Murdoch's rotting politics

The Murdoch Empire is the symbol of the rottenness of our political system. It used its power and huge share of the media market to wield political influence and shape government policy. The admissions at the Leveson inquiry this week demonstrate how much the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats jump to the tune of the Murdochs. Christmas Dinner with Cameron, private jets to fly him to meetings with Murdoch, Jeremy Hunt and his staff liaising with Murdoch on a daily basis when it was seeking to make a huge amount of money from the BSkyB bid.
The Murdoch scandal goes all the way through the British political establishment. From the revelation of News International supported hackers deleting voicemail messages on missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone, the influence wielded at the London Metropolitan Police with leaks and people hired that were pro-News International to the leaking of ministerial statements on the BSkyB bid with the request that the Murdochs help rewrite and counter opposition arguments. This is a catalogue of the disgrace of the political and state elite.

Gideon's economic disaster zone

Britain is suffering a double dip recession for the first time since 1975. Yesterday’s output figures show that the UK economy is nowhere near recovering from the credit crisis that started in 2007.

What does a ‘double dip’ recession mean? In jargon, it means that in six of the eight quarters (each year is split into quarters) since the ConDem coalition took office, the British economy has been shrinking. When Gideon Osborne, the 'arrogant posh boy' Chancellor, took office, the economy was growing by 1.1% per year. Once he started the drums of ‘austerity’, cutting public services to keep the rich in the City happy, that growth quickly turned negative.

In reality, a ‘double dip’ recession means that the charity UK Foodbank, which provides food parcels to people unable to pay for themselves, doubled the number of people who it helped last year. It is opening 2 new foodbanks every week at the moment. For the last six years, wages have fallen behind price rises and the cuts in benefits have made the suffering worse. If people have less money to spend, then less will be bought in shops so the service sector (a whopping 75% of the British economy) is stuck in recession.

Pass the Poorest

The madness and cruelty at the heart of ConDem austerity policies has been exposed again. The London Borough of Newham in East London, one of the poorest areas in the UK, has a housing waiting list of over 28,000 people. Last year, because of ConDem local government grant cuts, it made £100 million of cuts in services. These cuts are having a terrible effect on some of society’s poorest but more is to come.

The ConDem housing benefit cap has placed further pressure on the council budget as private market rents are above the cap in Newham partly due to the coming Olympic games in the area. This means that the council will lose money each time it places a family on the waiting list in a London house or flat. This is not an incentive to help London’s homeless and in need. Capping the private rental charges makes more sense but goes against 'market knows best' mantras that get more hollow by the day.

Tax is for little people

Britain’s tax-dodging millionaires were officially exposed when new Treasury figures revealed that many are paying a lower rate of income tax than many low-waged cleaners.

The figures, which come as no surprise to tax justice campaigners, show almost one in 10 people earning more than £10 million a year are paying less than the 20% basic rate of income tax.

The Treasury figures also showed that 6% of £10 million-plus earners paid less than 10% in tax and another 3% came in below the basic rate. Fewer than three-quarters (72%) paid more than the higher rate of 40%.

A Treasury spokesperson admitted: “There are currently millionaires paying a lower tax rate than ordinary taxpayers.”

The figures relate to the 575,600 individuals in the UK who earn at least £100,000, with 10,600 of these each earning more than £1 million.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "These are truly shocking figures. For too many of Britain’s super-rich, tax is something for the little people.

"Unfortunately the government is making the mistake of trying to deal with tax reform in a piecemeal way — one day rewarding the very wealthy with a cut in their tax rate, the next trying to unpick their allowances that benefit charitable institutions."

The hatred and fear that stalks Europe

The trial of Anders Breivik in Norway this week has revealed the dangers of resurgent fascism across Europe. His own testimony has shown that he hates the multicultural society in which different communities live together and work together and targets immigration as a cause. He hates Islam, viewing it as a threat to his idea of ‘civilization’, which obviously involves murdering innocent people. Anders Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo killing 8 then massacred 69 people on the island of Ut√łya, mostly teenagers attending a summer camp.

The poison of his ideas was matched by his deeds, revealing the problem with allowing fascists to air their racism. When they are allowed to speak and organize, it gives them confidence to attack, terrorize and kill. The trial of Anders Breivik illustrates that the main threat of terrorism comes from the far-right fundamentalists.

"The pull of Galloway" - George talks to The House magazine

George Galloway is perhaps the most experienced ‘newbie’ MP you’ll ever meet. As he walks through Westminster Hall, he urges guests not to step on the plaque to ‘Braveheart’ William Wallace. On the way to the Central Lobby, he points to the statue of Charles James Fox, his favourite parliamentarian (a fellow radical, anti-imperialist with a colourful private life). Up the steps to the Committee Corridor, he identifies the spot where Spencer Perceval was shot dead. And, adding a bit of 20th century history, he even recalls the site where John Reid once threw a punch at him during a row over the first Gulf War.

Like a London cabby showing off his (pre-SatNav era) Knowledge, the newly elected Member for Bradford West certainly knows the nooks and crannies of the Palace of Westminster. He may have a New York radio show, a TV programme in the Middle East, a column in the Daily Record and a new fanbase in West Yorkshire, but the Respect Party MP can’t resist the lure of the House of Commons.

Why people don’t believe main stream politicians

Have you heard the one about the Chancellor, the former Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

You couldn’t make it up!

Last week I was shocked to learn that: the Chancellor, George Osborne didn’t know that lots of rich people actually avoid paying tax. Yea right!

That was closely followed by former Prime Minister, Tony Blair had no recollection of any rendition flights to Libya in 2004. Blimey what is he like eh!

By the end of the week the Labour and official opposition leader, Ed Miliband had skilfully avoided any lessons from the Bradford West bye-election humiliation. Failing completely to ‘get the message’ that Labour had lost an ultra safe seat to a party that actively ‘opposes’ Austerity, War and Privatisation.

And the main stream or more appropriately the lame stream parties wonder why people don’t believe them!

Finally, I believe that trade unions should stop funding him [Miliband] and all the other Labour MP’s and Councils that continually refuse to support trade union policies.

Very eloquently written by Jerry Hicks of Unite the union.