The Tories, the leadership, tax and Brexit

The Tories, the leadership, tax and Brexit

Phil Burton Cartledge analyses the political platforms and accountabilities of the Tory wanabee leaders and their fetish with reducing tax by which they mean corporation tax. The FT reports on business’s response to the proposal, which is lukewarm. They point out that only businesses that make a profit pay corporation tax and that for a business of any complexity[1] and with decent accountants, corporation tax is voluntary. The FT article calls for broader support including demand stimulation albeit through tax cuts, but importantly they raise the issue of VAT on energy (but they pay that too) and  also investment incentives. VAT at 20% is ridiculous and the Govt. should reduce it; it can now we are out of the EU.

Phil talks about the conflicts in Johnson’s electoral coalition and the victory of the rentier capitalists in gutting any meaningful levelling up programmes, which have been reduced to crude electoral bribes. This is a long-term trend. We used to call it Regional Policy and I looked at New Labour’s failure to put this right; they were driven by unproven meso-economic theories and then polluted the programme with concerns about welfare to work and regional assemblies.

I should add that another cause of the failure of a levelling up programme is the loss of EU funds. While business is arguing for re-joining the R&D fund, Horizon Europe[2], some local authorities are now lamenting the losses of the European Regional Development Fund & European Social Fund. This was worth about €4bn[3] p.a. to the UK. The UK Government has never it seems been particularly good at getting EU money for business and people and yet the UK has many of the poorest areas Northern Europe.

It’s another necessary dimension of the ‘closest possible’ relationship. The regional programmes were first launched on the UK’s accession to the EU as a means of reducing the UK’s net contribution to the EU. It seems we’re missing them now.

[1] This does exclude most patron personal services companies so perhaps the policy is designed for them.

[2] Horizon Europe has rules that create an enhanced ‘multiplier’ effect.

[3] This includes UK Gov matching funds.

Image Credit: Ilovetheeu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons …

Some hope from the polls

Some hope from the polls

It would seem the polls are narrowing, with yougov reporting a Labour lead. I held off commenting because sometimes a single poll is rogue. The politco poll tracker reports the Tories on 38% and Labour up to 35%. The Tories have lost 5% (percentage points) since May and Labour are up 2%. Is this real and sustainable. Maybe! The Tories have adopted three policies that affect their base. Now that age is the key determinant of how people vote, it seems to be on par with hitting yourself in the nuts. Read more ...

Black Lives Matter

Over the weekend, there were many protest demonstrations about racism in the UK under the slogan #blacklivesmatter

There was violence at the demo in London, a police horse bolted after the police had decided to charge a bunch of protesters; it injured a protester, several statues inc. that of Churchill were defaced. In Bristol, the statue of Edward Colston a slaver, later a Tory MP and philanthropist was pulled down and thrown in the Avon. Both these actions have started debates, about Churchill, slavery, museums and how we do history in the UK.

The establishment was quick to apportion blame on the protesters, with Johnson calling them thugs, and Priti Patel yet again disgracing herself, but this is to avoid examining the racism within British society, the Tory led state and the Tory Party itself. Only when we, i.e. the people of the United Kingdom, have satisfactorily resolved the Windrush scandal, the hostile environment and, most recently the suppression of the report into BAME propensity and deaths from CV19 can the Tories have anything to say about anti-racism demos.

The Labour Party has its own demons to exorcise, apart from the record of the Attlee government in India and Africa, more recently there is the allegations of racism at the most senior levels of the Party towards its leading black MPs, and Keir Starmer, albeit in a longer interview criticised the Bristol demonstrators who had pulled down the Colston statue. He has been rebutted by Marvin Rees, the black Mayor of Bristol, who also criticised the Govt’s priorities and Dawn Butler, the black MP for Brent Central.

Len Duval, the Leader of London’s GLA Labour group issued a statement, in which he says, this must be a turning point. Anyone who disagrees is just not listening to their friends, co-workers, family and neighbours.

This is a challenge for everyone in the UK, together we can make a better society and move towards eliminating racism within our society.  …

Tory Conference Data Breach

Over the weekend, it seems to have been established that the Tory Party’s confence app suffers a major secutity flaw and that personal details of its users are available to all. While the BBC seem concerned that the ex-Foreign Secretary’s details are available, its of equal concern that all the journalists are also exposed. The maximum fine for any breach is €20m.

A further problem is that under the new laws, people who suffer a breach of rights no longer have to prove harm. This would seem to be a breach of rights and so will be treated at the serious end of the spectrum and there’s a low burden of proof.

Additionally I would add, this app It should have had a data privacy impact analysis and if deemed a high risk, permission needs to be sought from the ICO to deploy it.

The cyber-security controls should have been defined before and tested before and after the DPIA.

The Tories have 72 hours to notify the ICO of the breach and will need to consider remediation for each an every user impacted.

I am sure the ICO would not want the Tories to be their first case as they would like to have established a precedent based tariff; they wouldn’t want the governing party to be the precedent; expectations are that the ICO will be one of the more forgiving of the European data protection supervisory authorities. …

The end of (British) privacy

The end of (British) privacy

As the dust settles in Paris after the attack on “Charlie Hebdo”, politics in Britain returns to posturing as normal. Cameron states that the Tory Manifesto for the General Election in May will include promises to increase the legal powers of surveillance by MI5 to cover all communication. Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group writes a considered piece on what this might mean. The end of this road is prohibiting encryption for the use of ordinary law abiding citizens.  …

Left & Right Wing Rights

Left & Right Wing Rights

One of the big stories from the Tory Party conference is the resurrection of the proposal to leave the European Council’s Human Rights court. Several correspondents elsewhere question both the moral sense and the political tactics of pursuing this policy. David Allen Green has created a page on his blog to act as an index on the pro and anti views and includes links to the Conservative Party proposals and press release; the views of most lawyers are against the proposed reforms.  …

If Only

Last weekend, I went to see “If Only”, a play by David Edgar about the politics surrounding the formation of the coalition and a subdued appeal for the political parties to rediscover their identities; identity destroyed by triangulation.

If Only

Triangulation is a political strategy used mainly by social democratic parties and the US Democrats, of moving to the right and forcing your opponents to differentiate themselves by moving further to the right. It’s extremely cynical and extremely dangerous. However, if it’s just about winning, it clearly worked for a number of years for the Labour Party, isolating the Tories under the leadership of Major, Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. The danger in this strategy is that many of those who genuinely agree with the policies abandoned have no-one to represent them in the national political debate; the left in society become politically voice-less. A further danger is that neither the acolytes of triangulation nor their supporters believe in what is being said and promised by politicians, it reinforces the slur that all politicians are liars by making it the truth. …

The Coalition’s EU time-bomb

Thinking about de Grucht’s prospects of retaining his position on the Commission, led me to think what’ll happen to Cathy Ashton’s position. The Commissioners are appointed by each of the National Governments, and their term expires in 2014. I can’t see the coalition agreeing without splitting the Tory Party in Parliament. It might make this week’s House of Lords spat between the Tories and Lib-Dems look like hand bags at dawn.

Can this be brought to Parliament? …

For all your tomorrows…

I don’t need Ed Balls and Peter Hain to tell me how to decide to vote tactically, and I don’t need Tony Blair to tell me to vote for the party I believe in. I have never before voted for the winning candidate in a general election; I have just lived in Tory areas. I was quite excited when I voted in Camden but since that was 1982, (I think), I still didn’t vote for the winner. This year, I hope I will since I plan to vote to return Joan Ruddock  to represent Lewisham Deptford.

In the viral video,where, Cameron sings “Common People”,

the penultimate image is the statement,

It’s been a while since they were in power.
But there’s a reason for that.
They fucked the country before.
Don’t let them do it again.

Too true, I rember the ’80s. Some people are trying to suggest that it’s not enough to oppose the Tories, unfortunately for them it’s my vote and I remember the mess they left the country in. They are still only looking to serve the interests of a minority, so they’ll have to try and do so with out my vote.  Gordon Brown, once released from the straight jacket of Sky’s Leader’s debate, spoke from his heart at Citizens UK,

and reminded me, and many of us, the reasons we have always supported Labour and are on the left of the political spectrum.  Gary Younge, in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free”, reinforces this in an article called I hate Tories. And Yes, it’s tribal.

I’d also like to thank those Labour MP’s and councillors I have spoken to over the last six weeks reminding me that in the Labour Party, I meet people who will work with me to build a better society.

In order to be able to vote in Deptford I have left Hampshire East where there has been a boundary change, which means that my house has moved from an impregnable Tory seat, into a more marginal Tory/Lib Dem constituency. The Guardian writes it up on their web site here…, and there’s a largish Labour vote to squeeze. I am not a huge fan of Adam Carew, the LibDem candidate, but I know what I’d do if I was voting there.  The Tory can be beaten here.

The Daily Mirror has published a guide on how to vote for those of us to whom stopping the Tories is our main priority.  It is mine.

However, I have been drawn back into a small level of political activism through the campaign to stop the Digital Economy Bill.  In my blog article, called “Get your own facts”, I argued that supporters of internet freedom should ask their candidates what they think and make up your own mind.  ORG have offered you the chance to find out what your candidates think on digital freedom, their web page is currently at It’s crucial that you do. If the DE Bill is your priority, use the ORG tool to find out what your candidates think, although it’s probably a bit late now, or go and ask them. While some Lib Dems are arguing that their’s is the only party to offer repeal, it is my view that the 23 Labour MP’s who broke their whip to vote against the 3rd reading and the 20,000 campaigners have had an effect on the Labour Party who are beginning to listen, (like so many issues, a bit bloody late) and both the Green Party and the Pirate Party have better policies than the Lib Dems whose manifesto is actually silent.  Find out what your candidates think, understand the electoral arithmetic in your constituency and cast your vote accordingly. But remember, it was the Labour rebels who were & remain the true friends of internet freedom. The Lib Dem frontbench at no time opposed technical measures and disconnection and is still talking about curtailing piracy.

If you want a hung parliament, it’s a similar process, understand your  constituency electoral arithmetic, and vote either Liberal Democrat or Labour, which ever has the best chance of winning, unless you live in Brighton Pavilion, where voting for Caroline Lucas, the Green Party candidate may lead to the Greens getting their first ‘Westminster MP’. I feel that Parliament would benefit from having a Green Party presence, their best chance looks to be  Brighton Pavilion, where their leader, Caroline Lucas is standing. If I lived there, I’d be really torn.

If you want a fair voting system, again understand the constituency electoral arithmetic, and vote either Liberal Democrat or Labour, which ever has the best chance of winning, unless you live in Brighton Pavilion, where you should consider voting Green.  The Liberal Democrats want a proportional representation voting scheme, as occurs in most of Europe, Labour propose a new voting system to ensure every MP has the support of the majority of voters. There’s room for a compromise here, and as a Labour supporter, I want a truly fair voting system, if that means coalition governments from now on, then so be it….I have had enough of single party majorities, even my own.  Some people, Ed Balls, thats you that is, argue that coalitions mean that politics occurs behind closed doors, all I can say is that one party government does the same. Many of the Labour Government’s worst mistakes were made inside committee rooms to which to few party members, supporters and voters were invited. I think multi-party government will put the compromises, and the points of contention in front of the people and deals will have to be in the open.

If you don’t like the Mirror’s guide, check your seat at the Guardian’s election page, which I quote because it’s actually got estimated voting numbers, and the Guardian’s guide to tactical voting. …