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  • Vote for Policies

    Unlike the polls that the papers and TV news always report on, Vote for Policies is an assessment of what policies the people of Britain would vote for. It’s possible I’m biased- because Green policies are much more popular than the polls would have you believe*- but I think the site’s results should be part of the wider media coverage of the election. Rather than seeing what today’s message failure has done to Ed or Dave’s popularity, how about seeing what people think of their policies.

    Take the test, it could be enlightening. Also, it has now been brought up to date with all the released manifestos.

    *As I write this, the Green Party is third, after Labour and the Lib Dems. Add the Scottish Greens to their rating and they edge, just, into second place.

  • Perhaps Tory MPs should just keep their mouths shut

    Oh look, another Tory MP has said something stupid.

    A Tory MP told an autistic man not to comment on public affairs due to his mental health issues.

    Insensitive Guto Bebb also dismissed Dylan Barlow’s Asperger’s syndrome as a “sob story” in a series of emails after his constituent raised questions on foreign matters.

    The MP for Aberconwy, North Wales, wrote: “If you have mental health issues then you should possibly refrain from commenting in the public domain since it might create problems for you.”

    Mr Barlow, 27, later said the MP was living “in the dark ages” and fumed: “We live in an age of free speech and for a politician to believe otherwise, goes to show the problems we face in our daily struggles.”

    Mary Wimbury, Labour’s general election candidate for Aberconwy, urged her rival to “think long and hard about his future behaviour”.

    But Mr Bebb denied his comments were derogatory and insisted he was giving “a generous piece of advice”.

    Tory MP tells autistic man not to comment on public affairs due to his mental health issues – Mirror Online.

  • Shameless star Maxine Peake attacks Tory ‘untruths’ over leftwing library | Culture | The Observer

    Shameless star Maxine Peake attacks Tory 'untruths' over leftwing library | Culture | The Observer.

    I walk past the Working Class Movement Library on the way to and from work. I really should drop in and have a look around.

    The surprising thing about this report isn’t that Tories would make such dumb statements about it, but that Salford actually has any Conservative councillors in the first place.

  • The Cost of Cameron: 100 Worst Failures of David Cameron’s Government from May 2010 to Dec 2013

    The Cost of Cameron, by Éoin Clarke
    The 100 worst failures of David Cameron’s Government from May 2010 to December 2013. (note all 100 points are evidenced. Click on the word “evidence” at the end of each point to reveal the proof of the claim made therein.)

    via The Green Benches: The Cost of Cameron: 100 Worst Failures of David Cameron's Government from May 2010 to Dec 2013.

  • This government is so bad I don’t even know where to start

    I want to direct some justified anger at the government. They seem intent on destroying everything good about this country and leaving behind a wasteland which only benefits billionaire tax evaders, incompetent bankers and Paul Dacre.

    The problem is, almost every week they do something else appalling and the anger gets diverted and redirected. It’s almost as if their survival policy is to keep wrong-footing decent people by throwing up a smokescreen of ever changing petty, sociopathic, shit ideas so that we’re too confused about what we should be aiming at. Anyone who tried to confront Cameron, Osborne or Clegg with even a small list of the things they’re fucking up would run the risk of looking like a babbling, incoherent weirdo.

    Having said all that, here’s another five reasons to hate these scum.

    It used to be that when politicians wanted to bury bad news they’d orchestrate its release to time with a distracting event. Seeing Iain Duncan Smith publicly criticized for wasting at least £140 million of public money over Universal Credit at the start of this month, it struck me how we’ve slowly reached another level. “Unmitigated disaster”? “Alarmingly weak”? These words were used to describe Universal Credit but could easily have been levelled at a number of largely unreported changes to the benefit system. Nowadays, bad news is buried by even worse news. The sheer volume of inefficient and unethical changes to social security this Government has enacted means some of it doesn’t even get noticed. Which, for a set of politicians hacking at vulnerable people’s support systems, is worryingly convenient.

    So, here’s five benefit changes the government doesn’t want you to know about.

    5 benefit changes the government don't want you to know about.

  • Plan A is to destroy everything of any value, isn’t it?

    Funding cuts have lead to Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Rail Museum in York facing closure.

    The cuts were part of this moronic “austerity” plan the Government is so keen on, despite the fact it’s not only not working but making things worse. Sneakily privatising the NHS (something almost everyone in the cabinet will benefit from financially) and bringing in policies that kill people are far worse than the closure of a few museums, but it gives us a taste of the wasteland that’s going to be left behind by this bunch of morons.

  • …and this is why people think the Tories are scum

    Allegedly, the victim-blaming, bullying, poor people killing changes to the Social Security, the NHS and anything else the Tories feel like destroying are all about helping decent, hard working types. People who “who get up in the morning and work hard” in Osborne’s own words. Except that, as their wrong-headed policies continue to be useless, they’ll need to find another bunch of people to blame, and those scapegoats will be the low-paid.

    Minimum wage could be frozen or cut if it starts to cost jobs or damage economy, Government suggests – Telegraph.

    Cameron, Osborne and co. will shaft anyone less powerful than them in the name of their dogmatic, greedy and useless policies. If they really wanted to bring the benefits bill down, they’d raise the minimum wage, because lowering it is just using taxpayers’ money to subsidise unscrupulous companies. Introduce the Living Wage and you reduce the number of working people who are still so poor they need benefits (80% of benefits claimants, I read somewhere) and stimulate the economy in numerous ways.

    But the Tories won’t do that, because they’re scum.

  • “How many poor people can we kill with this policy?”

    If there’s one thing the eighties should have taught us, it’s that the the Tories are scum. They’re a bunch of chancers who care more about their, and their cronies’, wealth than the nation’s health. They’ll take anything that benefits us all equally and find a way, preferably by stealth, to take it off us and give it to a rich, tax avoiding chums. If they can then find a way to have those of us on low to middle incomes pay for the dodgy deal, all the better.

    The current government keep coming out with policies designed to kill people. They can’t be so stupid that they don’t see the damage they’re doing, so the only conclusion is that they’re a bunch of evil little sociopaths. So long as the ones who suffer are the little people who can’t afford to lobby then they don’t really care.

    Assessment to Disability Living Allowance has been effectively privatised, turned into a box ticking exercise with incentives to fail as many people as possible and discourage those who could be helped from even applying. The changes have already killed people*.

    Coming soon, we have the Bedroom Tax, which, you’ll be shocked to discover, is going to hurt poor parents and the disabled. Because someone who is already down can’t fight back as well and is easier to kick some more.

    From April, Legal Aid is changing so that it no longer covers Family Law. People aren’t going to be able to settle custody battles, they’ll lose contact with their children and- without a doubt- some will be trapped in abusive relationships that see them being killed.

    But, because they haven’t squeezed anyone enough, the Tories are now hoping to use the cover of the almost non-existent threat of “welfare tourism” to try to make changes which will make it even harder for anyone to access state aid they’re entitled to.

    If the Tory government is bad, then the party is worse. The policy that has the party members up in arms isn’t any of the ones that will hurt people and destroy the country, but a rare example of Cameron and co. doing something humane and decent. Starve the sick and the poor, steal our money and give it to your pals to filter offshore and privatise the NHS all you want, they say, but don’t you dare let two people of the same sex call their union a marriage. That’s beyond the pale.

    I want to believe we can get away from these people, but I don’t see who would take over. The Libdems are probably going to be relegated back to their previous status of novelty act at the next election** and Labour still carry the stink of Blair. The “new force” in British politics is UKIP, apparently, but they have undertones of racism and overtones of incompetence. I’m going to investigate the Green Party and, failing that, secession.

    *When even the Daily Mail- the go-to newspaper for victim blaming- can bring itself to say there’s a problem, you know something is horribly wrong.

    **I held out such great hopes for the Liberal Democrats at the last election, and I voted for them. To say I’m disappointed in them would be a massive understatement.

  • The video THEY don’t want you to see

    Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all conspiracy theory loony on you. The video in question will only really be of interest to a small number of people, but the information in it will be very important to them and reassuring at a time when they’ll need to know that not all of the system is against them.

    The Ministry of Justice put the video online in March. Then took it down a week later. According to Liberal Conspiracy

    Independent benefits expert Neil Bateman discovered that the video was taken down after employment minister Chris Grayling emailed the ministry complaining about, amongst other things, the fact that it told claimants:

    -that they are twice as likely to win their appeal if they appear in person rather than having a paper hearing;
    -that the DWP doesn’t normally send a representative to the hearing;
    -to send additional evidence to the tribunal, when Grayling wants it sent to the DWP.

    The video went up again earlier this week, and started receiving hits out of proportion to other MoJ productions. So it was taken down again.

    It’s such a shame that people can copy videos and upload them themselves, isn’t it.

    If you find this information useful don’t forget to send a little thank you note to the Ministry of Justice for producing it.

  • And life is grand…..

    The world isn’t as shit as some people would like you to think. I just thought that needed saying. We are, whatever they tell you, in a better place now than we were in whatever Golden Age they claim we should return to.

    People are living longer and more productive lives, child mortality rates are down and diseases which could in the past kill or cripple can now be treated effectively. Some of the worst diseases have been eradicated. Provided you don’t take up chainsaw juggling there’s every chance you’ll live longer than your grandparents. Long term the human race is evolving faster than ever as groups move around the world, intermarry and mix their genes in new and interesting ways.

    Freedom is spreading too. More and more people have more and more rights and protections from discrimination. In Britain the Conservatives- once the party of nasty, and occasionally closeted, homophobia- have announced consultation on, and likely introduction of, gay marriage. Racism and sexism are less prevalent than they once were, despite some hold outs. Certainly, some countries have a long, long way to go, but we’re dragging them after us.

    Technology is breaking down barriers and spreading information. It’s harder to get away with doing wrong and easier to bust a lie. I have my moments of Luddism, but I do believe that technology opens up so many possibilities it can only be used for good (on balance) in the long run.

    And there’s more, but you get the picture.

    Of course, we shouldn’t get complacent. We still run the risk of bringing the planet to a point of ecological collapse where it rejects us. There are people who would gladly reverse the positive changes we’ve made, who don’t want others to get the same rights they have. They’re in the minority, and mostly just obnoxious ranters, but they’re loud and some politicians are stupid enough to be scared of them. We need to keep the momentum of progress rolling forward.

    This has turned out a simplified version of what I meant to say, but I think succinct is fine. And it’s all just an excuse to play you one of my all time favourite songs anyway-

  • Is that #cashgordon or #crashgordon ?

    A day can be a long time on the internet, and I’m two days late with this…..

    In last month’s Wired there was an article about how the Conservatives learnt not to be afraid of the internet and craft themselves sophisticated online campaigning tools. (I can’t find the article on the Wired site, they do keep some stuff back so those of us who buy the magazine get something out of it.)

    On Monday, however, the Tory web strategy didn’t prove all that clever. The latest creation was “Cash Gordon”, aimed at drawing attention to the money Labour gets from Unite and make a big deal of it. The site invited Twitter users to have their say and add the tag #cashgordon to their tweets, all of which would be displayed on the front page. The feed was unmoderated and quickly filled up with as many, if not more, anti-Tory tweets than the intended anti-Brown ones. Not only that, but it seems you can hijack this sort of feed with tweeted code that will redirect the page. Cue Rickrolling, porn and the Labour website appearing instead of the intended attack site.

    Perhaps more embarrassing is the news that the Conservatives paid £10,000 for the site, and got something which came out of the box broken.

  • Some more political blogs

    Jamie Reed is the MP for Copeland, which is where my parents live. His blog is relatively new, so I’ll give it a bit of time to grow. Wikipedia tells me he declared himself a Jedi in his maiden speech, so he can’t be all bad. I may have fallen out of love with Labour, but I’d support him for the Copeland seat in the coming election. Tory polling puts them a close second and the BNP a distant third but with enough support to be disturbing. Copeland may be 99.3% white, according to this list (nearby Allerdale and Eden are even whiter) but that’s no excuse for supporting the racist moron party.

    The Tory candidate for Copeland is Chris Whiteside. He’s a Conservative, so I took an immediate dislike to him. But we’ll see how he fares over time.

    John Redwood used to be referred to as the Vulcan. It wasn’t just because of his elongated and Spock like face, but because he was supposedly a man of great intelligence. Sadly that vast intellect isn’t in evidence when he posts nonsense like this about climate change. Rather than finding out about the subject he’s latched onto the talking points which conform to his ideologogy and prejudices. His specialist area is economics, I believe. Let’s hope he actually investigates and thinks about that before opining. Hope, but, on the evidence, don’t expect.

    Stewart Cowan is a Creationist and homophobe (and possibly a few other things, I’ve only been reading since yesterday). I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about. It may be borderline classing this one as a political blog, but I found it through a comment on Jamie Reed’s blog and decided it should be included here.