Would lower migration help our traditional working class?

Migrants have been under scrutiny for many years and are often blamed for the decline of a country. It is, therefore, no surprise that ethnic minorities are yet again being blamed for the lack of opportunities of white working-class men. Some share the view that working-class men have been neglected by the Government and that migrants, and encouraging diversity, have been made a priority within this country. The attention on fighting discrimination against other minorities such as women and ethnic minorities have impacted white working-class male as they have not adapted to the cultural change of their contemporary society.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner has stated that migrant families culture towards education is different to the culture of British families. Angela being from a working-class background herself has acknowledged that “our culture” (The British culture) is different and that is the reason why working-class boys are not doing so well. Some may disagree with her point however; Ms Rayner clearly has some knowledge on being working class as the now 36-year-old MP once was a working-class girl who would have been written off if she did not receive the necessary support from the welfare state.

Stephen Paul Manderson also known as rapper Professor Green, recently aired his documentary on white working-class men who feel angry, demonised and forgotten within their own country. Stephen followed three working-class men and their journey in the first episode. Stephen who was brought up on a council estate in Hackney had a lot in common with the men in the documentaries, nonetheless did not shy away to challenge anyone when he was not in agreement with some of the statements made.

He first met up with 20-year-old David from Bolton whose parents have both died when he was only 16. David has spent the last four years in homeless hostiles, he is dyslexic and has never been taught to read or write. David is also taking medication for his anxiety due to his parents dying. The fact that there was no support offered to him to read his letters indicates that more time, effort and money needs to be invested into creating a solid safety net for individuals who are a victim of their circumstance. Towards the end of the documentary, David was in fulltime employment, in a new relationship and proudly admits to no longer living on benefits. Despite him trying to turn his life around, it must be extremely difficult for him to build a steady life with no parent and a Conservative government who turns their back on the poor.

Stephen continues his journey and meets with 17-year-old Lewis from Eastleigh who grew up in social housing like any other working-class boy. As Stephen meets Lewis for the first time, he was shortly taken back by Lewis’ middle-class persona, accent yet, a very similar working-class background to Professor Green himself. Neither of Lewis’ parents attended University. Nonetheless, 17-year-old Lewis fought back the culture of low expectation and although Lewis was often singled out for being smart, his great work ethic landed himself a place at Cambridge which will certainly give him many more opportunities.

The last person Stephen met up with was 29-year-old Denzel from Canvey Island. Denzel had big ambitions and many ideas. Unfortunately, ideas he often could not execute. Denzel seemed somewhat indecisive on what to put his mind to. He did not take the opportunities when it came to him. In this case being working-class did not hinder him from providing a great living for himself but rather his poor decision making. On Channel 4 news, Stephen stated that Denzil had ideas, but often did not execute them. He continued to state that many working-class families have this sense of you got to support yourself, as he talks about a boy who wanted to become a Doctor but did not pursue it because he had to leave school to work to take care of himself. This can be related back to Angela Rayner’s point on the different attitudes towards education in different cultures. Most migrants leave their country for another to start a better life for themselves and to access an education that may not be accessible in their own country. Immigrant parents, therefore, instil the importance of being educated in their children. This may also be the reason why it may seem like ethnic working-class minorities have more opportunities when migrants have come here for a purpose and that purpose is to achieve.

Of course, Brexit was mentioned in the documentary by Dave, a friend of 20-year old Steve. Steve seemed frustrated as he outlines that the many foreigners in his local town of Bolton make white working-class men feel demoralised. Professor Green clearly was not in agreement with his statement, however, gently allowed Steve to express himself. Steve highlights that he was told if Brexit did not happen, 65, 000 more Turkish families would have migrated to the UK and would have a guaranteed roof over their head, in which Professor Green asked “are they? I don’t know that to be true”. Professor Green allowed Steve to continue, “I have slept on the streets, I have not seen one Asian person and one black person” says Steve.

Steve blatantly does not feel like he belongs in his own country. He believes that migrants are to blame for his low position in society. Although, many migrants would disagree as they have fought to rebuild this country as much as white Britons and work hard once they are here, many white working-class individuals have the same opinion as Steve. The reality is not every working-class male is a failure. Individuals like Lewis and Professor Green worked hard to create a better future for themselves and although some are victims of their own circumstances, it is possible to fight the system that is set up for working-class individuals to fail.

Migrants who often work for the minimum wage and or less are not to blame for the lack of opportunities for working-class men. The Channel 4 documentary “British Workers wanted”, shows two leave voting women trying to recruit Brits to join their recruitment agency because many Europeans were leaving the country because of Brexit. This documentary showed many white Britons refusing to work for the minimum wage, take up cleaning jobs or to simply just turn up to work. In contrast, many eastern Europeans were willing to work for £7.50 or even less despite knowing that it was not sufficient for an amount of money. The two ladies were highly disappointed with the responses of the people from their own country. With eastern Europeans willing to work for 7.50 but going home because of Brexit and the brits not willing to work for that money the future of the agency is in jeopardy.
Who is to blame? The government and its’ past failures to set up a stable system which supports the vulnerable the most. As Professor Green has said, “It didn’t matter if you were black or white, we were all working class’ and this statement is simply the truth. Whether you are White, Black or Asian if you are working class, you will all be at the bottom of society. Therefore, one minority group is not to blame for the lack of opportunities of another minority group.

Fight to save two Carillion contracted local hospitals from closure

Residents in South West London are set to be left defenceless as plans to close two major hospitals pick up pace. Epsom and St Helier’s Hospital Trust is body responsible for providing services at St Helier’s Hospital in Sutton, and Epsom hospital in Surrey. Last year, the Trust decided they can no longer afford to run acute services at both hospitals and have tabled three options: close the acute services at either St Helier’s Hospital, or Epsom Hospital, failing that lose services at both, and build a new “facility” offsite. The proposed location, the site of former Sutton Hospital, a much smaller hospital.

Regardless of the decision, journey times for residents local to either St Helier or Epsom will double, or in some cases triple. Activist group Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH), are campaigning to stop the move.

Dave Ash, a founding member of KOSHH, said: “Most people owe their life to the NHS; I certainly do,” this passion has helped him and his group of campaigners – which includes his mother Sandra – and father David – rack up over 11,000 signatures to block the plans.

Epsom and St Helier, which both have contracts with the now bankrupt Carillion, fall within Conservative heartlands, with four prominent MPs, including Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, and Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. KOSHH have regularly confronted local MPs, including the Health secretary, which created this viral video showing Sandra, Dave’s mother, meeting Hunt at St Helier Hospital. Available here.

Support for KOSHH’s campaign is growing fast, as they make their way around South London, setting up street stalls and alerting residents to the plans. Dave, who ran for Parliament in 2015 to bring awareness to the campaign said: “We are trying to inform people, the powers at be don’t want them to know”.

Though, KOSHH are a non-partisan group, who do not affiliate with any one political party. Discussing the gradual privatisation and closure of hospitals, Sandra said: “It’s been a 30-year project, and everyone has played a part, all political parties.” During Tony Blair’s New Labour, privatisation of the NHS was expanded, with a commercial directorate created at the Department of Health.

Jeremy Corbyn has remained strongly opposed to any privatisation of the Health service, and has pledged to re-nationalise the NHS, saying: “The next Labour government would go further than reversing Tory cuts, it would deliver a modern health and social care service that is fully publicly provided and fully publicly funded”.

Building a new facility in Sutton is rumoured to be the Trust’s preferred option, and experts have valued the bill to be north of £400 million. KOSHH do not believe this a simply a local issue and see the danger closures like this are causing across the country. Colin Crilly, a lead campaigner, and media strategist, said: “although we’re a local group, we always emphasise that this is part of a nationwide assault.”

This year’s winter crisis saw the NHS reach critical levels. The government advised hospitals to defer non-urgent operations in a bid to free up hospital staff and beds. Doctors have warned the capacity of wards is reaching dangerouslevels, with bed occupancy at 94.8%.

KOSHH are holding a public meeting, this Tuesday (January 30th), to discuss the plans and how to save their hospitals. The meeting will be held at Bishopsford Road Social Club, Morden, SM4 6BH, 8pm.

You can also sign their petition here.

The puppet master of The West: Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs. The undisputed King of Wall Street, a financial factory whose name reverberates across the globe for it’s ruthless efficiency in making money. The name itself is synonymous with the rise of financial capitalism, shifting it’s image away from the ‘moral investment bank’ in the 1980’s as the rise of proprietary trading encouraged them to delve into the secret world of risky derivatives, culminating in the Financial collapse of 2008. And yet, Government Sachs has persisted. In addition to the millions spent on lobbying Congress, executives of this financial powerhouse have long been steadfast members of the upper echelons of the White House contingency.

The trend started with Chief Executive Sidney J. Weinberg under the Presidency of Franklin D Roosevelt – appointed as Director of the War Production Board, ‘Mr Wall Street’ began the march of the Goldman diaspora into the political sphere. The bank’s presence has crossed party lines, with senior executives wielding their economic influence as advisers and Treasury Directors under both parties.

Yet Government Sachs is not limited to the US; its political influence is global. Following 15 years at the bank, Gavyn Davies served as Chair of the BBC in addition to being an informal adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whilst Malcolm Turnbull, former head of Goldman Australia, assumed the most powerful post in the country when he was elected Prime Minister in 2015. Western politics appears to have been consumed by the shady, speculative world of international finance, for whom Goldman Sachs is their emblem – and the trend that Weinberg began seems unlikely to reverse.

Yet whether this is merely a Goldman coup to influence policy or a mutually beneficial exchange between the bank and political institutions is more difficult to discern. As the 2008 Crisis proves, the fate of America, and to an extent the fate of the world economy, hinges on the fortunes of one road in Lower Manhattan: Wall Street. American Business Writer William Cohan exclaimed that “there’s no better way to calm people in the financial markets” than appointing a Goldman employee to the White House. As the political representative of finance, Goldman’s influence is a reassurance to the financial world that the interests of financial stability will always prevail, enabling a relatively smooth functioning of capital markets.

Additionally, Goldman is infamous for its ruthless selection process. The bank is seen as the holy grail for budding bankers, and as such it attracts only the brightest talent from around the world. Since such brains are demanded in political circles, the presence of Goldman employees should not be viewed with surprise; it is not Goldman’s tactic to influence policy that has driven its march to the White House, but instead the government’s desire for its staff.

Yet in addition to maintaining stability, Goldman’s presence has also enabled the maintenance of greed. The wave of financial deregulation in the 1980’s was overseen by the bank’s alumni, enabling ever greater profits at the expense of ever greater risk – culminating in a bubble and inevitable financial collapse. The Bush Administration – under whom the term ‘Government Sachs’ was first coined – presided over the early signs of Financial catastrophe without oversight of the risky derivatives that lay beneath the profit explosion, epitomising the preference of the Goldman diaspora for profit over effective policy to benefit the nation. With great power comes great responsibility, and Goldman’s abuse of it in the interests of financial profits adds weight to the faction of Democrats led by Bernie Sanders, who call for the severing of the bank’s political ties. It is not difficult to see why. The company were accused of fraud following the subprime lending scandal in 2007. They were never found guilty, like the majority of the bankers involved in the crisis. Many would look at the lack of prosecutions and note the financial contributions towards major parties and perhaps see a link.

Alas, despite the public hatred of investment banking following the 2008 collapse, the Goldman march continues. Trump’s campaign team was a star-studded lineup of Goldman heavyweights; with Gary Cohn, Steven Mnuchin and Steve Bannon all prominent figures in the early Trump administration. Yet in this Presidency, something is different. As opposed to rallying cries for help from the Presidents, from Roosevelt in WW2 to Bush’s dependence on Hank Paulson in managing the early crisis, Trump acts alone. On the belief of his omnipotence, Trump relies on nobody – causing potential disagreement with the economic specialists from the Goldman contingency if Trump opposes their suggested policies. The wisdom of Goldman executives is no match for Trump’s masquerading belief in his own self-importance – and as such the Goldman ranks are dwindling, with Bannon and Scaramucci already axed and Cohn seemingly next out of the White House doors.

Government Sachs has long been the norm in American politics, and it has spread its wings across much of the globe. However the relationship has its foundations in the expertise of Goldman staff and the financial wisdom they impart on the White House – advice which President Trump may never seek. Yet whilst the political rumblings in the White House continue, Government Sachs remains intact at all levels of government, and its grip seems unlikely to break any time soon.

Johnson Makes A(nother) Move

“Mr. Johnson is the Foreign Secretary”. This was Phillip Hammond’s’ candid statement to journalists in the wake of another Boris Johnson backhanded play at the top job. The comment came following reports that Johnson was preparing to tell the Cabinet the NHS needs more funding in a meeting in which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was to give an update on the ongoing ‘Winter Crisis’. It is still not certain whether Johnson brought the matter up and, if he did, whether he quoted a specific figure. It is believed that Johnson is haranguing for the net money that Brexiters believe is sent to the EU every week after rebates (£100 million) to go to the NHS immediately from next March when Britain leaves the EU.

Rumours suggest his concerns arose after visiting Uxbridge A&E department, in his constituency, with Hunt (or are a continuation of the Leave campaign pledge, depending on who you pay attention to). In any case, Theresa May is said to have bluntly stated that Cabinet discussions should take place in private following Tuesday’s media speculation, and Hammond has reiterated that he gave the NHS an extra £6 billion in the autumn budget. Boris Johnson has yet again broken the Ministerial Code of Conduct, gets a telling off from May, and still has a job. Once again the grassroot favourite has proved himself impenetrable and too dangerous to move. Even ex Conservative minister Anna Soubry MP criticised Johnson on Twitter and believes May should have sacked him already, and must soon or he will cause the collapse of the Tory government. But May’s problem is clearly that if she does sack him he will do that anyway.

The NHS is always high up on the list of priorities of swing voters. Thus, there has been an apparent outbreak of frustration from Conservative MPs across the political spectrum with the lack of attention and bold thinking under May, and Johnson himself fears that the problem of the NHS is being abandoned. James Cleverly, the recently appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, has also criticised the Conservative strategy in the election under May in Nick Robinson’s’ latest podcast. This antagonism was highlighted further after Gavin Barwell, Theresa May’s’ Chief of Staff, reportedly suggested it is not sensible for the party to target the NHS because they cannot catch Labour on the issue. This is a mistake that Conservatives know only too well. Targeting the NHS would remove a huge weapon from the Labour narrative, and force them to be more articulate on Europe which they have so far failed to articulate broadly. Therefore, Johnson’s wish to make the £350 million to the NHS government policy is an attempt at not only becoming PM, but paving the way for a ready made electoral triumph and a victorious PM.

The principles and integrity should be heavily scrutinised for other reasons as well. This is a man who, in 2003, claimed the public would value the NHS more if they had to pay for it, and is included within the group of Brexiters labelled in June 2016 by ex-Prime Minister John Major to be as trustworthy with the NHS as a snake with a hamster! This naturally looks like a cover up for his atrocious record in the Foreign Office, his dealings over the still jailed Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair prominent, and to distract from the Government’s’ disastrous handling of the Carillion liquidation that will lead to thousands of job losses.
What makes it more obvious that this is a clear political manoeuvre is that Johnson is not the only cabinet member who wants more funding for the NHS. Amongst others is the Health Secretary himself, who it is said has been nibbling at the Prime Minister for £2 billion more, as is Michael Gove, but neither are thought to have spoken to or are working with Johnson. This also comes a week after Gavin Williamson, the new Defence Secretary, allowed the Chief of Defence to give a speech requesting more funding. So, this is a change throughout the Government regarding public spending, a wake-up call following the election that a change in policy is needed so to stay in control. Yet it is Johnson who, yet again, is the one who has decided to rattle the cage over an issue.

There is a huge Catch-22 issue at stake above all this, however. May seemingly cannot sack Johnson, yet now cannot either give the additional funding merely because Johnson has thrown his weight behind the idea. And yet now by not adopting the policy, Johnson will appear to be a saviour to the NHS and will successfully appeal to centrist swing voters and thanks to his campaign to leave the European Union solidified himself to the right. The public, therefore, may get the funding they want at some point depending on how the next round of the Tory civil war goes. But it will probably almost certainly mean BoJo in at Number Ten in the near future.

Opinion poll tracker January – Labour retain slim lead

Labour continues to hold a small lead over the Conservatives as the nation comes into the New Year. There is evidence of some voter movement towards UKIP which indicates that their true national level is around 4% or 5% and their General Election performance was distorted by so many of their candidates standing down, as well as tactical voting.

National Overview

Chart G1 shows the Conservatives have slipped back since the 2017 election and Labour now has a lead of 1% in Great Britain. The most striking thing about G1 is the quite extraordinary recovery in the Labour vote from mid-April 2017 when the election was called. Understanding why this happened is key to making sense of the 2017 election and what is likely to happen next. I have to say that from what I have read from political commentators, no-one has yet made sense of this dramatic surge. For myself, I keep coming back to a comment I made to my wife (who is American) that the election was starting to remind me of the Democrats primary battle in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and I do feel that the two elections share a similar dynamic.

Despite dropping back, the Conservatives are still well placed when compared to previous elections. The difference is that we are now back to 2-party politics last seen in 1979 as shown by chart G3. It would appear from chart G2 that most of the movement away from the Conservatives has been towards UKIP. This does make sense in that UKIP did not stand in many seats in the 2017 election and as a result their vote share would have been artificially depressed. The Greens did a similar thing to UKIP but they have not seen a rebound in their vote which suggests that Green defectors in the electors are remaining loyal to Labour.

With Labour’s slim lead, and ideological allies to form a coalition with, it could be said that if Theresa May were to call an election now it would deliver Jeremy Corbyn to Number 10. However, with a vote coming on the right for 16 year olds to vote it may be wiser for the Labour Party, who perform extremely well with younger voters, to get 16 year olds the franchise before trying to force a fresh election. However elections recently have rarely provided the expected result, and I highly doubt the Tory Party will call an election before Britain’s Brexit deal is wrapped up.

How Neo-Liberalism killed wage growth

The success of more radical politicians should not be a surprise, since the 1980s and the dawn of Neo-Liberalism the working class have suffered and inequality has widened.

Since the Thatcher era in the 80s, productivity has increased dramatically due to automation and technological advances. And whilst productivity rose, in soared the era of globalisation where workers wages have remained stagnant.

Keynes’s Golden Age vs Neo-Liberalism and the Washington Consensus:

A reason why we no longer tax the rich properly:

How capitalism has failed the majoirty: UK

^ In addition to this, 16 million working age people in the UK have less than £100 in savings, living paycheck to paycheck. Prior to 1980 the UK peoples were net savers, post 1980 you can see whats happened.

^ This chart shows that the majority of new income generated from the explosion of profits post 1980 has not been passed on to those who created those profits. It’s gone to our corporate elite, not the workforce.

How capitalism has failed the majoirty: USA

For a country that has no universal healthcare nor free education to spend that much on war does nothing more than create enemies with whom to fight. US total military spending + reserve = $1Trillion a year. For Comparison, Russia spends $60Billion. As does the UK. The banks however are making a killing off Arms in general.
What happened to executive pay post 1980: US

^ This doesn’t even cover their hard assets. This is just the excess cash they don’t know what to do with because there is virtually no return on investment to be found in the global economy and you can only buy so many shares before the returns do not match your outlay. It is now $12 Trillion and counting as of 2016 and its also a big driver behind a rising stock market above a stagnant global economy.

When wage theft took off the in the USA

UK- A mirror image

You can replicate this picture in most capitalist countries. A model exported via financial markets of the US & UK over the 1980’s and 90’s is now dominant. It is supply side economics or “neoliberal” economics as the media likes to say without a clue as to its history (nor the citizens of Chile murdered for its founding, but that’s another story).
Generally speaking, modern capitalist economics doesn’t give a damn how much money is in your pocket, you are only a consumer. Only when you can’t increase your consumption year on year by taking on more debt do the asset owning classes care (1929/2008) but only enough to pillage your country’s savings to allow them to keep lending you the wages you no longer get for what you produce for them per hour, and haven’t done since before 1980, never to change.
Indeed,it’s getting worse.

Points of interest:

66% of all shares globally are owned by 1% of the population. That 1% decide the board of directors who make decisions in their interests that effect the economics and thus lives of billions of people.

In the UK, half the working age population has less than £100 in the bank. Thats 16 million people. The next 4 million have less than £1000. These are working people, in their millions, that after working the entire year wouldn’t have enough left in the bank to pay for a new combi boiler. The USA and many other western nations are no better.

The solution:
Question: Do I think going back to the laws and tax rates of 1945 -> 1980 (a return to Keynesian economics) will help? NO. If we reverse history with laws, when we are grey and mostly gone, the new generation of the 1% will use their wealth to undo everything working people achieved, as they have done many times before. The repeat of history has to stop if this world is to survive, the instabilities of capitalism have to end if all our people are to live with dignity. And you can only do that with systemic change.

How Modern Socialism can solve these problems, and what Corbyn wants

Along with this is a law that UK Labour party will pass that states that any company selling up, merging, off shoring, or closing, its’ workers will be given the option to take control of and operate the company or the buildings and equipment that the company has here if a multinational chooses to leave, and the public bank Jeremy will create will provide the loans to do so.
The corporations will not be allowed to take the equipment and resources the UK taxpayer subsidised if they leave. The workers left behind take that over. It’s called Democracy @ work and Germany already has similar laws including that 45% of the board of directors of a company employing over 1000 people must be taken from the base work force. All combined, it’s a major reason why their manufacturing hasn’t buggered off to China.

If the UK/USA had these laws by 1980 the last 40 years would have been very different indeed. It would have made it so much more difficult for capitalism to abandon the country’s in which it grew up, and with the tools and factories left behind turned over to the workers the corporate elites would have to compete with the workers they left behind for their UK market share which they would lose once the word got out in favour of the UK workers at X factory v shoddy Chinese goods from x Global Capitalist Supranational Corporation.

We are told three lies regarding Karl Marx & Socialism by our historians, teachers, parents, media, and the defenders and beneficiaries of capitalism:

The Media Says Socialism is:
1) Central planning

2) Government ownership

3) Single party rule i.e. the USSR on wards …

He never wrote a single word on these three topics above, nor did he ever propose “an economic model to follow”. He was a critic of capitalism. For the private sector, he wanted nothing less than democracy at work in order to save capitalism from itself and save us from capitalism. He saw and documented the future from 150 years ago, and our leaders response was to discredit him through manipulations of economic fact and history taught from the youngest age in the farthest schools for eternity.

His entire and only focus was on the problems and injustices of capitalism and how to solve them, this is why our ‘Captains of Capitalism’, our education, our historians and the media have lied to us for generations. His life and writing are a danger to the slave master relationship that the asset owning classes want regardless of the country where they control the show, capitalism promised to get rid of this slave master relationship which is a hangover from feudalism with liberty, equality, and fraternity and then it failed to do so anywhere on this earth, instead creating a global version of the hunger games with a trans boarder capable elite.

In summary, Capitalism, has collapsed twice in 75 years and had 11 downturns in between for the USA, 6 for the UK, now entering the 12th/7th since the depression. We need to move far quicker than we are at reclaiming our economies for the many not the few.

Key Government Provider Carillon collapses under billion-pound debt

Carillon, one of the UK’s largest construction and management companies, has been forced into liquidation.

On Monday, after failing to negotiate a deal with the government and investors, the company responsible for huge public-sector redevelopment projects such as HS2 and Liverpool’s new Royal hospital filed for liquidation at the high court.

20,000 workers are set to be made redundant with the company’s pension fund £580m in the red, and debts rising to £1.5bn. Documents show Carillion had only £28m at the point of collapse. Alan, a construction worker from Uxbridge, said: “I never heard of any problems with Carillion, a company that big, awarded all those jobs.”

Over the last 30 years Carillion has been involved in virtually every major UK construction and redevelopment project: the redevelopment of Battersea power station, the Government’s communications hub, GCHQ, London 2012 Olympics, and the library of Birmingham. Carillion also run prisons, barracks and are responsible for delivering meals at several UK schools. Continuing, Alan said: Carillon only have themselves to blame, they used to under-bid to win jobs from competitors and then wouldn’t have enough money to finish the jobs.”

Carillon were awarded most of these jobs by various governments, both Labour and Tory. The outsourcing of public-sector work, to private contractors, policy favoured by Tony Blair has been a popular way of building new schools and hospitals ever since.

Jeremy Corbyn, who has remained vehemently opposed to private finance initiative’s (PFI’s) or so-called public-private partnerships today at PMQs said: “Carillion is not an isolated case and the system is broken.”

Corbyn asked why the warning signs were ignored, adding: “Over the last 6 months, the Government have awarded over £2bn worth of contracts to Carillion, it did so even after the share price was in free fall and when the company issued profit warnings.” Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, insisted Carillion’s financial problems “were not an issue” after the company successfully acquired HS2 contracts last July.

Phillip Green, Carillion CEO, a Conservative party donor, and business adviser to David Cameron, is set to still receive a huge £700k salary, just like former boss Richard Howson, who left the company more than a year ago. It raises huge questions on the competency and transparency of this government, who has issued 3 profit warnings to Carillion yet kept giving them huge government contracts. Corruption in this administration clearly played a role in crisis the company and it’s workers now face.

Thousands of young student apprentices are among the many workers currently in limbo waiting for a decision on their future. Last night the BBC reported the story of a young apprentice, Kyle, who was sent home from college without any explanation.
Alan said: “I’ve been made redundant before and its never the big guys who feel the brunt. It’s the small guys out here working, the grafters.”

Several warning signs were ignored, and questions regarding the competency of this government must be tabled. Critics have increasingly argued huge government contracts, instead of being awarded to huge companies like Carillion, should be spilt between smaller providers. Though, the collapse of Carillion forces one to think whether private companies should be entrusted with our vital public services at all. Writing for The Independent earlier this year, Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, explained: “The privatisation of our public services has been national failure – it’s time to take back control.

“Labour will turn off the tap siphoning billions of pounds into shareholders’ pockets and ensure these vital services are run in the interests of the many, not the few.”

Momentum’s victory is triumph for democracy, not extremism

Yesterday Momentum gained 3 seats on Labour National executive conference. All 3 of their candidates gained over 60,000 votes to be elected to Labour’s NEC. It’s important to understand that whilst Momentum won all 3 seats, they in no way control the NEC, which still has a significant number of anti-Corbyn members. Yet The Evening Standard, in a continuing attempt from our right wing media to smear Momentum, ran the headline ‘Corbyn’s red army takeover complete’.

And whilst Corbyn’s grassroots support group clearly terrifies our ruling elite, the disinformation and outright lies spread about them frustrate me. They remain seen as radical and authoritarian, to me this just shows how much the Tories fear a group who have mastered both grassroots campaigning, but also the only section of the political establishment who have fully utilised social media. We have seen others try and copy their techniques, like Activate, unsuccessfully.

However most see them as a mob of intimidating socialists. The truth is, in policy at least, they are the most liberal section of the Labour Party. We have seen numerous attempts from top Tory politicians to paint Momentum as violent, most recently the new Conservative Party chairman. He challenged Corbyn to stand up to online abuse. This isn’t an honourable move to help decrease the abuse faced by MPs, it’s an attempt to paint Labour as the online mob who threaten and harass MPs. And whilst Labour, and Momentum, have some disgusting members who would threaten MPs across the aisle, the majority are normal yet passionate people. However the real truth is that if the Conservative Party want to stamp out online abuse they should start in their own back yard. In a recent survey conducted between the start of 2017 and June 8th, done by Amnesty, Labour MPs were on the receiving end of the majority of online abuse. The Tories ran in 3rd. Showing that Momentum, or Labour, are not the real problem.

The stats show the mob in UK politics, remains on the Right.
For those who have met Momentum members, and spoken to them about their aims, this won’t be a surprise. What I’ve witnessed from inside the Labour Party they have 2 clear, and very honourable aims.

The first, which they have been extremely successful in, is utilising social media, alongside the independent media, to help spread their message. They understood that with our right wing mainstream media they were never going to get Corbyn’s message out without a mouthpiece. However, unlike Blair who bowed to Murdoch, they went around the mainstream media and used the changing nature of how we get our media to get their message out through Facebook and Twitter. They are better at getting their message out than any other section of the Progressive movement, and that is the main reason they are a positive force for the Labour Party.

The second, is getting more party members involved, and getting their heard through a more democratic Labour Party. They continue to get more Labour Party members involved in grassroots campaigning. Training activists in canvassing. However their main driving ideology is to get Labour Party members voices heard. They want to close the divide in opinion between the membership and the Parliamentary party. They support the McDonnell Amendment, a policy to reduce the number of signatures needed to get a name on the ballot of the Labour leadership. They also support constituents choosing their candidate for MP. Many in the media have painted this as an attempt to de-select Blairites.However the policy is that of democracy. Allowing party members to choose who they want representing, not the leadership choosing for them.
Momentum may be painted as an extremist group but, when you look at their aims, all they want is democracy within the Labour Party.

We as consumers must hold the media to account

Last year I applied to volunteer at the annual Centre for London conference, a conference which aimed to bring together political thinkers, journalists and politicians for a day of debate on the future of London post-Brexit, as well as the potential effect of an incumbent Trump presidency.

As reward for participating and doing so free of pay I was able to watch and enjoy a number of speeches. One particular moment caught my imagination, David Milliband discussing with Sir Paul Collier how European cities should respond to the migrant crisis. When asked by a member of the audience what he thought of the influence of the right-wing media in this debate, David replied: “a politician should not criticise the media in the same way a seaman should not criticise the sea”, a quote believed to have been derived from Winston Churchill, although also attributed to notorious Enoch Powell. Though the media is a necessary part of political life, so do quotes such as this afford the established media a degree of liberty that is not deserved and also potentially dangerous?

The established media does not have to substantiate its claims. Claims are made consistently through National News Sources that depict a situation disproportionally or even outright false without being called upon for a significant amount of evidence. The Sun Newspaper was famously forced to admit an article stating one in five Muslims sympathised with Jihadists was significantly misleading with the poll framing ambiguous questions as sufficient evidence. The paper forced to accept it misled the public but this was the limit of repercussions and a story that had been presented in convenience stores and supermarkets nationwide was not obligated to give the same coverage to the fact it misled readers.

It is not merely the right-wing media who can be accused of misleading readers either, left-wing newspapers are just as entitled to make sweeping claims about the personalities and intentions of politicians on the basis of assumptions of their positions, often for example claiming the Conservative party want to privatise the NHS without necessarily producing examples of manifesto or policies pertaining to this. But the right-wing media do appear the most likely to print to the public without regard for how accurate or fair the claims are.

Furthermore, the media has an aggressive tendency to publicly shame individuals for reasons varying from their outspoken political beliefs, to just simply following the rule of law. For instance, Gary Lineker, ex-England international and Match of The Day. The Sun, wrongfully claimed Lineker was subject to widespread calls for resignation after he expressed his disdain for the racist nature of some right-wing papers coverage of the refugee crisis. The story, which was front-page news, was published in response to a sarcastic tweet from Lineker when a charity involved in the fostering of refugee children accused the paper of lying. The lie in question: that a picture posted, again on the front page of the paper, depicting an individual claiming to be a child refugee was a boy far too old to be a child refugee. The charity attempted to explain this by highlighting that it was not in fact a child refugee but an Arabic interpreter, but rather than using the next front page to verify their claims, they instead decided to attack Gary Lineker for being “jug-eared”.

This kind of journalism may seem to be a standard feature of tabloid journalism and the slander not immediately of serious moral concern. But then consider when the Daily Mail ran its infamous “enemies of the people” article. The article in question refers to the attempt by The Daily Mail and numerous other right-wing papers to publicly shame the judges responsible for declaring parliament must have a vote on whether or not the UK should leave the EU, attaining to the legal sovereignty of parliament. This refers not to an individual’s own political views but rather to them fulfilling their legal duty to apply the rule of law, and there is very little irony lost that the majority of the pro-Leave newspapers argued that it is this very sovereignty of law that we are trying to reclaim back from Europe.
The fear and the serious moral questions come when you consider what branding individuals “enemies of the people” truly means. In the run-up to the Brexit voting MP Jo Cox was tragically murdered for her political views concerning EU membership, the debate is clearly an emotionally charged one. Branding individuals in such a way is dangerous for the respective safety of the individuals involved. The lack of culpability of media outlets could be potentially career destroying or even potentially fatal, and yet our established media is allowed to express freely, and even when legal action is poised against the papers, there is still no restriction on what can be published in the future, merely financial reimbursement for the offended party.

But it is here that we reach the crux of the matter: freedom of press is essential in a functioning democracy. So, any limits and laws restricting the media are dangerous; countries that tend to regulate their national news are countries with an authoritarian ideology. So, what can be done to prevent the newspapers from publishing inaccurate articles, or articles that threaten the personal integrity and safety of individuals without undermining freedom of press? The answer almost definitely lies in the consumer. There needs to be a greater demand by the reader, who is a consumer of the product, to force newspapers to address their relationship with the truth. The law protects consumers from false advertising, the consumer protection from Unfair Trading Regulations prevents companies from misleading consumers via advertising. However, as the news is the product itself rather than the advertising of said product it is unclear that these regulations could be in anyway applicable.

The solution therefore has to come from the consumer. But this again hits a block when you consider that readers are consumers so they are likely to want to read what they want to hear, or at least to have their attention captured in a particular way. As of such, the established media appears entitled to mislead its consumers on the grounds that this is what the consumer is paying for. It is up to the reader to demand or seek better, but not a duty, hence, the media does not take moral responsibility. It is unclear whether it is possible at all to have an entirely honest and righteous media in an open and liberal society. We know the media should take moral responsibility but this cannot be imposed by law. The fact of the matter is we deserve better from our news. It is down to all of us to demand better, to refuse to succumb to “fake news” and gross misrepresentation, or risk living in the post-Truth world we appear to be falling into.

Labour must listen to its heartland’s about immigration

For most socialists, freedom of movement is the dream. From some who wish to see a world without borders to those who reject the idea that somebody can be an illegal immigrant, it’s not unusual to hear the claim that, to be a socialist, one must be a supporter of an individual’s rights to go wherever they want in the world without barrier.

This is a lie.

One intrinsic principle of freedom of movement is that somebody can work in whatever territory: they simply need to cross over the border and set up camp. This has been a great advantage to our British NHS, with foreign nationals moving to our country in order to work as doctors, nurses, and health-care practitioners. It would take a particularly hard person to deny that this has not been a benefit to our country, and the people living in it.

But let’s look beyond that. Let’s look to the estimated 872,000 Eastern Europeans working in Britain in low-skilled jobs. What we have done, by accepting freedom of movement, is to declare to people ‘come into our country all you like because we’ll give you the jobs we don’t want.’ What this individual, with hopes and dreams and family and friends, becomes is a piece of transferrable capital. How on earth can any socialist support a system whereby somebody is valued on the basis of their economic productivity?

Of course, it is not just the foreign national worker who is affected by this. When one group of people become a piece of convenient capital, there is nothing stopping the indigenous population from undergoing a similar transformation. From zero-hour contracts to companies that pay the minimum wage (which, as we all know, is no living wage), the people of Britain are consistently being undercut by bosses who care about nothing other than profit.

There is, naturally, a cultural element to this too. Rather than full integration, what we see instead is various cultures living side-by-side. After all, the new foreign workers are not valued by the culture so why should they value it? For the middle-class socialists there is no problem here. But for the working class of Britain this is not simply a theoretical problem: it is a concern that cuts right to the core of community

Blue Labour, a campaign group that believes in regaining the working-class vote through consideration of certain socially conservative ideas, has rightly highlighted the strain that immigration puts on community. Community, after all, is a form of solidarity, and solidarity is at the core of the working-class identity and at the core of socialist principles. But when the nature of the community changes, the group identity splinters, and real problems arise.

These are neither racist nor xenophobic ideas. This is simply an acknowledgement that, as a result of freedom of movement, the condition of workers has changed either economically or socially. The solution is really quite simple: call for a definite end to freedom of movement, and change immigration laws so as to admit workers into the country that are required for high-skilled jobs. From there, we can work on holding to account so-called ‘fat cat’ bosses.

The problem, naturally enough, is that this would be unlikely to happen. Why? On the one hand, we have the group of capitalists who have no problem with exploiting workers to get a larger pay packet every month. They have no incentive to change the system. And, on the other hand, we have the most prominent socialist voices of our times. These are middle-class people who claim to speak for the working-class, yet dismiss their concerns and anxieties over migrant labour.