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Conservative commentator: ‘Cosying up to big donors’ is not a ‘good look’: many a true word spoken in jest

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In the Times today, Tim Montgomerie,  co-founder of the Centre for Social Justice and creator of the Conservative Home website warns: “Tories must beware cosying up to big donors . . . the dependence of the party on chief executive chequebooks is bad politics and makes it vulnerable to populist entryism”

He cites the persistence of Jeremy Corbyn’s support despite the media onslaught, commenting that voters who are desperate for a new economic settlement seem (bewilderingly) willing to forgive or at least overlook (alleged) weaknesses that would have been electorally fatal until recently.

He points out the surge in revenue from Labour’s half a million or so members, which means that the party is getting almost as much money from individuals as it receives from the unions and continues: “The Tories enjoy no such diverse spread of funding”.

While “Corbyn’s coffers” were filled with £16 million of funds from individual supporters, the 124,000 Tory members contributed less than £1 million to their party’s treasury. Over £7 million came from ‘high-net-worth donors’ and big gifts came from dining clubs, at which rich individuals are able to sit down with Mrs May and other cabinet ministers. Montgomerie continues:

“Chasing high rollers has at times led the party to become entangled with former associates of Vladimir Putin. That is not a good look”.

Mrs May’s successor and the nation’s prime minister will be chosen by party members but Montgomerie sees the danger of ‘entryism’. Arron Banks, the businessman who financed Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign has launched a drive to recruit 50,000 Ukip-inclined supporters to join the Tories.

The support for capitalism is not what it was and deservedly so

Montgomerie advocates building a broad and diverse membership which understands that things are different from the 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher reaped great political rewards from being close to the nation’s wealth-creators:

  • The banks have paid an estimated £71 billion in fines, legal fees and compensation since the 2008 crash.
  • Inflated house prices owe much to the power of a few major builders to restrict the supply of new homes.
  • The service of some privatised railway companies is poor.
  • The pay awards enjoyed by many leading chief executives are unjustifiable.

He adds that the Tory mission today should be the protection of the “little guy” from any concentration of power, whether in commerce, media or the state

He comments “There are some signs that the government gets this”; the apprenticeship levy for example, which is attempting to address “the decades-long failure of British industry to invest in the skills of their workforces”.

Montgomerie concludes that British politics is not corrupt but distorted

By accepting funding and spending so much time with donors from the City and with property developers, the Tories are in danger of being held back from building an agenda that is less southern and more focused on consumer empowerment than producer privilege.

He and his ilk are incapable of understanding the persistence of Jeremy Corbyn’s support despite the media onslaught. Those voters who are ‘desperate for a new economic settlement’ also recognise the character of the man, whose policies are based on justice, not perceived electoral advantage.

The last word is given to Andrew Scattergood (FBU) who sees more clearly than Montomerie: “Jeremy Corbyn has, since first elected as leader, established himself as by far Labour’s best leader, perhaps since Keir Hardie, representing the aims and values of the vast majority of the party membership”.

 

 

 

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New Zealand’s new coalition: a model for our next parliament?

The Independent reports that the Zealand First party has agreed to form a centre-left coalition with the Labour Party; the Green Party will support the coalition but will not be part of the government.

Jacinda Ardern, who will take office next month said, in her first full interview since becoming prime minister-elect, that capitalism had failed our people. If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure,” she said. “What else could you describe it as?”

She added: “Has (the market economy) failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you’ve been successful when you have growth roughly three per cent, but you’ve got the worst homelessness in the developed world?”

The Labour leader said that measures used to gauge economic success “have to change” and has pledged that her government will judge economic success on more than measures such as GDP:

“The measures for us have to change. We need to make sure we are looking at people’s ability to actually have a meaningful life, an enjoyable life, where their work is enough to survive and support their families.” She also pledged that her government will:

  • increase the minimum wage,
  • write child poverty reduction targets into law
  • and build thousands of affordable homes

The Green Party’s joint leader Caroline Lucas, who won 30,139 votes to retain her Brighton Pavilion seat – increasing her share of the vote by 10.4% – advocates working towards a progressive alliance government by talking to the SNP, the Greens, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru and forming the outline of an alliance which would prioritise bringing in proportional representation.

Neal Lawson of Compass asks: “Would Jeremy Corbyn rather be in government, sharing power with people like Nicola Sturgeon, Caroline Lucas and Leanne Wood – people with whom he has much more in common than with many in his own party – or let the Tories back into power?  

“The door is open to a new politics – all the parties have to do is walk through it”.

 

 

 

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Janan Ganesh in the Nikkei-FT makes a puerile written attack on Corbyn supporters

Can anyone take his writing seriously, marred – as it so often is – by envy, jibes and malice?

Howlers, best treated in the pantomime tradition:

“His movement is not, as it claims, a howl at inequality and questing militarism”

Oh yes it is!

“Corbynism is not an expression of how bad things have become”

Oh yes it is!

“The electors who were decisive in giving him the run of the Labour party are public-sector professionals or students on their way to becoming the same”.

Oh no, they’re not.

The people he pillories: at Corbyn’s Nuneaton rally – a fair cross-section of society.

corbyn nuneaton 2audience

Very unlike what these have become:

bullingdon2

Ganesh continues:

“A Corbyn rally is not a band of desperate workers fighting to improve their circumstances, it is a communion of comfortable people working their way up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They have physical health and security; they crave belonging and self-actualisation”.

In other words they care for others in poorer circumstances here and those being destabilised, evicted and executed abroad by drone.

“If Jeremaniacs really think they are following in the lineage of the Jarrow marchers, the Tolpuddle martyrs and other working-class rebellions of lore, it is hard not to admire their shimmering brass necks”.

Cheap shot.

“The far left cannot even stand up its claim that inequality is rising here”.

Oh yes they can – and he must know it. Many sources verifying this include the Telegraph article and the recent OECD report:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11578214/Inequality-is-ruining-Britain-so-why-arent-we-talking-about-it-more.html

http://www.oecd.org/unitedkingdom/OECD-Income-Inequality-UK.pdf

Ganesh ends: “Mr Corbyn is not a strike against capitalism. By inuring people to prosperity, freeing them to make loftier demands, capitalism is exactly what keeps him in business”.

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Yet – Jekyll and Hyde? – Ganesh speaks quite sensibly on video.

British government: note the re-election of one who fosters social inclusion, not inequality

One article in the FT today reports that FTSE100 directors’ pay soared 21% in the past year while average wages in the UK have failed to keep up with inflation and the widening gulf between what executives and their employees earn is highlighted. Another shows a different regime.

evo morales boliviaAndres Schipani reports that Evo Morales won a third term as Bolivian president by a landslide on Sunday, according to exit polls, which registered roughly 60% support, after about 6m Bolivians went to the polls.

Opposition’s doubt and fears

This success is distressing for those pierced by Mr Morales’ ‘cries against imperialism’ and ‘distaste for capitalism’. Many corporate investors were adversely affected by his decision to take a number of the country’s utilities and commodities companies into state hands during his first two terms.

In the face of his undoubted social and economic achievements, they voice doubts about his administration’s ability to industrialise if it does not take a more pragmatic approach towards foreign investors.

They also express fears that the latest success in the polls could embolden his party, assisting ‘a tilt towards autocracy’ and an attempt to change the constitution to allow for additional presidential terms.

Schipani notes that the impoverished country has enjoyed growing influence since Morales took office, due to prudent economic policy and exports of natural gas to Brazil and Argentina, minerals to Asia. Higher wages have increased domestic demand and Bolivia’s GDP has nearly tripled to about $30bn since 2006. Morales intends to add value to Bolivia’s exports, one plan being to build long-life, rechargeable batteries using the country’s vast lithium deposits.

bolivian market

He won his first presidential election with 54%  of the vote on promises to reverse centuries of subservience and inequality in one of Latin America’s poorest countries. Using ‘redistributive policies’, he strengthened his mandate in 2009 with 63% approval after changing the constitution, enabling one consecutive re-election for a sitting president.

These policies include higher wages – a minimum wage of 1200 bolivianos per month and an obligatory Christmas bonus equal to one month’s pay, pro-rated for the amount of time the worker has worked in their present position. Another is the Juancito Pinto cash transfer program – grants to students from low-income families, to offset the costs of transport, books and uniforms – which has had a positive impact on the levels of school enrolment and income distribution and some impact on poverty levels.

Morales’ supporters see him as a symbol of social inclusion, who brought improved living standards and stability to a long-suffering and volatile landlocked country. “He is like a father. He protects the poor, gives us money. We can see there is progress, something that never happened before”, said Inés Pacheco, an elderly peasant woman in El Alto.

 

David Cameron, please note.

Media 35, IPCC report: misgivings confirmed

Deceptive, reassuring propaganda peddled by corporate media and corporate politics

Media Lens reminds us that for more than 25 years, since the IPCC was set up in 1988, there have been numerous scientific ‘wakeup calls’ and nothing significant has changed. (Below, Professor Ray Wills’ sketch)

IPCC warnings

In fact, ML continues, turbo-charged, fossil-fuel driven capitalism has proceeded to run amok. And, for the vested interests who are the winners in the global economy, the tiny ‘one per cent’ or less, it is vital that nothing stops their continued ‘success’. Their cynical propaganda campaign is often dressed up as the need to be ‘sensible’ and to take measures that do no ‘harm’ to the economy.

IPCC vol 1 coverMedia Lens reports that the new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear that the impacts of climate change are likely to be ‘severe, pervasive and irreversible’. Impacts include droughts, floods, heat waves, endangered species, crop failure, food insecurity, famine and even war.

However BBC reports preferred to highlight the reservations expressed by Richard Tol, one of  seventy researchers: ‘Is climate report overly alarming?’

This headline linked to a piece by its environment correspondent, Matt McGrath, who trailed it on Twitter: ‘Dissent among scientists over key climate impacts report’. But, as several Twitter users observed, the ‘dissent’ among ‘scientists’ amounted to the objections of only one individual, Professor Richard Tol, only one IPCC author out of 70.

Tol is not a scientist but an economist who previously published research showing that climate change may have some benefits at lower levels of warming and has worked with Bjorn ‘Skeptical Environmentalist’ Lomborg and others to downplay the importance of tackling the climate crisis.

Leo Hickman, chief adviser on climate change at WWF-UK, retorted: ‘Hey, BBC, I’ve fixed the headline for you: “One go-to contrarian scientist dissents over key climate impact report”.

BBC News at Ten’s Huw Edwards, BBC science editor David Shukman, Channel 4 News and ITV are arraigned by Media Lens, the latter having chosen a most misleading headline, ‘UN report hopes to show opportunities climate change may present’.

Medial Lens condemns the media arm of a corporate system ‘that is very clearly out of control’ as being as stupid and irresponsible:

“Humanity simply will not survive much more business-as-usual. And yet, all around us we see immense global economic forces hell-bent on charging ahead ever faster with no interest whatever in the near-term consequences.

“If we continue to look to corporate media and corporate politics for hope, this deceptive, reassuring propaganda may well continue to the bitter end. Ordinary people will have to take action . . . This is not hype; it is that serious, that late. The choice is ours”.

Main source: http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2014/761-the-neverending-wakeup-call.html

Jeffrey Sachs: the common good is disregarded as political decisions are turned over to the highest-bidding lobby and big money bypasses regulatory controls

Yesterday the Financial Times published an article in their series, Capitalism in Crisis by Jeffrey Sachs, one of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University, special adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. 

Its theme was that ”Self-interest, without morals, leads to capitalism’s self-destruction”. 

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Read more: http://localisewestmidlands.org.uk/2012/jeffrey-sachs-the-common-good-is-disregarded-as-political-decisions-are-turned-over-to-the-highest-bidding-lobby-and-big-money-bypasses-regulatory-controls/

What has changed? Jonathon Porritt writes about a tiny group of ‘unreconstructed, vicious capitalists’

Six years ago Jonathon Porritt wrote:

“There is an elite of unreconstructed, vicious capitalists for whom the process of accumulation is so powerful … a tiny group controls so much leverage, and people are in thrall to this minuscule group . . .

“We have just come through what must have been one of the most spectacularly debauched periods of unfettered profit maximisation since the 19th century, culminating in a sequence of corporate scandals and collapses that has contributed to the pendulum starting to swing back from its neo-liberal extreme.”

“Sustainable capitalism needs to find ways of limiting the concentration of wealth.”

More on ‘Capitalism as if the World Matters’ in the book pictured opposite, published by Earthscan – six years ahead of its time?