being a council of complete despair.

    So once again, I pose the question, what exactly, (cheap political gimmicks and empty statements of pious intent aside,) can we, (whoever, “we,” are in this context,) really do bout this appalling and dangerous situation in order to ensure security of our national interest, (no pun intended,) and the continued well-being of, “all,” our citizens?

    The answer to this question, (palatable or otherwise,) may well define the shape and nature of our lives in the 12st century.

  11. To get back to the original subject, this was in the Telegraph! Quote “A couple of years ago the former BNP leader Nick Griffin infamously said he would solve the Mediterranean refugee problem by sinking their boats. The British government has now adopted the same policy. It’s simply decided to save on the ammunition.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11192208/Drown-an-immigrant-to-save-an-immigrant-why-is-the-Government-borrowing-policy-from-the-BNP.html

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