Council tax support cuts target the most vulnerable

From the Whitstable Gazette 08/09/2016 Cut So Canterbury City Council are planning to cut the amount of support people get towards paying their council tax. Currently the council operates a council tax support scheme (CTSS) which limits the amount people … Continue reading Council tax support cuts target the most vulnerable

I voted leave in the name of democracy

OK, so I voted to leave the EU. It took a long time to reach my decision. I was pulled both ways. Pretty well all of my friends were voting to remain and it was difficult to find myself in opposition to people I love and who I had shared a platform with on more than one occasion, but that is where my deliberations lead me. The national debate took place almost exclusively on right-wing terms. It was all about immigration and the money in your wallet, with both sides twisting the facts to suit their agenda. There simply wasn’t … Continue reading I voted leave in the name of democracy

Austerity: a fancy word for class war

The business secretary, Sajid Javid, has ruled out nationalisation for Britain’s ailing steel industry. On the other hand, when the banks were in trouble in 2007, state aid was lavished upon them in mind-boggling quantities. In the period from 2007 to 2010, the British taxpayer directly subsidised the banks to the tune of £1,162 billion. Try thinking about that for a second. That’s one thousand, one hundred and sixty two thousand million; or one thousand, one hundred and sixty two followed by nine noughts. It’s a huge number. So huge, in fact, that it’s almost impossible to imagine it. But … Continue reading Austerity: a fancy word for class war

We’re being asked to make impossible choices

I’m just looking at Kent County Council’s budget consultation document for 2016-2017. It makes for abysmal reading. After asking us how much Council Tax we would be willing to pay, it goes on to offer a series of increasingly impossible choices. We are asked to identify the most and the least important services from a set of lists of what £1,000 of council spending buys. There are 14 lists altogether. Here are some examples: Twenty two faulty street lights to be repaired; sixty two attendances by a young person at their local youth centre; five hundred journeys on subsidised bus … Continue reading We’re being asked to make impossible choices

Jeremy Corbyn: Quantitative Easing for the people

I’ve been wanting to write these words for a long time. If democracy is rule by the majority, and monarchy is rule by an individual, then what is capitalism? It is rule by those with capital, of course. Rule by the rich. That’s such an obvious statement that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone saying it before. We all know that our monarchy is just for show. The Queen makes a dazzling display on the state opening of Parliament, wearing the crown and the royal robe, shimmering in all her jewellery under the TV spotlights, while summoning the commons … Continue reading Jeremy Corbyn: Quantitative Easing for the people

The austerity fairy story

In my last column I referred to austerity as “fake”. You may have wondered what I meant. I’m not the only person to have understood this. Prior to the election Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote an article in the Guardian calling austerity “a delusion”. Other people have described it as “a con” or as “a myth”. Two thirds of economists surveyed by the Centre for Macroeconomics disagreed with the statement that Government policies since 2010 had a “positive effect” on the economy. Even the Treasury’s own forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, estimated that austerity slowed down … Continue reading The austerity fairy story