Owen Jones writes in the Guardian: “Thatcherism – or neoliberalism, whichever you want to call it – tried to bulldoze every last remnant of solidarity we felt – and it failed. ‘We have to move this country in a new direction,’ Margaret Thatcher declared after her first election triumph, ‘to change the way we look at things, to create a wholly new attitude of mind.’
“I wonder how she would feel reading a new survey by the European commission asking EU citizens whether, by 2030, they would prefer a society that gave more importance to solidarity or to individualism. She would undoubtedly be heartened to find that Britain comes joint top of the individualism league table. But she would probably be dispirited to read that only 29% favoured individualism, with a solid 52% hoping for more solidarity.
“That doesn’t mean there aren’t formidable challenges to building socialism in modern Britain. The fragmentation of society has been pursued as a deliberate Tory strategy ever since the days of Thatcher. After her triumph over Michael Foot, the late Tory leader lamented that ‘socialism was still built into the institutions and mentality of Britain’. She listed as examples the high level of union membership, the millions who remained council tenants, and a leftwing ethos in education.”
[Read full column on Guardian website…]
Zoe Williams writes in the Guardian: “The people of Taunton Deane, according to their MP, Rebecca Pow, have never had it better, thanks to Conservative policies. A combination of the higher minimum wage, the higher personal threshold for paying income tax and the frozen fuel duty meant people had ‘thousands more in their pockets’.
“Good intentions would manifest in curiosity about the lived experience of one’s policies, which would in turn entail figuring out what those policies amounted to in the aggregate. Failure to ask such questions is not born out of ignorance: it is critical to the Conservative narrative to deny, forcefully and sometimes gleefully, that anyone in the country is struggling.
Editorial from The Guardian: There are few more annoying issues for the great British public than their railways. While some cities and towns have seen stations spruced up, the public suffer from often late, expensive and frequently overcrowded train services. While the cack-handed rollout of infrastructure improvements has led to cancellations and delays on the network, commuters saw ticket prices rise at twice the rate of their wages between 2010 and 2016. Tuesday’s news that rail passengers will be hit by the largest fare hikes in five years next month will do nothing but confirm the view that the public are being taken for a ride. The situation, it seems, is one where private companies reap the benefits, while passengers bear the costs.
There is a good case to return more train operating companies to state hands. Three in four voters, disillusioned by high prices and poor service, back renationalising the railways. Many train lines in Britain are run by state-backed European rail firms. So why not in Britain?
[Read full editorial on Guardian website…]
Zoe Williams writes in the Guardian: “There was a splenetic exchange on BBC Question Time last week, between an audience member and my colleague, Aditya Chakrabortty, who had pointed out that disabled people had died as a result of cuts to social security. You’re like ‘Donald Trump’, said a guy in the audience: the parallel was, Aditya had made a statement that was stirring, powerful, emotive and trenchant – so I guess, if we leave aside the fact that it was also true, it was pretty Trumpian.
“Just as it’s verboten to call someone a liar in parliament, so there is a curious and ancient disapproval around pointing out that a state has been the direct cause of any deaths, whether of its own citizens or abroad. It is taken as hysterical overstatement (something that should only be levelled at an authoritarian regime, which takes its people out and shoots them) and pitiful naivety (a wilful misunderstanding of the business of government, to trace its policies crudely back to the lives of those who are affected by them). Read more
Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortty tells the truth on BBC Question Time about #ToryEconomics and the #ToryWarOnDisabledPeople.
A Tory councillor in the audience then throws a hissy fit simply because the #VotingToryKillsDisabledPeople truth is too uncomfortable for him.
Finally! Aditya Chakrabortty speaking a truth about disabled people dying because of Govt policies that Tory voters do not want to hear #bbcqt
Posted by Imajsaclaimant on Thursday, November 9, 2017
Owen Jones writes in the Guardian: “Britain’s press is not an impartial disseminator of news and information. It is, by and large, a highly sophisticated and aggressive form of political campaigning and lobbying. It uses its extensive muscle to defend our current economic order which, after all, directly benefits the rich moguls who own almost the entire British press. Whether it’s the Sun, the Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail or the Daily Express, that means promoting the partisan interests of the Conservative party. The press has been instrumental in upholding the political consensus established by Thatcherism: deregulation, privatisation, low taxes on the rich and weak trade unions. It has traditionally defined what is politically acceptable and palatable in Britain, and ignored, demonised and humiliated individuals and movements which challenge this consensus.
[Read full article on the Guardian website…]
Editorial comment in the Guardian: “The National Audit Office report into homelessness lays bare the legacy of human waste caused by the callous indifference and intellectual vacuity of Compassionate Conservatism, a Tory creed – promoted by David Cameron – where responsibility shifted from the state to individuals, families and communities. Read more
Jonathan Ford writes in the Financial Times: “How hard can it be to be the chief executive of a privatised British water company? Your customers are determined by geography, your prices set by a regulator… Pretty much all you have to do is to make sure your sewage plants work and to keep the public waterways clear of human waste.
[Read full article on FT website…] (paywalled, but free registration allows access to one free article per month)
Rachel Sylvester, the Political Studies Association’s 2016 Journalist of the Year, writes in the Times: “According to diplomatic sources, even officials at the Trump White House ‘don’t want to go anywhere near Boris Johnson because they think he’s a joke’. If that seems ironic, one minister says: ‘It’s worse in Europe. There is not a single foreign minister there who takes him seriously. They think he’s a clown who can never resist a gag.’
[Link to full article in The Times…] (paywalled, but registration allows two free articles per month)
Polly Toynbee writes in the Guardian: “A creeping postcode lottery of cuts gradually erodes the ‘national’ in NHS. IVF, hip and knee operations are being cut back randomly in some regions. In some places patients can only get one cataract fixed: seeing with one eye is enough.
“Waiting lists for hospital care just topped 4 million people, waiting times lengthening as A&E admissions rise means fewer planned operations, with extreme variations by hospital. The NHS is ordered to cut an impossible£22bn by 2020 – but there is no national instruction as to what. Politically, it’s easier to leave local decision-makers to take the blame.
George Monbiot tells Double Down News: “What happened in Grenfell Tower was murder, mass murder.
“It’s ‘let’s strip away’ all the public protections which prevent lots of people from being incinerated.
“There’s a whole infrastructure of fake think tanks, of these neoliberal lobby groups, funded by dark money, journalists, columnists in the corporate press, government ministers and advisers, whose whole role in life is to try to destroy public protections. because those public protections limit corporate profits. Read more
ITV journalist Robert Peston writes on Facebook in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy:
“Austerity seems to have become particularly toxic in a system where responsibility for vital safety decisions is so diffuse: we have ministers in charge of regulations, councillors funding an arms length management company, and a management company placing a refurbishment contract with the cheapest bidder.”
He continues: “The system… we have [is] designed to drive down costs and save money, not to put the safety of people first.”
Read his full Facebook post below:
This video footage from a Theresa May press conference has been viewed over 3 million times on Facebook.
Theresa May destroyed over dementia tax
Posted by The Independent on Monday, May 22, 2017
Kevin Meagher writes in The New Statesman: “It was entirely legitimate for Corbyn and others to take an interest in the pressing affairs of Northern Ireland, especially as we now know that Margaret Thatcher’s government was engaged in secret talks with the IRA from the time of the Hunger Strikes.
[Read full column on The New Statesman website…]
Mark Brown writes in the Guardian: 37 NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England are introducing rules about ongoing care that could force up to 13,000 people with health conditions into care homes. The CCGs will essentially begin saying to people with disabilities and long-term health needs: if you haven’t got the cash for homecare, then it’s off to a care home for you.
Imagine you have been living in your home for years. It might be where your kids were born. Being at home, having your stuff around you, having the greatest possible measure of independence, obviously means a lot to everyone, whether you’re well, ill or disabled. Then one day someone comes and tells you, “Nope, you’re too expensive here. We’re moving you to a care home unless you cough up the money to pay for what you need.
Mary O’Hara writes in The Guardian: For five years colossal cuts to local bus services have decimated provision across much of Britain yet, despite the impact on people’s lives, the losses have failed to register in the same ways as cuts to other public services.
At a time when almost nothing in local government has been left unscathed by the budget-slashing scythe you may wonder if cash being shaved from bus services matters. It does – immensely.
Every day millions of people rely on local buses to get to work, school, their GPs, supermarkets, and even to stave off isolation and loneliness. Research shows that for older and poorer people, as well as for those with disabilities, buses can be the difference between being able to get around and feeling trapped, especially in rural areas with few other options. Buses are critical to the economy of local communities too, ensuring people can get to or find employment, and can spend their money with local businesses.
But here we are with cuts to services already running into millions of pounds and another tranche on the horizon. The Campaign for Better Transport has published some alarming new research on cuts to supported bus services in England and Wales – those that receive funding from local authorities and often cover non-metropolitan or isolated routes.
Massive cuts of more than £27m are on the cards, and many isolated and rural areas will be left “with little or no bus services”.
[Read full column on Guardian website…]