Corbyn, the anti-war candidate…

Last night there was a Labour leadership hustings hosted, amusingly enough, by the Jewish Community Centre in London.

I didn’t watch it – I had to pull out my own eyeballs with a rusty crocodile clip instead – but in light of what I wrote yesterday, I wanted to see if a prediction I made to myself and my other half, albeit not on the blog, was going to come true.

The prediction was that if there was a question about attacking Syria or Libya, Corbyn would be the only one who would be unequivocally against military action.

And lo, it seems I was correct.

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As I said the other day,

While Labour might be awash with anti-war types, it’ll only take another centre-ground pragmatist at the Labour helm – i.e. someone electable – to rub out that line in the sand.

So, now that Cameron’s going all Blair on us, and the 3 other leadership candidates are refusing to rule out supporting military action, this leaves anti-war types in the membership (of whom there are a great many) with nowhere to go but Corbyn, if they want a cast iron guarantee that Labour will not support more misguided middle-eastern adventures.

And that’s good news for anyone who wants to see Corbyn take the Labour leadership.

In related news, Rod Liddle seems to be on my wavelength in The Spectator.

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I suppose I should cease carping. We got a Blue Labour budget (except for the ludicrous stuff on inheritance tax), and far better than anything we would have got under my party, Labour. And at least the Prime Minister is addressing the issue of Islamic ‘extremism’. Yes, I suppose, I would concur that taking away the passports from juvenile wannabe jihadis is a good idea. Just about. A horrible part of me thinks they should be taken away once they have left the country, though. Certainly that should apply to the adults. Encourage them to go, then nullify their passports.

Read on…

Liddle is my favourite lefty by a million miles.

AJ

UPDATES:

1) Corbyn ahead in Times/YouGov poll.

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2) Blair weighs in…

 

CKd6S--WIAAP0Mx

3) Ladbrokes have shortened the odds on Corbyn again, to 2/1…

 

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I put money on Corbyn at 25/1

Get in!

War Forecast…

It is but a handful of days since I mentioned Cameron and war

I’m pretty sure that it’s only by a matter of circumstance (and an accidental Commons defeat),  that Cameron hasn’t gone full Tony Blair in his foreign adventuring by proxy.

Well, lo and fucking behold..

At the weekend, there were rumblings about our apparent current involvement in bombing Syria, as an ‘embedded force’ – i.e. as lackeys of the USA – and allegations that he lied to parliament about the whole grubby business.

I have to admit – as should be obvious from what I wrote last week – that I had no idea this was going on, and frankly it’s pretty fucking abysmal, after parliament voted against military action in Syria last time they were asked.

Now that Osborne’s budget has promised a boost in military funding, Cameron wants to spend the money on more drones, spy planes and special forces. The latter in complete contradiction to a statement today by the Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, who said:

‘I think putting ground troops into Iraq or Syria would help the ISIL narrative.

‘It would help further radicialise its potential supporters by showing it was foreign armies being sent to deal with ISIL.’

So Fallon seems to ‘get it’. Kind of. ‘It’ being the fact that our actions and presence in the region can very easily be counterproductive.

So, if there should be no boots on the ground, but Cameron is to spend money on Special Forces, what the fuck is he going to buy them? Crocs? Brogues? Stilettos?

Cameron gave a ‘big speech’ today (transcript here), in which he took one step forward and several steps back.

The one step forward was that in a rare break from his usual claptrap about “nothing to do with Islam, the religion of peace,” he finally confronted the matter of Islamism – albeit with a series of evasions and a great deal of hand-wringing.

The steps back are myriad. In defiance of all of the evidence of our eyes, he craps on about the wonders of diversity

Over generations, we have built something extraordinary in Britain – a successful multi-racial, multi-faith democracy. It’s open, diverse, welcoming – these characteristics are as British as queuing and talking about the weather.

It is here in Britain where success is achieved not in spite of our diversity, but because of our diversity.

Well, Mr Cameron, a lot of people disagree with you. Some of those people voted UKIP, and others didn’t vote at all. None of them voted for you apart from the diehard octogenarians who couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

He also managed to ask a series of questions that should leave anyone abreast with Government curtailments of freedom utterly aghast. For example:

How can it be that after the tragic events at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, weeks were spent discussing the limits of free speech and satire, rather than whether terrorists should be executing people full stop?

It’s because as I illustrated previously with the help of this image from politicalcompass.org, there is no political party in the UK seriously committed to classical liberal ideas such as freedom of expression and conscience. What we have is a consensus between the progressives and the soft right authoritarians that freedom of speech should be mitigated and circumscribed, You know, like when people say “I believe in freedom of speech, but…”

BUT NOTHING, MOTHERFUCKER.

You either believe in free speech or you don’t. No grey areas that can be crept into by over-reaching legislators, egged on by the perpetually offended, psychologically compromised simpletons that rabidly police speech on social media. To say nothing, of course, of the police themselves.

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His package of measures include a whole range of thought-policing, and curbs on freedom of speech and conscience, that are bound to reach places no-one in parliament will ever supposedly intend. More on this theme by Brendan O’Neil here.

This next quote, though. highlights the core problem with Cameron’s entire performance today:

No-one becomes a terrorist from a standing start. It starts with a process of radicalisation. When you look in detail at the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were first influenced by what some would call non-violent extremists.

It may begin with hearing about the so-called Jewish conspiracy and then develop into hostility to the West and fundamental liberal values, before finally becoming a cultish attachment to death. Put another way, the extremist world view is the gateway, and violence is the ultimate destination.

The biggest pachyderm on the promenade, then, is that Cameron completely fails to acknowledge that the UK’s history of meddling in the Middle East, and our consistent ‘embeddedness’ with US forces has been and could still be a contributory factor to the whirlwind we have been reaping for the last decade or so.

The Jewish conspiracy? Do fuck off.

At no point does he concede that ISIS are comprised largely of the Iraqi army that was disbanded after the fall of Baghdad, thanks to no-one in the UK or US seriously considering what would happen after Saddam fell, and what ought to be done about it.

At no point does he concede that the bombing of Libya and the fall of Gadhafi has contributed to the problems on the Levant. In fact, he’s now on the lookout for a pretence on which to bomb Libya again.

Not a word about Afghanistan, either. Or Israel for that matter.

It’s just fucking insane. Because he cannot or will not control the UK’s borders, he wants to kill people 3000 miles away, using indiscriminate air strikes that will inevitably involve many civilian casualties, rending more families asunder and sowing the seeds of another generation of pretty well justified and very personal hatred for the West within Middle Eastern and North African cultures.

He. Just. Doesn’t. Get. It. Or maybe he does, and he doesn’t give a shit.

He said recently that he wanted to eliminate the “gender pay gap” by the time his daughters are grown up. Well, Prime Minister, I’m pretty sure that male and female frontline troops get the same pay for the same work, so how about your daughters sign up as infantry, and then you can crack on, you fucking cunt.

So there we are. Cameron is setting the scene to go Full Blair. Who didn’t see that coming?

Non-specific disembodied sky pixie, help us all. Rid us of these monstrous fuckers once and for all. And I’m not talking about the Muslims.

AJ

The Importance of a Strong Opposition to the Government

There’s an argument that says someone like Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader of the Labour Party would be disastrous not just for Labour, but for politics as a whole, not to mention the nation.

A strong opposition is required, they say, to keep the government on the straight and narrow.

But, putting Labour’s spot of difficulty aside, do we really have a strong opposition, or do we have, as George Galloway so eloquently put it, “two cheeks of the same arse”?

Do we really have a politics of opposing ideas and values, or do we have two main parties that are both invested in the idea of large, interfering government, bent on legislating away personal choice, civil liberties and free speech? Two parties both equally married to the profoundly anti-democratic European Union contrary to all the evidence of our own eyes?

If you take the example of drugs as one, all the evidence so far suggests that Theresa May is as authoritarian and wilfully contrary to good sense as Jackie Smith was. An absurd and draconian new law on ‘psychoactive substances’? Bring it on.

How about the vexing topic of public health in general. Surely one party wants the state and its proxies to have less to say about what individuals choose to eat, drink and smoke? Nope. Just plain wrong, in a plain packet, behind a sliding chipboard veil.

While Labour harp on about Tory privatisation of the NHS, it was they who did the most privatisation during their last stint in power, not least with Gordon Brown’s profligate and ludicrous PFI deals.

If you consider ill-thought-out military escapades, I’m pretty sure that it’s only by a matter of circumstance (and an accidental Commons defeat),  that Cameron hasn’t gone full Tony Blair in his foreign adventuring by proxy. While Labour might be awash with anti-war types, it’ll only take another centre-ground pragmatist at the Labour helm – i.e. someone electable – to rub out that line in the sand.

Do we have one party committed to reducing taxes and simplifying the tax code while the other wants more complexity and higher taxes? No, we do not.

What about a party that even questions the whole premise of anthropogenic climate change, and the pyramid of economically crippling ideological taxes that rest up on it? Not a chance.

A party that doesn’t think the answer to every supposed problem is more laws, or even – don’t laugh just yet – a party that wants there to be fewer laws? Hahahahahahaaaaa.

And when it comes to justice, never before has the saying “the process is the punishment” been more true than since changes made by the “party of law and order”, whereby those acquitted of criminal accusations are no longer able to recover their legal costs, and legal aid has been cut right back. Where was the strong opposition to these scandalous changes?. Even as courts are jammed up and accused people are waiting record times to come to trial, consultations are underway to close ever more courtrooms down.

The truth of the matter is that so far, as with the 2010-2015 government, the current one is planning to do hardly anything that the Labour Party have a real problem with. Of course, Labour will pick a fight for the sake of seeing to be doing something, but they don’t seriously object to stinging shareholders’ dividends, or independent contractors’ pay & expenses arrangements. The only criticism of Osborne’s new Living Wage you’ll hear is that – even though it goes further than Miliband was promising – it doesn’t go far enough. And Harriet Harman must have moistened her crusty gusset when Cameron announced his intention to tackle the mythical gender pay gap.

So while I’ll concede that commentators are correct to say that it is in the interests of a healthy democracy to have a strong opposition, it ought to be pretty bloody obvious that this is exactly what we don’t have on offer from any of the main political parties in the UK.

Here’s the 2015 outlook from politicalcompass.org

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Look at it! How anyone can seriously argue that we need the Labour Party to be a strong opposition, while failing to recognise that there are a dearth of serious parties in the socially libertarian part of the political spectrum is a complete mystery to me.

That there is not a single party in that lower right quadrant speaks volumes about how unbalanced our political system is in the UK, and how classical liberal viewpoints go completely unrepresented.

So what’s the point? And people have the audacity to judge anyone who decides that in this political realm, there is no-one to vote for? Spare me, sheeple.

AJ

So you voted Conservative…

I bet you feel like a chump now, don’t you? If not, you’ve not been paying attention.

I wrote previously about the “living wage” introduced at the recent Budget.

What I didn’t write about at budget time was the squeeze on Buy-to-Let landlords (not just the loss of higher rate tax relief on mortgage interest, but the loss of tax relief on wear and tear costs), which will inevitably cause the costs to be passed on to tenants, in a mix of higher rent and lower standards of property maintenance.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/london-tenants-hit-with-price-hikes-after-landlords-budget-battering-10377861.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/11724804/Buy-to-let-How-todays-Budget-will-affect-landlords.html

I also didn’t write about the changes that will hit self-employed consultants, and company shareholders. The 7.5% increase in tax on dividends will hit both groups.

Self-employed contractors will also be hit by curbing of tax-deductible expenses, with consequences set out below.

https://www.ipse.co.uk/news/2015/summer-budget-%E2%80%93-what-shower

As with the minimum wage, the outcome will be a mix of reduced economic opportunity, and higher prices for consumers.

Today, though, is the icing on the cake. Cameron has personally pledged to wipe out the ‘gender pay gap’. Which isn’t even a thing, when you look at men and women doing the same job. But he’s swallowed the feminist strap-on cock until the latex goolies are slapping on his (I presume prosthetic) chin.

Feminist Mom kicks whining-girl Cameron’s ass

Does anyone now seriously think Cameron is an actual Tory?

  • Living Wage
  • Hammering consultants &  shareholders
  • Hammering buy-to-let landlords
  • Gender pay gap

And people say we need an effective opposition? Which one of these things would Labour actually oppose? Anyone? Bueller?

….. Bueller?

….. Bueller?

Hmmm..

Bring on Jeremy Corbyn.

AJ

The living wage

A few of the consequences of the ‘living wage’ that George Osborne announced yesterday:

1) Some people will be priced out of the workforce.

Why?

In order for an employer to be able to afford to employ a person, that person must be able to perform some activity which earns the employer enough to pay that person without the business losing money. E.g. making something, or performing a service, which can be sold to another company at a profit.

Some people with few skills cannot do a job that creates enough value for employers to justify employing them at the mandatory minimum rate. These people are trapped in poverty, and suffer the indignity of a life on benefits.

But why can’t the employer take the hit and employ these people anyway? Because if the business loses money for every hour it employs any person who isn’t worth the mandatory minimum wage, the business will be inefficient. It will lack the funds to invest in R&D of new products or services, and to employ more people who will add value and make the business grow. In extremis, if a critical mass of low-value employees are employed – think of a shop or a cleaning company for example – the business will be unsustainable and will eventually fold.

The over-valued employee, and every other employee, will lose their jobs.

 

2) Prices for consumers will rise.

Why?

An employer may decide to look at things a different way. If the can push up the prices of their goods or services to the point where they can afford to employ the low-value/low-skilled person at the minimum wage without making losses, the outcome is obvious.

Prices for everyone will rise. Every cup of coffee, pint of beer, item bought from a shop, will be more expensive. Including for the person who is paid the artificially high wage.

And that isn’t even a zero-sum game.. there’s the transfer cost of moving this money through the cycle of more expensive wages and more expensive goods – e.g. VAT is levied.

 

3) Taxes will rise or services will be cut.

Why?

It ought to be self-evident (though sometimes I don’t think it is to some people) that if a person is employed in the public sector, or works for a company whose services are bought by the public sector, that all of the cost of employing those people is paid for out of taxation. There is, after all, no other source of income for public sector organisations.

If wages are pushed up – by the living wage or otherwise – then the cost of those wages is ultimately born by the tax-payer in council taxes, income tax etc. Thus again, those costs are borne by the person on the inflated living wage, again with the associated inefficiency of transfer costs.

 

4) The black economy & benefit fraud will thrive as incentive to resort to these increase.

Why?

People who cannot gain legitimate employment at the minimum wage will be on benefits. Benefits are not enough money for any proper quality of life. Today, it’s pretty normal for people on benefits to supplement their income doing cash jobs of whatever sort, be it cleaning, child care, or something less savoury like dealing in illegal substances.

As more unskilled folk are pushed out of the job market as described above, and prices rise, as above, there will be more incentives to engage in the black economy which, for anyone on benefits, amounts to benefit fraud as well as tax avoidance.

And that’s just one side of the story. Let’s consider the effect on a business that runs on people paid minimum wage.

Lets say that Mary employs a child minder through an agency for £12 per hour. That £12 pays for the child-minder’s wage of, say, £8/hour, and the agency’s overheads, including wages of admin staff, premises, employers national insurance contributions etc.

The minimum wage is pushed up by £1 per hour to £9. The employer’s overhead goes up by at least £1.12 per hour with employer’s NICs, before we take into account that the admin person’s wage also goes up. The net result therefore is that the agency puts up their prices, and Mary has to now pay £14 per hour.

Mary now has an increased incentive to offer the child-minder the opportunity to work cash-in hand for £10 per hour. The net result is that the child minder is better off, and Mary is better off too. The losers are the agency and the tax man, since neither of them get a cut of this transaction. If enough of the agency’s staff and clients make this decision, the agency becomes unviable & folds, the admin person is laid off, the agency vacates its business premises, meaning the landlord is also out of pocket.

But Mary and her child-minder are both better off, and they have been incentivised to make this arrangement due to an increase in the minimum wage. The woman who runs the agency is out of pocket, as is her admin person, the office landlord and the tax man (no income tax, corporation tax, NICs or business rates).

If the child-minder were so inclined, now that her pay is undocumented, she could sign on for benefits etc.

So that’s a bit counterproductive to say the least.

“So what?”, you may say, “it’s not like they’ve even set this living wage at a level making for a reasonable life.”

Well, perhaps. But as I hope I’ve explained above, raising the minimum wage may well not give people a better quality of life, because they’ll pay more for things, so the pound in their pocket will be worth less.

The negative effects are minimised by such a small increase above the existing minimum wage. Only a few more people will be rendered unemployable, and the cost of goods and services will rise by a negligible amount. And this is true, but let’s think about what would happen if the more radical proposals for a living/minimum wage were to become a reality.

What if the living wage were set at £15/hour? What about £20/hour? £30/hour? Well, by now that ought to be obvious: With each increase relative to inflation, more people will be rendered unemployable and stuck in the poverty trap, more goods & services will be more expensive, more people will resort to a cash economy, and more tax rises & public sector cuts will be necessary,

Simple, innit?

So the next time someone on your Facebook wall is daft enough to demand a mandatory living wage of ££££, you’ll be able to explain to them in simple terms why their desire is at best counterproductive, and at worst disastrous for the economy on which they depend for their wage at any level at all.

Here are some external resources that explain these things. They probably explain better than I have, but I don’t think any of them contradict my basic indisputable points.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/problems-minimum-wage-2692.html 

http://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Market_failures/Minimum_wage.html

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101834767

http://www.economicshelp.org/labour-markets/disadvantages-minimum-wages/

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/raising-minimum-wage-will-hurt-more-help

http://dailysignal.com/2012/04/25/raising-the-minimum-wage-hurts-low-income-workers/

AJ

Misandrist claptrap in “masquerading as news” shocker…

I couldn’t help being drawn to this story in the Torygiraffe.

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Neighbours of the former partner of Rebecca Minnock, who is on the run with her three-year-old son, have called for her to be given custody of her child.

The group of residents living near Roger Williams claimed he should not be handed Ethan full time.

They said he should stay with his 35-year-old mother, who has not been seen since May 27 when she fled with him amid a bitter custody battle.

A group of seven residents has written an open letter calling for the custody of the child to remain with his mother.

The group has criticised the "unfair" custody battle, which left Miss Minnock with no right to see her son and say she "has been served an unforgivable injustice".

Neighbour and friend Jan Worgan, 76, has known Mr Williams for "at least 15 years" and Miss Minnock since the beginning of their relationship.

She said: "Rebecca is a lovely person and she proved to be a very good mother. She is there trying to look after her boy and she’s being hunted down like an animal."

A close friend of Miss Minnock, who wished to remain anonymous said: "She’s a lovely girl and Ethan was always happy. She’s been let down.

"A mother takes care of their child from the moment they are born. Rebecca did nothing wrong as a mother or partner and the child should stay with her."

Next door neighbour Dorothy Wynne, 76, who has lived in Ramsay Way for more than 25 years, said: "Ethan is a lovely little boy. He used to love playing with my flowers and leaving stones on my doorstep. Becky never left him. She used to take him down the park.

"She was an awfully good mum. She looked after him beautifully."

With it so far? I think you’ll agree that’s a coterie of fine citizens, standing up for a good mother who is being shafted by the system.

But wait… Here comes the important bit.

Miss Minnock fled her home more than two weeks ago after judges ruled Ethan should live with his father.

She took off after it was ruled she was obstructing access to her son after she made "false" allegations about his father.

Miss Minnock said she had lost "all faith in the system" and her family revealed she would lose Ethan forever if she returned.

That puts things in a slightly different light than the first 75% of the article, does it not? In fact, they seem to have left the MOST IMPORTANT FACTS OF THE STORY towards the bottom, after the glowing tributes to this woman.

A woman who has absconded with her child, away from the courts and from the child’s father, having been found out by the court making “false” (read MALICIOUS) allegations about the child’s father, in pursuit of custody of the child.

Miss Minnock cries that she has lost all faith in the system, after she has been found out for LYING to the system, and the system responding accordingly.

Just what kind of spoilt, deluded bitch is this woman?

If we click through to that last link we find that

Miss Minnock said she felt "trapped" after the judge’s ruling.

She said in a telephone interview with the Sun newspaper: "I just lost all trust and faith in the system completely.

"I just couldn’t bear to leave my son. I just felt trapped.

"I know I’m going to be in a huge, huge amount of trouble.

"I’ve even got family members into trouble but it’s my son and I need to put him first over myself or anybody else."

Woah there, Missy.

The child is not just YOUR son… he is also HIS FATHER’S SON.

You know… the father to whom the court awarded custody, after you were deemed unreliable and/or untrustworthy by the court. In response to which, you acted in a deeply unreliable and untrustworthy manner by absconding into hiding with the child, when the proper thing to do would have been to fight the decision through the courts, the same as any responsible father has to do when a custody decision goes against him – something that is 10x more likely to happen to a father than to a mother.

So, Miss Minnock, Just. Fuck. Off.

You know, by the way, that with the slant of this piece, if there were a scintilla of evidence to suggest that the child’s father is not a suitable parent in any way at all, that information would at least have been alluded to in the article. After all,  it’s not as if the father is some kind of drug-addled criminal degenerate, looking at him.

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So, enjoy prison when you get back, and quite possibly never seeing your son again, on account of your reckless, moronic, spiteful actions. You have brought it on yourself, and the consequences for your son will be unpleasant for him, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT, Miss Minnock, you spoilt over-entitled kidult.

There are many ways in which this story is a tragedy, but there is one way in which it is not. In front of a different judge, it is quite likely that true injustice would have been served, and this ever so responsible, stable and trustworthy mother would have been awarded full custody, and the father locked out of the child’s life, all except the thousands of pounds that would have been extracted from him.

It’s almost as if justice is prevailing here, against all the odds.

I do have one thing that I can’t figure out though… on what basis have all these neighbours corralled to support this woman and set themselves against this father, who has been their neighbour for 15 years? Just WTF is going on there?

Ho hum.

AJ

UPDATE: Via @ObtuseMusings on Twitter, we have the summary judgements of the court hearings this week on the matter. Worthwhile reading for more background.

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/judgments/roger-williams-v-rebecca-minnock-and-ethan-freeman-williams-2-judgments/

Well Worried about Everything

A while back I wrote this as a kind of placeholder until I got around to properly addressing the subject. I never quite got around to doing so.

Now, however, there’s no need for me to write anything, because Spiked have perfectly articulated my thoughts on the topic of Awareness Raising and the consequences thereof.

AJ

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