Friday, 16 July 2021

Why the Young Hate Capitalism

I've been meaning to write this article for a couple of weeks now, but I've been somewhat side-tracked, what with my wife just giving birth to our baby daughter and me having a bazillion things to get sorted at home. But things have finally settled down, giving me time to actually write, and today's outburst from Keith Starmer, sorry, I mean Sir Keith Starmer has presented the perfect opportunity to finally get the article done.

If you're unsure what outburst I'm talking about, Sir Keith was addressing some of his fellow Tories in Blackpool, who were coming up with the usual tripe about how young people "don't want to work these days", and rather than defend the exploited workers his party was founded to represent, Sir Keith responded with some crap about how "you will always find people who don't want to work".

If you're anything like me, those words probably made you shudder because they could only come from the mouth of someone detached from the real world. It's not work people fear, it's exploitation, and the exploited are the hardest working people among us by far.

For the longest time, I genuinely believed hard work would be the route out of poverty, the doorway to a better life, but capitalism had other ideas. I went from being top of my year at school to long-term unemployed at an age I could and should have been attending university. It would be easy for a comfortable person to dismiss me as someone who didn't want to work, that my circumstances were the result of my failings, but the truth is that when a young person finds themselves in my position, it is not their fault, it is the fault of the system.

In Denmark, they will actually pay you to go to university, whereas in the UK, I was ordered to drop out of college because otherwise the DWP were going to stop my benefits. I'd already paid money for exams I was not allowed to sit and the college refused to provide a refund, knowing what a desperate position I was in, even though the exams were 18 months away. I then found myself out of college and in the impossible position of competing for jobs I was "overqualified for" while sleeping on my friend's couch.

Employers didn't want to give me a job because they would point-blank say my grades were too good and I should be at college or university! They would say obviously a guy like me won't stick around for two minutes on their minimum wage job, but when I applied for better paid jobs, I did not even get a reply. Those jobs required better qualifications. I was caught in the middle. And one thing I certainly fucking wasn't was work shy.

I remember when I finally did get a job, I was volunteering to work every hour under the sun, pushing myself to the limit, doing everything I possibly could to impress while working myself to exhaustion for shitty wages. In my naivety, it never occurred that my bosses weren't interested in being impressed by me, they just wanted to grab me by the balls. 

Our line managers wanted the credit and rewards for our hard work, knowing if they gave the credit to us, that might've meant one of us taking their jobs. Their managers just wanted to ensure our managers were ensuring we made them ever richer while performing our monotonous tasks during our 12 hour shifts for essentially no financial reward. 

When your wages are only covering your basics, and only when you're working so much overtime, you would have no time for a social life, even if you could afford it, you are not an employee, you are a slave with the right to find another slave owner.

We were being spoken to like shit while working our socks off, and we were all depressed when it finally dawned the job was essentially our lives, other than going home to sleep or pay bills, and really it was no way to live. It was the kind of thing which inevitably breeds resentment, but what did we know? We were Generation Entitlement.

We, who worked longer hours and had fewer opportunities and were seeing living standards fall before our eyes, we were entitled and workshy and the people exploiting us were the deserving ones. Laughable.

Here's the thing: there is no such thing as a person who does not want to work. You probably immediately rejected that statement, but think it through and you'll realise it's entirely true.

Humans evolved to live collectively and work together for the common good. When people live this way, that's when they are at their happiest. Take, for example, hunter-gatherers in the Amazon living the way we all once lived. Not only do we find they are the most contented people on Earth, we also find they are perfectly happy to work with one another for the common good. There are no shirkers in their tribes. Why? Because there is no exploitation.

Most humans instinctively want to care for one another, most of the time, to make life better for ourselves and for the people around us. 

Just imagine if we were all doing worthwhile jobs like installing solar panels and building wind turbines instead of chasing people for unpaid bills in call centres or serving junk food in McDonald's. Imagine the sense of pride we'd have knowing our contribution mattered, rather than working some non-job arbitrarily created by capitalism for the sole purpose of making profit with no underlying moral purpose.

Life should be about furthering humanity and taking everyone along with us, not leaving people behind.

If everyone was earning at least a living wage and sharing in the successes of their companies and appreciated for their contributions and treated reasonably and expected to work reasonable hours, how many people would be shirking? The answer is not many and it would be pretty easy to give those that did shirk a nudge because they wouldn't be so exhausted and depressed. 

Capitalists are sometimes their own worst enemies. Just look at Sweden and how its 30-hour work week saw productivity shooting up. Apparently there are better ways to motivate people than threatening them with unemployment and destitution. Who knew?

Capitalism has exploited the best elements of our nature to serve capital interests, while appealing to the worst parts of our nature to ensure we remain compliant and protect the broken system. And it's a system that truly is broken. The only people who can't see that have not found themselves in an exploitable position - the people with privilege.

There is a particular irony that most of these privileged people come from a generation which benefitted so greatly from an idea they despise so much; that idea being socialism.

Imagine being a person in a high-powered job who enjoyed the privilege of free university tuition, then fought tooth and nail to ensure younger generations were denied that same privilege. Imagine thinking it's fairer to you that they either start working life tens of thousands of pounds in debt, or don't attend university at all. Imagine climbing the ladder of socialism and kicking it down, then placing a tax on aspiration. That's what the Tory boomers did.

If these people truly believe it's right and proper that students pay tuition fees, then surely they should repay the cost of their university tuition, plus all the interest they would've accrued. How can anyone sensibly argue against this? No reasonable person could, but the sad truth is, these people never were interested in a fair system, they were only ever interested in accumulating and consolidating their own wealth, no matter the difficulty this would cause for the generations who came after them. That is the conservative mindset.

University tuition fees is just one example, of course, but it's such a strong example because it represents one of the biggest barriers to social mobility. It ensures people like me find it almost impossible to aspire to better and are forever trapped in the struggle, working crappy, underpaid jobs.

Once upon a time, if you found a job, you had guaranteed rights, you knew what hours you were working, and you had at least a degree of stability in your life. Things were far from perfect for the working class, but at least people knew where they stood. Today, if you're a working class person going into the job market, what you find is zero hours contracts offering minimum wage.

There's every chance you're one of the smart and talented people who couldn't afford to go to university, but you're every bit as capable as those upper middle-class types whose parents paid for their tuition and are now earning £60,000 a year or more. You're every bit as hardworking as them and no doubt determined to better yourself, but you're turning up at work in some shitty factory and you're standing in a line with all the other recruits, having caught two buses in the pouring rain, and then your boss says, "Sorry, you're not needed today. You'll have to go home."

And so you're travelling back home, getting another two buses while it's pissing down, and you're wondering how the hell you're gonna pay rent because your landlord wants 50% of the salary you aren't getting, so you can pay for his mortgage and a nice bit of profit on the side. This landlord is one of the blokes always whining that your generation doesn't want to work, while he's happily leeching off you so he can go into early retirement.

The system is fucked. And by system, I mean the housing market just as much as I mean the job market because the two go hand in hand and have an equally huge impact on your quality of life.

The simple fact is if you're paying more in rent than your landlord is paying in mortgage instalments, he shouldn't own that house, you should. He is leeching from you. Capitalism has put him and his fellow Tories into a position where you and people like you have no choice but to buy a house for these dickheads. Imagine them having the nerve to call your generation lazy. The absolute fuckers.

In their day, they had the option of renting affordable, high quality housing from the council and taking advantage of the Buy to Let Scheme. They also had the option of buying in a private housing market where properties were 1/6 as expensive relative to annual income. It was easy for them to buy houses and now they sneer at you for being "work shy" and claim that's why you can't afford to buy your own property while you're buying a property for them.

Landlordism is theft. And trying to get a council house involves a wait of about seven years, last time I checked. It could well be longer, depending on your location and circumstances. In many places, the chances of getting a council house are almost zero and those lucky few who do get one today are paying commercial rents. The councils are ripping people off as much as the private landlords are. The absolute state of it.

And they wonder why you hate capitalism.

When your boss is sending you home, you're in a blind panic about how you'll pay rent. And when he's not sending you home, you're volunteering to work every hour under the sun so you can make up the shortfall. Your boss is treating you like shit, he's talking to you like the scum of the Earth and he knows you are powerless because you can't just walk out and find another job. He also knows he can sack you on a whim, if you dare raise anything resembling a concern because your rights to sue are pretty much non-existent.

Your boss could demand you suck his cock if he wanted. That's where capitalism is at. It's empowering the few to a grotesque and totally immoral extent at the expense of the many. And those many exploited workers are disproportionately young, born to working class parents, and so often from an ethnic minority. 

This is why minority groups tend to be overwhelmingly left wing. And it's why it sticks in my throat when idiots boo taking the knee because they don't like the politics behind a Black anti-racism movement, or when the Labour leader says he has "no truck whatsoever" with the Black Lives Matter organisation.

The class struggle and the fight for racial equality go hand in hand, and when the Labour leader thinks he can co-opt an antiracism movement for liberals and tell Black people they're doing antiracism wrong, he doesn't just betray the Black community, he betrays the working class struggle too. 

Liberals, of course, are capitalists, and they so often find themselves walking hand in hand with the fascists they pretend to oppose. 

There was an amusing Twitter post recently where a liberal had joined a parade demanding regime change in Cuba, and they were shocked to find themselves surrounded by Trump supporters. It did not occur to them that they too were imperialists and enemies of the working class struggle. They had deluded themselves into thinking they were somehow the good guys as they supported an illegal blockade which causes needless poverty and blamed the victims of that blockade for the cruelty they chose to inflict on them.

There is a horrible lack of self-awareness with liberals who, let's face it, are just conservatives who think they're woke because they attend pride festivals (which is a good thing by the way), but they shudder at the thought of making any change that might threaten their economic privilege - not change to make them poorer, just to make others a little less poor.

Liberals will sometimes take superficial stances against bigotry, but they fail to understand the biggest bigotry of all is the one they show towards the poor. Classism. They also fail to understand classism and racism are pretty much the same thing - racism is mostly just classism with colour or ethnicity as the dividing line. For some reason, rich white people love creating underclasses with people of a different skin colour to them.

This same mindset is why we see so many resource-rich nations with impoverished people as western companies suck the wealth from them. They do it because they can and because they know that hierarchies, whether that be hierarchies of nations, or hierarchies within nations, are excellent ways of maintaining control. They divide people, and they keep everyone, bar those at the bottom rung, terrified of falling down the ladder. They compel people to kick down, rather than punch up, and then come up with the most contrived reasons for why those below them deserve to be kicked.

But today, capitalism is going too far. It has left too many people behind, including some of our smartest and most talented individuals, and when you condemn us as workshy or entitled, when your wealth is built around exploitation and imperialism, and when we've watched you sanction countries for no reason, and bomb the shit out of others so you can steal their resources, while you've walked shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the worst human rights abusers on Earth, we can't take you seriously. 

We see you violently suppressing antiracist movements at home, taking away our right to peacefully protest, suppressing votes in elections, and jailing whistle-blowers for exposing your crimes. We see you participating in genocide in The Yemen, supporting apartheid in Palestine, overturning democratic elections in Latin America, and all the while we see you destroying this planet, sending us on an inexorable course towards climate destruction, knowing you will not be around to suffer the consequences, but the generations you label as "lazy" will.

This is why the young reject capitalism.

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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

White Privilege Is Real: A Perspective From the White Underclass

If I've read the news correctly today, the Tories are now saying the reason white, working class kids are left behind is not the government's crap leadership and total indifference to poverty; it's actually people talking about white privilege. Yes, if you've ever spoken about how black children are unfairly disadvantaged, then you are the cause of white poverty because you've made school teachers neglect white kids or something...

I know, it makes about as much sense to me as it does to you!

We are genuinely expected to believe the problem in society is school teachers and black people who dare to complain about inequality. But on the plus side, at least they're not accusing us white parents of being feckless layabouts who make bad lifestyle choices and neglect our kids to spend our Universal Credit on cigarettes and alcohol. That's not this week's narrative, but it will probably be their fall back next week when their latest BS falls flat. It's exhausting trying to keep up with all this.

Anyone else sick to death of the Tories' divide and conquer BS? Whenever we talk about tackling poverty, they tell us the poverty isn't real, yet the moment we talk about white privilege, they tell us white kids are impoverished, yet they refuse to apologise for leaving them behind.

Our government has slashed funding to youth services and closed SureStart Centres and created a punitive benefits system and lumbered working parents with low-paid jobs and won't even feed hungry school kids, unless a professional footballer publicly shames them into action. 

I can't believe those awful school teachers and woke people are letting this government neglect just happen! Won't somebody think of the white children? 

Well, the Tories certainly won't think of the white children. They don't give a crap about you, no matter what colour you are, but that doesn't change the fact, capitalism's underclass is composed of a disproportionately large number of black kids. I mean if black kids really were getting all this favouritism, they would be thriving, wouldn't they?

Now, I've seen both sides of this. I was part of the white underclass the Tories are suddenly pretending to care about and I was raised during the Thatcher/Major years when there was no imaginary woke culture. Today, I am a father of black children and I resent greatly the idea of pitting black against white to absolve the government of their crimes. Seriously, the Tories can go and fuck themselves.

My struggle was the result of Thatcherism. Plain and simple.

I still remember the embarrassment of collecting my free school meal token back in my high school days. I remember going into the school hall and laying my knock-off NUFC coat on the floor (because we didn't even have cloak rooms) and enviously looking at the kids who had the proper, official NUFC coat (not the fake which looked like it was made from a bin bag!) as I joined the back of the peasant queue. 

And I tell you what, it was a pretty worthless feeling. Even though many kids, probably a majority, were collecting their free school meals token, that feeling of having nothing, and having your poverty publicly highlighted, it affects you. It makes you feel like a lesser kind of person.

My crappy 95p token was not even enough to buy a proper meal. I used to get a cheese savoury sandwich, a tiny cup of diluted blackcurrant juice and a packet of pickled onion Space Raiders almost every day (thank God for 10p Space Raiders!) and I would still feel hungry after I'd eaten my meal. I'd spend the afternoon struggling to concentrate with lightheaded-ness, and I suspect this is one of the reasons I underperformed at school. I remember the teachers lecturing me, telling me I should do better, and as they were waving their finger in their office, one question would always come up: "Have you taken anything?"

"No, I'm just hungry and tired," I would say to myself. I didn't actually say anything to them. I just shut my mouth and stared at my shoes until they let me escape the office. And then I would return to daydreaming in the classroom and not having a clue what the teachers were saying, most of the time.

Thankfully, I was lucky. I would still find myself outperforming my peers whenever it came to test time so something was somehow sticking in, but one thing I was never able to be, was academic, and while part of that was unquestionably the way I was wired, another part was my teachers didn't understand how to relate to me, and another part was poverty.

They were other factors, of course. Things like if you always handed your homework in on time, you were called "swot" and I certainly didn't want to be the nerdy, quiet one. I wanted to be  cooler and more rebellious than I was naturally inclined to be, so yeah, peer pressure played its role too.

And, growing up in a rough council estate and attending school in an even rougher estate, just up the road from riots which made national news - the Meadow Well Riots - this certainly shapes you. 

It meant we eventually reached the point when teachers asked if we'd taken anything, we really had taken something, because we were sneaking off to our mate's house on our breaks to smoke cannabis that another mate stole from his drug dealer aunty while his uncle was in prison, and returning to class stoned to get us through the sheer monotony and the yelling from teachers. 

So, yeah, we never had any privilege, not in an obvious sense anyway, but at least we can say our skin colour was not one of the reasons we were left behind. We were judged for many things, but the colour of our skin wasn't one.

We used to walk down the old railway lines to the Silverlink retail park to check out the latest videogames on the display unit in Comet, but the moment a security guard spotted us, we'd be asked to leave because we obviously seemed like the wrong sort with our tracksuits and gelled fringes and broad accents. I remember one time we were sitting at Monument Metro Station in Newcastle and the ticket inspector arrived and marched straight past everyone else to inspect our tickets. When I asked why were singled out, the old fart called the police, and we were thrown off the Metro Station for no reason. The police were not even interested in how a bunch of 14 year olds were going to safely travel home. Later, when I was 18, I applied for a job, and when the interviewer saw my hometown on the application form, she immediately said: "Oh God, you're not from Meadow Well, are you?"

That's literally pre-judgement. Prejudice.

The point of all of this is that I know discrimination. I know what it's like to be part of the white underclass, to be trapped in poverty, to be treated unfairly, and I'm still able to appreciate that white privilege is a thing. 

Now I will confess that in my younger days, when I first heard the term "white privilege", my instinct was to say, "I'm white and I was never privileged!" It's a perfectly natural reaction when you're from a background like mine. But, of course, it's a reaction you leave behind, the moment you start listening to black people and absorbing what they have to say.

Many black kids suffered all the things I suffered, but they also suffered additional discrimination due to the colour of their skin, and they inherited an entire history of the most despicable racism which has knock-on effects to this day. Black children are much more likely to be part of my underclass than white children, and it seems weird to say that when you come from a background in which almost everyone was white, but it's unquestionably true. 

The government knows all this, of course, and they know their most logical step is to pit black against white, white against black, to stop us taking our most logical step of standing together in solidarity to conquer our real enemy: the British establishment.

Personally, I could not give less of a shit about the tribalism which so often gets attached to ethnicity because I have no interest in meaningless division. If you're from the underclass or working class or just a decent privileged person who wants to stand alongside us and fight the good fight, then you are my brother or sister. 

I have far more in common with the black person or the Muslim or the refugee or the woke middle-class leftie, then I ever will with a Tory politician. They want to divide and conquer. It's time for us to unite and conquer them.

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Friday, 18 June 2021

A Letter to Sir Keir Starmer From A Member of the Working Class

Dear Sir Keir, 

You are no doubt reeling from the Chesham and Amersham by-election result, which not only saw your Labour Party pick up just 622 votes (which was 1/16th of what Corbyn got in 2017), but also saw the Lib Dems take a safe Tory seat, thoroughly demolishing your narrative that the Tories are benefitting from a "Covid vaccine bounce". 

A huge surge in popularity for the Greens at recent council elections has also demolished your narrative that no one wants left-wing policies. Clearly, gains can be made for Labour, but positioning yourself a hair's breadth to the left of the Tories is definitely not the way forwards. People who want Tories will vote Tory and people who want an alternative will seek an actual alternative.

This must be a frustrating time for you, following the disastrous Hartlepool result, and with the Batley and Spen by-election just two weeks away, I am sure you are feeling the pressure. You keep falling back on the blame Corbyn strategy, so it would be remiss of me to not mention how Corbyn transformed Labour's fortunes after the Miliband disaster and actually won by-elections. He didn't make excuses or blame the last leader, because let's be honest, that would be lame.

Now I know you've gone to pains to "win back trust", to make gains in the Tory south and rebuild the so-called red wall. Your focus groups seem to have convinced you the way forward is to drape yourself in the Union Jack, repeatedly tell the nation you're not Jeremy Corbyn, be reluctant to criticise the calamitous Tory government and refuse to take a position on any major issue.

In short, keep telling everyone how much of a patriot you are and give the Tories enough rope to hang themselves so you win a general election by default. Only, you must be aware this strategy is not working out well and endlessly blaming Jeremy Corbyn will not make you Prime Minister. If anything, it undermines your credibility and shows you lack confidence in your ability to turn things around.

I'm a member of the working class. I was born and raised on a rough council estate in a single parent household and fed by free school meals and income support. My adult life has been a mix of unemployment and mostly low paid jobs. And I live in what was one of the safest Labour seats in the country. I say was because I don't know what it is now, and the people around here have no idea what your party stands for anymore.

I'm afraid you've got us massively wrong and draping yourself in the Union Jack really isn't going to cut it. If you somehow survive in your job until 2024, I genuinely believe you might achieve the unthinkable: turning our safe red seat blue. And I promise you this is not because we are all Tories. You couldn't find a person in my town who'd publicly admit to voting Tory because they would be driven into the sea!

So instead of telling the working class what we want, please start listening, because we so desperately need the representation you're refusing to provide.

Take my kids' primary school, for example, which has set up a foodbank. It gets donations from local businesses like Greggs and tops that up with its own surplus stock and gives out food to anyone who wants it. There is no means testing because there would be no point. Almost everyone around here is "skint" - that's working class terminology to describe peasantry. (Please don't include it in your next speech to show how in touch you are, though!)

On top of this, the school sometimes gives out clothing - hand-me-downs from other parents - including school uniforms and shoes which have been outgrown. This is necessary because so many parents are struggling to feed and clothe their kids in the fifth richest nation on Earth. I know first-hand the panic of trying to buy uniforms in time for the next school year.

The system is not working and people like you, who think it requires only minor tweaking, might as well be living on a different planet.

I was sitting in the local park with my kids the other day. The park is shit, by the way. Half the swings, and other features, were removed for no obvious reason, leaving us with half a park in a boggy field about a mile and a half from where we live. There are no parks on our estate, meaning I have the joy of dragging three small kids that distance, just so they can play out. As you can imagine, it's exhausting.

So anyways, I was sitting in the park as my kids played on the tiny slide and the two bouncy elephant things which are pretty much all the park has now, and as smoke wafted our way, my gaze turned to some of the older kids. They had built a large bonfire nearby and were probably at risk of a nasty accident. It was the kind of thing we used to do when we were kids, growing up on the same estate. To be honest, we did a lot worse than build bonfires and boredom was the main driver of our behaviour. Good kids doing foolish things.

A bunch of other kids had built their own swing from the frame which previously held real swings, and they were taking turns getting pushed by one of their mothers. They were making their own fun because there is naff all around here, and even replacing a swing is too much for the local council, apparently.

Another kid was playing music from a ghetto blaster or boom box or whatever the kids are calling them these days, and I pictured someone like you saying they couldn't possibly be living in poverty because they have an electronic gadget! 

Sounds bloody stupid, doesn't it? But that's the kind of crap we hear all the time from the privileged middle class. They pretend our struggle isn't real, even though their worst fear is ending up just like us.

We started playing frisbee and then a couple of hooligans decided to race a motorbike which they'd quite possibly nicked (that's working class for appropriated, I think) and so we had to go back home where it was safer. It's hard to take the kids to nice places when you don't even have bus fare, so it's the crappy half-built park or nothing.

You see, that's the thing about poverty, it's not just about money being a bit tight, or whether you can pay the bills and keep the bailiffs away, it's also about living in areas that have been totally left behind. Areas where there aren't many, if any, safe places for children to play. Areas that are run down, and let's be honest, more than a bit depressing. Areas where people find it near-impossible to "better themselves". (I hate that term though, because I don't need to be better, and nor do most of the rest of us. We need our local area to be better and the free market isn't going to help with that.)

People like us, stuck in our run-down council estates with no opportunities, we need answers, we need solutions, we need policies, and most importantly, we need someone who will fight back against corporate power and the diabolical Tories. And we're not seeing any of this from you.

We need to know what your plan is to bring better jobs to our region, to regenerate our towns and get our high streets going again, to ensure that wages and, yes, benefits, are actually sufficient to ensure we can live dignified and stress-free lives. But you're not telling us anything. You're not even talking to us. And what's worse is you seem embarrassed to represent people like us, so instead, you've created this northern working class caricature that you feel more comfortable representing.

And it's a really fucking offensive "socially conservative" caricature that is not representative at all. 

First of all, we are not a monolith - there is no working class hive mind. We are not all secretly hating gays and foreigners and other minorities. And we're certainly not getting a hard on when we hear the national anthem. We get all types around here, but the general trend is that we hate the Tories and we want major systemic change.

I take objection to the idea that bigotry, I mean "social conservatism" is the norm in the red wall. Don't get me wrong, there are bigots, but I would definitely say they were more common, or perhaps more vocal, when I was a kid. 

Today, there is more inclusivity. I saw a young lad the other day dressed in, shall I say, a flamboyant manner, which would have gotten him beaten up in the 90s. But today no one bats an eyelid at such sights. We have Muslims and immigrants in much higher numbers than we used to, and I myself married an immigrant. While we have certainly been on the receiving end of racism, those racists would be roundly condemned by 80% of our neighbours. I, as a straight man, am just as comfortable sitting in a gay bar as a straight bar, just as happy to talk to a trans person as a cis person. It's only the gammons who are uncomfortable with this sort of thing, and it's one hell of a projection to treat the working class like one gigantic slab of gammon. Most of us think gammons are idiots.

If it's still not clear, let me spell this out: no one is impressed by your flag shagging. You're treating us like simpletons. And to add insult to injury, you've gone and made Rachel "tougher on benefits claimants than the Tories" Reeves your Shadow Chancellor. 

Now I've claimed benefits. I was once long-term unemployed and I can assure you, my diet of baked beans and porridge oats was no "lifestyle choice" and I certainly didn't need anyone being tougher on me. I was tough enough on myself.

I remember almost getting a benefits sanction because I couldn't afford to attend a job interview ten miles away. It was the day before my benefit money was paid and I did not have a penny left.

"Well, what did you spend the money on?" the woman asked me.

"Food," I replied. I was then told in no uncertain terms that my benefits were not for food, they were for attending interviews only, and any further instances would result in a sanction. I have no idea how the JobCentre expected me to eat, but there you go.

On my estate, I doubt you will find a single person who has never claimed benefits, who doesn't have a similar story to tell. And a party with Rachel Reeves as Shadow Chancellor is screaming that it doesn't want to represent us. 

It's not just a huge chunk of the working class you've alienated either. Your shocking response to Black Lives Matter has alienated many Black voters. Your horrendous fence-sitting on Palestine has alienated many Muslims. Your apparent indifference to the climate crisis has alienated many younger voters. Your disgraceful treatment of Jeremy Corbyn has alienated many socialists. And you are winning back absolutely none of the voters your People's Vote policy lost in 2019.

Yes, the 2019 disaster was on you, and I'm pretty sure you understand this, because I'm pretty sure it was intentional self-sabotage. You acknowledged that such a policy would divide the "red wall", one year prior to adopting the policy. This was your great plan to become leader though, wasn't it? And now it has backfired. If you really want to "win back trust", an apology would be a good start.

It would appear you sacrificed all of Labour's core principles, and I honestly don't know at this point, if you're even interested in power, or just interested in ensuring ordinary people never have power, but either way, the end result will be the same.

We have been left behind.

We were left behind by Thatcher and we were left behind by Major. But we were also left behind by Blair and Brown. I was long-term homeless under Blair, and I can assure you, none of us around here are desperate to return to the Blair days. Centrism is dead because it never offered anything to us. 

You need to pick a side.

You either side with the people the Labour Party was set up to represent (and the many decent privileged people who fight our cause) or you pick the side of the people who would maintain the status quo. 

The status quo, let's not forget, means trampling us down forever. It means crap wages for the working class, overpowered corporations running the country, and no light at the end of the tunnel. No better tomorrow. No end to the constant exhaustion and lack of time with the family and fear of destitution and anti-depressants just to maintain sanity. 

If you really are on the side of the status quo, you are one of the people trampling us down and you should not be in charge of the Labour Party. You should not even be in the Labour Party.

However, if I'm wrong about you, and you genuinely want to unite your party, here is what you need to do:

  • Listen to the working class
  • Actually oppose the Tory government
  • Apologise for the People's Vote
  • Reinstate Jeremy Corbyn
  • Stop expelling activists
  • Build bridges with unions
  • Honour your ten pledges
  • Build upon the 2019 manifesto
Until you do these entirely reasonable things (and I suspect you won't), then you will never have my vote. And what's more, you will surely destroy the Labour Party. Pasokification will become known as Starmerfication.

NOTE: You can contact Sir Keir Starmer at the following link:
Feel free to send him the link to this article, or alternatively, copy and paste the article to let him know exactly how we feel.

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Michael Gove Chooses Own Punishment After Breaking the Law

Michael Gove has proudly announced he has chosen his own punishment, after a court found him guilty of illegally handing a £500,000 government contract to his mates. You will be pleased to hear the punishment Michael has chosen for himself is no punishment at all!

Michael apparently did not expect the High Court to take such a purist attitude to the law, which I'm pretty sure is a fancy way of saying the judge applied the law. 

Clearly, the High Court was unaware government ministers are, in fact, above the law and should face no consequences for their actions. Thankfully though, Michael is well aware of this principle, which is why he is adamant he will not resign. I mean what's £500,000 between friends?

Let's not forget, Michael Gove also admitted taking cocaine as Education Secretary, yet he banned teachers from their profession for life for taking recreational drugs. Nothing happened to Michael because he said he was, "very, very sorry," and just decided he would keep his job.

Just imagine, for a moment, a murderer choosing his own punishment.

"I've decided I should face no time in prison, your honour!"

Must be nice, eh?

The £500,000 contract was handed to a company called Public First (not Britain First, that's something entirely different, I think) so they could help the government figure out which public health messages would be most effective. 

From what I've gathered, their job was basically to talk to focus groups and report back to the cabinet, so not a real job then. Yet the government has absurdly suggested no one was capable of doing the job, other than Public First, which is why they were handed the contract. Nothing to do with the owners being pally with government figures, or that Dominic Cummings made the recommendation, having personally known them for decades.

The Tories have clarified no one should resign because the High Court did not rule any personal bias was shown in the decision making. Only this point is misleading because the High Court was not asked to rule on the issue of personal bias. It was simply asked to rule on whether the proper legal process was followed. And it wasn't. The law was broken.

The High Court actually ruled that "apparent bias" was shown (I'm confused too) because it appeared the personal relationships of Gove and Cummings played a key role in securing the contract. 

The Tories have been giving one contract after another to their mates in the "VIP lane" and each time they're caught out, absolutely nothing happens. They are taking the piss out of us, literally looting the country, and it seems there is nothing we can do to stop them. The High Court can tell them their behaviour was naughty, but it's absolutely toothless when it comes to handing out punishment. 

In short, the law is a joke and we don't have a real democracy.

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Castillo Declares Victory in Peru: US & UK Considering Coup, Probably

School teacher and union leader Pedro Castillo of the Free Peru party has declared victory in the Peruvian general election. Castillo led the 2017 teacher strikes to improve pay and conditions and he is viewed as a heroic figure by millions of working class Peruvians. Castillo was born dirt poor to a peasant family, and if the election result is officially certified, he will become Peru's first ever native leader.

Although Castillo is economically left wing, he has insisted there will be "no communism" under his leadership, and he actually leans disappointingly right on some social issues. So, not the perfect socialist candidate many on the left would like to see, but still hugely preferable to the fascist alternative.

A former student said of Castillo, he "was always trying to help people... If we had to build a road, he was there, if we had to do some task or errand, he was there, and if we had to help a sick person who didn’t have money, he was there."

Clearly, the man is one of the good guys and his platform is not a million miles away from that of Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders. Castillo has expressed his desire to build a mixed economy, not dissimilar to the economies of the much-vilified Venezuela and Bolivia, but also not dissimilar to nations across Northern Europe.

The next time a conservative points to Venezuela as proof socialism doesn't work, remember their economic balance of public sector (30%) and private sector (70%) is roughly the same as Norway's. Also remember how they were more than willing to allow foreign investment from private companies, but the US kept scaring off investors to isolate the Venezuelan government.

The point is Castillo is not intending to introduce an extremely radical agenda, but actually something quite balanced and moderate, and one which will be hugely misrepresented by the western media.

The US has spent the last one hundred years or so overthrowing every democratically-elected leader in South America which they disapproved of, so they could loot their countries and ensure ordinary Americans saw socialists as failures.

It is highly disturbing but not unsurprising to see western conservatives desperate for Castillo's rival, the fascist Keiko Fujimori, to win, and predictably, she is already making accusations of election fraud. These accusations will no doubt be amplified by the US and UK in the coming weeks and months. 

Let's not forget the US and UK employed the same strategy with Bolivia, only for the MAS party to win again when re-elections were held last year. The truth is socialism is popular in Latin America because the people know conservatism means surrendering to US corporations and leaving the working class behind.

A cynical person might suggest the CIA is currently checking whether Peru has fossil fuels or other valuable resources before they declare the election result invalid and mount a coup. I would be that cynical person and this is why I fully expect the UK government to join in with:
  • cries of "Socialism doesn't work!" as the US imposes crippling sanctions.
  • crocodile tears over Peruvian poverty, like austerity never killed 130,000-plus Brits.
  • accusations of state-controlled media like the Tories aren't purging lefties from the BBC.
  • accusations of police brutality at protests, like British police didn't batter women at a candle-lit vigil.
  • concerns about the human rights situation as we repeatedly attempt to assassinate left-wing politicians.
  • demands for democracy, before declaring someone Peruvians have never heard of as the rightful leader of Peru.
We have seen this all before, we know the playbook, and imperialists are nothing if not predictable. Castillo is going to face a tough time throughout his leadership, but the good news is he will not be alone. His Latin American counterparts have done a good job of resisting western imperialism in recent years and he can surely count on their support. I congratulate him on his victory and wish him all the best.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The Tories Are Gerrymandering Our Constituency Boundaries

The Boundary Commission has drawn up proposals to make constituency boundaries "fairer" by giving each MP roughly the same number of constituents.

What this means in practice is that Scotland, Wales, the northeast and northwest - basically every region/nation less likely to vote Tory - will lose seats. Their people will have even less of a voice. The Tory-voting southeast, on the other hand, will get more seats and an even louder voice. 

Well, of course, they will. You didn't think the establishment believed in fair play, did you?

Here is who loses out:

  • The northeast will lose 2 seats
  • The northwest will lose 2 seats
  • The west midlands will lose 2 seats
  • Scotland will lose 2 seats
  • Wales will lose a shocking 8 seats
Here is who gains:
  • London will gain 2 seats
  • The southwest will gain 3 seats
  • The southeast will gain 7 seats
By law, each constituency will now have between 69,724 and 77,062 constituents each, but special dispensation will be given to islands such as the Isle of Wight. About 90% of constituency boundaries are set to be redrawn, with new constituencies often crossing county borders, and many of those seats will be renamed. Unsurprisingly, the changes have come in for huge criticism.

The proposals were made because the Tories have insisted the existing boundaries favour their political opponents, which is patently nonsense. We currently have an electoral system where the Tories can lose the popular vote by 2 or 3% and still win a general election. 

This means all the Tories have to do is pander to their southern base and they have clear advantage over the other parties, who must work much harder to win seats. This is one of the key criticisms of our outdated First Past The Post system. It would be much harder to rig an election in your favour under Proportional Representation.

For example, under FPTP, it took:
  • The Tories 34,153 votes to win a seat
  • Labour 40,174 votes to win a seat
  • The Lib Dems 300,000 votes to win a seat
  • The Greens 1.2 million votes to win a seat
This is what a rigged system looks like and the situation's only going to get worse if these boundary proposals go ahead. We are going to see some Tory seats become even safer seats and some of the seats held by other parties disappear altogether. The changes are expected to come into effect in 2023 and the proposals are only likely to be changed/cancelled if there is sufficient public outcry.

The biggest problem with my local northeast is that Tory rule is forever imposed on our region and this means permanent neglect and lack of investment. Public spending is always diverted towards the more affluent (but still highly imbalanced) southeast of England. The same can be said for the other regions/nations which are set to be impacted by these changes.

The north/south divide is a very deliberate and unnecessary construct. Us northerners get ignored and neglected, just like the Scots and Welsh do, and now the Tories will have even less of an incentive to represent us. 

They can simply disregard the needs of my local northeast, defund our services, and exploit our workers, and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. This is not remotely fair or democratic and is precisely why there are growing calls for northern independence, as well as Scottish and Welsh independence. 

The establishment controls the BBC, the mainstream media, our right to strike and protest, our constituency boundaries, both of our major political parties, and now it is taking another step towards ensuring its power is absolute.

The only things the establishment do not have control over yet are our social media accounts and the alternative media - the voices which have ensured younger generations are not brainwashed by bullshit MSM narratives. You can bet your right arm they will be looking at ways to come for us next.

As far as I am concerned, the breakup of the United Kingdom cannot come soon enough.

We have had enough of these Tory bastards.

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Monday, 7 June 2021

G7 Warns Aid Cut Will Cost Lives: Top Tories Fail to See Downside

The Tory government has received condemnation from the G7, and even some of its own MPs, for plans to cut foreign aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP. This money was to be spent on girls' education, reproductive health, HIV prevention and treatment, and humanitarian support for the genocides we are conducting in The Yemen and Syria. Basically, it was money to save lives and undo some of the damage of British imperialism, but the prime minister would rather hand that money over to his rich mates, presumably.

Fortunately, Boris Johnson faces possible defeat in the House of  Commons as some his MPs have apparently found their moral conscience (or more likely are acting upon factional opportunism and really want a role in Rory Stewart's future cabinet.)

Reptilian-in-a-human-costume David Davis has warned that: "morally, this is a devastating thing." 

Davis is understood to have looked up the word "morally" on Wikipedia, prior to defying his government, but he showed a glimpse of his reptilian scales when he added: "Historically, I am a critic of aid spending, but doing it this way is really so harmful."

In other words, Davis would and would not like to cut aid spending. He is a conviction politician, just like wor Keith.

Puzzlingly, I understand Theresa May is also trying on her human costume to join the rebels, but she really is fooling no one. We can still see the horns, Theresa. 

Regardless, the Tories tearing themselves apart can only be a good thing, and the whole drama presents the perfect opportunity for the leader of the opposition to capitalise and gain some of the 36 points he needs to get 20 points ahead. 

Any comment to make, Keith? What's that? You're still consulting your focus groups?

Palm meets face.

The government has defended the popularity of the foreign aid cut, but sadly, by "popularity," I suspect they mean popular among flag shaggers who say "Let's help our own first" and then refuse to help our own and spend their days raging against benefits claimants on social media. 

"Let's help our own billionaires!" they were meant to say.

The cut amounts to £4 billion, or roughly 1/10 of the amount the Tories gave Serco and other companies to run the broken Test and Trace program. Perhaps, if desperate people in one of the countries we've looted rebranded themselves as a corporation and donated a fiver to the Conservative Party, they might get offered a few billion quid extra. It's always worth a try.

The Tories have boasted they will still spend £10 billion on foreign aid this year, but no word, as of yet, if they plan to return the crown jewels or the contents of the British Museum to their rightful owners. They have also clarified the aid budget will be restored to 0.7% of GDP as soon as the fiscal situation is restored, which will probably be never, given how this lot are butchering the economy.

G7 leaders are appalled to discover Britain is the only member country which is cutting foreign aid this year. Clearly, they are blissfully unaware the Tories spent 11 years culling our citizens through austerity and are now taking their mass culling program worldwide.

Britain's wealth is built upon the exploitation of poor countries and foreign aid is basically our government putting sticking plasters over the bullet wounds of corporate greed. Now, we're telling the victims they're getting a smaller sticking plaster.

So, let's at least help our own, guys, right? I'm hungry, can I get some support, please?

No, fuck off, scrounger! they reply.

Let's be clear, this reduction in foreign aid is no more about reducing the UK's national deficit than austerity was. Remember the decade of poverty wages and broken services we endured to get us back to budget surplus and instead the deficit almost trebled? 

Well, the government has another excuse to do the same again - this time it's not the worldwide recession, it's the global pandemic, but the end result will be that you get poorer, your public services get worse, and while "we're all in this together," the rich will get ever richer. This is another shameless Tory cash grab and one which will murder some of the most vulnerable people on Earth.

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