Stop subsidising private education

Labour wants to end tax breaks for private education, and use the money we save to fund a state school “excellence programme”.

The Guardian

This isn’t a new idea. What’s new is how Labour are framing it. They’re putting forward a motion that will force Conservative MPs to make a public choice. They can either vote for a House of Commons select committee to “investigate reforming the tax benefits enjoyed by private schools” or they vote against it. If they vote it down they’re telling the British public, your children’s futures aren’t worth as much as the privileged few.

“Conservative MPs voting against our motion are voting against higher standards in state schools for the majority of children in our country.”

Removing charitable status from private schools will be opposed. Back in 2019 The Times ran a propagandist piece bemoaning the “rise of state pupils at Oxbridge”, calling it social engineering, as if private education isn’t already social engineering.

When I wrote about it back then, I included this clip from Question Time.

What it shows, is those who can afford a private education genuinely think they’re better than everyone else. Don’t you think it’s time they were disabused of that idea?


The Westminster Accounts

Sky News and Tortoise Media have created an extensive record of financial interests in Westminster since December 2019, when the current parliament was formed.

Sky News

Sky and Tortoise have gleefully focused on individual MPs who “accepted thousands of pounds in donations without knowing the source of the funds”.

As shocking as all that is, the thing that jumps out at me, are the amounts of money each party receives, and where those donations come from.

Since 2019 The Conservative Party have raked in a staggering £76 million in donations. More than double The Labour Party’s £32.4 million. Which is more than double the The Liberal Democrats’ £15.1 million. Think about this for a second, the Conservatives received over £24 million more than all the other opposition parties combined, combined! That’s a stark financial illustration of the fight for power in the United Kingdom. It’s like Ukraine fighting Russia without the support of the United States or Europe.

The other thing that interests me is where this money comes from. When Unite the Union donates £8.8 million to The Labour Party, they’re using the money they got from their 1.4 million members. That’s 1.4 million people given a voice by Labour. In that same period JC Bamford (JCB) gave The Conservative Party £3.3 million. That’s one person’s interests, Anthony Bamford, given a voice by the Conservatives.

Please don’t try and tell me donations don’t buy influence. Why would anyone give money if it didn’t benefit them one way or the other? I’m not talking corruption, bungs, manila envelopes under the table, although I’m certain that happens. I’m talking funding those who align with your interests. I know that’s a really obvious thing to say, but it’s never framed that way if and when it’s reported.

This same pattern plays out when you look at all party donations. Very wealth individuals donate to the Conservatives, while unions with millions of members donate to Labour.

One party represents the voice of millions, the other just a few.

Labour’s manifesto offer something others don’t, hope!

Even if you choose to criticise the Labour Party’s manifesto as ridiculously expensive, which it’s not. Just watch the clip below from BBC Newsnight. “It would basically bring us still to levels that are lower than France, Norway, and Sweden.”

We pride ourselves on being the fifth largest economy in the world. Why can’t we afford it? The Labour Party’s manifesto has something the other parties won’t offer. A vision for the future, a vision that offers hope.

This manifesto gives hope to all of us who have been bled dry by this huge vampiric pyramid scheme of neoliberalism. It offers the possibility that things might get better, instead of predictably worse.

Leave have faith

This is an intelligent unpicking of Boris Johnson’s lies. The problem I fear is that we’re not dealing with intelligence, or logic, or even truth. We are dealing with belief, we’re dealing with faith.

Leave have faith, despite all the evidence, that leaving the EU is the right thing to do. For me faith is just a short bus journey to Zealot Town. I have no idea how to counter their belief. They don’t listen to reason.

Despite their best efforts I have no desire to make them my enemy, but that’s what I am. I am other, a none believer, and not to believe, not to have faith, is heresy. I can live with being a heretic, but no amount of faith will put food on the table, or pay my rent.

Is cancelling Brexit the Prime Minister’s new default?

Robert Peston the chief political correspondent for ITV News discusses the possibility of cancelling Brexit.

A lot of people seem to think this was Theresa May’s game all along. I can’t see it myself. I can see her triggering Article 50, then calling a snap election trying to outflank the Labour Party, gambling on wiping out the Labour Party, leaving a clear path to get whatever exit she wanted.

Let’s not forget the Prime Minister tried to stop parliament from having any kind of say over the deal she struck. Probably because she could see from the outset what a hopeless venture it all was. Subsequent events have seen her cut off at every point, by Europe, by opposition. So vailed warnings of revoking Article 50 is just another attempt to force the critic in her own party into line.

I’d welcome her pulling the plug and revoking Article 50. It would keep us in Europe, and with luck destroy the Tories. Tory voting leavers would never forgive the betrayal. Remainers would never respect the party again. I’d call that a win.

Revoking Article 50 would certainly force a general election. At least then the parties could set out their stall, make their arguments, and let the will of the people be heard.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be the narrow split the commentators might like it to be.

Tories are racist

I agree with Dawn Foster in Jacobin that the “British media have turned the Labour Party’s alleged antisemitism problem into a national crusade. Meanwhile, leading Tories this week openly associated themselves with the Ku Klux Klan and the ideas of Anders Breivik — and the media shrugged”. It’s more than just a double standard, it’s an attempt to undermine any opposition.


Tactical choices

I agree with Tom Quinn’s analysis in The Conversation about the Independent Group, their “likely endpoint is another merger” with the other centrists party, the Liberal Democrats. In the same way as the SDP merged with the Liberal Party in the 1980’s, it’s the logical outcome of a binary political system.

The Conversation

I voted to remain, and Chuka Umunna is my MP, so theoretically I should vote for his pro European platform, and return him to Parliament at the next election. I’m not sure I will. For me the only way forward is the solution offered by the Labour Party. We leave the European Union but maintain a strong trading partnership, that includes free movement, and regulation parity.

Labour and Corbyn have been criticised for their stand, accused of propping up right-wing Tories. I don’t think that’s what is happening. I think Corby is using our exit of the European Union as a way to further the manifesto promises of the last election.

I still think leaving the European Union is an act of social and economic madness, playing Russian roulette with five rounds in the six shot cylinder. The chances of us emerging alive on the other side are slim, but I am equally disturbed by the neoliberalism of European Union.

Two things come to mind when I think neoliberalism. The first is Thatcherism, a system of “dog in a manger” economics, obsessed with the vagaries of the market and privatisation, and a property owning democracy that either revels in Boomtown, or sleeps rough when the economy hits the skids.

The second thing that comes to mind is something said by Ken Loach. The European Union is a club for bosses. It may offer workers rights, minimum safety standards for consumer goods, free movement of goods, services, and of course workers, but all of those benefits are designed as much to enrich the wealth of the bosses, as mollify its citizens

Given a choice between a revolver with five rounds in the chamber, and cheaper food, I’m going to choose cheaper food. But if our food is going to be more expensive, perhaps that can be offset by cheaper utility bills, and cheaper transportation, when those industries are nationalised under a Labour government.

Just a thought.

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