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Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Corruption of New Labour & the Parliamentary Expenses Thieves

Those who don’t live in the UK may not be aware of the past 3 scandal-driven weeks in Britain. Whole swathes of politicians have been caught, literally, with their hands in the till.

Now no-one expects the Tories to be anything other than a gang of crooks and shysters. After all that is in the very life-blood of capitalism. Exploitation of the poor to pamper the rich. But historically Labour was relatively free, with exceptions of course, from the same scandals.

New Labour however was an ideological free-zone. You didn’t have to believe in anything apart from yourself. The free-market was fine as long as you got your kick-backs. With the economy and banking in the UK having all but collapsed, New Labour is now having to rescue the detested Public Finance Initiative (where private companies were given large dollops of public funds to build hospitals and schools over a 30 year period – with the money that would have gone to the National Health Service and Education over those years going instead to inflate the profits of these companies).

Only the politically blind or feeble can still believe that there is anything progressive about New Labour. From the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia to the assault on civil liberties in Britain – ID cards, massive databases of peoples’ e-mails and phone traffic, unlimited powers for the Police to detain and arrest coupled with swinging attacks on legal aid for the poor. Asylum seekers have been particular targets and the present scumbag who occupies the post of Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas (ex President of the National Union of Students) has fed the growth of the British National Party by playing to the tabloid chorus about immigrants taking ‘our’ jobs. Woolas himself has been caught claiming for nappies, comics and red wine!

It is therefore gratifying to see that the Communities Minister Hazel Blears, a member of New Labour’s far-right and an ex-immigration Minister has been caught fiddling her expenses by ‘flipping’ her second and first homes to escape Capital Gains tax. As George Monbiot made clear in an excellent article, she is nothing but a sycophant to whoever holds the power at the moment - yesterday it was Tony Blair, today Gordon Brown. Except that she took to mocking Brown and has therefore been left to twist in the wind for her 'unacceptable' i.e. crooked expense claims.

Another crook who was also a detested Immigration Minister was Tony McNulty. He went one better than Hazel Blears. He claimed a second home allowance on his parents’ home!!

But still we shouldn’t overlook the Home Secretary, in charge of Police and coercion, one Jacqui Smith. Appointed because she is a total nonentity and willing to do Gordon Brown’s dirty work, she was caught claiming a second homes allowance on a room in her sister’s house. As even Alistair Graham, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Standards wrote in last week’s Observer, Jacqui Smith’s actions were ‘near fraudulent’, i.e the person in charge of the cops is a corrupt charlatan who will be thrown out of the House of Commons at the next election.

And then she was found claiming for two of her husband’s porn films! Admittedly it’s not surprising that he preferred porn to New Labour’s 1984 style Home Secretary, that is no reason why the tax payer should foot the bill. That didn’t stop Gordon Brown, the most unpopular Prime Minister in history from defending her.

As Secretary of Brighton Unemployed Centre I have seethed with rage at the adverts that have termed the poor and unemployed ‘Benefit Thieves’

They even work on Sunday. ‘Benefit Thieves We Are Closing In’ runs the adverts but they’re not talking about Jack Straw who claimed for 100% of his Council Tax even though he received a 50% rebate. He paid this back once the High Court declared that all details of MP’s fiddling would have to be revealed.

So what can you do?

Ring their free phone number and tell the scab at the end of the phone line what you think of them. Their union, PCS, is supposed to be left-wing yet they are pillorying people who live on the breadline. Ask them if they’ve investigated MPs, how they live with their conscience, if they are a member of the union (the one I phone, Margaret, said she was)

Clog up their lines and phone - 0800 854 440.

The most interesting thing is that the old Torygraph, The Daily Telegraph, usually a paper of mindnumbing boredom, has been the one that got the scoop and has run with it for 3 weeks. The British political system is in deep crisis as it is recognised that the Parliamentary Parties – Lib Dems, Tories, New Labour – have all been guilty of unprecedented thievery whilst at the same time targetting the poor.

Oh and I forgot to add – I had a couple of letters in the Independent and Guardian a couple of weeks ago making just these points!!

Tony Greenstein


Dougie Kinnear said...

Like the post Tony however I'd be a bit wary of tarring all PCS members with the same brush. While I personally loathe the fronting of this particular union as some sort of saviour of the left, they could have affiliated to the SSP a long time ago yet never put their money where their mouthpiece went, there are undoubtedly committed activists within the PCS. Some of the members have a crap job to do but I believe most of them do a good job within a framework of out of date legislation designed to keep the poor firmly below the poverty line.

I think you'd be better putting your energy into attacking the parasites in Westminster who make and break the rules seemingly without any form of repercussion except to announce a future resignation with a golden handshake

Stick in, Dougie

Tony Greenstein said...

I agree Dougie. I know many PCS activists who despair at the economism of the SP. But they did much the same when the immigration snatch squads in Glasgow were picketted. Mark Serwotka bleated on about 'health and safety' (of the immigration swine not the refugees).

It is this economism - never questioning the content of what one does and seeing trade unionism as simply getting extra wages, which has bedevilled British trade unionism. Because many of the attacks - like the Gershon 'reforms' in the civil service - were political and you can't oppose government policy on somethings and then support their war against the poor.

I agree that the real criminals are at Westminster but it is still criminal for trade unionists to ally themselves with New Labours New Poor Laws. Not least because many of their own members will be affected sooner or later.

joe90 kane said...

An interesting post as usual from Random Pottins blog here -
If leaders had not missed a tip, unions might have backed a winner -
- RandomPottins
31 May 2009

I see the new Incapacity Benefit forms 'Incapacity for Work Questionaires - IB50 IB Qestionaire' sent out by the Department for Work and Pensions, now includes the new question,
Do you think any of your health problems are linked to drug or alcohol abuse?.

I also believe these new questionaires are being sent out ahead of normally expected schedule. Usually they are sent out every 2 years, but some people on incapacity benefit or who are unfit for work, are receiving these new DWP forms before the 2 years are up.