1) Parliament Square is still Occupied – just…
That’s right, no sleeping equipment is allowed, not even a pizza box, outside the ‘father of parliamentary democracy’. It is not hyperbole to state that “There is less freedom in Westminster than Hong Kong”. You can read a report by the former deputy chair of the Liberal Democrats here.
The protesters have determinedly stuck to their task, and are holding general assemblies and teach ins through out the rest of the week.
Of course you cannot find out about this at any mainstream media outlet who have been ignoring protest and police abuse of power consistently for some time now. You can follow what is happening on Twitter.
2) Nearly 100,000 marched on Saturday, to near complete media silence
Despite living in a period which is seeing ever falling real income and more than 5 million in work who cannot earn a living wage, the event was seen as relatively insignificant.
Currently the death of actor Lynda Bellingham tops the news – whereas the march does not make the top ten.
Wages have slumped more than at any other time in 150 years and are continuing to fall.
Len McClusky said of the coalition
“They are seeking to destroy the welfare state – characterising anyone who uses the benefit system in their time of need as a scrounger, and they are devastating local government to a point where care of the elderly is now defined by spreadsheet economics separated into 10-minute blocks, irrespective of the individual’s needs.”
These and other quotes peppered the Mirror’s coverage, but the march to protest to these truths looks unlikely to affect any of the Parliamentary parties policies, as the peaceful march passed with out comment by anyone but the police.
“Scotland Yard said this evening that the TUC march and rally in London has ended and the participants have dispersed.
They added: “It was very good-natured and well-stewarded. No demonstrators were arrested.”
One wonders if that will continue to be the case if marches keep being ignored by the media and the establishment…
3) We are leading the table of inequality! At least we are good at something…
It turns out that we are only G7 country where inequality has increased since the turn of the millenium.
The richest 10% now own over 54% of the wealth of the country. Which is nothing in comparison to the global statistics.
Globally, the report says the richest 1% are getting wealthier and now own more than 48% of the world’s wealth. Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets,”
It is sometime hard to put these numbers into context, so it is worth a reread. 1% of the human beings on this planet own nearly half of it. 10% of us own nearly nine tenths of the planet. Everyone else is scrapping it out for the rest.
These trends are continuing to become more pronounced as we head for another global recession. In a world of plenty, how long can this go on?
4) An unbelievable Welfare Minister says something totally typical about the disabled.
If this were a fairer world, Lord Freud would never be facing calls for his resignation as welfare minister. He would not have been forced into a public apology after being caught musing insensitively about whether some disabled people “aren’t worth” the full minimum wage, and could make do with £2 an hour. He wouldn’t have gone to ground yesterday. All this would never have happened, because in an ideal world Freud would never have been a minister in the first place.
The crime is not that he had said that basically disabled people should not be valued equally as human beings, but that he was ever allowed to be in a position where he would be able to act on this prejudice. It is is even worse that he continues in the role, especially he has absolutely no qualifications for a position where he is responsible for the welfare of millions.
His qualifications, as a former banker and journalist, for radically reforming the welfare state were admittedly something of a mystery even when Labour first hired him as an adviser to Downing Street back in 2006. But at least they had the sense not to unleash him on a nervous public. It was only when Freud jumped ship to the Tories three years later that he was made a shadow minister; and whatever his technical expertise, that’s when his clodhopping public manner became a problem. This is the man who, when asked how as a millionaire he could ever understand what it’s like to be on benefits, responded that “you don’t have to be a corpse to go to the funeral”.
At least he has been honest, there is no need to paint the Tories as unfeeling wretches, who see us nothing more than economic units – and not very valuable ones at that – they do it for us.
The Tories are not content with forcing disabled people into work. They want to pay them a pittance when they get there. I suppose we can thank Freud. The government has been producing enough measures that infers disabled people are slightly less than human. He’s finally said it out loud.
5) 3.5 Million children are living in poverty in this country. And schools are having to deliver aid to help them, in an obscene dereliction of duty by those responsible for the welfare of us all (see disabled bashing ex banker above).
Here are some facts from the child poverty report – we encourage you to read it all.
- There are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.1
- There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty.2
- Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works.3
- People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts.4
The overview is brief and well written, at a time when the media has been consistently blaming poverty on the poor, and the welfare state for our national debt.
The same week we hear inequality is increasing, we also see the disastrous effect that is having on our children. The criticism is levelled at all three parties in the report – as well as pointing out Labour’s lack of ambition (like we did in our recent podcast)
It will also criticise Labour’s goal of an £8-per-hour national minimum wage by 2020, arguing that it is not as ambitious as it sounds because it implies a slower rate of increase between now and 2020 than there was between 1999 and this year. If that trend continued, the minimum wage would be worth £8.23 an hour in 2020, not £8, it calculates.