Archives For Cameron

1) HSBC offers full page apology only for the least of their crimes

“They don’t mention all the tens of thousands of beheaded people in Mexico and Columbia. They don’t mention all those ripped off by all the Libor rigging, or all the clients they ripped off in the Forex scandal.”

Stacey Herbert

Max Keiser hits the nail on the head in this video, putting some perspective on the actions, treatment and non-punishment for years of mass criminal behaviour and financial terrorism at one of our largest banks, including the fact HSBC funded terrorist groups. The media has worked hard to shape the debate and limit our understanding of the gross injustice inflicted on the world by banks like HSBC. In the video, co-host Stacey Herbert highlights that the Department of Justice in the UK failed to prosecute and punish HSBC because of ‘collateral consequences’ suggesting they are too big to punish. However, Iceland has punished, sentenced and regulated their financial industries and guess what? Their economy has not collapsed, and their public are much safer.

2) Peter Oborne publicly resigns from The Telegraph over ‘fraudulent’ coverage

Political Commentator, Peter Oborne publicly resigned from The telegraph with this letter posted on Open Democracy where he accuses the Telegraph of having committed a fraud on its readers over coverage of HSBC.

 

Image: The Commentator

Image: The Commentator

From the letter:

“With the collapse in standards has come a most sinister development. It has long been axiomatic in quality British journalism that the advertising department and editorial should be kept rigorously apart. There is a great deal of evidence that, at the Telegraph, this distinction has collapsed.

“Late last year I set to work on a story about the international banking giant HSBC. Well-known British Muslims had received letters out of the blue from HSBC informing them that their accounts had been closed. No reason was given, and it was made plain that there was no possibility of appeal. “It’s like having your water cut off,” one victim told me.”

“When I submitted it for publication on the Telegraph website, I was at first told there would be no problem. When it was not published I made enquiries. I was fobbed off with excuses, then told there was a legal problem. When I asked the legal department, the lawyers were unaware of any difficulty. When I pushed the point, an executive took me aside and said that “there is a bit of an issue” with HSBC. Eventually I gave up in despair and offered the article toopenDemocracy. It can be read here.

“I researched the newspaper’s coverage of HSBC. I learnt that Harry Wilson, the admirable banking correspondent of the Telegraph, had published an online story about HSBC based on a report from a Hong Kong analyst who had claimed there was a ‘black hole’ in the HSBC accounts. This story was swiftly removed from the Telegraph website, even though there were no legal problems. When I asked HSBC whether the bank had complained about Wilson’s article, or played any role in the decision to remove it, the bank declined to comment. Mr Wilson’s contemporaneous tweets referring to the story can be found here. The story itself, however, is no longer available on the website, as anybody trying to follow through the link can discover. Mr Wilson rather bravely raised this issue publicly at the ‘town hall meeting’ when Jason Seiken introduced himself to staff. He has since left the paper.

“Then, on 4 November 2014, a number of papers reported a blow to HSBC profits as the bank set aside more than £1 billion for customer compensation and an investigation into the rigging of currency markets. This story was the city splash in the Times, Guardian and Mail, making a page lead in theIndependent. I inspected the Telegraph coverage. It generated five paragraphs in total on page 5 of the business section.

“The reporting of HSBC is part of a wider problem. On 10 May last year theTelegraph ran a long feature on Cunard’s Queen Mary II liner on the news review page. This episode looked to many like a plug for an advertiser on a page normally dedicated to serious news analysis. I again checked and certainly Telegraph competitors did not view Cunard’s liner as a major news story. Cunard is an important Telegraph advertiser.”

In this short video, Oborne explains how news judgements were made based on advertising partners which severely distorts journalism. This is why we need Real Media.

3)  Cameron takes aim at working poor and ‘unhealthy’

While David Cameron claims to be on the side of the ‘hardworking’ he quietly slipped through plans for a pilot scheme beginning in April targeting and punishing those in low paid or part time work.

It is important to bear in mind that Cameron has garnered an environment of low pay and insecure employment with record numbers of people in in-work poverty. The Prime Minister has taken steps to remove power and rights from employees, and give more to employers. This allows large employers to exploit desperate workforces, keeping them on poverty wages, while company profits are subsidised by the state when topping up low pay. And for this, Cameron now plans to make the lives of employees even harder with the kind of bureaucratic delays, sanctions, punishment and hardship which halt people’s ability to function or get on in society.

“One change in particular threatens to scupper Cameron’s claim to be on the side of Britain’s hard working people. In an alteration to legislation that went largely unnoticed at the end of last month, the government introduced a pilot for 15,000 low-paid working universal credit claimants. Those participating in the mandatory scheme may find that their benefits are reduced if they do not actively seek to work more hours or increase their salary.

“The change is important because this policy goes beyond targeting jobseekers, the sick and disabled. If penalises those who are hard at work, maintaining part-time, low-salaried jobs

“Labour peer Baroness Sherlock said in the House of Lords before the secondary legislation was introduced: ‘If you have been on benefits and you get a job, you do not expect the department to ring you up at work saying, “Come and talk to me because you’re not working enough”.

‘I think that people who feel that they have escaped the tender ministrations of the jobcentre are going to be a little taken aback when they find that it starts following them to work.’

“Sanctions can apply of claimants working less than 35 hours a week on minimum wage (typically £12,000 a year) who do not comply with the scheme. Failure may include failing to attend ‘job focused interviews’ or failing to apply for a job that might bring in extra hours. Welfare reform minister Lord David Freud says “tougher” conversations will be had with claimants after two months.

“For claimants, one of the most worrying aspects of the programme – called work related requirements – is that it can apply to housing benefit (technically the housing cost element of universal credit). That’s potentially a chunk of your rent lost to the DWP if you do not take active steps to get a better-paid job.”

Cameron also announced that benefits would be cut for obese people and addicts who refused ‘help’, pretending he was a moral crusader by condemning more poor people as moral failures who need to be punished.  Meanwhile, Tory Minister Lord Green is protected and rewarded by Cameron and his party, despite his chairmanship of HSBC during heinous criminal activity remarked on above. He cares so much.

Read more about this story here.

4) Universal Credit Fact Sheet

HuffPost shared this fact sheet on the bewildering Universal Credit system, just in case there was any lingering confusion on the flagship scheme which is now being rolled out nationally.

o-UNIVERSAL-CREDIT-SPOOF-570

(Fact sheet created for HuffPost UK Comedy by David Schneider and David Beresford)

Daniel Pacey, who was featured in the government’s own film about Universal Credit, has since spoken out about the ‘nightmare’ system which left him with no money for six weeks before his first payment, and ongoing problems and delays to his claim. Pacey warned that Universal Credit is likely to push people into hardship.

5) Firefighters strike this Wednesday

Firefighters confirmed plans for a 24 hour walkout taking place this Wednesday, over continued fights for pensions and disputes on retirement age.

The strike comes after fire authorities backed down on promises to not reduce pensions for those failing fitness tests over the age of 55.

The strike begins at 7am on Wednesday with many staff joining a Fire Brigades Union demonstration in Westminster.

Read more about this story here.

Advertisements

1) Crispin Odey predicts next crash is looming

Banker Crispin Odey who made millions predicting the ‘credit crunch’ has warned that the next crash is looming and it’s effects will be ‘remembered in a hundred years.’
Image: Solari.com

Image: Solari.com

Falling oil prices, which despite saving households money, he says are a sign of a slowing worldwide economy.

The US and the UK both have had slower growth than expected over recent months.

Mr Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management, said in a letter to investors: “We are in the first stage of this downturn.

“It is too early to see what will happen – a change of this magnitude means the darkness and mist is very great.”

Although, rather cynically, Mr Odey suggested that now was the best time to make money since the 2007 financial crash by betting on falling share prices.

The wealthy Tory donor has made a fortune from betting on falling prices this way.

Read more about this story here. 

2) Cameron vows to cut benefit cap to £23k as first election action

David Cameron has vowed his first act should he win the 2015 General Election is to cut the benefit cap to £23k.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

This is a deeply cynical promise to create further misery by cutting from welfare as the PM’s shiny first promise. The current benefit cap has already resulted in social cleansing of the capital where rent prices continue to rise (and the government fails to do anything about this). Social cleansing was such a clear result of this cap that Boris Johnson was even forced to publicly acknowledge it, though he has failed to stop it.

But, as Danny Dorling explains in ‘All That Is Solid’ this is not a new Tory tactic by any means:

“The housing benefit cap is not a particularly new scheme when it comes to attempts to move poorer people away from richer areas. A generation ago the Conservative party tried to achieve the same outcome, but more subtly. In 1986 the Conservative controlled Westminster Council decided that the number of council house sales should be accelerated so that ‘a natural and permanent majority could be manufactured in Westminster.’ Some 10,000 council homes were earmarked to be sold privately when the tenants in them either moved on or died. In other words, those tenants were not to be replaced with people from a similar demographic; Westminster was to be gentrified and the political balance shifted by selling homes that were located mainly eight marginal wards. Eventually the policy was found to be illegal, but not until January 1994, long after it had its desired effects.”

 

And once again the PM has vowed to make cuts to the poorest, and protect through his silence the £85bn of welfare provided to rich corporations.

“Benefits are what we grudgingly hand the poor; the rich are awarded tax breaks. Cut through the euphemisms and the Treasury accounting, however, and you’re left with two forms of welfare. Except that the hundreds given to people sleeping on the street has been deemed unaffordable. Those millions for $150bn Disney, on the other hand, that’s apparently money well spent –whoever coined the phrase “taking the Mickey” must have worked for HM Revenue.”

 

Aditya Chakrabortty, Cut benefits? Yes let’s start with our £85bn corporate welfare handout, Guardian 2014

Read more about this story here.

3) Benefit spending in 2015-6 forecast to be the same as 2010-11

A damning report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals that benefit spending in 2015-6 will be £220bn, the same as in 2010-11.

This demonstrates the lies in the economic plan Cameron purports to have. An ageing population, stagnant and low wages (which pulls many people out of the tax bracket and forces them to need help) and rising rent prices are main contributors to the benefit bill’s growth. It also shows that government has made the situation worse, by not reducing the bill but causing misery and destitution for millions of people.  Austerity is a complete falsehood.

 Read more about this story here.

4) Thousands in ‘March For Homes’ take to streets

Thousands took part in a Londonwide march to protest against social cleansing, and for affordable homes for all, better tenants rights and better services. The march brought together some of the brilliant grassroots housing actions groups who have made a huge impact in the last year including Focus E15 mothers and New Era Estate who have been helping other groups across London continue their fight against unjust evictions and policy. Around 5000 people attended the march.

Image: Brixton Buzz

Image: Brixton Buzz

5) Activists help migrants at Daily Mail’s expense
Activists from Strike! magazine have taken advantage of a Daily Mail ferry deal to take supplies and blankets to refugees in Calais in action against the DM’s negative coverage of refugees and migrants!

“In an open “thank you letter” to the paper, notorious for its critical stance on the refugee population in Calais, [two members of Strike!] wrote:

Some freeloading scroungers might have cynically used your festive promotional offer with P&O Ferries to go over and stock up on cheap continental booze and fags.

But we know you meant to launch a D-Day-style flotilla of solidarity with Fellow Human Beings who have fled the blood and torture and killing and more blood and bombs.”

Like us on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter
Sign up for updates via info@realfare.co.uk

1) Bills soar 4 times quicker than wages

The cost of living is rising 4 times faster than wages, according to new figures released last week.
The average income after inflation is down more than £1600 under the coalition according to Labour, and talks of recovery are blighted as incomes continue to fall and struggle against rising outgoings.
Inflation slowed last month, according to the coalition, from 1.9% to 1.6%. But the figures used by the Office for National Statistics, which unlike the coalition index, include housing costs, put inflation at 2.5%.
House prices also rose by 10.2% in the last year.
2) People’s March for the NHS gets underway
A 300 mile march across 23 towns and cites ending up at Parliament, in protest against attacks and privatisation of the NHS, has begun.
peoples-march-for-the-nhs
The march was set up by a group of mothers outraged at coalition attacks which have seen the Tory government renege on promises not to privatise the NHS, and not to affect front line services. Instead, contracts have been sold to private companies, some of which have strong ties to the Conservative party and the government have claimed that the NHS requires reform despite it remaining the best health care system in the world according to the Commonwealth Fund.
The march calls on anyone to join in to show their support as the march continues. So get involved. The website reads:

We will serve notice to every politician that voted to destroy our NHS – Join the fight back.

“Support for the NHS is growing day by day. We need our NHS so it’s time to join the thousands already campaigning together to keep it.

3) Government spending watchdog accuses DWP of hiding Universal Credit failings
The public accounts committee has accused the Department for Work and Pensions of deliberately hiding errors and avoiding scrutiny by making up a new category in the rating of the Universal Credit system.
The Major Projects Authority, which oversees all large government projects, put the Universal Credit System at ‘reset’ status in their report in 2013 – a status never used before.
It was not used for any other project either, having been handily crafted only for the Universal Credit system, pulling it out of the usual five-tier rating system used by the MPA, and making the rating obscure as to the scheme’s success, or more likely, failure.
4) Increase in right-to-buy sales sees calls for reform

Right-to-buy sales of council owned properties have increased by a third in the second quarter of the year, with 2,845 properties sold between April and June.

Image: capita Software

Image: capita Software

Some are now calling for drastic reforms and changes to the scheme as housing stock is lost and not replaced at a time when more and more people are needing affordable homes and help with housing.

Schemes offering reductions and discounts on housing deposits and repayments have also been called into question.

“Darren Johnson, Green party member of the London Assembly, said right-to-buy was “a disaster” for London, where 948 council homes were sold to tenants over the quarter.

“He said: “A lot of council homes sold today will be in the hands of private landlords tomorrow. Fewer low-rent homes will drive more low paid people out of inner London. The mayor should lobby for it to be scrapped and for councils to be allowed to borrow to invest in building many more.”

Read more about this story here.

5) Cameron rebuked over comments that ‘migrants take most new jobs’

David Cameron has been rebuked by the statistics watchdog for comments claiming migrants take most new UK jobs.

 

David-Cameron1

Cameron made the comments in an article for the Daily Telegraph, but was quickly challenged by Sir Andrew Dilnot – the chair of the UK Statistics Authority.

“Sir Andrew pointed out that figures from the Office for National Statistics show only that native Britons made up 76% of the increase in the number of people in work over the same period. “These official statistics do not show the number of ‘new jobs’,” he wrote.

“The number of people in employment and the number of jobs in the economy are not the same. One person may have more than one job, and some jobs may be shared by more than one person.”

“From the available official statistics, it is therefore not possible to estimate the number of new jobs, nor the number of new jobs that are filled by UK nations, nor the number of new jobs that are filled by non UK nationals.”

Read more about this story here.

6) Property expert says benefit cap will not save money

George Osbourne’s benefit cap of £26,000 in London, and £23,400 outside London and the South East was part of further cuts of £12bn from the welfare budget.

However, Ajay Jagota insists that this will ‘not save a penny’ and just push up prices elsewhere. Jagota claims that the policy fails to tackle the broken housing market in London and does not encourage people to move away from the capital.

“Mr Jagota said: “If this really was a problem, wouldn’t the streets of the North East be awash with southern jobseekers, migrating North for an easier life? It’s certainly not something I’ve seen much evidence of.”

Read more about this story here.

 

1) Cameron pulls sick PR stunt as he poses for photographs during raid on illegal immigrants

David Cameron attempted to show he was serious about immigration policy as he posed for photos while the Home Office conducted a raid in the house of a suspected illegal immigrant.

Image: Irish Times

Image: Irish Times

In a desperate, and morally empty, show of political oneupmanship to grab at votes, following the rise (in coverage) of UKIP, Cameron certainly demonstrated his indifference to not only illegal immigrants, but any human.

Cameron’s show could, would and has been directed at any of us who are appropriately placed to dehumanise in favour of maintaining power, grabbing at desperate votes or to allow the implementation of damaging, discriminatory policy. Ask the young, ask the unemployed, ask the disabled. And if that doesn’t convince you, take a look at the continuing widening of the wealth gap, the sacred policy that remains on track throughout the austerity drive.

64233_641605605896588_750888908_n

Not so long ago, the Home Office twitter page began posting photos of raids, where people could be seen being handled and forced into vans by a handful of Officers. Following complaints and outrage at the idea that this was meant to impress the public, the page stopped posting anything. The same disdain and rejection of this imagery should be shown here.

Read more about this story here.

2) University fees could rise over £9000 under new government plans

Well, the Students Assembly Against Austerity did warn us, even in their victorious post on winning the battle against the selling off of student debt. The foreboding that there would still be further attempts to put students into even further debt has come true in less than a week, as the government announce proposals to allow universities to raise fees above £9000 in exchange for taking on the debt of student loans.

Instead of paying the Treasury, students would repay their university once they start earning £21,000 a year. It remains a voluntary proposal, allowing universities to opt in.

“There are fears that only the top ones could afford to take on the risk of having unpaid loans, raising the prospect of a two-tier system. There are also worries that the plan could deter universities from admitting students from poor families and women because their earnings potential would be smaller.”

David Willets, a former Universities Minister, commissioned the proposal insisting that the plans would encourage universities to ensure that students got good careers or would supply help in retraining. But the proposal would require a large number of universities to opt in to make it viable.

The issue is causing tensions within Parliament as Lib Dems fight to keep the matter off the table before the election so as not remind the public that one of the main promises the Lib Dems put forward was the abolition of tuition fees before the last election. Conservatives suffered a blow at the stop of the student loan book sell off and the year up to the General Election is no time for more ‘bad news’ as they play out the pantomime that they have ‘saved our economy’ and Labour want to make this a key issue in a way that not unnoticeably, discredits the other two. Anyone would think they were all about PR and nothing about the people, eh?

Oh and, they scrapped the Youth Contract by the way, the £1bn answer to youth unemployment failed miserably (though we knew this a while ago, despite the attempts of government to sneak out information on late Fridays, because yes, they are that desperate) and Clegg is being used as the scapegoat for this by the Conservatives. Clegg is like the immigrant being made a show of and humiliated and used for the failures of Cameron while Cameron smiles for pictures……Don’t know where that came from….

3) Woman arrested by police after posting photograph of George Osbourne at a prostitute’s flat

Natalie Rowe, the woman famously pictured under the arm of George Osbourne, at a table with cocaine on it has been arrested for posting another photo of the Chancellor on Twitter.

Rowe worked as a prostitute during the time of the photo, which was taken before Osbourne took his role in Parliament.

Image: tompride.wordpress.com

Image: tompride.wordpress.com

Rowe was also arrested last year around the time she published her memoirs in which she recounts wild parties involving the Chancellor, the use of cocaine and the use of her services as a dominatrix called Miss Whiplash.

After posting another photo of Osbourne at her house with another client on Monday 28th July, Rowe was arrested (on 30th July) for abusive behaviour.

“Of course this could all be coincidence.

Or perhaps more proof – if any more were needed – that our police are being used to protect politicians’ reputations rather than catching criminals?”

Tom Pride, Pride’s Purge 30th July

4) Tories may be planning to sell off ALL council housing after election

This post was shared by the People’s Assembly:

“Tories to sell off ALL council housing after election, lets slip Osborne according to an anonymous source who tells us:
“Whilst working for company that had a recent visit from Tory chancellor, George Osborne, a manager told me he had spoken to the minster at length and was told that the next Tory plan for austerity to be implemented after the next election was to sell off all the council house stock. Please spread the word, I strongly feel this information needs to be in the public domain!”

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity

Unfortunately, this is not unbelievable, but remains a gross potential look at what is planned. The government have no desire to solve the housing crisis, as we explained in this article, to the point where they are willing to help progress the crisis. We will keep an eye out for any more info on this.

Energy Prices: The Facts

kamsandhu —  November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Today, Fuel Poverty Action will stage a demonstration against the Big Six, outside the Npower offices. You can find out more info about the event here.

Energy prices have gone up 37% since 2010 – eight times the average wage increase since then. The decision of heating or eating is a very real prospect for many families and individuals up and down the country, as the number of people using foodbanks also continues to rise.

With the Big Six Energy companies, who are Npower, Scottish Power, E.On, EDF, British Gas and SSE, increasing their prices by a further 8-10% just before winter, the rates of fuel poverty continue to rise and over 24,000 elderly deaths are expected as a result of cold homes.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

The energy companies insist that the reason for the steep increases is due to wholesale price rises, but this is not true. As this graph shows, wholesale prices have actually gone down since the recession first hit in 2008 (thanks to Tom Pride’s blog):

Image: Pride's Purge - tompride.wordpress.com

Image: Pride’s Purge – tompride.wordpress.com

When Ed Miliband promised to freeze energy prices for 18 months should he be elected in 2015, he was shouted down by Conservatives who claimed this could not be done because energy companies could raise prices before and after. Still, this brought the struggle to meet these bloated price rises to the forefront, and also highlighted the extent to which the country is being held to ransom by the Big Six.

Cameron now wants to drop the ‘green levy’ having been put under pressure to deal with the cost of living. But this is another step in the favour of energy companies and not the public.

The ‘green levy’ or Climate Change levy makes up around 9% of the average bill, around £112 of £1267 yearly bill. This money goes to creating renewable energy sources such as wind-farms and solar power as well as money towards helping the elderly and the poor with their bills.

Dropping this levy has been lobbied for by the Big Six, and the impact will only serve to bolster their profits, whilst energy alternatives are pushed further and further back, and money is taken from those that already desperately need it and will need it even more following the price rises. Dropping the green  levy does nothing to stop or challenge the energy companies in charging anything they want. This is a cowardly and short-sighted move by Conservatives to avoid upsetting the Big Six.

Allowing energy companies to become this powerful and collude in raising prices has highlighted a huge problem in privatisation and the selling off of public services. A recent YouGov poll showed that much of the public would like to re-nationalise many of our services including energy and railways:

Support for nationalisation

Meanwhile, thousands of people are continuing to face the decision of whether to heat or eat. This is why Fuel Poverty Action is protesting today, as energy price rises sign the death certificates of the most vulnerable this winter, in the name of profit. To combat the power which the Big Six hold over Britain, government need to make some bold steps to regain parts of its services. Dropping the green levy will not help our future resources or the most vulnerable and it won’t stop the energy companies from continuing to hike up their prices.

 

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass