What! The Conservatives Respect the Act of Union? Do They Really? By Sarinder Joshua Duroch

The Tories drove Scotland away from Socialism to Scottish Nationalism

It is a well-known fact that in Scotland there is antipathy towards the Tories, it is virtually a tradition to be anti-Tory in Scotland. Some may disagree based on election results that this is changing, or is it the case that Scots are just desperate to see an opposition to the Scottish Nationalists be it Labour or Tory?

Who can ever forget the anti-Thatcher chants at the Scottish Cup Final in 1988, Celtic won on the day and Thatcher presented the trophy to the winning captain, Roy Aitken.

Anyone who is old enough can clearly remember the audible memories of the moment she appeared to present the cup. From the joy of winning the cup she managed to create a cauldron of hate filled chants from the crowd, clearly displaying how much she was disliked north of the border.

For a party that is adamant to ‘protect’ the Union at all costs and oppose the Scottish National Party, one needs to examine their track record in Scotland.

The Abolition of Rates Act 1987 brought an end to what we know as the traditional rates system to pay for local government services, and what we got in its place was the Poll Tax or officially known as the Community Charge.

What was George Younger, the then Secretary of State for Scotland, thinking of when he lobbied Thatcher into introducing the Poll Tax in Scotland in 1989, one year before it was introduced in England?

He was the Secretary of State for Scotland between 1979 to1986 and he lobbied Thatcher to introduce the Poll Tax in Scotland first to avoid an expensive review of the old Rates system.

What the Tories didn’t realise, through their total ignorance towards Scotland and the Tory traditional view that Scotland is an ‘addendum’ to the nation, was that the Act of Union of 1707 was clearly being broken under Article 18.

It was abhorrent to watch any government imposing its totalitarian authority on a minority of the population.

This was the beginning of Thatcher’s demise, agreed, it was the beginning of her departure and what was to develop later was so much anger towards the Tories that it developed into Scottish Nationalism.

Mr. Randolph Murray, a solicitor, failed to submit his details to the Poll Tax office based on the reason that a constitutional inequality had taken place. He was fined £50 for failing to register, he contested this and lost his appeal at the time.

However, he held the government to account at the time and probably had the Gandhi mindset of Satyagarh, a nonviolent, non-cooperation, insistence on truth approach and opposition to colonial masters.

Did the people of Scotland feel that they were being subjected to the same level of injustice through this historic tax that was always met with anger that had the ability to create divisions on a colossal scale?

It is evident through all the protests and people going to prison that the question is answered in full evidence; yes they were faced with an injustice that they had to rebel against.

We must accept that Gandhi went to prison over the salt protests and encouraged Indians to collect and sell salt. The British government at the time prohibited all Indians from making and selling salt so that they had the monopoly over it and could charge a heavy tax on it.

Citizens in those days were forced to buy from the government and were given no choice. The people found this to be very unfair and protested over it, at least 60,000 were arrested over the protests.

Similarly in 1989 the unfairness of the government’s actions in breaking a Parliamentary Act had to be met with protest.

The Tories totally neglected their position and responsibility, they were the custodians of the law and governance and they still gave no regard for such an important Act of Parliament.

An Act of immense importance was completely disrespected to push through the Poll Tax agenda in Scotland even if it meant breaking the Act of Union.

The Tory agenda, for them, was the most important act to adhere to, not the Act of Union.

Mr. Murray had to be right in taking a stance where the Act of Union had clearly been violated and broken!

Surely the Tories and their historic past behavioural pattern of non-cooperation with the working classes was the driving factor in delivering the policy of the Poll Tax.

An example of this autocratic behavioural pattern takes us back to 1984 when the strikers at Cammell Laird shipyards were imprisoned for their occupation of the shipyard; they were on an official strike and found themselves in prison for thirty days for not vacating the site.

The ship yard was in Birkenhead, we are all aware of how the Tories treated socialist Liverpool back in the ‘80s. The Iron fist seemed to strike a lot faster in the northern parts of the nation where there was a socialist will to fight for equality and rights.

Political expediency was clearly at the top of their agenda, engaging and listening was not and never will be an asset the Tories possess when engaging with the working classes. They only know how to oppress when engaging in dialogue, their historical behavioural pattern confirms this.

Given the fact that the Tories and their ilk have been so privileged to have the ‘best of education’, one would have thought that someone within their ranks would have reminded them King Richard II brought in a Poll Tax in 1381 that lead to the peasant revolt and almost brought him down.

Arrogance and education do not mix; like electricity and water and one needs to speak with variety and the other listen with an open mind. The Tories obviously had already proven with the miners’ strike they were not willing to listen to anyone, so why would the Scots be any different?

One could argue that at the time of Richard II the public were just recovering from the Black Death, we on the other hand were enduring the slaughter of the unions by Thatcher over 600 years later!

At the time of 1380 the Poll Tax did not consider the wealth factor or ability to pay regardless if one was rich or poor. In May 1381, the poor revolted and sacked the City of London.

The same happened with the Poll Tax riots in Trafalgar Square in 1990, didn’t any of the well-educated Tories and their advisers realise that the historical name of ‘Poll Tax’ was a bad omen?

It was the Tories that created the nationalistic temperament in Scotland by not playing fair in the first place, the bully in the playground does not know what to do when his victims stand up to him and fight back.

The Tory desire to punish the Scots for being historically socialist has in effect turned on them; they were and are the instigators and creators of what we see and hear in Scotland today.

It is their fault in its entirety when the people of Scotland ask the question, “What has Westminster ever done for us?”

The answer is the historic behavioural pattern of the Tories in the first place!

Because if we examine the Act of Union of 1707 and Article 18 it clearly defines that taxation/excises should be implemented equally on both sides of the border. This policy and its implementation clearly broke the Act of the Union and resulted in people willing to go to prison and face fines.

There was uproar at the time; sadly, the injustices are still happening today.

If we look at the gulf between the rich and the poor today, it has increased immensely and it is obvious that inequality in its implementation is visible through zero-hour contracts and exploitation of immigrant workers.

This in turn makes it a culture for employers and agencies to behave in such a manner towards the wider population making it an acceptable culture of ‘take it or leave it’.

The Tory injustices have continued not only in the ‘Tory experimental laboratory’ known as Scotland but nationwide too.

The Chartered Institute of Housing and the University of Sheffield have managed to provide statistics relating to the suffering of those on benefits.

84% of the 106 local authorities and 70% of the housing associations revealed that welfare policies are a major contributing factor to homelessness.

The lower benefit cap is leaving a huge gap and rents are not being met, it clearly shows that the gulf between rich and poor is result of policy provision and implementation.

The Tories have turned our nation into a sorry state, it is traditional for them to take such actions given their history and behavioural pattern towards the working classes and anyone who wishes to challenge them.

If we look at out of work benefits in Scotland and compare it to the UK level it is presently at 2.9% whilst the UK level is 2.3%.

In comparison, the South East of England reflects very different figures at 1.3%.

The North West of England has 3.1% claimants for out of work benefits, even concerningly higher is North East of England where the level is 4.4%.

The inequalities are evident in the figures and it is obvious that northern parts of the nation with a strong Labour voting tradition are victims of the growing divide between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

The economics of the Union cannot just be repaired with a High-Speed Rail Line from London to the North.

The GDP of our Union has a huge gulf between London and the rest of the nation, it is presently 22% of the total GDP and that comes from 12.5% of the UK population.

No wonder the Union was nearly compromised because of the Independence Referendum in Scotland back in 2014.

Anyone examining the figures can see that the gulf will only increase over the years and the suffering will continue not just in Scotland but in the North West & East of England as well.

The Union isn’t getting any equality from Tory policies and the Tories are clearly creating greater divisions and apathy towards the Union rather than unifying the nation.

We only need to look at these figures to ascertain that Theresa May’s mantra of a ‘fairer society’ throughout the Union of our nation is not going to work.

False words and false promises are being delivered whilst the rich are clearly getting richer and the poverty gap is increasing.

The historic antics do not need to be searched and sought for in history books, it’s all happening in front of our eyes daily in virtually every part of the nation.

Tory antics will not strengthen our Union but cause greater division both socially and economically; we need a socialist government that unites the Union and gives it the economic and social prosperity it needs.

Sources – Chartered Institute of Housing and University of Sheffield.

Parliament Acts UK Parliament & Nomisweb.

Why Labour Must Prevent A Future ‘Hippo Out Of The Hat’ Situation By Ikechukwu Onyeadi

I have been a member of the Labour party for long enough. Even when the party was hit by a wave of mass-decampings, especially amongst the younger members, I stayed.

I stayed because I know I am a socialist through and through.

I stayed because I had faith that a true socialist would someday come along and present a platform radical enough to warrant a chance with the disenchanted electorate.

Over the years I have watched Labour slowly turn away from what it is; a movement for workers. It suddenly became so engrossed in infiltrating traditional Tory regions that it forgot to properly represent workers.

Of course, Education and wealth are universal aspirations, but when we have Labour politicians that come from Oxbridge-educated, very wealthy, ‘never-worked-ever’, Reese-Mogg type backgrounds; preaching socialism, then the white van, traditional working-class Labour voter cannot help but view them with suspicion.

When Ed Miliband came up with those brilliant, brilliant policies in the run up to the 2015 General Election, voters simply did not trust him in his £1000 suits. I remember one of the numerous polls held in 2014, summarised by Peter Kellner and published in the Guardian by Mathew Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo on July 7, 2014, pointing out that although polls showed that The Labour Party was on course to win the 2015 General Election; the major obstacle to that happening was Ed Miliband himself. His image as a ‘posh boy’ just failed to convince anyone, including traditional Labour voters.

The subsequent wipe out of the Labour Party in Scotland and the Tory party’s 328-seat majority win, one that was brilliantly described by Boris Johnson as David Cameron “pulling the most colossal rabbit out of the hat” served to buttress the point made by the pollster.

For Tory Politicians, it seems that the ‘posher’ one is, the more likely they are to advance politically.

For Labour, the electorate seem as though they would like a ‘no-bullshitting’, regular but very ‘street saavy Joe’ that one is highly likely to run into at the local chippy in Swancombe every Friday evening.

That is why, for the Labour party, image should be everything.  

To digress a little from the central discussion here, in the past the Labour Party have used positive inclusion techniques to encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds such as women and ethnic minorities to stand as Labour candidates. Perhaps this approach could be used to encourage today’s disenchanted youth to run for office, thereby injecting more charisma and vigour into the whole electoral debate. If one looked around Labour CLPs in the Southeast these days, they are chuck-full of people who were teenagers when Elizabeth was crowned Queen and who-no matter how hard they try, simply do not understand the world as it is today.

It would perhaps be wiser that those who will decide our future have sound knowledge on Technology in this country and the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future of our species. An idea of who Bixby is would be a great start!

What Jeremy Corbyn brought to The Labour party is nothing short of the breath of fresh air that this country has so badly yearned for since the heartless conservative Government took an axe to social service funds and benefits.

His policies so far seem to be coming straight from the mouths of regular people who go to work every day and go through all the challenges of living in today’s cash-strapped Britain. His policy on nationalising the rail network is direly needed to control the unreliability we have come to expect from the rail network.

His insistence that austerity is just a fiscal choice and not necessity is very economically sound.

A perfect scenario would be to imagine that banks imposed daily withdrawal caps of £200 on its customers because it simply refuses to borrow money to do business, although that option is readily available to it.

Mr Corbyn thus presents as the perfect candidate, with the perfect credentials and the perfect image. The young love him, the old women think he is adorable and his policies agree with any true socialist that believes in a more even system of wealth “redistribution”. His policies also agree with most people in this country who have seen their quality of life deteriorate steeply since the conservatives came into power in 2010 and desperately want something different.

However, we risk another ‘Tory Rabbit’, nay, a ‘Hippo’ this time because Theresa May does not enjoy even half the support that David Cameron did during his premiership, being pulled out of the next General Election Hat!

The reason for my prediction is The Labour Party’s stance, or lack of, on door-step issues. On Brexit. We know we will vote with The Government to make Brexit a reality, according to the wishes of the majority of The British Electorate during the referendum, but we have no clear red lines.

In the negotiations following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, British politicians should band together and present one front, just like the EU 27 is doing. The different opinions and the UK politicians who preach even greater doom than Michel Barnier, create the cracks that The EU is now exploiting.

It is right for Jeremy to whip the Parliamentary Labour Party into supporting The Government on Brexit.

Perhaps this delay on defining a stance on the single market has helped The EU with establishing both the ammunition and the high ground. It is however encouraging that Jeremy seems now to be clear on his stance with leaving the Single Market, despite criticism from Pro- European Labour MPs.

On Immigration, Labour has no clear policies either. The concerns on the doorstep that uncontrolled Immigration suppresses wages, is changing the dynamics in many cities and is pushing the NHS to breaking point, are all very valid and very evidence-based.

The fact that a European National living in Britain can bring their non-EU family members to join them in Britain with no requirements other than exercising treaty rights but British citizens looking to bring their family members to join them in Britain are subjected to requirements on earnings is simply ridiculous, no matter what one’s political affiliations are.

In addition to Jeremy Corbyn, what the Labour Party needs is re-orientation for its Politicians. We desperately need to move with the times. No matter what one’s principles are, we need to become a winning party again.

Jeremy can have all the best policies but if the Tories are willing to get their hands ‘dirty’ by discussing and addressing the real issues on the doorsteps, whilst Labour continues to abstain from these discussions; they will pull every animal species in London Zoo out of all foreseeable General Election Hats.

I suggest that the re-orientation start from ward level.

Let us try something radical.

Let us-only for one season try to use positive inclusion techniques to council seats to encourage under 40s, especially women under 25.

In doing so we would invariably draw a lot of young people into politics and they will supply fresh ideas to deal with the issues facing us right now.

My young neighbours in my street worry about the fact that the last time anyone saw a street cleaner around our street was 9 months ago! They are grateful for the playground that Tan Dhesi fought for many years ago but are now particularly worried for their children’s safety since some juvenile delinquents have decided to use the playground as a racetrack for their noisy Motorbikes.

They wonder if our Labour Councillors even care as no one ever sees them at the doorstep. They never write their constituents to update them on what they are fighting for and usually make important decisions without consulting everyone in their wards. If we want to win, we must change.

National Labour has labelled Gravesham an “unwinnable” seat or something along those lines but I see this borough as very winnable.

We are not able to win because the reality is that outside London, when people are given the opportunity to choose between a Labour party that is stuck on principles that do not reflect the challenges faced by ordinary citizens in today’s Britain, they will vote a Tory. That is because the Tories have managed to stick The Labour party with several tags including that of “The Borrowing” party and so far, we have had the weakest comebacks.

I am no stranger to criticising our policies within The Labour Party and those of the Government for that matter but the essence of criticism is to point out that improvements are required and not a demonstration of disloyalty.

Above all, I want The Labour party to get back to its winning ways with Gravesham as its Crown Jewel.

To do that we must support Jeremy Corbyn.

We must change our strategies.

We must become more radical.

We must represent workers and

We must encourage Jeremy Corbyn’s advisers from a wider range of candidates with young and vibrant British workers who live in today’s reality and not an elite within the party who all own their own homes and have sizable savings which their children will inherit.

By Ikechukwu Onyeadi

** All views are the writer’s own and do not represent the views of The Avenger

Compulsory Competitive Tendering AKA to the Tories as Council & Community Termination By Sarinder Joshua Duroch

The Tories branded Compulsory Competitive Tendering as efficiency, quality implementation and provided value for money to the local tax payer.

It proved to be the dismantling of the democratic relationship between the citizen, elected members and service provision, which is at the heart of local authority provision.

The Local Government Planning and Land Act of 1980 introduced a block grant and compulsory competitive tendering (CCT). A block grant is the bulk of funding that a local authority gets from Whitehall each year, local authorities can spend it as they see fit to do so, but the amount is determined by central government. Ring fenced grants are also given by central government, but are solely for a specific purpose and the local authority cannot spend as they please.

Savings through CCT would result in savings and less to pay out from a central government viewpoint.

Thatcher’s crusade against Labour councils had begun and the implications certainly made their impact until Labour came into power and changed CCT to Best Value(Local Government Act 1999). Best Value gave far greater consideration to service users and local authorities.

At the time the U.K was the only place in Europe where an act of Parliament dictated that local councils must tender out their services to the cheapest bidder; the Tory governments turned our local authorities into nothing but auction houses.

During the years of CCT local government was only a local authority in name, the services and maintenance that is rightfully meant to be supplied by the people for the people had been sourced out to the cheapest bidder and in many cases the councils had to accept the cheapest bid.

CCT value was only assessed by the cheapest tender and CCT did not consider the employment agenda, the process of the tender submission stage characterises CCT in a nutshell. It is very fair to say that the Tory ethos was to ensure that private industry increased their ability to pay more corporation tax to the government whilst making the corporations bigger players in society.

What employment rights were in place one may ask, they were not expected to be in the submitted tender and more so where was the union in all of this?

The answer is nowhere in sight, because many who worked on tenders were not part of a union, and by working for the private sector they were cultured to participate in the mindset of the cheapest size fits all and profits before people.

The Tories knew fine well that council employees who were blue and white-collar workers were both part of the union movement, and by implementing the CCT strategy it eliminated council worker participation and they were replaced by the ‘profits before people’ ethos. CCT has affected all services across the board from parking to parks, from housing management and home to school transport.

How could the presence of the union, employment rights, legislation and fair opportunity for those in local government service be secured when the services themselves had been tendered out under the legislation of the Local Government Acts of 1988 & 1992?

As for social requirements being incorporated into the tender this is allowed in European nations but in the U.K it was outlawed. Citizens of democracy were being treated as consumers and the elected members of the council were simply ‘just there’ for the sake of being there and are not being active participants in the say of the private company’s way of working and service provision.

The key issue is the elimination or severe reduction in democratic control over service provision. Public service safeguarding was completely ignored, and business objectives were put in place. Service provision at the cost of democratic provision is a total capitalistic hostile takeover directed by the Tory machine that will not stop until it is satisfied that society has no or very little say in the process of service provision!  

The nature of CCT took a lot of power away from elected members and officers of the local authority seemed to be the negotiators and acted as the officialdom that the tenders went through.

Traditionally officers have advised members but CCT took the power away from members making officers more involved with the private contractor?

Is this the Tories idea of greater democratic provision? Social and political objectives were outlawed from the tendering process, surely this eliminates the elected member from the electorate, is this the Tory’s idea of greater democratic participation?  

We will obtain better value for money and higher quality services” (Michael Heseltine, Secretary of State for Environment, January 1992).

This statement turned out to be the Cri de Coeur for anyone who believed in local democracy.  

At what cost is there better value for money, direct employees of the council having no employment and facing redundancy!

Direct Service Organisation employees are employed directly, and they cannot be replaced for a cheaper alternative by the local authority.

Private firms know this very well and can easily employ people on low wage, temporary and agency contracts to get the job done as soon as possible. Just how can a local authority compete one may ask the obvious question?

With the exploitation we see today of European workers and others we all know how much employment agencies have managed to get away with!

Making the poor poorer – Is this not a traditional Tory policy?

For many council staff that couldn’t remain employed by the local authority they found themselves being employed by the private contractor. Their wages went down, their hours reduced, their holidays were impacted, and sick pay was non-existent. The nature of the competitive tender resulted in health & safety practices being exploited to cut corners and make savings.

A survey instructed by the Department of Environment discovered that, in those services that fell victim to CCT one in eight jobs had been lost. A further examination of 20 local authorities revealed that CCT caused more than 10,000 part-time jobs to be lost in the lower paid sectors of building and cleaning.

Evidence that the poor and working classes were the victims of the Tory policies that hit that most financially vulnerable in society.

The main objective of the Tories was to increase taxation revenue and take away the powers from the unions and the Labour party controlled authorities. Once again, the working classes in the north of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland were badly affected.

Unions were seriously affected, bargaining power was taken away from them, reduced membership and less consultation over management policies and decisions. It really was a major clean up operation for the ‘fat cat’ Tory thus ensuring a comfortable income for the Treasury, company shareholders and the losers, as usual, were the working classes.

What did Heseltine care for the working classes when he made his 1992 statement, he was in the full swing of his political domain and with the income that comes with it. All he had to do was play the Tory tune at every opportunity he could to make enterprise the way forward and local democratic participation a thing of the past and an outdated concept.

Nationally and locally agreed pay structures were ignored and the position of the local authority as a major local employer was clearly undermined or diminished in many cases. Did the Tories consider the fact that people like cleaners and maintenance workers were having to claim for in work benefits and housing benefits to make ends meet due to the treatment they were getting by the private contractor?

In addition to this the job losses that the local authority had to endure were immense and many in ‘secure long term’ employment found themselves with no work at all.

Did the Tories care? No, they did not!

That was not their concern, when was the last time the Tories cared for anyone apart from themselves or their associates and friends in industry.

Remember profits before people and power over society is the main concern and policy of the Tories and their ilk.  

One would believe that the Tories would have least protected themselves and their friends in industry. By the early ’90s The Public Service Privatisation Research Unit discovered that the failure rate of private companies was 4.5 times higher than that of the work carried out by the local authorities.

Complaints relating to the standard of cleaning to the maintenance work carried out in schools was in high occurrence. Work was not completed on time, in many cases incomplete and overall very poor standard.

In 1997 Hilary Armstrong, the then Local Government Minister, changed the agenda of CCT to prioritising Best Value and making consultative changes. CCT was replaced by Best Value in 2000, the TUC welcomed the proposals by the then Labour government and added that pay and working conditions were of paramount importance.

At the time Jon Monks, the TUC General Secretary said, “This is a clear recognition that CCT has failed. Its market-driven approach has failed to deliver improvements in service quality and has driven down pay and conditions for public sector workers.”

The Tory divisions of class and social segregation spared nobody as it usually does. The first wave of victims were blue collar workers and in 1993 white collar workers were targeted.

As usual all services were subjected to phased changes causing uncertainty and insecurity spreading throughout the workplace; fear was the best instrument to select for the Tories as a resource to subdue and control the working classes.  

In 2016 the state owned Calmac ferries won the contract over Serco to run the ferry service in Scotland. The employee centric focus and modern technology commitment was a major factor in winning the bid. An area of attraction was a commitment to maintaining the living wage and boosting local employment including apprenticeships, in addition to this their bid involved communities in the decision-making process.

This clearly has the hallmarks of the Labour changes that were made in 1997 and best value characteristics are evident.

The Scottish Conservative response to this successful bid was in defence of private companies – (Quote from BBC news coverage) The Scottish Conservatives said the tender process had been designed to deter private companies from bidding and winning, and that a number of questions remained to be answered as to why Serco’s bid was ruled out as being non-compliant.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36330479

CCT and other Tory policies were selfishly thought out by Thatcher, she firstly prepared the police to be on side to deal with the miners and any form of protest.

They carried out her physical and brute force agenda, whilst appeasement to the corporations extracted out whatever willpower and strong blood was left in the veins of society and its representatives through taking power from the local authorities.

The very nature of using corporate enforcement and breaking the relationship that the electorate has with elected members in relation to local service provision will always be at the centre of serious controversy.

Greed has no limit and does not know when to stop. However, a mind that is cautious of the implications of greed and puts society first will prevail; that mind belongs to the electorate and they must choose wisely to deal with the crusade that has taken from the poor and allowed the rich to exploit at will.  

Sources: BBC, Unison, EURWORK & The Insecure Workforce (Walsh & Davis report 1993).

Carillion: Public Risk, Private Profit By Kelly Grehan

So Carillion has gone into liquidation, plunging the lives of the 20,000 people working for them in the UK and those reliant on the public services they are paid by the coffers supplied by taxpayers to provide, into uncertainty.

Carillion is one of largest providers of NHS facilities management, covering:

200 operating theatres;

-300 critical-care beds and

-11,500 in-patient beds.

It also has contracts to maintain:

-50,000 armed forces’ houses;

– £680m contract to provide 130 new buildings in Aldershot and Salisbury plain for troops returning from Germany;

– It provides cleaning and school meals for 875 schools and

– Maintains 50% of prisons.

When governments began outsourcing the work for public services we were told it was a means  of transferring the risks arising from major projects to the private sector.

Of course this has proven to be categorically untrue.  

Outsourcing and privatisation doesn’t transfer risk to a company. Instead, it transfers any profits or savings made (coming from general taxation)  to shareholders and leaves taxpayers exposed and vulnerable towards all the risks and failures; because if they fail the government bails them out.

Privatisation simply means no accountability for public money

For over a year now, Carillion has been in meltdown. Its shares have dropped 90% and it issued profit warnings, and went through three chief executive within six months  Yet they continued to be awarded government contracts including the £1.4 billion HS2 contact.

Could the reason Carillion have continued to be given government contracts have anything to do with their Chairman, Phillip Green being a Tory Party donor?

Of course, while Carillion workers are likely to face a difficult time with regards to their future, no such worries exist for those who headed up the company.

Carillion’s pay policy wording was changed to make it harder for investors to claw back bonuses in the event of ‘corporate failure.’

Chief operating officer Richard Howson has made £1.9m in cash and share bonuses during his tenure while ex-finance chief Richard Adam has received £2.6m.

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has already said contracts run by Carillion should be bought back ‘in-house.’

Rehana Azam, the National Secretary of the GMB Union, said: “The fact such a massive government contractor like Carillion has been allowed to go into administration shows the complete failure of a system that has put our public services in the grip of shady profit-making contractors.’

So what will happen next? Is this the beginning of the end of the privatisation of public services?

We are told that MPs will be holding an enquiry into outsourcing Public Sector jobs in the wake of the Carillion collapse.

Jeremy Corbyn echoes once again what most of us are thinking and hoping for. He has said that this ” Is a watershed moment for PFI contracts”.

One can hope.

What they will ‘find’ and act upon remains to be seen and many will feel that this is just the current government making another empty promise in a long and sorry saga of public services outsourced for private profit.

Isn’t It Time We Made Homes Fit For Human Habitation? By Kelly Grehan and Lisa Mulholland

The second reading of Karen Buck MP’s Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill is on January 19th 2018.

We can hardly believe that, in the 6th richest country in the world, in 2018 it is necessary for such a bill to be raised.  

It is astonishing that such a protection is not already in existence for tenants. Tenants have no avenue for redress or means of compelling landlords to make repairs or even secure the safety of the property.

The Bill would empower tenants by giving them the right to take their landlord to court if they fail to take action to resolve a problem.

There are currently around one million rented homes with hazards that pose a serious risk to health and safety. This affects over 2.5 million people.

You might think that this lapse in the law is an oversight that just needs to be rectified. But you would be mistaken.

A version of the Bill was first introduced by Karen Buck in 2015 and was ‘talked out’. A version of the Bill was also proposed as an amendment to the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and was voted down by the government. Including the 87 Tory MPs who are landlords.  Their argument was that such legislation would burden upon landlords and discourage people from renting out homes.

How did we get in the situation we are in today, one might ask.

Many years of under funding and de regulation of the housing market we could argue.

What could be a greater burden for any person than trying to live in a ‘home’ unfit for human habitation, you might wonder.

Data from the English Housing Survey 2017 found that Almost a third (29 per cent) of homes rented from private landlords fail to meet the national Decent Homes Standard; meaning they either contain safety hazards or do not have acceptable kitchen and bathroom facilities or adequate heating

Poor housing impacts on children by making them 25% more at risk of ill health or disability, including raised risk of meningitis or asthma and a greater chance of mental health issues.

They are also more likely to miss school through illness.  Almost one million privately rented homes are deemed to be in a state of “substantial disrepair”, while 442,000 have damp in one of more rooms.

Poor housing also places a greater burden on other services and affects society as a whole, not just children.

Substantially more working age adults living in bad housing report fair, bad or very bad general health (26%) than those living in good housing (17%), with adults in bad housing 26% more likely to report low mental health compared with those living in good housing.

Those living in bad housing are almost twice as likely to have their sleep disturbed by respiratory problems at least once a month.

The association between living in bad housing and health problems is particularly acute among those above retirement age; with Pensioners in bad housing a third more likely to have fair, bad or very bad health compared with those in good housing (58% vs 38%).

Almost a fifth (19%) suffer from low mental health compared with 11% in good housing.

Almost twice as many pensioners living in bad housing suffer from wheezing in the absence of a cold, compared with those in good housing.

Not only is this unacceptable and immoral in this day and age but it also undoubtedly places more burden on the cash strapped NHS, including mental health services and schools that are already under so much pressure.

So what can we do about this?

We welcome the second reading of the bill and hope that this can proceed to the next stage. MPs will have a vote on this issue and we the people can apply pressure on our local MPs to vote the right way.

You can find who your local MP is and and how to contact them by clicking on the link below.

http://www.ukpolitical.info/YouandyourMP.htm

The above is taken from Natcen’s 2013 report on People in bad housing.

Has Young Voter Apathy Finally Been Defeated by Jeremy Corbyn? By Sarinder Joshua Duroch

The Labour party has managed to secure well over 500,000 members since Jeremy has been the leader of the party.

“Bland”

“Not appealing”

“Doesn’t look the part”

“He is past it now ”

These were the cries we heard from many people both in the Labour party and from the opposition with their supporters mocking the man. They have all been proven wrong and have been made to hide their faces since Jeremy’s efforts in the last election and the subsequent results which forced the government to turn to the DUP; sorry state of affairs is it not, one may ask?

The Cri de Coeur of criticism for Jeremy can now be heard from the Tories and others who clearly judged a very good book by its cover. It’s like your very own boomerang coming back and smacking you between the eyes whilst you are trying to impress a crowd with ego and prowess.

Now Jeremy is the bestseller and the others who were clearly in a perceived first-class seat can’t even get standing space on a replacement bus service.

The falling Tory membership is a clear indication of the present state that they are in and internal critics have had to bow and confess that they were wrong about Jeremy.

So, has he managed to tackle voter apathy? One may ask with eager expectation for an optimistic answer.

There is no doubt that in my mind the Blair years had a lot to do with people just giving up on politics, socialism is what they wanted; spin and the ‘Red Tory’ is what they got according to many opinions on the street.

Did they just hide and not come out to vote, or was it the MP expenses scandal that had a lot to do with the creation of voter apathy?

Younger people historically have never really shown much desire to engage in the political sphere and inner domains of politics; this is changing since Jeremy has become the leader.

Momentum is proving to be very information technology astute, a day doesn’t go by where I do not receive something in my inbox from Momentum HQ or from my local branch via Facebook interaction.

Has this new army of Jeremy Corbyn’s faithful foot soldiers eventually taken over a town called Apathy that was considering changing its name to a town called Malice seeing how fed up people had become of politics?

One can only hope so because of the danger surrounding the embryonic stages of voter apathy growing into voter stagnation.

We truly cannot allow a doubtful or fearful denouement of any election based on low turnout figures.

Obviously, we are not like other nations that require you to vote otherwise fines or imprisonment can be imposed, are we truly reliant on the personality cult to get us out and vote?  

Sadly, the consequences of this has been proven in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections where UKIP relied solely on the personality cult of Nigel Farage and it worked for them, the turnout in the 2014 European Parliamentary election was only 35.6%, whereas in Belgium it was 89.4%.

Is it any surprise that populism won the day and managed to access the open safe for the European Parliament’s salaries, expenses and chauffer driven Mercedes cars for UKIP MEPs?

I am sure Jeremy has learned that voter apathy turns into voter stagnation that in turn creates a recruitment ground for populists and the far right.

The working classes tend to contribute to voter apathy, but when they want to vote in protest it can be a very angry response to the climate of the day.

Where does Jeremy come into this? His members loved him, but an element of his own MPs were not so sure, he stood his ground and brought in an original brand of socialism that totally confused the faithful. No wonder considering the amount of ‘Blair & Campbell intoxication’ found in their blood streams when their levels were checked for spin exposure!

Where does the young vote come into this?

Well, it is blatant that Jeremy may have just overturned voter apathy in our nation. The last election was a total success for voter turnout in relation to the young vote.

For the first time in 25 years the figures hit a high note at 64% for voters aged between 18-24, in 2005 only 7% of voters in this age range came out to vote.

Was it a wake-up call?

Where were these young voters in earlier years?

Is it the case that the British Brexit Referendum result has created a new wall of defence against populism and the rise of the far right with young voters appearing at the ballot box?

With the rapid decline of first time buyers in the nation and the voter behavioural pattern of those in social housing always voting Labour; it is now apparent that the housing crisis may have given Labour the advantage at the ballot box in the 2017 General Election.

Private renters in the last election voted 54% for Labour and 34% for the Conservatives. Jeremy must be doing something right, that is a massive change from the 2010 election where 35% voted Conservative and 29% voted Labour.

Traditionally homeowners have a greater turnout but in 2017 private tenants had the greatest impact where the increase was 8% in turnout to 53% with most voting Labour.

In addition to this the suffering is continuing and the private tenants, mostly young people, are struggling to pay the rent each month. 33% of 25-34-year olds are having difficulties in meeting payments, this is out of a total of 1.3 million enduring difficulties in paying the rent.

Home ownership has been a tradition in the UK, unlike in the EU where renting has been the traditional option. Therefore, there is always living hope in equity; this isn’t happening any longer and young people are clearly turning to Labour to sort this crisis out.

So, what makes them turn to Labour, is it just policy or the clearly visible, plausible nature of Jeremy?

I am going to say it is the plausible socialist nature of Jeremy but what makes me say this? Jeremy made it clear that he doesn’t want to make Question Time a theatre but entails substance with questions that mean something to ordinary people.

He made it clear that he will be ‘resolutely political’ in the way he conducts himself in Parliament, in addition to this he has made it clear that “Political parties had written off young people, but young people didn’t write off politics.”

His view is that young people must be heard, the Momentum movement clearly has managed to encourage young people to engage and play an active role.

The membership of Momentum is just over 30,000 at present and is increasing. This is an indicator that participation at grassroot level is visibly evident in the formation of the many having a say and no longer the few making decisions on their behalf; Jeremy’s mantra chant is being placed in to action “For the many not the few”.

The attraction for young people is the digital technologies that Momentum has embraced, there are other activities such as political debates and greater interaction with the local branch where socialising and integrating where voices can be heard and acted upon are encouraged.

This movement is clearly a different way of doing politics and is not exposed to the traditional hierarchy structure of the local branches. People have been given roles with full trust to do so whereas, in the past these roles were designated to inner circles and paid staff.

Young people love the informality of Momentum and most of all it is grassroots, for once grassroots has been made to matter and this is where I believe young people have accepted and invested their trust in Jeremy Corbyn.

No young person seems to be a number but a force for change at grassroots level and an active participant with tons of interaction with technologies, in addition having the chance to vote for internal decisions.

The option to have information readily and quickly available is also another attraction like the ‘My nearest marginal’ site that gives activists knowledge on how to mobilise resources both human and practical in the event of an election including by-elections.

Momentum has clearly played a role in the rise of young participation in the electoral process.

However, there are factors like housing and poverty that are clearly linked to the higher participation of turnout and participation.

There is no doubt that Jeremy has managed to embrace the mindset of the young voter, how many past and present politicians can make that claim holding their head up high?

The answer is not many, that is a fact.

Sources: Ipsos Mori, Shelter & BBC Newsbeat.

Are the Tory Walls About to Come Tumbling Down? By Sarinder Joshua Duroch

What’s really changed since 1985?

It’s April 1985, the privatisation ethos is in full swing. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are facing the full wrath of Tory policies, individualism and the tyranny of the ‘I’m alright Jack attitude’ sent from the Tory south east of England has increased the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’…

I am now 44 years of age and it is fair to say I’ve seen the impact of Tory policies and unfairness, the memory of the violence that was displayed by the Police on behalf of the Tories to the miners and their families was totally abhorrent.

In fact, the news I was watching should have had a British Board of Film Classification certificate.

I will never forget the Police waving £20 notes at striking miners showing off their overtime pay, and shouting “thank you Arthur Scargill”.

Many were sent from the south east of England to the northern counties, Orwell was right when he said, ‘If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’ That boot certainly was faced by anyone who had a socialist bone in their body. As for the cities, the skinheads were booting people around with limited intervention from the Police.

The teachers strike was in full swing at the time. How could I forget, I would turn up to classes and got sent away, we would wander around the streets of Glasgow and be fearful if the then Strathclyde Police would give us a hiding for being truant from school.

Don’t forget for a moment I was subjected to a fear of the police and them using force due to what happened to the miners.

Even at that age we were told that the Police are pro Queen, pro Protestant and certainly pro Tory; what chance did a young Celtic supporter have if he was stopped and questioned?

Well, we move on to 2017, what chance has any youngster got when this generation is still being used as free labour? Back then it was the slave labour of the YTS (Youth Training Scheme) and today we have people being sent on work trials by the job centre and they work for nothing or their benefits are stopped.

Has much changed under Tory rule?

NO!

Not much has changed at all, we lived in the fear of the far right then and had to be subjected to hate crimes that were laughed at by the authorities and the Police, in comparison today it is not an exaggeration to say that it was a totally different world.

Hate crimes have increased but they are treated with urgency now not like in the past where if you took a hiding for being who you are then it was your fault according to the authorities.

One movement did make a difference to the socialist mindset and strengthened the will of many young people, it was the famous school children’s strike of April 1985.

10,000 school children took part in a strike against the Tory’s YTS scheme. Rightfully so given that they were expected to complete their schooling and be oppressed by the employer; who was probably enjoying the delights of the Chamber of Commerce meetings in smoke and alcohol filled rooms down in the golf club or some country club whilst the working classes could hardly afford a pint down in the Working Men’s Clubs of Liverpool.

The whole thing was designed to ensure that the children of those union members would become reliant on the wages of torture whilst business leaders profited from their misfortune of being working class children.

Well, the Tories had something else coming and that was the will of these young heroes who refused to be broken by the state and its attempt to supress the youth into submission, and make them subservient just like those in the colonies who joined the police and carried out the agenda of the masters.

Do not be disillusioned by the exploitation of cheap labour abroad by these corporations where there are little or no employment laws.

India is a prime example with the violations of child labour and the call centres that are in place to serve these corporations based over here. So, it is the same ethos of brutal corporate colonialism and appeased to by the subservient servants who are serving the cause and continuing the suffering of their own people.

Those kids in the city of Liverpool were striking for their future and without any arms apart from their school bags and uniforms off they went to the banks of the Mersey to show the government that their will cannot be broken.

In a time when there was no social media all they relied on was leaflets and word of mouth. They still managed to generate 10,000 kids, all achieved in a city where poverty was rampant because of the unfair policies aimed at the working classes.

The south east overall was relishing in the waves of new cash that was being made available by the sell off from public owned industries and the cash being generated from the boom that was created for the Tory voters in the south east.

As for the northern cities, their kids were taking up the cause of fighting for their justice and future opportunities there were no wages for their efforts only the hope of a better future.

When was the last time holding your ground for principle and morals paid you? The wages of sin only go to the sinful.

The odious Norman Tebbit who was the Education Secretary at the time made it clear that all benefits for 16 & 17 years olds will be stopped if they do not go into further education or if they fail to find work; they were forced to engage with the infamous YTS scheme.

Has much changed in 2017?

Today we have the increase in the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, corporations are booming from tax incentives and loop holes in the system where taxation can be avoided legally.

Yet we have people being sent to work on work trials for free and then sent back to the job centre to be humiliated for not securing employment!

We need the spirit of the school children who went on strike in 1985.

The will has not been totally broken to stand up for the change in government. I do believe we need to take on Orwell’s words and stand by them by not being afraid of political correctness that in result creates appeasement that silences our principles.

George Orwell ~

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, impostersthieves and traitors are not victims but accomplices”

Do we want to become the accomplices, or do we want to be like the kids of 1985 who were petrified of being suspended, or even arrested by the Police on some breach of the peace act or public disorder act being in place.

Don’t forget, now you can simply Google everything, back in 1985 you needed to learn your rights and know them well because it was deemed that you had no rights if you were northern, working class and the son or daughter of a socialist.

To remind the youth of today, I must express this example of what the Tories and their antics are really like.

We must agree that we are a charitable nation, are we not?

Yes of course we are.

I grew up at a time when the famine in Ethiopia was killing the whole nation, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure started the Live Aid campaign and it certainly showed the world that we are a charitable nation of substance.

Our working classes did what they could to raise money for the Live Aid cause and showed their charitable nature.

There is no doubt those who watched the scenes on the news were moved to the point where it left a psychological scar on the mind.

Watching children die in their parents’ arms and be subject to the torment of starvation really moved this nation.

It didn’t move the Tories or Thatcher though did it!

I will never forget her being collared by Bob Geldof because she refused to exempt the Band Aid record, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ from 15% VAT.

So here we have the working classes raising money for the cause to save the lives of starving children and doing something for humanity, whilst they themselves were still nursing the wounds of police batons from the miners’ strike.

Thatcher with a deluge of support from the Tories would refuse to exempt the record of VAT and return any tax made from the record to the starving children of Ethiopia.

A Labour MP at the time held Thatcher to account and asked her to refund the 15% tax. MP Al Morris of Manchester, Wythenshawe said:

“Every penny of this money was intended for starving children in Africa, and not for the Billy Bunters of the Treasury. You cannot praise the Good Samaritan and then mug him to the tune of 15% of his aid.”

“I want Mrs Thatcher to instruct the Treasury to find a way to refund their pickings from this wonderful event -which may run into many thousands of pounds.”

MP Morris became the first Minister for the Disabled in 1974 and his work played a huge role in passing legislation in 1970 for disabilities and chronic illnesses.

I wonder what he would have to say about the Tories and their antics with PIP and the indignation that disabled people must go through today.

So, what has changed since 1985?

Years later, in November 2014, George Osborne eventually surrendered to the idea of VAT exemption and informed Geldof he can keep the money for the Ebola cause.

Did he want to appease the working classes by making this decision or was he just as moved as his loyal tears for Margaret Thatcher at her funeral?

They say in politics that one must vote and speak with their conscience, so didn’t one Tory MP have the courage to stand up and hold the hierarchy of the Tory party to account?

At least in the Labour party Blair felt the wrath from Robin Cook over the Gulf war and had his own MPs holding their ground.

The Tories were and still are petrified of their leadership, any sign of change will be for their own financial gain or a power grab; not for the principles of humanity, that you can forget right this very instant.

So, what has really changed?

We still have massive profits being made by companies that bought our industries!

We still have cheap or total free labour.

The human trafficking situation is way out of control because profits before people is still the main concern of the Tory government.

People cannot make it to the end of the month financially, food and fuel poverty is a massive problem and zero hours contracts have been allowed to flourish without much opposition or questioning from the Tories.

We have had a recent increase in rail fares and buses are no longer the cheaper option for the working classes.

The 1985 deregulation act of our buses was implemented in October 1986, Labour Lords managed to create an amendment that prevented PM May from prohibiting local authorities from running a bus service back in 2016.

Labour made it clear that municipalisation must remain an open option to local authorities, thus allowing the opportunity of public ownership returning to the people who were victims of corporate theft by the Tory government.

Bus fares have risen faster than inflation and bus usage has fallen by more than a third causing more congestion on our roads.

So again what has changed since 1985?

It’s the same corporate tyranny supported by the Tory government, someone is certainly getting richer from all of this and it isn’t the people who are paying for all, that is a certainty.

Consumers must accept it or just simply must walk to their destination; the market is like a hostile takeover where three bus companies hold the monopoly they are Arriva, Stagecoach and First Bus.

The Tories have totally ensured that the working class pay for this proper, since 1995 to 2016 bus fares outside of London rose by 156% whilst the Retail Price Index rose by 77%.

What has changed since then?

This month saw another rail fare increase for the same quality service where delays, cancellations and not getting a seat is a daily occurrence.

As for the Tory faithful; the membership I am referring to, that is falling according to media sources and activists the figure could be under 100,000 members.

Is it the case that the autocratic ethos of the Tories has finally broken the will and participation enthusiasm when only 28% of them have a say on policy formation?

Could it be that many Conservative members have been mislead and when they visit their doctor’s surgery or local hospital the reality hits them straight in the face?

Maybe the reality of life hits them when they need to access the NHS or face unemployment.

Whatever the reason, brick by brick, this wall is tumbling down.

The next repetition we will be seeing is more seats like Canterbury becoming Labour; Canterbury was a massive victory and with Jeremy’s leadership more towns and cities will become Labour.

Whatever he is doing it is working and working exceedingly well the membership reflects that at over 500,000.

I will leave you with the lyrics of the 1985 song Walls Come Tumbling Down by the Style Council, it may just rekindle your desire for change of government and not stand for this social oppression.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5HfOipwvts

You don’t have to take this crap

You don’t have to sit back and relax

I know we’ve always been taught to rely

Upon those in authority

But you never know until you try

How things just might be

Are you gonna try to make this work

Or spend your days down in the dirt

You see things can change

Yes, and walls can come tumblin’ down

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Yes, they do

Yes, they do

The competition is a colour TV

We’re on still pause with the video machine

Until the unity is threatened by

Those who have and who have not

Those who are with

And those who are without

And dangle jobs

Like a donkey’s carrot

Are you gonna

Get to realise

The class war’s real

And not mythologised

And like Jericho

Yes, and walls can

Come tumblin’ down

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’

They’ll be too weak

To fight it

Oh, the world’s united

Oh, we’ll unite it

Are you gonna

Be threatened by

The public enemy

Number 10

Those who play

The power game

They take the profits

You take the blame

Are you gonna try

To make this work

Or spend your days

Down in the dirt

You see things can change

Walls can come

Tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Yes, they do

Lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Oh, lights go out

Walls come tumblin’ down

Source BBC Politics, Daniel Zeichner Labour MP for Cambridge.