Labour Call Unemployed “The Work-Shy” 98

I just read the Guardian’s account of today’s Labour leadership hustings, and they are not Tory Lite, they are Tory High Octane. Supporting Tory benefit cuts, calling the unemployed “the work-shy”, defending £9,000 a year tuition fees, supporting Trident and falling over themselves to reject autonomy for the Scottish accounting unit. But what I find even more astonishing is that the Fabian Society audience were lining up afterwards for selfies with Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, and according to the Guardian nobody wanted a photo with Jeremy Corbyn, the one decent human being there.

The quite astonishing thing is that Andy Burnham, the man who privatised much more of the English NHS than anyone else including the Tories, is (Jeremy aside) touted as the left wing option. There is a very interesting diversionary tactic in play, all over the media. A meme is being promoted – by Burnham’s corporate media supporters – that “Andy Burnham fears he will be attacked over Mid Staffs hospital”. The events at Mid Staffs hospital, though awful, were clearly not Burnham’s personal fault. This is a fascinating PR play and example of media management, an attempt to divert the focus on Burnham’s NHS record on to Mid Staffs which has widespread public name recognition, and away from privatisation where he is much more vulnerable.

98 thoughts on “Labour Call Unemployed “The Work-Shy”

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  • RobG

    The 2015 UK General Election was, in my humble opinion, a corporate coup d’etat, both from the media side of things and the politician’s side of things.

    The UK has become a mass surveillance fascist state. Many people don’t realise the reality of this. The reality is that a recent police report stated that 76 present MPs are under suspicion of alleged child sex abuse

    The CSA inquiry has been kicked into the long grass and apparently won’t report for another eight years. They can hold as many sub-judicial inquiries as they want, but of course what’s needed is for the police to have full powers of investigation and to make arrests (see the Feb vote in Parliament in which Teresa May & Co blocked a move to waiver the OSA in cases of child sex abuse).

    We have mass surveillance, an alleged 76 pedo MPs against whom no action is taken and it all adds-up to a stinking pile of corruption that is rotten to the core (most of those MPs form the Tory majority).

    With regard to the Labour Party, it’s dead and buried. I marval at how many on the left still think the corpse will somehow come back to life.

  • Tom Welsh

    “The work-shy”, hmmm?

    That would include Ed Miliband and all the unsuccessful Labour parliamentary candidates in Scotland, then?

  • fred

    “The reality is that a recent police report stated that 76 present MPs are under suspicion of alleged child sex abuse…”

    No it doesn’t, it says “76 are politicians, both national and local figures”.

    It doesn’t say how many, if any, are currently MPs.

  • bevin

    A quick tour of any low income area or junior school should demonstrate that almost 100% of MPs are guilty of child abuse. And none more than these cuckoo Blairites who hatched their neo-liberal policies in the people’s nest.

    That the Fabians are enthralled by their fellow Fabian enemies of the working class should surprise nobody- the society has been polluting the working class movement with Utilitarianism and neo-liberal economics for a long time.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Bit of blowback from the election, then. Labour needs to get some votes from somewhere (given that the corporate ethos of Labour prioritises power at any moral price rather than its old core values) It knows it will take at least a couple of terms of intense spin to get its old Scottish constituencies back, and for the moment they’ve written them off. Additionally, it isn’t about to make the SNP’s work any easier by supporting a socialist agenda. Its only way out is to be Nu Tory and grab swingable blue seats in England. The SNP could now wipe it out completely by putting up candidates in its English traditional hearlands, which will otherwise go – so confused will the electorate become – to UKIP oe a facsimile thereof.

    Troubled times ahead for all, I fear.

  • Becky Cohen

    I guess there’s some irony in the obsessive surveillance of the unemployed by the state and their demonization in the mainstream press being reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s attitude towards dissidents in the 1970s. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised though as in both cases, the distrust and obsessive monitoring of such groups came from a fear that they were an embarrassment to internationalist systems (i.e. communism and in today’s case capitalism) because their existence demonstrates the fact that both regimes do not work and were/are near collapse.

  • Resident Dissident

    What Yvette Cooper actually said from her press release:

    “People should be working if they can. I’ve always worked long hours and always believed it was right to work hard and support your family. But I did have 12 months twenty years ago when I was too ill to work. I hated it and I was desperate to get back to work, but I couldn’t. And I had to get sickness benefit and housing benefit to pay the bills and pay the rent. So I will always support strong rules on contribution, on expecting people to work, including compulsory jobs. But I will never slag off people on benefits because they cant work as “work shy” or “scroungers”. That’s what Tories do. Not Labour.”

    The only other reference to the link from the Guardian link
    “But we should not shame the work-shy, she says, using a line from the material pre-briefed.”(see above)

    I’m afraid Craig’s headline is just plain wrong – and he should just apologise.

  • mike

    Speaking of proxies, I see Poroshenko is getting a bit antsy again, sneaking heavy weapons up to the contact line, shelling civilian areas.

    Another spot of bear-baiting. Still, at least Russia still have their World Cup in 2018…


  • John Goss

    Barring a handful or two (the Reform Group) I can see nothing vaguely resembing socialism in the Labour Party.

    I was at a meeting today (Left Unity) discussing Syriza. Unless the Troika reschedules the debt in easy affordable payments, a debt they inherited from greedy private bankers who mismanaged the country’s finances, it is going to be nigh impossible to implement the range of anti-austerity measures promised in their manifesto. The alternative is to default and leave the Euro. That is when the BRICS bank could start its first experiment in my opinion.

    Technically what it boils down to is a battle between Monetarism and Keynesianism. Since the 1980s we have known nothing but monetarism. Milton Friedman who was advisor to Thatcher and Reagan opposed Keynesian economics because it led to inflation. He advocated a slow-drip feed of money into the system which has developed into what we now call “quantative easing”. It enables those with money to keep hold of it, add to it and exploit those without to do the dirty work. It thrives on debt, penalisers savers and is the greasy system that has been micromised in FIFA. Unless we change the system we will continue to

    But Greece has got to lead the way on this for the rest of Europe to wake up and follow. I guess we, as a financial country with little industry, will be the last to wake up. But we used to be an industrial nation with a huge construction industry.

    I cycled to the meeting and spent much of the time trying to avoid potholes. The roads in Bucharest are better than those now in Birmingham. The council sends someone out to draw circles round some of these potholes. It makes me laugh. The circles fade and eventually vanish but the potholes are still there. For every pothole with a fadin circle round it there are a dozen without. Occasionally teams are sent out to tackle the problem. They do a stretch of ten yards or so and you never see them again. Or they fill in an odd hole or two. All this patching up leads to uneven surfaces another problem for cyclists.

    Why mention the potholes? We have a huge and growing pool of unemployed (or people employed in the financial sector which amounts to the same) who could be usefully employed putting such problems right. Likewise lack of housing. Instead Birmingham is planning to turn itself into another financial hub meaning more austerity. Until we get Keynesian economics back things can only get worse.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Technically what it boils down to is a battle between Monetarism and Keynesianism. Since the 1980s we have known nothing but monetarism.”

    Sheer garbage – not worth arguing with this idiot until he goes and reads some economics. I think he is confusing monetary policy (on which Keynes said plenty as well as using fiscal stimulus) with monetarism. He might consider whether Brown and Darling running up a rather large deficit when demand collapsed following the banking crisis didn’t amount to Keynesianism before he makes such plainly silly points.

  • Gary

    They have no concept. Why don’t they just join the Conservative Party? England now has no mainstream left wing party. I honestly think they only call themselves ‘Labour’ to stop someone else using the name..

  • fred

    “Keep clutching at those straws Fred.”

    I’m not clutching at anything, I’m stating fact, the article does not say what he said it did.

    What is your problem with truth?

  • MBC

    Craig, O/T but just catching up with your post the other day about Edinburgh Council Tax. I sympathise.

    If it’s any consolation, this has happened to me several times living in Edinburgh. I’ve been here since 1969. They have always been utterly draconian about collecting the Council Tax and will send you one of those Scott and Co. letters if you miss two payments. It used to be better in that they would only send you one if you were behind (even by a month) by the time the half year was reached in August. And then at the end if the year in January/February if you were behind.

    But since it’s all been computerised they send you out a reminder by email if you are even slightly behind and if you don’t get it together pronto, one of those Scott and Co. letters quickly follows.

    I hate them so much that whenever people start talking about local income tax, going straight to the Council, I say, ‘No way are that lot getting my money’. Inland Revenue treat you far better.

    PS. You can sign up for some kind of online citizens email account thing which does allow you to access your Council Tax account and check the balance, if that’s any help.

  • John Goss

    @RD. You’re the idiot as per usual. It’s you who should do some reading on economics. Start with Technicolour’s link. I have deduced that you work in a cosy financial system environment and want to defend your own interests.

    You, and people like you, Blairites, destroyed the Labour Party. But there is a way to change society back to how it once was with free education, an NHS we could be proud of and less greed all round. Let’s change it for the better. It does not take much for this whole rotten system to collapse.

  • John Goss

    “He might consider whether Brown and Darling running up a rather large deficit when demand collapsed following the banking crisis didn’t amount to Keynesianism before he makes such plainly silly points.”

    More humour please. 🙂

  • technicolour

    “including compulsory jobs”

    – like working for Tesco on ‘workfare’ one presumes. Or on zero-hour contracts. Or any number of pittance paying, no-prospect, no security positions which are pushing back people’s rights to the risible.

    My research on this on my computer (I’m away from it). Latest figures I could find were 1.86 million people unemployed v 700,000 vacancies. Even if you take these figures at face value, which you cannot – the ‘claimant count’ does not include the thousands of people ‘sanctioned’ each month, for example, and a Guardian investigation found that many of the jobs advertised did not pay enough to live on, and so on – who talks about the people for whom the jobs aren’t there? And that includes the disabled and one parent families, not just someone with a working partner who’s ill for a year.

    Where’s Yvette Cooper on all of this?

    Seems a good piece here:

  • Resident Dissident

    “It’s you who should do some reading on economics.”

    Which is of course what I have done before during and after obtaining my degree in that subject.

    The article Technicolor linked too was of course about Keynes proposals for a body to regulate and manage deficits between countries and an international currency – which really is not at the core of the Keynesianism vs Monetarism debate important though it is. The fact that you think it does really juts further demonstrates your ignorance.

  • Resident Dissident

    “I have deduced that you work in a cosy financial system environment and want to defend your own interests.”

    Well as always you deduce incorrectly – I have mentioned before that I am anti-austerity (as a practical reality rather than street theatre) – and in fact one book I would recommend to you is Paul Krugman’s “End this Depression Now” with which I largely agree.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    06/06/2015 10:44pm

    ” ‘There’s no need for us to talk about drink or laziness,’ returned
    Owen, impatiently, ‘because they have nothing to do with the matter.
    The question is, what is the cause of the lifelong poverty of the
    majority of those who are not drunkards and who DO work? Why, if all
    the drunkards and won’t-works and unskilled or inefficient workers
    could be by some miracle transformed into sober, industrious and
    skilled workers tomorrow, it would, under the present conditions, be so
    much the worse for us, because there isn’t enough work for all NOW and
    those people by increasing the competition for what work there is,
    would inevitably cause a reduction of wages and a greater scarcity of
    employment. The theories that drunkenness, laziness or inefficiency
    are the causes of poverty are so many devices invented and fostered by
    those who are selfishly interested in maintaining the present states of affairs, for the purpose of preventing us from discovering the real
    causes of our present condition.’ ”

    “Robert Tressell”, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1914)

    Kind regards,


  • RobG

    I was going to post the following link in the Charles Kennedy thread, where Clark and I were discussing nuclear matters, but I’ll post it here because it relates to economic policy. It’s a recent interview in the Asia-Pacific Journal with Murakami Tatsuya, the former mayor of Tōkaimura, located approximately 75 miles north of Tokyo and 111 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. It not only gives an insight into all things Fukushima, and the horrors that are going on in Japan at the moment (none of which ever gets reported in the western media), in my humble opinion it also gives an insight into the Japanese psyche…

    The first thing that could come to mind might be money when we are planning the future of our community, but I wanted to emphasize that money and numbers alone cannot make us happy. I don’t think it is necessarily true that people with income of 5,000,000 yen a year are much happier or have a better life than those who earn 3,000,000 yen a year. I really don’t think so.

    Many people ask me what I am going to do to maintain the economy if I abolish the nuclear power plants. First of all, I am not really certain that nuclear power would really enrich our lives. This is a brochure that someone put together explaining what directions we would like to take in the future to recreate our community. This does not necessarily reflect exactly what I have in mind, but states that we need to depart from an economy-focused or growth-oriented society and that it is time to establish local autonomy.

    Instead of pursuing economic gain, we should focus on how to increase cultural value and social value in our lives by utilizing what we already have or by creating something new by applying our wisdom and experience. For example, we have J-PARC here in Tōkaimura and we can make that our asset. We have about 100 to 150 visitors from overseas at J-PARK every day, and we have about the same number of people from all over Japan. So we need to create a community to welcome and accommodate these people.

    I would also add that I don’t see much difference between the Fukushima disaster and the Westminster CSA scandal, because in both cases you’re dealing with total corruption and a moral vacuum, and as a result we are seeing societies being flushed down the pan.

    The corrupt and the immoral who cause such societal breakdown are too stupid and greedy to realise that they are also being flushed down the pan.

  • John Goss

    OK then RD justify monetarism in the light of the labour movement as you seem to espouse its virtues. And read John Spencer Davies extract from “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” fist.

  • Abe Rene

    Perhaps, as an SNP-MSP you will help to reverse the privatisation of the NHS in Scotland, which may set a good example for the rest of the UK.

  • Resident Dissident

    I do remember a while back Mr Goss proposing that bank lending be restricted to only twice their level of deposits or similar – perhaps since he professes to be such an expert on economics he could provide a Keynesian analysis of the impact of such a measure on the level of effective demand – the Monetarist analysis (at a simplistic level) is pretty straightforward it would lead to a sharp reduction in the money supply and this would only have a short term impact on the real economy, as the long term natural rate of growth is not affected by such matters, and the level of prices would fall.

  • Resident Dissident

    Mr Goss

    I will not justify monetarism since I don’t believe in it as a theory – I have been of the Keynesian persuasion for many years – but as I said most sensible Keynesians believe in the use of both monetary and fiscal policies to deal with depressions and economic downturns.

    Just to let you in to a not much shouted about secret when the Tories realised that their deficit reduction plans in the first two years of the last parliament were stunting growth they relaxed them and growth returned. Now like yourself George is probably a little confused between neo classical economics ( to give it its proper name – no one really buys monetarism any more) and Keynesianism – so he will probably try to repeat the experiment in this parliament. My guess is that the impact will be the same and we will see George reverting to “secret” Keynesianism again in time to stimulate a little growth for the next election.

    Excellent stuff from Mr Tressell – did I tell you many of my direct Yorkshire ancestors were house painters as well.

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