Tories pledge to increase wages… or not

Minimum vs living wage pledge.pngThis is a screenshot of the tory manifesto. It’s an unusual combination of part fact and part fiction intended to make working class voters think that leopards really could change their spots. Here the conservatives promise to raise the minimum wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024. That was nothing compared to the fully costed Labour plan to increase it to a tenner immediately but hey ho – you pays your money and you takes your choice. And pay we will – through the nose.

Now, despite claiming that their manifesto was fully accounted for (it seems that it wasn’t), the tories have rolled back their commitment to our lowest paid workers. Now it’s more an aspiration “if economic circumstances allow”.

Well what did you expect? They are tories, after all. They don’t give a stuff about the working class.

Workers rights under threat again

JenkyDuring the election campaign Boris Johnson and the rest of his team promised that there were no plans to meddle with the rights of Working people. My own local candidate, now tory MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson went

on record at the local hustings explaining that there were no plans to reduce workers rights in the event of a tory majority. I’m afraid I wasn’t convinced.

The October withdrawal bill, the one that Boris withdrew because parliament wanted time to scrutinise it (and refused to let it pass without such scrutiny) included such protections. That’s the one the EU had agreed to in principle, assuming that it gained the consent of the house – a consent that could only come if parliament was allowed time to consider it in sufficient detail.

After the election Johnson has an 80 seat majority with many of his MPs new to the chamber, unsure of their position and presumably not sufficiently brave to stand up to Boris’ whips even if they wanted to. This means he can do what he likes, with or without parliamentary scrutiny and so…

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The December version of the withdrawal bill lacks the appropriate clauses about maintaining working peoples’ rights. Michael Gove, long time opponent of anything that stands in the way of large multinationals exploiting their workers has reassured us that everything will be OK because rights will be considered separately at some unspecified later date. The excuse is that they don’t want to complicate the road to Brexit so they’ll sort the rights part out later. Oh really?

screenshot_20191221-213437__012725869754827810623.jpgNeedless to say Mr. Jenkinson, newly elected MP for Workington voted in favour of the revised withdrawal bill and its implications for workers and Europeans despite the lack of time for proper scrutiny.

Now remember that the previous deal which included workers’ rights has already been agreed by the EU. Boris could pass whatever bill he likes in this new parliament so what could possibly be so difficult about workers’ rights that they need to be removed to let the bill carry through the house? That just doesn’t make sense.


In fact the opposite is true. It is precisely because of the changes to the October version of the bill, particularly relating to working peoples’ rights and the rights of EU citizens that the EU may not ratify this new version after all. Far from making the road to Brexit easier, abandoning workers’ and EU citizens’ rights is actually making it more complicated – and we all know where that can lead.

So what’s the real reason for the removal of working peoples’ rights?

Well? What do you think?

UK defence firm defenceless against US dollars and Government capitulation

So parliament is back after the general election. That was an exercise in national decision-making that is yet to be judged by history but the early signs aren’t good.

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Many people, especially in the ‘red wall’ constituencies of the Labour heartlands voted conservative with such fervour and passion that you’d think hen’s teeth were going out of fashion. Instead, the once rarer than rocking horse excrement tory MPs in towns like Workington in Cumbria have become ‘common as muck’ in Boris’ brave new world of national asset stripping.

Andrea Leadsom.jpgFirst off the blocks in this collective race to the bottom was Andrea Leadsom, one time candidate to lead the party herself but now content to do her master’s bidding and sign off on one of the biggest defence betrayals since William Joyce defected to the Nazis in 1940 and ran a wartime propaganda radio show to undermine British resilience.

Not quite so accomplished a radio presenter, Leadsom had to content herself with what she is good at – selling people out for profit. And just who are the patsies in this little deal? Whose security has just been compromised in the name of profiteering foreign nationals? Well, ours of course – including every single one of those ‘red wall’ voters who lent the tories their vote this December.

Cobham is a British firm, responsible for much of the defence infrastructure our country relies upon for national security since before WW2. Winston Churchill relied upon Cobham to keep Spitfires flying during the Battle of Britain – and they did! American private equity firm, Advent just took over. But here’s the kicker…

The takeover was agreed by Shareholders in the middle of 2019 but not agreed by the  government until after the general election. Now then, why do you imagine that was? Cynics might suggest that the deal was allowed as part of a more general, post trade trade agreement with the USA. Realists might suppose that to tell the public about it before the votes were cast might have left the tories with a few hard questions to answer about the defence of the realm and our newly subservient relationship with our American financial overlords.

Cobham in flightAccording to Simon Murphy’s article in The Guardian…

Lady Nadine Cobham, the daughter-in-law of the company’s founder Sir Alan Cobham, said: “This is a deeply disappointing announcement and one cynically timed to avoid scrutiny on the weekend before Christmas.

“In one of its first major economic decisions, the government is not taking back control so much as handing it away.

“In Cobham we stand to lose yet another great British defence manufacturer to foreign ownership, through a takeover that would never have been approved by the Americans, French or Japanese, all of whom have taken steps recently to raise protections for their own defence sectors.”

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In what may well prove to be one of the year’s most prophetic questions Ed Davey, acting Lib Dem leader asked in the same article…

“If Boris Johnson’s government are happy to sell off a leading UK defence and aerospace company to Trump’s America, how can we expect his government to protect our defence and manufacturing sectors, not to mention every other sector of our economy, as they negotiate trade deals after Brexit?”

How indeed, Ed? How indeed?

White, working class and perfectly safe in Bury Park

As hate crime rises again in the wake of Boris Johnson’s far right ‘nasty party’ victory I thought it worth dusting this old 3 minute video down for another airing. This is me not being harassed, attacked or even looked at in a funny way in the supposed ‘no go’ area of Bury Park in Luton.