Neo-Cons on Welfare Benefits 179

Our three neo-con major political parties have come up with a jolly cunning plan to lift money direct from the taxpayer, in addtion to being paid by big business to promote the interests of big business against the people.

A government inquiry is recommending that £20 million a year in public funding be given to the three neo-con parties. Is there no end to their greed? I suppose the logic is perfect – it will finally cement into our political system the monopoly of power by parties that are arrogantly unrepresentative of the will of the people, knowing that their system, above all by control of the media, locks out any alternative from competing for political power.

I write with certainty that all our three political parties are now neo-conservative, but with great sadness. The Tories became fully neo-con around 1979, New Labour around 1996 and the Lib Dems around 2010. All the parties contain still a minority of resisters, the fewer the longer they have been neo-con. So Ken Clarke is an almost entirely isolated resister in the Tory party, Jeremy Corbyn one of very few left in New Labour, while the Lib Dems still have a few Norman Bakers who have not yet been entirely corrupted by power and money, but you can see the process working on the Lib Dems like acid and their integrity will have been completely eaten through in another 18 months.

Meanwhile, there are some who don’t get it, like poor deluded old bat Polly Toynbee, who still has not worked out that New Labour went neo-con. Yesterday’s Toynbee article has the headline: “Executive pay soars while the young poor face freefall. Where is Labour?” You are a fool, Toynbee. The ex-ministers of the last New Labour government are in the boardroom picking up those massive remunerations and perks you are rightly complaining about. Did you really not know that, or do you just refuse to see?

New Labour is now neo-con, Toynbee. It is fifteen years since Peter Mandelson said that “New Labour is intensely relaxed about the filty rich.” Mandelson and Blair and Hewitt and Jowell and Milburn and Burnham and Reid and Blunkett and the whole lot of them are now filthy rich. Somebody explain this to Toynbee.

But it is an extremely important point that I did not see a single mainstream politician yesterday questioning the obscenity of directors’ earnings rising over 49% last year – from a huge base – when average real incomes were falling. The media was packed with apologists explaining trickledown theory to us. I also noted that the Occupy movement needs to beware of the media appearing to give them coverage, when in fact the media are deliberately picking on people whose hearts, instincts and minds are all in the right place, but who lack media experience and formal education in the ground on which the media places them. The media can then give the impression of debate with the cards severely stacked, to make the view that in fact the large majority of those at home will hold, that executive salaries are obscene and untenable, appear amateur and ill-informed.

The parties do not represent us and their collective membership is falling, as they are now a vehicle for career rather than belief. No wonder they want to pick our pockets to keep up the pretence of democracy.

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179 thoughts on “Neo-Cons on Welfare Benefits

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  • Rolf

    Toynbee gets it, it’s just that she feels there is nowhere left to turn. She can’t very well back the Lib Dems as an alternative (although she could try the greens, I suppose). So rather than face up to the awful reality of Westminster politics she pretends it all away. Labour supporters are continually trying to paint themselves as some sort of left-of-centre opposition when in fact their party is a fully-fledged member of the corrupt neo-con establishment.

    I’m just thankful to live in Scotland and have a party in government that still expresses genuine social-democratic sentiments and puts these into practical policies. Maybe Toynbee should move north?

  • Guest

    “I write with certainty that all our three political parties are now neo-conservative”
    At last, still better late then never Craig. Some on here have been telling you that for a long time. By the way, they are not political parties, they are organisations dealing in serious and organised crime.

  • Guest

    “Speaking of neo-cons, when are you going to de-link that rabid fascist Juan Cole?”
    Not fair, Juan Cole knows whats coming, he realised where we are going and got really, really scared. He had the sense to see all is lost and is trying to avoid a knock at his door.

  • Jonathon

    Brilliant analysis Craig. The question is this – What can be done to stop the erosion of public accountability? To be fair it is not democracy or capitalism, its just a complete sham. Can anything be done to save our society from its continued slide.

    BTW you have a typo last paragraph… wondner…

  • mary

    This is Ireland’s Labour party in the form of Michael Higgins, the new Irish President who is making his final speech in the Dail.

    . 22 minutes
    Remarkable man. Speaking without notes. A fine brain and principled. Note the first comment which can be applied to Pugin’s Palace (HoC).

    Now I know why Higgins was just a name to me. He was airbrushed out here. He says later on in his speech ‘Mad Margaret Thatcher’ – yes. But more accurately she was a psychopath with a psychopath son.

  • Tris

    I agree with you Craig. Once you could have looked to all three parties for a bit of sympathy, empathy even, if you weren’t very comfortably off. (OK, the Tories was a kind of condescending noblesse oblige kind of sympathy, but sympathy it was, none the less.)

    Now none of these parties has anything but contempt for the poor. It’s all their fault for being hapless, stupid, lazy or born into the wrong family, and they, with their Fettes, Eton, Westminster starts in life attribute all their furtherance to hard work and dedication.

    It never seems to occur to them that if you were born in a council estate, and yes, I know that some of them were (but damned few), you have to have a hell of a lot more dedication to get anywhere.

    I agree with Rolf that it is a blessing to live in Scotland where the government, along with having no vested interest anywhere except that country, goes about its business like a European social democratic party. We are so very lucky to have them.

    As for the Westminster bunch, it is indicative of the their detachment from ordinary life that they can’t see what kind of problems they are storing up for themselves, and for the rest of at least England and Wales, but possibly Scotland and NI too. They can’t seriously think that even the rather timid Brits will listen to a smarmy tosser telling them that “we are all in it together”…and prove it by travelling cattle class for his 5th holiday in 12 months… while his friends increase their salaries by 49%, and benefits and wages are reduced.

    I wonder why so very very little has been made of the reduction in pensioners’ winter heating allowances, especially since it isn’t hard to find a video of the same smarmy tosser promising faithfully that under a government formed by him, these would be sacrosanct.

    He will have deaths on his hands this year, and Labour and the Liberals have said nothing.

  • Leo

    I like to call her Polly Tonyblair. 🙂

    The problem with Toynbee is that she is completely partisan. All of her reasoning stems from the fundamental axiom that the Labour party is right and must be supported, and its enemies attacked, no matter what.

    Sometimes this results in arguments and articles which I completely agree with. She’ll rightly take the Tory party to task for some of their failings. But she completely fails to apply the same rules to the Labour party; instead she offers apologies and justifications for Labour’s mistakes and crimes.

    That makes what she writes completely useless to me. Tonybee is just a shill for a political party. She does PR, not analysis. She is trying to convince people, not enlighten them. That she is frequently labelled as one of the great left-wing journalists is a massive discredit to, and marginalisation of, the real ones.

    Personally, I think any journalist who (like Tonybee & many others) ever promoted or apologised for the war in Iraq should have been sacked. That total lack of analysis and critical thinking, and acceptance of whatever flimsy logic was handed down from the powers that be (at least when they happen to be Labour, in Tonybee’s case), while ignoring anything contradictory, is the last thing we need from our journalists. They are hurting us, not helping us understand the world.

    I don’t need to agree with everything someone says to consider them enlightening, intelligent or objective. I don’t agree with everything Craig says on this site, and it would be boring if I did. I like having my assumptions, prejudices and preconceptions challenged. And it’s actually good to be reminded that every statement should be thought about, not taken as gospel just because you tend to agree with the person saying it.

    If someone like Craig says something I disagree with, I think about why and I sometimes change my mind (sometimes I don’t).

    On the other hand, if someone like Tonybee says something I disagree with, I’ve found it isn’t worth the time to think about why. Her arguments tend to be religious rather than rational. (She chooses and moulds her evidence to fit a pre-made conclusion, rather than looking at all the evidence and seeing where it leads.)

  • Komodo

    Agreed. Economic neoliberals have hijacked politics. Labour’s near-total silence on Werrritty, the economy…anything pertaining to integrity or the peoples’ welfare…has been revealing, and the Lib Dem pigs’ transformation into men – as in Animal Farm – is almost complete.
    There is a faint ray of hope, though. It illuminates the systemic incompetence of the neocons. A small instance surfaced today. Ian Duncan Smith is changing the law limiting the amount (of fines, damages etc) a convicted offender on the dole is required to pay back per week, from £5 to £25. The theory is that this will act as a deterrent. In practice, as anyone who has been on basic benefits will instantly realise, it will make existence impossible to the extent that further crime is the only option.
    Smith’s good at getting it precisely wrong, too. His wheeze for reducing housing benefit in the hope of lowering private-sector rents below their present insane levels, has been attended by a rise in London PSR’s of over 4% this year.
    And we are currently enjoying the results of a free-market deregulated globalised economy.The fat bastards are still putting on weight, sure. But the opportunities to leverage real assets into electronic garbage and profit thereby rely on there being something to leverage. At the moment, that is not a given.

    It’s a point of weakness. And it should be exploited.

  • angrysoba

    It might be bad form of me to dredge up arguments more than a week or two old but I remember that when Tom Welsh wrote this:
    I hope I shan’t be written off as hopelessly racist if I note that Jews have a long-standing reputation for driving a hard bargain.

    In this instance, presumably that means they believe one Israeli soldier is worth at least as much as 1,000 Palestinians (and perhaps a good deal more).

    Is that something that anyone should be concerned about?

    I made an uncharacteristically sarcastic reply that maybe Hamas had asked for one prisoner in exchange for Gilad Shalit only to be told that Israel demanded they would only take back Shalit for 1000 Palestinian prisoners!
    It occurred to me soon after that maybe Tom Welsh had been joking but his reply sadly showed that he was not. It turns out thought that Mr Welsh’s observations appeared elsewhere, even in the dreaded Mainstream Media!!!
    Rotten old David Aaronovitch seems to agree with me on this:

  • anno

    Polly Toynbee knows the score. Her job is fronting for New Labour, like David Miliband. What she didn’t know is that the limo I drove her in, was another customer’s personal car. But if she had known, she would have been delighted, because Labour at that time was driving around in someone else’s neo-con car, as New Labour.

  • mary

    I see that silly Polly is a hypocrite in her personal life.
    Toynbee married The Guardian’s political columnist Peter Jenkins in 1970 having met him at a trade union conference; they had three children. Jenkins died from a lung disease in 1992. She lives in a house in Clapham, South London and also owns a villa in Tuscany, Italy.[34] Toynbee is married to David Walker, a Guardian journalist and former communications director of the Audit Commission quango.[35] Walker’s first wife Karen Irving criticised Toynbee for conducting a three year affair with her husband, suggesting it was hypocritical for Toynbee to pontificate on the moral failings of society while taking a husband away from his wife and children.[36][37]
    How about the Tuscan villa? 🙂

  • Komodo

    Toynbee is comfort reading for old liberals. Her assessments and predictions are generally proved wrong within the month. Can safely be ignored.

  • Wiz

    It’s irritating that Polly Toynbee bashes the ruthless selfishness of those who send their children into private education but herself sends her children to a private school, something that she never acknowledges in the pieces she writes about the ruthless selfishness engendered by private education. But she’s only a journo and she’s often right and her heart is clearly in the right place. So it’s odd that Craig’s blog about how all three parties are the same has turned into an opportunity to bash a moderately lefty journo. My take on the parties is that they are all followers and not leaders. They will always turn into the same kind of party. At the moment all of them think they can only win elections in the centre ground, so there is endless fine-tuning and narrowcasting and casuistic nit-picking over what constitutes the centre ground so that they can satisfy themselves, if nobody else, that they are all different with distinct agendas but at the same time being reassuringly the same. They are not neo-cons by conviction, if that is any consolation. They just can’t afford to be out of step. But what is coming is going to solve the whole thing. The papers and the media won’t be able to frighten people when the crash comes. The people won’t be listening. The big question will be whether people will want to recreate the financial structures of today and trust in regulation. My conviction is that they won’t, and will be looking for something different.

  • Greg Dunn

    Could not agree more – the main English political parties have no intnetion of ever allowing the status quo to alter. There is a solution, however, come up to Scotland where the SNP has popular grass roots support 🙂

  • Anon

    Toynbee was one of the ones that utter twat Johann Hari vandalised the Wikipedia page for to remove unfavourable facts because he admired her.

  • Guest

    “It’s irritating that Polly Toynbee bashes the ruthless selfishness of those who send their children into private education but herself sends her children to a private school, something that she never acknowledges in the pieces she writes about the ruthless selfishness engendered by private education.”
    This from 1995

  • Komodo

    Aaronovitch is arguing that the perception that Israelis think one Israeli is worth 1000 Palestinians has become so general that even non-antisemites are accepting it. He is trying to argue that this is a false perception. And he states that the disparate exchange was Hamas’s idea.
    I think he is stretching credulity. Previous prisoner exchanges have demonstrated a similar disparity. The perception is founded in history, not ths Shalit incident. Hamas no doubt insisted on an even higher number of Palestinians being freed because Shalit was known to have become a central issue for Israel, and had been held for long enough to excite enormous indignation there.
    I think Shalit fetched what the market would bear. To Israel, one Jew is certainly worth 1000 Palestinians. Question is, how many exchanges have we seen for Israeli non-Jews?
    Meanwhile, from 2009:
    I am sure this issue could be explored further, but this is not the place.

  • Alison


    i find most of your writing intelligent and incisive – but you have no need to refer to anyone as a ‘deluded old bat’. I can’t abide this kind of sneering.

    Having said that, I agree that Polly sometimes leans too far in favour of the Labour party – but I guess that’s a streak of realpolitik. What are the alternatives? Really?

  • Archie Taylor

    Toynbee sees what goes on, yet she deliberately sets out to the defend the very poor, whom were betrayed by the New Labour. The homily of; “I feel your pain”, is due to an evident aniseikonic affliction of Toynbee.
    Let us face it, no one ought to have any remaining doubts as to the irrelevance of our current electoral process. Any electoral process in which marginal seats determine the outcome of the elections; that is not considering the postal ballot fraud, down right ballet box stuffing in the plethora of rotten boroughs, as well as bought and paid for selected candidates stuffed into safe seats, by parties readily prostituted to the rich sponsors. The nexus of which has meant; who needs any electorate?
    The additional money getting funnelled into the party political machinery, leaves that much more available for ala Fox and Werrity foundations. Although we all know that, this money will be taken out of the savings made in unemployment benefit, and sickness benefit. Because as we all know the wars will go and, whom so ever dares to leave “our boys” at a disadvantage by cutting on their equipment and welfare? Needless to point out the emotional arguments forever mask the reality that these “boys” ought not have been put in harms way as mercenaries defending corporate interests, in the first place. However, the very scoundrels whom having used them as cannon fodder, then use these as secondary excuse to cut down on basics of the civil society.
    The government lite has meant abrogation of the state responsibility to the citizens, and the cut backs on social security, pensions, health, and education. Whilst deregulation (culling the laws, rolling back the standards, and regulations set in place, in the banking finance, and taxing the rich) of the financial sector as well as shifting the burden of taxation out of this sector, and onto the rest of us too. The rich bought the politicians to deliver the goodies, and the media or the public relations department of the rich and powerful sold the ideas as; “toxic sludge is good for you”.
    Toynbee et al earn their living as the manageable opposition lid by the very same bastards whom have got us into this mess, and are shoving us all into the bottom in a hurry before the great unwashed realize what is happening to them.

  • stephen

    First of all I don’t accept that all the 3 main parties are the same. Secondly, I don’t accept that they cannot be affected and changed by pressure from the public exercisng its democratic rights. Thirdly, i don’t many who take a different view offering coherent and thought through ideas that have any chance of gaining democratic acceptance. Fouthly and perhaps more sinisterly a hard core of those with different views, seem all too happy to ally themselves with those who are theocratic/fascist/serial abusers of human rights in the struggle against what they see as the great “satan” of US imperialism/western capitalism/zionist conspiracy/military industrial complex and at the same time remain silent about the faults of their allies. The latter group really are the modern day equivalent of those fellow travellers who allied themselves with Stalin and the Soviet Union – and indeed some of the “reptiles” such as George Galloway can count themselves as both old and neo-fellow travellers.

    By all means stick the neo-con lable on me if you wish – but do not be surprised if you get the neo fellow traveller label applied in response. Or are you just a neo useful idiots, who believe that the world will be chnaged fundamentally by occupying a tent during daylight hours.

  • The Judge

    Once again – like with penal policy – we see the powerful dashing off in the exact opposite direction to the one required.

    Instead of the proposals to hand over millions of pounds of our money to political parties whose memberships are all dwindling as people disengage from the “tweedle-dum, tweedle-dumber, tweedle-dumbest” system we now have, the following rules for party funding should be implemented:

    1. No political party (or front organisation for one) should receive any taxpayer funding.
    2. No political party should be funded from any source other than its own fully-paid-up members.
    3. Membership of a party should be confined to individuals, not to organisations of any kind.
    4. No party may receive donations from any individual member the value of which totals more than £1000 per tax year (increased to £2000 if an election is certain or highly likely during that year).
    5. No party may receive donations – in money or in kind – from any individual not regarded as resident in the UK for tax purposes.

    This would constitute what Dennis Potter – referring to media ownership controls – called “a simple act of public hygiene”.

  • mary

    No wonder Cleggover is backing it.
    The state funding idea has been pushed hardest by the Liberal Democrats, who currently have the least independent income and are likely to benefit the most from the proposals. The party has had to lay off staff and sell its HQ to cut costs.
    The draft report is proposing that parties receive funding worth £3 per vote they receive. On the basis of the last election, the Tories would get £32m, Labour £25.8m and the Lib Dems £20.4m. The figures could be higher if tax relief were added.
    One idea proposed by the recent Power Inquiry and supported by LibDem leader Nick Clegg was for voter vouchers allowing voters to tick a box saying they wanted £3 state funding to be given to the party for which they are voting. Those familiar with the report suggest the proposal is not in the draft. Critics are likely to argue that such a degree of state funding would provoke public uproar and make it harder for small parties to break the stranglehold of the big three. But it would also act as an incentive for parties to get their vote out in seats that they are not likely to win. State funding is seen by most sides as the only way to reduce dependence on big backers.
    A greater disincentive to vote could not be imagined.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    I have no sympathy for Liam Fox MP who we remember said he just wanted to carry on doing his job, that of political ‘priest’ and ‘system’ administrator. It was of course the ‘system’ that in end decreed he must fall on his sword. It was this ‘system’ that calculated very exactly the level of evidence likely to be available and the level of support available after PR damage. Predictable Fox resigned admitting a mistake but complaining bitterly of the news media malice, much in the same way as John Major resigned over sleeze, ‘cash for questions,’ arms to Iraq embargo breach and Defense Minister perjury over secret deals with Saudi.
    As I said here, the system wanted to close down the Fox incidents because that gave us insight into the ‘cogs of war’ in the ‘machine’when $millions has been spent ‘dumbing down’ society who are enslaved to a system of perpetual self-generating debt that is created for them, wholly by design, by private and national banking interests and sadly falsely believe they are free simply because that is what we are told and know little else.
    Those of us through intelligence or sheer hard work who know better and refuse this ‘dumbing down’ either via the government or popular media, fall under the system’s method of ridicule and at the extreme, incarceration, assassination or a timely death.
    The private corporate empire who own the World Bank and amongst other things control local oil prices, lend money to countries and each countries bank in turn collects interest on these loans paid for by taxes or effectively three months worth of wages. This system is in time, believe me, intended to be made more secure (complains about tax avoidance reinforce!) by eliminating cash (trialing in America) so that all transactions are electronically controlled and any dissent, flak, hassle or protest will result in your ‘chip’ being turned off preventing purchase including food until you pay up or appeal.
    Once we have become aware of this serious conspiracy perculating into reality, children do not have to starve, people do not have to live in a sea of self-generating debt and wars do not have to be fought. – pause for thought In an ideal world right now every single person on earth could have a quarter acre block of land with fertile soil to grow vegetables.
    This illusion of democracy that currently exists is now being focused, an awakening by many, an enlightenment that our voting system is pointless with three neo-con political parties feeding the machine. And we never get to decide who these political candidates will be to begin with!
    In order for the elite 1% system to function it requires public compliance. Stop complying and you will shut the system down, you will effectively break the ‘machine’ and it will stop and decay. The time for gathering information is now past, the time for talk is over, I believe we must act now in peaceful, loving unity.
    We are the 99%, they are 1% and the money system *is* the head of the snake.

  • ingo

    You hit the nail on the head,Craig, what are they gonna do next raise their salaries in line with CEO’s. Times must be hard for the poor darlings that they can’t find any handouts by the arms industry and tobacco pushers. These thiefs are elected by fraud and without a mandate up shit creek, for them it is not enough that they were caught with their fingers in the trough, they dare and complained about us holding/the Telegraph them responsible, now this ridiculous tax take?
    Where was the telegraph yesterday and what will it print about this tax steal?

    The useless and fraudulent electoral system has landed us with low percentage Governments since the 1980’s, Blair never got more than 36% of the eligible vote, not one Government can speak of having had a majority mandate of eligible voters.

    Now they are having a laugh. To top their deluded feeling of being the choosen one’s, they want to pay themselves and not make it relative to the voting figures? Why not the DUP, why not the Greens or UKIP?

    I suspose they want us to complain if we don’t like the idea, but will p-eople bark at paultry 20 million when daily talk of trilions of debts has long switched their brains off?
    Never have I seen a clearer and better reason not to vote for these grey parties anymore. They are all collaborators in the system that they have run down to suit only the 1%, they are all guilty and just signed their own death certificate.

    Polly Toynbee has never been anything but a champagne socialist, she could not speak up for the Green Party, however hard she tried, she layed into them far too many times and has no leg to stand on, she’ll never realise that there is no more opposition.
    I’m somewhat disturbed that these developments will suck the last bit of get up and go out of those who contemplate standing against these failures, that apathy will be de rigieur and that the next elections will be a farce, a re run of many other elections with the ususal promises and not much substance to follow but their own puppet agenda.

    How much longer?

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