Tag Archives: British

Marry for Money and Work for Nothing

My first quarrel is about the Marriage Tax Break suggested by the Conservatives. This is yet another policy which has the sole purpose of pleasing old fashioned back benchers. Backbenchers who put their ideologies, often religious, over the well-being and happiness of the people they represent. Although you can easily argue these back benchers don’t represent those who don’t fit into the ‘traditional family’. This is a tax break designed to fit the conservative idea of a perfect family. A father, a mother and their children but they don’t seem to understand this perfect family is not the only family. I would argue that although this traditional family may work for many people it’s not the only option for the perfect family. I would say I’m part of the perfect family! Me, my mum and the dog.

Rewarding a household because they fit into this imagine of the ‘perfect’ family is not only insulting, it’s positively dangerous! You’re not in fact encouraging people to stay together for love and their children. You’re encouraging people to stay together for money. This will simply show peoples commitment to their bank accounts. If a struggling married couple stay together for this tax break this is NOT a sign that they love and care for each other, it’s a sign they love and care about money. Personally, I think this is a toxic message to try and spread. It will only result in more unhappy people and more hostile households for children to be brought up in.

We are in 2013. We need to step away from the idea that a family is a mother, a father and their children. A family can take many forms from a single parent to a gay couple and their kids. Who are we and who are the government to judge a family simply on who is part of it?

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Another thing bothering me is the proposal to make the long term unemployed work for their benefits. The first thing that springs to my mind is if you’re making this person work a FULL TIME job for £71 a week jobseekers allowance why can’t we just give them that job? Minimum wage for an over 21 is £6.31 an hour. In the UK you have to be working 35 hours a week to be classified as a full time working. That equates to £220.85 a week which means people who have to work for their jobseekers will be underpaid £149.85 a WEEK for the work they are doing. Does that seem fair to you? Because it sure as hell doesn’t seem fair to me! That’s a job that obviously needs done, so pay that person to do it. If they choose not to take it they must not want to work that badly or they have a bad attitude and they see themselves above it. In that case, they’re obviously not really seeking a job therefore these is no point in giving them jobseekers allowance.

This is no longer the government ‘helping’ people get back into work. This is the government using vulnerable people as near enough slave labour.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for providing the long term unemployed with work experience but work experience to me is 2 days a week in a charity shop not 30 hours a week scrapping graffiti off walls of run down areas. Keep in mind that’s not all they have to do! They also have to spend 10 hours a week searching for a job in a job centre therefore the government is, in a way, giving them a 40 hour a week job but paying them £71. You must also take into account transportation, if you are only given £71 a week what is the likely hood of being able to run a car and what is the likely hood of being able to afford public transport. I don’t believe the government will providing free bus passes or travel to and from the “jobs” and job centres so are the unemployed expected to pay for this out of their own pocket?

I’ve heard many stories of people who are long term unemployed sending 100s of a CVs away a week and still not finding jobs. People who spend all day every day searching and applying and yet getting nowhere. Does this Conservative government genuinely think that condensing all that searching into 10 hours a week will get people into work? I don’t see how that makes any logical sense whatsoever.

This is not helping people getting into work. This is borderline slave labour. This is forcing people into doing work for hundreds of pounds less than they should. Yet they even have the audacity to call it the ‘Help to Work’ scheme! Who are they helping? From where I stand it looks to me like they’re taking away legitimate jobs from people. Instead telling the unemployed they’re expected to this once paid job for nothing but the benefits they were already receiving.

It’s a joke.


Representation and Socialism

My friends and I have been fascinated with the Political Compass for a while but one thing that always bothered me was how the major parties, according to their charts and research, are not all that different. This made me think – If I’m not truly represented, how many people are? With this in mind I got some family and friends to do the PC Test and send me their results. The results, in my opinion, were unanimous. Even those who were to the right were still not truly represented never mind us poor lefties.

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With the two main parties, Labour and Conservatives, both in the top right and extremely close together is there any party with a chance at government who seems to represent the masses. It certainly doesn’t seem that way. Many people made the comment “well I guess I’ll start voting green then!”

But in a First-past-the-post voting system is that even viable? In my opinion there are probably three options.

1. We need an overhaul of the voting system. People who know me may know I voted ‘No’ to AMS last year. That is a decision I almost immediately regretted. My logic was that an AMS system may result in undesirable parties such as BNP and UKIP gaining a fair few number of seats, but why are the major parties all that more desirable. Granted, there isn’t the same degree of bigotry but at the end of the day it seems most parties are just looking after their rich buddies. If the AMS vote was to be held tomorrow I would vote ‘Yes’ without hesitation. When voting anything but Labour, Conservatives or SNP is viewed as a wasted vote there is something very wrong and how, in a democratic country, can a vote ever be a wasted one.

2. Labour needs to go back to ‘Old Labour’. Let’s face it, as a party that is still affiliated with Socialist International they’re pretty piss poor socialists. The Labour manifesto has not even contained the term ‘socialism’ since 1992 and yet this is meant to be our alternative to the Conservatives? What alternative is there actually being proposed when they’re still struggling to get away from Blairism. Thatcher was asked what her greatest achievement was, she replied, “Tony Blair and New Labour. We forced our opponents to change their minds.” Well now it’s time to change them back. Now it’s time to go back to ‘Old’ Labour. The change in Labour throughout the years is simply staggering.

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3. We need a new party on the left! This, I think, is the most important thing if not only as another option but to force Labour into thinking about their current ways and possibly changing them. There are of course a number of real left leaning parties such as the SSP and Respect but nothing with a solid leadership and the ambition to go to the masses. With growing movements such as the People’s Assembly this is starting to happen but it’s not nearly vocal and big enough. Without following Owen Jones on Twitter, a columnist for The Independent and self-proclaimed “fourth generation socialist”. I would never have even known The Peoples Assembly existed. However they still only have two groups in Scotland! One in Glasgow and one in Fife.

As I said before even the people I know on the right do not truly line up with the political parties nowadays and those on the left, well, they aren’t even close. Though one thing I found truly fascinating was although most people I talked to were left to very left many cringed at the idea of being a Socialist.

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(Ignore my appalling photoshop skills)

Why do people want to stay away from the term socialism so much? I put it down to the fact that it is often said as a form of extremism as is often the case in America. This is however not the case, socialism is not some big scary ideology that will take away all of your personal wealth and make sure you will get paid the same as the person the empties your bins twice a week. Communism is, incredibly, just the most extreme version of socialism. As fascism is the most extreme version of authoritarianism and anarchy of libertarianism. I also found that people (including myself) often look at capitalism and socialism as black and white when there are hundreds of shades of grey. As I say in my ‘About Me’ I believe in Social Democracy which is a sort of lovely mix of the two in which people have the ability to make personal fortunes but not at the detriment of their fellow man.

Unsurprisingly this brings me back to my first post. Just because some silly Republicans in America use socialism as an insult don’t be afraid of calling yourself one and before you dismiss it entirely, research it. It may not be as bad as you think.

For those of you interested the following chart is my results from the Political Compass and if you are interesting in taking the test yourself you can take it by going to –http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

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Feel free to post your test results and compare.


Be Loud and be Proud

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the state of politics and how there are two main parties yet there are endless political opinions.

This made me think.. Do the EDL have the right sort of idea? Not politically, of course. In fact I would argue they’re verging on a hate group but they’re vocal and they’re out there! Most people don’t agree with them, most people could go as far as saying they despise them… But they’ve heard of them. 

So this had me thinking – Should we all be so vocal? Do you have something that you believe, that you are passionate about? Why keep it to yourself when there could be thousands of people that agree with you.

We should be arranging marches and petitions. We should be telling the government what we want rather than complacently saying, “Oh. Well I guess they know best.” We voted them in. They are meant to be representing US! This is not a dictatorship they are there for the people. 

Maybe you’re right. Maybe one letter to your local council member won’t make a difference. But i’m pretty damn sure 1000 will! If you don’t like something and your friends and family don’t like something your next door neighbours don’t like something, stand up and shout, “Mr. Councilman/Mr. MP/Mr. MSP WE WANT CHANGE!” 

 

This leads me onto one of my biggest pet hates. The idea that political opinions are private. The idea that you shouldn’t be discussing politics in case you, god forbid, offend people. A colleague of mine once told me, “You should never discuss politics or religion in the work place.” Why not? Politics is a very important subject! The fact that we both worked there, was in essence, politics. Everything, EVERYTHING is effected by politics. 

We as Brits are constantly talking about the weather as it’s always there and it’s always ‘interesting’ small talk. Politics is always there and it’s an awful lot more interesting that the weather so why can’t we talk about that too? If you have an opinion on something then don’t be afraid to talk about it. You may not want to because you aren’t very knowledgeable on it. Discussing and debating could be a fast track route to learning an awful lot more about it. 

 

I have a good friend in which we share very few political similarities. Yet we discuss it constantly, as everyone should. This means that we both can look at the other side, we can both try to understand where the other side is coming from. I can tell you one thing for sure – It has helped us both cement our political ideologies. 

 

And on that note I wish to leave you with this – Talk about politics! Talk to your friends, your family, your neighbours dog. Just talk! You may learn something new, you may teach them something new. You may even recruit someone into your way of thinking or, fingers crossed, get someone who wasn’t interested in politics really into it!