by Martin Odoni

A Labour peer has resigned, because he has been exposed as a cocaine-user and hirer of sex-workers.

The Prime Minister says that the peer, Lord Sewel, should resign.

David Cameron has however remained stubbornly tight-lipped on the matter of his Chancellor of the Exchequer’s own alleged history of drug-abuse and of soliciting sex-workers. Or even his Chancellor’s apparent capacity to show up at the House of Commons on a voyage to Trip-Out City.

The stand-in leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, has so far been notably quiet on the subject. But then, it is bizarre what subjects she and many of her colleagues are able to keep their voices down about, and what can cause their voices to be raised.

For instance, the Labour Party is currently havering on the subject of harsh welfare cuts tabled by the Government.

They did not haver over, or even hesitate to oppose, the Tories’ plans to reverse the ban on Fox Hunting in England and Wales. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the policy, or the far greater degree of nuance in the Welfare Bill, Labour is sending out some very confusing signals; the party of the disadvantaged and the working poor is more steadfast in its defence of the welfare of vulnerable foxes than it is in its defence of the welfare of vulnerable people.

There has been welcome support in Parliament for Mike Sivier’s very necessary bid to get the real death-toll statistics, post-DWP-sanctions, made available to the public. But Labour is showing greater enthusiasm for revealing information than it is for taking any action on it, which again sends out a half-hearted message.

Jeremy Corbyn has emerged as a candidate for the Labour leadership who is so popular within the ranks that he could just be the man to unite the majority of the party, and his ideas and rhetoric have won considerable approval from the wider public, suggesting he might well lure back a lot of disillusioned voters as well. What has been the response of the leading Blairite figures in the party to the emergence of an apparent talisman figure? Hostility, spiteful public rejection, and pompous ‘I-know-best’ lectures telling the country that Corbyn is obsolete and that they, the Blairite elite, know what everyone really wants, even when everyone gives clear indication that they want the opposite.

The reaction of the Blairites to Jeremy Corbyn really has been the Eighth Wonder Of The World. That Corbyn has clearly chimed a chord with the public and captured people’s imagination should be seen as a god-send for a party that has just managed to lose a General Election to one of the most hated political parties in the history of (what passes for) British ‘democracy’. Instead, the exaggerated perception of Corbyn as a Marxian extremist seems to have blotted out their view, to the extent that they are actually in despair about the emergence of a real vote-winner, and are a lot less discreet about that than they are about the draconianism of the Tory welfare cuts.

The Liberal Democrats – yes they are still around, although not many of them – have appointed a new leader. Tim Farron is a dedicated Christian, and this has an interesting implication. His religious views led him to abstain on the Gay Marriage Bill and to vote against the 2010 Equality Act, which banned discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace. I may be cherry-picking topics somewhat here, but it is bizarre to reflect that the present Liberal Democrat leader has a less tolerant record on LGBT rights than the current Conservative leader, who introduced the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act of 2013. And we should remember that Cameron’s record in this area is not exactly glowing, given in 2003 he had loudly campaigned and voted against the repeal of Section 28. Farron insists he is in favour of equality, but will not be drawn on whether he thinks homosexuality is a sin. (His non-answer that “we are all sinners“, in this context, appears to imply that he does.)

So, we have a Conservative Party that decries drug-use while protecting a Chancellor who has a probable history of drug-use. We have a Labour Party that protects foxes more firmly than people, and that is more hostile to the first potential leader it has had in over ten years to whom the public are taking well, than it is to oppressive anti-welfare policies, while still claiming to be the party of the working man. And we have a Liberal Democrat leader who is less supportive of gay rights than a right-wing Tory but still claims to be passionately in favour of gay rights?

When I titled this piece Insanity, I was not referring to everything that was going on in Westminster, as such. I simply meant the mental disorder British politicians seem to be collectively suffering from if they think they are fooling anybody.

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by Martin Odoni

It is June 2012. The Chancellor Of The Exchequer, George Osborne, has flip-flopped on a policy to increase fuel duties. BBC Newsnight, never slow to offer a Conservative politician the opportunity to speak to the public, invites Osborne to appear on an edition of the show and explain the thinking behind the policy-reversal, and how it is to be funded. Osborne sends a junior Treasury secretary, Chloe Smith, to absorb the heat of Jeremy Paxman’s verbal flame-throwing on his behalf. She struggles and stumbles, and fails to explain anything adequately, and is largely sneered at and laughed at in the media the next day. There is just a note of sympathy for her in many quarters though, with sentiments along the lines of, “Why was this inexperienced junior minister sent to speak on behalf of the Chancellor? It was Osborne’s decision, where was he when it needed defending?” Where was he indeed? Even some of his party colleagues thought he was being cowardly.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

It is December 2013. Iain Duncan-Smith, Work & Pensions Secretary, attends a hearing in front of the Parliamentary Work and Pension’s Committee. He is surrounded by armed police officers, and even has a personal bodyguard protecting him. They are there to keep him safe from ‘frenzied attacks’ he is apparently expecting from a small group of disability activists. Three of the activists, let it be noted, are in wheelchairs.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

Later that same month, Duncan-Smith and his current lieutenant, Esther McVey, she of the blonde hair and bland intellect, speak at a debate in the House Of Commons about the rising use of food-banks among the British poor. Or more precisely, McVey talks about it in rather vague and dismissive terms, while Duncan-Smith refuses to speak at all in the face of a constant barrage of questions from Opposition benches He promptly runs out of the chamber in a hurry about one-third of the way through the debate.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

It is March 2015. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (heaven help them) receives a challenge. His first – somehow not only – term as Prime Minister is scheduled to end in the next couple of months, and with a General Election therefore imminent, the matter of campaigning in the media is now prominent in people’s thoughts. Five years ago, the Prime Minister, as then-Leader of the Opposition, had taunted his predecessor at 10 Downing Street, Gordon Brown, as being “frightened” to debate him live on TV. Now, with the boot on the other foot, the current Labour leader, Ed Miliband, is the man to throw down the gauntlet, demanding that Cameron debate him in a head-to-head on live television. Cameron refuses. He refuses various other suggested arrangements, including debates with a broad cross-section of leaders of various other parties. Eventually, after lengthy and frustrating negotiations with the parties and the TV stations, Cameron agrees only to a debate with a very crowded stage of party leaders from across the spectrum, and to a leader-audience Q&A session. He avoids a head-to-head, and he avoids being the definitive focal point of opposing leaders’ pressure, and thus leads many to think he is exactly what he once accused Gordon Brown of being.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

Still in March 2015, and the leader of the House Of Commons, William Hague, has decided to end the term of Parliament with an underhand coup against the Speaker of the House, John Bercow. Despite being a Tory himself, Bercow has been an occasional obstacle for the Conservative Party during the five years of the Coalition Government, and they would like to replace him with a Speaker who is likely to be kinder to Conservative ‘Honourable Members’. Hague has hit on the idea of a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker to be voted on in a Secret Ballot. The thinking appears to be that Tories are more likely to vote against Bercow if their choice is kept secret from him, as, in the event of his survival, he will supposedly be less likely to overlook them when they wish to speak in future. The vote goes against Hague, and there is a general mood of contempt from all corners of the House for the last-gasp nature of the motion he has introduced, giving almost no time over to discussion of its content. It is as though Hague is scared of what such discussion might have led to.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

It is July 2015. Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, the only Conservative to hold a Westminster seat north of the border, is visiting Dumfries, where he is, somewhat improbably, the guest-of-honour at the opening of a new food-bank by the Trussell Trust. Mundell has a rather dicey history relating to food-banks, having been one of a number in his party to rationalise the increase in food-bank use across the country as having ‘nothing to do with’ the sharp increase in poverty since the start of Austerity in 2010. While he attends the new food-bank, he makes a brief, cursory statement, but refuses to answer questions from the press. He makes a few rather pompous remarks about the importance of having an open, honest debate, and of politicians being willing to speak to people they do not agree with, and then promptly he scarpers through the back door to where his car is waiting. As he climbs into the passenger seat, he is surrounded by a furious crowd of about two hundred anti-Austerity protesters, who hammer on the car windows and make it difficult for him to be driven away. Mundell just sits there, staring ahead, refusing to acknowledge even that anything is happening, let alone to speak to people about their concerns. He cannot escape quickly enough. He cannot get away from these ordinary people quickly enough. The police soon intervene, forcing a pathway through the crowd, and only then can Mundell complete his escape.

Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.

It would not be greatly difficult to quadruple this list, and still have plenty of examples to spare of British Conservatives who are very afraid. Now, the 1980’s generation who served in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet was not exactly the epitome of political talent, but the Labour Party of the time would have seen today’s successors to Norman Tebbitt, Nigel Lawson, Geoffrey Howe et al as dream opponents by contrast. Yes, the modern Tory Party is as mediocre as it has ever been, not only intellectually, but also in terms of moral fibre. With the odd exception here and there, today’s Tories are neither intelligent, nor ethical, nor courageous. Defeating them therefore, for anyone with a half-decent brain, really should just be a matter of holding one’s nerve.

For what it is worth, I do think there are some half-decent minds in the higher echelons of the current Labour Party. I would probably not accuse the likes of Harriet Harman, their fill-in leader, or Andrew Burnham, their present ‘pin-up boy’, of being dim-witted. But I do seriously question their nerve. We need only examine their public behaviour during the run-up to the forthcoming leadership contest to see their shortcomings.

Firstly, we must assess the matter of Jeremy Corbyn’s re-emergence as a prominent party figure, and the panic-riddled response of the party’s neoliberal wing. Labour ‘big-wigs’ of past and present, but almost all from the time since Tony Blair took command in 1994, have insisted on having a very indiscreet say on Corbyn’s candidacy, and its evident popularity both within the party and around the wider population. Much of what has been said, especially by Blair himself, has quite frankly been thoroughly bitchy. Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna have even gone as far as to rule out very publicly ever trying to work with Corbyn in Government.

The words they use are clearly a symptom of a powerful terror of their own. They seem genuinely convinced that a move to the ‘real’ left would be very dangerous to the party’s future, even though remaining staunchly lodged in the centre-right throughout thirteen years in Government lost them around five million votes between 1997 and 2010. But I am not looking to discuss the merits or otherwise of that outlook here; I have done it in some detail elsewhere. My concern is what the Labour Party seems willing to condemn very loudly and publicly, and what they will only criticise very cautiously.

So secondly, we must look back to Monday last week, when the Government’s latest draft of ‘We-hate-poor-people’ legislation, the Welfare Reform and Work Bill was unveiled in the House Of Commons. There was disapproval of the Bill from the Labour membership, but this disapproval was most marked by its reluctance. Forty-eight of the party’s MPs rebelled and formally opposed the Bill, we must not forget, but the great majority chose to toe the party line laid down by temporary leader Harriet Harman, and abstained. This was rationalised by pointing out that there were several policies in the Bill they agreed with – action on work apprenticeships and a support program for troubled families. However the Bill also included a new and crippling lowering of the benefits cap, cuts to Employment Support Allowance, and most disturbingly, the outright abolition of child poverty targets. Somehow, Harman has apparently concluded that these draconian measures are ‘offset’ by a couple of redeeming moves on apprenticeships and troubled families.

Now initially, Labour did put forward amendment proposals, stating a form the Bill could take that the parliamentary party would support. But once the amendments were rejected, the party should have opposed the Bill in its present form. Not just made the odd disapproving noise, and then stood back. A number of Labour MPs, most notably Andrew Burnham – a man for whom I used to have high hopes but who has disappointed unswervingly since declaring his candidacy – dared to make firmly disgruntled noises beforehand, but when the vote arrived, they did not go as far as to oppose it. (The Bill still has further readings ahead before it can be passed, but any opposition to it Labour offers from this point on will look hollow indeed.)

That is quite bad enough in itself. But what really bothers me is comparing the way the ‘Blue Labour’ faction, from which most of the leadership candidates have emerged, reacts to something that is genuinely disastrous for millions of people, with the way it has reacted to the emergence of a leadership candidate who just happens to be some way to their left *. As mentioned, there have been loud, bitter, angry, spiteful objections from the Blairites to Corbyn’s candidacy, some of which have sounded almost childish and petulant (typical of right-wingers of a different hue), and, above all, with hardly a note of restraint. Even though the evidence suggests that it is absolutely correct that Corbyn is standing, as he is giving an outlet to the views and frustrations of a very large and otherwise-voiceless majority in the party, he does not embody what the Blue Labour-ites want, and so they throw tantrums, possibly to an anti-democratic extent.

But when the Tories are putting forward proposals to throw potentially millions of people on the scrapheap, the objections that the Blairites present are cautious, half-hearted, and never supported by action at the moment that it really counts.

So that is how things now stand; it is when fighting the Conservatives, one of the primary purposes for which the Labour Party was founded in the first place, that Labour’s ‘big-wigs’ seem to lose their nerve. It is when fighting members of their own party that they seem to lose their inhibitions.

Surely, it should be the other way around?

For one thing, Corbyn has shown plenty of signs that he is not easily bullied, and so spiteful and juvenile remarks hurled his way are unlikely to have much effect on him.

But for another, the Tories, as mentioned above, seem to show such astonishing lack of resolve when faced with firm opposition that Labour seem to be missing a wide open goal every time they spurn an opportunity to attack Government policy.

We can recognise the fundamental problem the Labour Party has; the preponderance of right-wing power over the mainstream media is such that any perceived action in a leftwards direction is likely to be met with the usual screeching and scaremongering about “British Kommisars” and “Trade Unions holding the country to ransom”. Such things have never really happened of course, and in any event are hardly as appalling a prospect as the potential for millions of people to go hungry in one of the richest nations on Earth. But even if the media noises are preaching a fantasy, it is a fantasy that Labour are worried people will believe. Thus, they become more scared of the deeds of the Left than they are of the deeds of the Right. It is the media that Labour fear, taking away their power of resistance, whereas it is resistance by anything other than themselves that the Conservatives fear.

The first step to reuniting the Labour Party is thus not to realign on Blair’s part of the spectrum, or indeed on any particular part of the spectrum. That is a decision for the leader to make once he or she has been elected. Instead, the first step is for the party to get over its own sense of fear of the media, which is what is causing it to turn in on itself. The party has to stop being afraid of standing for what it really is, and it has to be prepared to roll with the inevitable media punches thrown in its direction, and even then, remain almost obstinately true to its real self.

Once that is done, the Labour Party can play on the even greater fear that permeates the Conservative Party, the terror its membership feels for almost anyone or anything not of itself. Divorced as they are from the people they govern, the top of the Conservative hierarchy can never truly understand them, relate to them, except through coercion, or co-exist with them. The ordinary people are as foreign to the Tories as a fleet of invaders from another planet would be, and therefore are just as frightening.

That fear will always be this Government’s greatest weakness, greater even than their vacuousness, their ignorance, or their incompetence. Indeed, these other weaknesses arguably stem from that very sense of fear. It is the Tory weakness that Labour must attack.

But the fact that Labour shows an almost-identical fear underlines how the party has become too similar to the Conservatives, and is therefore just one more reason among many why a move to the Left, be it through Jeremy Corbyn or through another candidate, is clearly the healthiest option available.

_____

* Not, it should be mentioned, from the radical left, as most in the media are insisting on labelling Jeremy Corbyn. I would say he is more of a social democrat than a Marxist – he does not endorse the outright nationalisation of all businesses and markets for instance – and certainly by the standards of the 1980’s, when he originally emerged, his policies and views are not all that far to the left. It is only the artificial narrowing-of-political-thought of the last twenty-five years, now so heavily focused on the right of the spectrum, that makes Corbyn look extreme. I would say that I am probably more left-wing than Corbyn, and I do not even class myself as a Marxist.)

Anything left of total free market economics is considered radical left these days.

A fine sum-up of the ridiculous narrowing of political discourse in modern Western society.

Charlotte Church discusses Tony Blair’s verbal abuse of Jeremy Corbyn, the unexpected strengthening of the ‘Real’ Left the more it gets smeared, and Corbyn’s re-emergence in comparison with that of Bernie Sanders in the USA.

charlottesayshmmm

It’s difficult to know anything certain about modern politics. As Adam Curtis points out in his “Oh-Dearism” documentary, there is an emerging “strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused, a ceaseless shapeshifting that is unstoppable because it’s indefinable”. It’s diaphanous, a dark attic full of spider webs, and the intention of the political elite is to make sure you don’t understand.

Every now and again, though, a little light breaks through the murk, and lets us see what the machinating cluster of arachnids are up to.

It seems rather telling that the mainstream establishment is getting all shrill and scurrilous about Jeremy Corbyn. After the poll that said Corbyn would win the Labour leadership 6 points ahead of Andy Burnham, centrists, Blairites and Blairs fell over each other to slander the man himself, as unelectable, and then to scoff at his supporters. St. Tony of Baghdad, lobbyist to…

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by Martin Odoni

(Rhyming slang in the title completely unintentional. Honest.)

On the subject of Michael Gove’s cunning stunt (!) at a Minor Injuries Unit in Shepton Mallet the other day, the Daily Telegraph has since printed a ‘clarification’ – really should be called a retraction – in the small print, and an image of it has gone viral over social media. (The fact that it took some days for it to do so perhaps tells us something about how quiet newspapers are about printing retractions; it therefore took a while for people to notice.)

Anyway, here is the screenshot; –

Torygraph quiet retraction

The Daily Torygraph admits that a story they ran about the NHS was totally misleading. What a shock.

So we at least have an admission, doubtless prepared at the same time as the original story, that the information in it was thoroughly misleading. But the cynicism of this small-print retraction is underlined by the fact that it should have included a couple of other details social media users have uncovered with a little digging; –

Firstly, the Minor Injuries Unit that Gove attended in Shepton Mallet is part of an ‘outsourced’ medical complex run by the scandal-prone private firm, Care UK. (It should be emphasised that the unit itself is run by the local NHS Foundation Trust, and not by Care UK. I need to mention this, as the rumour seems to be circulating that the MIU is privately-run, when it is not.) It is interesting that while Gove was on this site, he was unable to get an X-ray performed by the private medical centre either, but that this shortcoming received no apparent criticism or even comment. Maybe he just had no money on him? Oh well, perhaps now he realises what his party intends medical care to be like for the rest of us?

Secondly, and more importantly, the Minor Injuries Unit does not have an Accident & Emergency department, and was never meant to have; the main purpose of the Community Hospital of which it is a part is post-treatment rehabilitation, not first-point-of-contact emergency treatment. To attend such a unit to check for a possible broken foot would therefore be stupidity bordering on infantile, like sending The Woodcraft Folk to war to fight the Red Army. Given this is Michael Gove we are discussing, I suppose we cannot entirely rule out such stupidity, but no, I think I am safe in my original conclusion that this was just a dirty stitch-up attempt.

There really should be prison sentences for the deceitfulness of the Conservative Party and its media allies, in their endless attempts to smear the good name of the National Health Service.

by Martin Odoni

The Tories seem to have decided that the people of Britain are now ‘the stupids of all Europe’. The worry is that they may turn out to be right.

The Conservative Party’s embarrassing love of set-piece publicity stunts hit an all-time nadir during the recent General Election, especially the laughable David Cameron ‘rally’ in a barn in Cornwall. But somehow, for all the blatant fakery and blundering throughout the campaign, and all the evidence of ‘substanceless-ness’ (to coin a slightly awkward word to pronounce) so-entailed, the Tories still managed to secure a majority in May. Admittedly it was with less than a quarter of the eligible electorate, but even so, there must be a damningly high proportion of stupidity in Britain for that to happen.

The Tories may have learned the wrong lesson from that i.e. that such set-ups are a clever tactic. But this week we can put that to the test, for they are quite shamelessly manipulating the media with more set-piece fakery that, I hope, will fool no one.

That is my hope. My worry is that it will fool tens of thousands.

Michael Gove, the most paradoxically-named ‘Justice Secretary’ in British history, as well as the most punchable export that Scotland has ever inflicted on England (revenge for the War Of The Rough Wooing at last? Alas, “the punishment doth greatly exceed the crime…”) has apparently had an ‘accident’ that may have ‘broken his foot’.

Now this injury ‘just happens’ to have afflicted Gove at exactly the time that Jeremy Hunt, the most paradoxically-named ‘Health Secretary’ in World history, has been trying to force forward unfunded plans for a 7-day-per-week full National Health Service. Just days after Hunt was bombarded with an angry Twitter-storm from NHS staff hash-tagged #ImInWorkJeremy, to emphasise that the NHS is operating at a very high capacity every day of the week already, thank you, the redoubtable Gove ‘just happens’ to have decided to use an NHS department to get his foot treated rather than go private, and ‘just happens’ to have decided he should do so on a weekend. And the fact that ‘there was no one available to give Gove an appointment’ was mysteriously known by the Daily Telegraph, and as Gove was hobbling out of Shepton Mallet Hospital on crutches (which he, also mysteriously, managed to obtain without being seen by a doctor), a photographer from the Telegraph ‘just happened’ to be passing and ‘just happened’ to have his camera at the ready and took a photo of him.

Now I said at the start that the Tories think we’re stupid, but really?

Do the Tories and the right wing media think we really are stupid enough to fall for that?

If they think this little stunt is even one percent convincing, they must think we have peanut butter where our brains should be.

If they think that people do not understand the dirty trick that they are trying to pull with the NHS, they must think we have no brains at all; –

It has been quite obvious since the day it was announced that the whole ’24/7 NHS’ policy platform of the Tories was a huge carve-up job. Having been meanly starved of funding for five years, the NHS is already badly overstretched, and now, by deliberately and cynically increasing its workload while promising no extra staffing or funding to lessen the renewed strain, the Tories are hoping to cause the system to collapse altogether. They wish to create such overwork and exhaustion of resources that the quality of care in the NHS plummets, then declare that the system is simply not working, and use it as an excuse to carve up and sell off what remains of public healthcare in Britain.

For years now, right-wing bloggers have denied that this is happening, insisting that the Conservative Party would never go so low, and that the services privatised so far have merely been ‘outsourced’ (as though a change of label means anything), but with last week’s failure by Hunt to rule out charges at the point-of-delivery, ‘never’ is, at best, a big overstatement, and with the current push for an unworkable new scale of service, ‘never’ looks frighteningly imminent.

Profit means more than care in right-wing minds, and that is why the Tories hate the NHS. It is why they hate the Public Sector. It is also why they keep carving them up, and we can be very sure that the death-throes of public health will happen soon, probably during this Parliament. We are going to have, in effect, random taxes on our illnesses from the unsettlingly near future. Those of us who are low paid will face times when we will have to choose between getting treatment for persistent illnesses and eating.

I beg your pardon, what did you just say? What?! You ‘did not know’?

You mean you did not realise that the death of publicly-funded healthcare was coming? You did not realise that Gove’s hobbles were another unashamed publicity stunt? You did not realise that the NHS had been, until Austerity started to eat into it over the last couple of years, the best health service in the world? You did not realise that all the changes that the Tories were making to it were not only unnecessary but actually harmful?

Well, some of us have been warning about this for years. Some of us have been marching through the streets to warn about it and protest against it. But somehow, you did not know?

Were you too busy obsessing over who was sleeping with whom in Coronation Street, which particular body part Kim Kardashian was having photoshopped in the mass media, and which Premier League footballer was getting which ludicrously-unearned wage increase, to notice things going on that will actually affect you and your family then?

Maybe the Tories are right then. Maybe the British public really are that stupid.

Please prove them wrong.

EDIT TO ADD:

I have no way of verifying this as yet, as I do not know who said it, but the following rumour has been put about on social media, and it seems to have quite a strong ring of truth about it; –

“He was in Somerset and went to Shepton Mallet, which is a tiny town which [only] has a Minor Injuries Unit… So he hadn’t even gone to a full-blown A&E, and he expected a 24×7 Radiologist and X-ray facility to be available at a Minor Injuries Unit? I used to live down there as a child – even kids know that you have to go into either Yeovil or Dorchester to get x-rayed etc. This is rural Somerset on a Sunday!

And here is the website for SM Minor Injuries Unit. Impressive complex, eh?

http://www.sompar.nhs.uk/our_services/adult_services/hospitals/shepton_mallet_hospital

More on this topic here.

Welfare and Tory Logic

July 21, 2015

Tory economic policy runs by the most startling syllogistic fallacy of them all, similar to; –

“1 My cat has four legs
2. Your dog has four legs
3. Therefore your dog is my cat.”

Origin of Specious

  1. When there are lots of full-time jobs available, few people live on welfare.osborne lying
  2. If you cut welfare, few people live on welfare.
  3. Therefore if you cut welfare, there will be lots of full-time jobs available.

Did you spot the fallacy? Compare:

  1. If I cycle to work, I do not walk to work.
  2. If you break my legs, I do not walk to work.
  3. Therefore if you break my legs, I cycle to work.

That is all the logic there is behind the argument for Tory Welfare Reform. It is all the logic there is behind their ‘Long Term Economic Plan’. The whole argument is a silly trick, based on the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Most of the Labour party have either fallen for it or are counting on most voters falling for it.

Please can we start teaching logic in schools?

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Excellent summary of why the ‘taxing generations yet unborn’ argument against Public Sector deficits is absolute nonsense.
c/o the Origins Of Specious blog

Origin of Specious

I don’t understand why trained economists find it so hard to understand the nature of government debt.

I mean trained economists like this one:

Why will the debt need to be serviced by future taxpayers?

Suppose, for simplicity, that the deficit is zero, that is, the UK government has say 1.5trn of outstanding bonds and isn’t issuing any more.

When each bond matures, the government has to find the cash to pay the bondholder, plus interest. But it can get the cash by selling another bond to somebody else. In other words, it can keep rolling over its ‘debt’ by continually transferring bonds from one bondholder to another.

‘Yes, but every time it does this, it will need to sell more bonds, to cover the…

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