That was a long haul!

10 years ago ConDem austerity destroyed my Ltd company. It wasn’t necessary – it was ideological. The Condemn government used the global financial crash to give tax cuts to the wealthy and make the rest of us foot the bill. Small businesses like mine went to the wall, public sector workers faced a seemingly unending pay freeze and the unemployed and disabled faced such cuts to their benefits that the united nations declared UK to be an abusive state.

It took me 10 years sleeping in vehicles & cheap rooms traveling around UK for work, paying out most of my wages to keep afloat & keep the family housed & fed. In the early days I found myself only able to eat every other day. The kids were well fed though.

Every missed payment to creditors increases the pressure by design. Interest piles up and with it minimum payments rise to accommodate the ever-increasing balance owed. I paid back the original sums several times to no avail because of increased interest and penalties on late payments.

The system is designed to keep us indebted to those investment bankers who caused the problem to begin with. Their sub-prime opportunism inevitably came back to roost but it wasn’t the bankers who suffered for it. They were still getting paid big bonuses and pretending they were needed to keep the economy afloat. Yeah, right!

At times I thought I’d never get out of the hole those greedy lenders had dug for me. But I did it! This week I registered as sole trader again. Back on my feet, no thanks to the tories.

But anyway, now I’m back. I’m offering #mentalhealth & #socialcare training again either face to face (distanced) or online via and also 1:1 work via 
Give me a call. I’m good at what I do. You’ll get a damn fine service at a reasonable price.

Go on, you know you want to!

Taking up the slack

Saffron Cordery is the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, the membership organisation for NHS hospitals, mental health, community and ambulance services. These guys really do know what they’re talking about.

According to Cordery, writing in The Independent just after the general election, Boris’ government, for all its fine words is setting the NHS and Social care up to fail, not least in respect of older people.

Not that this comes as any great surprise to those of us who’ve been watching developments since 2010. The Tories, with the help of their LibDem enablers, have been stitching up our NHS, ready to sell it off to the highest bidder for years.

“Although quality of care once you’re in the system has held up remarkably well, timely access to treatment in the NHS has been slipping for years, despite frontline staff working harder than ever – so hard, in fact, that they’re in danger of burning out. Demand has been steadily outstripping supply; gaps in the workforce have widened substantially; our assets have deteriorated; and financial investment has been lower in the past decade than at any point in the NHS’s 70-year history.”
For all his fine words, Mr. Johnson is well aware that his promise of funding falls way short of the amount currently provided to our country’s flagship health service. Even if he restored funding to previous levels the backlog of neglect and decay, of equipment and buildings upgrades would mean a significant cut in comparative terms.

Last July Boris promised the nation that he had “a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity they deserve“.

The tories may be promising money but they’re hardly making much of an effort.

Of course, they can’t make too big an effort because the money’s already earmarked for tax cuts and perks for big corporations. Which is why the health, mental health and social care sectors are to be left to pick up the slack.

If you thought the last 10 years were bad, just watch this space. There’s far worse to come.

Welcome to the Twenties

It’s 2020! Welcome to the Twenties!

What a decade it’s been. We began 2010 in the throes of recession thanks to a global recession that began in 2008 with the American sub-prime mortgage and investment fiasco and quickly spread across the globe. By 2010 our economy here in UK  had suffered massive damage but we had a working welfare state to protect our citizens from the worst of the crisis.

Then, in May of 2010 the real British catastrophe began, The ConDem government introduced austerity and so began a decade long process of starving our social safety net of funds while throwing massive tax cuts at the wealthy. Ten years on and our vital services are almost unrecognisable, they’re so depleted by years of Tory and LibDem cuts and back door privatisation. And now, in the closing weeks of 2019 a new disaster has begun to bite.

Boris Johnson has such a huge parliamentary majority that he can do whatever he wants and make no mistake, he will. He’s already made it clear that he plans to ‘review’ the relationship between the government, parliament and the judiciary in such a way that he and his ministers will be able to rewrite any law they choose without recourse to anyone – not even the law. Privatisation of the NHS is increasing quickly now and manifesto promises about minimum wage rises and working peoples’ rights are already being fudged. The new decade looks set to be a whole lot worse than the one we’ve just left.

If this nation is to survive the next ten years and still retain even a modicum of decency, if we are to maintain anything close to the social safety net we have taken for granted for so many years we  need to come together as one. We need to put the differences of the last few years aside, forget the petty prejudices and paranoia centering around race, religion, country of origin or social status and work together for the good of the whole community.

Many of us are working hard to do just that. Join us – help keep UK society together until the storm of this far right government is over. It’s a storm we need to face together or few of us will survive it at all.

Inequality (but in a good way)

I’m about to put all my lefty credentials at serious risk. If people read only the first few paragraphs of this article I’ll be drummed out of the tree-huggers, yoghurt-knitters and snowflake breeders union before you can say “Corduroy jacket with leather elbow patches”! And that’s fine – because there are no yoghurt-knitters in my world, no snowflakes and no 1970s social workers with leather elbow patches either. There are a few tree-huggers but that’s OK – that’s actually a good thing.

My world is populated by people who know the hardships of the real world, who are strong enough to cope with them and who still find the energy and resources they need to stand up for their neighbours. We’re the working class, we’re not the stereotypical snowflakes, constantly offended by every little disagreement, that’s much more characteristic of the far right. They get hot under their sweaty little collars whenever anyone says a compassionate word or suggests that the welfare state might be worth protecting. Neither are we sad little loners sitting at our computers in our parents’ box-rooms wishing we had some friends. That’s more characteristic of the disaffected far right, too. Fucking snowflakes!

We, on the other hand, tend to be realists. Mostly working class, we come from generations of hardship and we know what it means to struggle. We don’t seek simple answers and we’re not interested in blaming the brown-skinned easy target next door just because they’re accessible. We go after the real issues and the real enemies of our society and our class. And, even in the face of defeat on a massive scale as we saw last Thursday we remain relentless.

And we understand something fundamental… (here’s the bit that just might get me evicted from the offence-takers’ circle). We understand that inequality is inevitable, even desirable. But not for the reasons Boris Johnson had in mind when he sang the praises of inequality a couple of weeks before the general election.

Please my fellow lefties – read on before you condemn your fellow socialist. You won’t be nearly so alarmed at my words if you do. Not only that, you may find that this argument will actually persuade some of your tory acquaintances to think again too.

Firstly, we know that even if we treated everyone the same with absolute equality of opportunity, outcomes would differ because people differ. We differ in intellectual ability, in temperament, in physical potential and in personality. All else being equal, the strong, determined industrious and intelligent woman will do better than the weak-willed, lazy and indolent young man who lazes his days away in the pub or on the street corner. She’ll also do better in the equally hard working but less intelligent school-leaver who lacks both her brains and her contacts. See we work only on equality of opportunity. You don’t need to be lazy to be disadvantaged in our unequal world, even with equality of opportunity, if you’re not in a position to compete with the strongest, the brightest, even the most attractive.

So what would be the solution in an ideal world? Follow the argument to its logical conclusion and it’s obvious. In an ideal world we’d all have equal abilities. But think about that. That’d mean we’d all be exactly the same. We’d all think the same thoughts, live the same lives and enjoy the same recreations. We’d all be clones and all hope of creativity would fly out the window along with the winged pigs necessary to bring such a world about. We can’t have equality of opportunity because we can’t have equality of inate ability and that really is a good thing.

So what can we have?

Well – we can have equality of facility. We can compensate for disadvantages without having to worry about unequal ability so long as we have decent outcomes. We can have lifts in underground stations for wheelchair users. We can have hearing loop systems in public spaces for hearing aid users. We can have systems in place to ensure that the inequality we see around us doesn’t prevent people from achieving to the best of their ability. There will still be inequality but nobody will be left so far behind because of it that they can’t afford to eat.

And it’s not just about hearing aids and elevators. If we must charge for higher education we could ensure that those from poorer backgrounds get extra help with accommodation fees and general living expenses on campus. If we’re really going to keep VAT on food we can provide an additional weekly top up for those who don’t benefit from reduced income tax equivalent to the VAT paid on an average week’s shopping. After all, VAT is paid at the same rate whether you’re on top rate income tax or too poor to pay any income tax in the first place. That’s no different in principle from providing a lift in the tube or a hearing loop in your local community centre. It’s compensating for inequality without pretending it doesn’t exist.

You see, Boris is right – we do need inequality – but not because it stimulates envy and greed as he would prefer. We need inequality because the only way to do without it is to do without diversity and creativity.

But once we’ve acknowledged that we can’t have equality of ability we can compensate to protect all people from the worst excesses of inequality of outcome.

John Rawls famously asked people to design a social structure for a society that exists behind a ‘veil of ignorance’. It was a hypothetical society in which they could be either the most able, the least able or at any point in between. They could have the most opportunity or the least opportunity. They could be anyone but, as the thought experiment goes, they would be someone. Everyone who participated had to imagine themselves born somewhere into the social structure of the world behind the veil. And a remarkable thing happened.

When people didn’t know their own place in life they became fairer – not because there was no inequality, but because they couldn’t see it clearly.

We all know, even the stinking rich know that this unequal society is unfair. We all know that dog eat dog provides almost nobody with a truly satisfying meal. A society where so many suffer has disadvantages for all. An underfunded education creates a society full of under-educated people – people who vote and people who become so unemployable they need to steal to eat.

An under-funded healthcare system leads to ill health and epidemics. Under-funded police and fire services leave us all at risk – especially those with most to lose. In an unequal society everyone loses.

And, as the veil of ignorance demonstrates, we all understand just how unfair the present system is – that’s why nobody supports the sort of society we see today in UK when they’re planning the land behind the veil. Inequality of ability isn’t the problem. The pretence that somehow everyone can achieve the same outcomes with vastly different starting positions is the problem.

It’s not fair to raise VAT and say that means everyone pays the same tax when some people have so little they can’t afford to eat as a result.

It’s not fair to reduce income tax ‘for everyone’ when some people don’t even earn enough to meet the income tax threshold to begin with.

It’s not fair to say that everyone can go to the best universities when most people could never afford the cost of living or even the rent in our centres of educational excellence.

It’s not fair to pretend that everyone can be what they want when professional ladders begin with extended unpaid internships that bar everyone but the wealthiest from getting a foothold in the first place.

Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill gave us utilitarianism – a philosophical system begun by Bentham and refined by Mill that advocates for seeking the greatest good for the greatest number. That’s usually what happens in the land behind the veil. People plan fairly.

In our world, in modern UK we seem to be content to provide the greatest good for the smallest number whilst a third of British children remain undernourished and living in poverty.

We can do without that sort of inequality, Boris.

Corbyn’s Christmas challenge

Mia and Jade are just a couple of ordinary Northern women – but they have a dream. Not only that, they have a plan to go with it.

Like many others, these two Lancashire ladies were devastated when the news broke of a Tory majority last Friday. They knew all too well what that landslide result will mean for Britain’s most vulnerable people. 130,000 unnecessary deaths due to Tory policy already is hard to ignore, after all.

Like true Northeners the pair decided not to wallow in despair, despite the disaster that has befallen the nation. They decided to sort things out.

As Mia told me

“It’s time for the many to look out for the few!”



Last night at 10pm the exit polls announced their results. Right from the word go, even as the count was only just getting started TV pundits were predicting a landslide majority for the conservative party. And they were right.

The tory party now has a massive overall majority in the British parliament and there’s nothing to stop them doing exactly as they please. And there’s the rub.

No excuses

There are no longer any excuses for Boris and his disreputable gang of bully boys. There’s nobody to blame for their failures or for their cruelties. Whatever they do in the next five years, longer if they implement their ‘enabling act’ (see p.48 of the Tory manifesto) will be entirely down to them.

Well, they made a lot of promises, as tories always do. Election time is the only time when the conservative party starts talking like socialists. As if by magic they suddenly begin en masse to care about the NHS waiting lists they created. They start to worry about people struggling in poverty due to Tory party policies and they claim to want more educational opportunities for our young people who’ve had their prospects decimated by 9 years of Tory rule.

We’ll be watching

So let’s make sure they do what they set out to do. Let’s make sure they keep those promises too. After all, we know they’ll keep the right wing pledges they made to take even more from ordinary people and give it to the super rich. We know they’ll be falling over each other to flog our NHS to the Americans and there’s absolutely no doubt that they’ll further decrease our access to legal redress when our rights are trampled. That’s the trajectory they’ve been on for years.

Let’s hold them to their words about the good stuff too.

Left eye view


Left eye view will keep watching this government and compare its actions to its manifesto and election promises. New laws, changes to taxation and reductions in funding for necessary services will be compared against Boris’ promises to us, the people. Let’s see how sincere this government really is.