The Tory Manifesto Is Priceless 112


The most extraordinary thing about the Tory manifesto is that you can read pages and pages of it and not come upon a monetary value put on anything. Figures are extremely few and far between indeed, and where there is a cost placed on something there is normally no indication given at all of where the money is coming from.

You have to get to page 14 before you come across a single figure at all. Then it tells you that by 2020 they will increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and increase the higher rate threshold to £50,000. But it places no value at all on the next cost of this tax cut, or how it can be afforded.

You have to go through six more pages of waffle before you get the next figure at page 20, a National Productivity Fund of £23 billion. Again, no indication is given of the source of this funding, perhaps because it is very much an old recycled announcement.

Perhaps the most remarkable instance of lack of clarity on funding is the promise of £8 billion extra for the NHS. Again no indication at all is given of where this money is coming from. The only indication of an extra funding source is a levy of £450 per head on overseas students for use of the NHS. That will raise only about £50 million and is just a chance for an attack on a group May particularly hates – and a bone to the racists.

It is impossible not to contrast the complete absence of prices on 95% of the proposals in the manifesto, and the complete lack of explanation of the source of funds on almost all the few items that are costed, with the huge media onslaught on the fiscal detail of the opposition parties’ manifestoes. A completely different standard is being applied to the Tories.

The BBC as usual wheeled out the Institute of Fiscal Studies, the “independent” body representing extreme neo-liberalism. The IFS has been lyrical for hours these last few days giving instant judgements on why the Labour manifesto had holes in it, repeating continually the corporate propaganda that if you increase taxes on the super-rich, they will pay less. But when invited by the BBC to comment on the finances of the Tory manifesto, the IFS merely replied that they would be presenting an analysis of all the manifestoes next Tuesday.

The Tory manifesto is literally priceless – it puts no price on anything. But we all know it will carry a disastrous cost for our public services and for the most vulnerable in our society,

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112 thoughts on “The Tory Manifesto Is Priceless

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  • Sharp Ears

    Thanks for the heads up from Craig. I won’t need to waste time looking at it now.

    I heard about the cruel and unkind dementia tax earlier and the snatching of free school meals. Did May have a visit from the ghost of Thatcher?

    Having been out all morning, I came home to find that May had sent me a letter. (Everyone else too??) I just caught sight of a coloured lozenge shaped corner of it bearing the words Coalition, Chaos, Corbyn. It went straight back in the envelope and will be posted back to her in Downing St, unstamped and marked
    ‘Unsolicited mail’.

    We used to have a saying ‘Go to Halifax’ meaning ‘Go to Hell’.

    • Habbabkuk

      Just to help you, Sharp Ears, here’s the comment with the typo corrected:

      ““… the snatching of free school meals.”
      __________________________

      That is a deliberate misrepresentation. Try reading the relevant art of the manifesto.”

    • Alex Westlake

      Google “Lutfur Rahman” if you want to know why we need a law like this. Voters in Ulster need to show ID, it makes sense to implement it on the mainland

      • Habbabkuk

        I agree entirely. In principle it sounds like a splendid idea. Just as was the introduction of plastic card driving licences bearing a photo of the holder.

        In fact, the govt should bring in compulsory IDs, which might (or perhaps should) be carried on the person at all times. This is the position in all the major Western European liberal democracies and I should be interested to hear from anyone why they would consider such an introduction to constitute a move away from democracy / a move towards “fascism”/ the “police state”/ blah blah…).

        ID cards have little if any downside and one must wonder why some people are so vehemently opposed.

        • Clark

          There was something very reassuring and civilised about living in a society where one was presumed to be honest and lawful unless giving cause to think otherwise. I miss it, and deplore the ‘papers, please’, tick-box mentality that is replacing it.

          I wonder if ID cards really confer the advantages supposed. Serious criminals will always obtain convincing forgeries or even complete false identities, and thus will be erroneously trusted.

          • Alex Westlake

            Yes, but it makes it a lot more complicated than inventing someone and adding his/her name to the voter registration form which is sent to someone’s address

          • Shatnersrug

            Clark,

            I’m in complete agreement – people should not have to prove who they are beyond showing their voting card.

            This nonsensical idea that people are more dishonest in those matters than they once were is patently ridiculous – and the idea of ID presentation at the ballot box is more about voter suppression than election.

            Everyone over 18 is entitled to vote and that should not be dependant on them having to purchase some sort of ID

          • Habbabkuk

            Clark

            We’ve been round this course before but let’s have another go. To comment on yours :

            1/. Yes, it was reassuring and civilised, etc. But times have changed and have become less reassuring and civilised. To take just one example : it is well within most posters’ memory that one could open an ordinary bank account in the UK without an fuss or formality; today, you need ID for your name and address. Why? Because of the increased risk of fraud and identity theft and the need to fight against phenomena such as money laundering and so on. So : less reassuring and “civilised” times.

            2/. Re what you call the “paper please” mentality: that point does not reflect reality on the ground, you know. In that regard: you are mistaken if you think that the citizens of countries where the carrying of ID is compulsory are continually being stopped on the street and asked for ID. That is not the case. Where you are asked to provide ID in those countries is generally where you are asked to prove your identity(albeit) through other means in the UK.

            3/. Re false identities, etc : nothing is ever 100% foolproof . To argue against modern ID cards because they are not 100% foolproof is a logical absurdity because it it is to argue against the obligation to provide any ID at all; in that case, why bother, for example, with passports, driving licences, NHS and national insurance cards or even bank debit or credit cards? Why not just take people’s word for who they are? Furthermore, you overlook technological advances: modern, plastic ID cards with a chip are, generally, recognised as being as safe as passports and that is the reason why, for example a French ID card is acceptable for use in other EU countries as a means of identification when needed. On the other hand, technological advances (photocopiers, photoshop and so on) have made it easier to forge the more traditional means of identification – eg the use of bank statements, utility bills, Council tax statements etc to prove your address, birth certificates to prove identity…..

            4/. As for positive advantages, apart from those above, one should also reflect on the fact that they are simply more convenient not only for authority but also for the individual citizen, See them as a one stop shop if you will. Of course, for everyone to benefit fully from the introduction of ID cards, such a system should be accompanied by the compulsory registration of address.

            It is fairly easy to point to concrete reasons for introducing ID cards and registration of address. One does note, however, that those who argue against are hard-pressed to find concrete reasons for their position: their arguments usually rely on citing abstract concepts like “freedom” , “civil rights” and “privacy” without however ever demonstrating concretely how those noble concepts would come under attack from ID cards in practice.

            Hope that helps and no need to respond.

          • Clark

            True, but I was answering Habbabkuk’s preference that everyone be forced to carry ID cards at all times.

          • Habbabkuk

            @ Shatters

            “I’m in complete agreement – people should not have to prove who they are beyond showing their voting card.”
            ____________________

            On a point of information : you don’t even have to show your voting card (that is even wirtten on the card). Crazy!

          • Alcyone

            “There was something very reassuring and civilised about living in a society where one was presumed to be honest and lawful unless giving cause to think otherwise. I miss it,”

            One cannot possibly disagree with those sentiments. But as you say that “was”. In today’s world is has a ring of romance around it. Times have changed. Unfortunately and apart from technology, wherein man’s ingenuity never ceases to amaze me, we are clearly very much on a slippery-slope. Our only salvation is within ourselves, one flickering light at a time.

            Best wishes to you Clark.

          • Clark

            Oops, I should have refreshed the page before replying. My 17:19 was in reply to Alex Westlake at 16:59.

            Habbabkuk’s short article makes no mention of why he’d have everyone forced to carry ID at all times, which can only serve a ‘papers please’, tick-box mentality. That mentality certainly has been on the increase for decades, but it is driven by commerce, insurance and private security, far more than by government. The people’s government should oppose this rather than pandering to it by forcing the people to fund an infrastructure that would also be extremely useful to totalitarianism.

          • Habbabkuk

            Shatty

            ” the idea of ID presentation at the ballot box is more about voter suppression than election”
            ____________________

            How would that work, then? Talk us through it, please.

          • J

            Habb:

            You have shares or you’re 49 and living at home with your parents.

            “Why? Because of the increased risk of fraud and identity theft and the need to fight against phenomena such as money laundering and so on.”

            1A) What increase risk? Evidence please. 1B) How does an ID card “to be carried at all times” or not prevent identity theft where passports and drivers licences do not? 1C) How does a UK ID card prevent money laundering where a passport and drivers licence do not? HSBC? One of the biggest perps and in case you didn’t know, they’re operating globally.

            2) Your second argument contradicts itself by the last sentence, conceding that ID cards are unnecessary .

            3) Your third argument is a longer winded concession that ID cards are unnecessary with added straw men for flavour:

            “nothing is ever 100% foolproof” the concession. “To argue against modern ID cards because they are not 100% foolproof is a logical absurdity because it it is to argue against the obligation to provide any ID at all” The straw man.

            First you create a weak and unstable argument against ID cards (even plucking irrelevant percentages straight out of your arse, scientific rigour?) as if this represents the quality of opposition to ID cards, which you go on to answer with dazzling ‘logic.’

            “nothing is ever 100% foolproof . To argue against mandatory wearing of seatbelts because they are not 100% foolproof is a logical absurdity because it it is to argue against fitting any seatbelts in any cars at all” You see?

            You continue “…in that case, why bother, for example, with passports, driving licences, NHS and national insurance cards or even bank debit or credit cards?” Another concession that ID cards are an unnecessary and expensive duplication.

            After all of that you randomly declare “technological advances (photocopiers, photoshop and so on) have made it easier to forge the more traditional means of identification – eg the use of bank statements, utility bills, Council tax statements etc to prove your address, birth certificates to prove identity…..” without giving a single example of where these things can be used to constitute identification in the absence of a passport or driving licence. Because, as we both know, there isn’t one. Another concession that ID cards are an unnecessary expense.

            “See them as a one stop shop if you will

            I’d rather not.

        • D_Majestic

          One must simply wonder why anyone should want to sit back and allow the country to gradually morph into the G.D.R. or Ceausescu-land. Maybe they have a hidden agenda.

      • Alcyone

        “Google “Lutfur Rahman” etc

        Good example of corruption as also the corruption of our culture.

        • D_Majestic

          Maybe Lysias and I were pupils at the same school. Or are both a poet and didn’t even know it.

      • Stu

        How would photo ID have stopped Luftur Rahman?

        Are there allegations of individuals voting at multiple polling stations? Because I have not seen them.

          • Stu

            Those names could have voted via postal vote (and it’s far more likely they did)

            There is no issue with individuals voting in polling stations under false identities. Even if you enacted a huge conspiracy where 20 people voted 5 times in different locations it would still only total 100 votes. There is absolutely no incentive to defraud in this way comparing the risk and reward.

            What photo ID is guaranteed to do is reduce the number of people who vote in poorer communities.

          • Habbabkuk

            Stu

            “There is no issue with individuals voting in polling stations under false identities”
            ______________________

            Tell that to Nevermind.

            Anon1 will confirm (cf previous thread unless relevant comments deleted)

  • Sean Nilibud

    One could tell the IFS were neo-liberal freaks by their rabid pro EU stance during the referendum.

    I’m glad you’ve highlighted their bias here.

  • Gulliver

    The Tory Manifesto also pledges to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act (not that it was ever implemented due to Karen Bradley kicking it into the long grass) and cancelling of part 2 of Leveson. Another nail in the coffin of any hope we might get a genuinely free press in this country.

    • Gulliver

      Actually, the IFS is quite transparent in comparison to the IEA, as Wren Lewis says in his article linked to below, the problem with the IFS analysis of Labours spending plans is they do not take into account the macro-economic stimulus that the increase in investment would create.

      http://whofundsyou.org/

      you will notice that most if not all the opaque think tanks (lobby groups) on whofundsyou are of the same political persuasion.

  • D_Majestic

    I have been watching BBC News a lot over the past couple of weeks, much against my better judgement, and have become totally fed up with the so-called Institute of Fiscal Studies and its insubstantial pronouncements of fiscal doom under Labour. No surprise, then, that they have no comment at all on the ‘Dismay’ that is the Tory manifesto.

  • glenn_uk

    I love this continuing theme that if you tax the rich more, they will find ways to avoid paying it so we’ll end up collecting much less (if anything). That’s such a brilliant point, because we all know that the rich and highly profitable corporations are delighted to pay tax at the current rates, and make absolutely certain that they pay every penny they possibly can.

    No – rich individuals and corporations wouldn’t dream of hiding money, keeping it off-shore, finagling every advantage through get-outs with write-offs, loopholes and complex structures. Not unless Labour raised the amount by a couple of percent.

    • Anon1

      London’s financial industry generates $70 billion in taxes. That’s well over half the NHS budget. Squeeze it too much and the UK is no longer competitive and the finance moves elsewhere.

      • D_Majestic

        We keep on being fed this doom and gloom scenario-since the 1970’s at least. More ‘Chicken-Licken sky falling in’ rubbish, I reckon.

  • Sharp Ears

    I was just googling Andrew Dilnot, author of the eponymous report, and a link to his Commission produced a scream of ‘Threat Detected’ from my anti virus.

    He has just been on the BBC with Ben Brown (the presenter with the drawling voice) wiping the floor on May’s proposals on social care funding.

    Isn’t that a strange coincidence?

    • Sharp Ears

      It must be bad for Aa to have tweeted this!

      David Aaronovitch‏
      @DAaronovitch
      The IFS, the Kings Fund and Andrew Dilnot are extremely unimpressed by the Tory manifesto on social care and the NHS.
      https://twitter.com/DAaronovitch/status/865217290085826560

      +++++

      I read his piece in the Times today. He deplores human rights abuses but they mainly occur in Russia, China and Turkey of course. He informs himself from Eliot Higgins!

      May 18 2017 The Times
      Fighting for rights is what makes us human
      David Aaronovitch
      By signing up to Kissinger’s doctrine of realpolitik Trump is ignoring the moral and practical case for intervention

      ‘These are the most beautiful small islands on Earth,” the article began. “They are safe; there are no hawkers selling sarongs and, unless you seek them out, no distractions. Strange to think,” it gushed, “that the idyllic Maldives have only been a holiday destination for 40 years or so.” And stranger still to think that you can be killed there for speaking your mind.

      I had somehow missed the death bit. But the free speech advocacy group Index on Censorship (of which I’m chairman) gave an award recently to a website called Maldives Independent. Zameena Rasheed, its editor, said that people associated with the site and critical of the government or of the Islamists with whom it has a symbiotic relationship could expect visits, threats…

      https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/fighting-for-rights-is-what-makes-us-human-crx8j36km

    • Habbabkuk

      I would not be surprised because I have seen such in the southern part of the UK and in at least one other Western European country (the articles are discounted). And in other countries I’ve seen fresh articles that have reached their last day of consumption offered at 40% discounts. (ie on the fish or meat counters, not in special sections – because of refrigeration) What are you telling us except that there are poor people? Or are you suggesting that the supermarkets should just chuck the stuff?

  • Arsalan

    Craig I have been offered a short contract in Kazakhstan.
    Not sure whether to accept.
    Do you have any advice?

    I am not much of a vegetarian, do you know much about the availability of Halal food there?
    What i mean is, is food in canteens generally Halal or do you need to check?

    • Uzbek in the UK

      Hi Arsalan,

      It depends where in Kazakhstan. In north population is very mixed with a lot of Slavs, so many canteens will NOT be Halal. And the weather is horrible in winter with below 30 degrees Centigrade and strong freezing winds. Most of Kazakhs themselves prefer to live in much warmer south, but north is rich with minerals and is developing (or has been until recently) rapidly.

      In south (where former capital Almaty is) population is still mixed but majority are Kazakhs and more Halal options. Although you will need to ask each time if meal is Halal before ordering. If you order meat dish (lamb or beef) in small private canteen it is likely to be Halal as they purchase meat in small markets where sheep or cows are usually slaughtered Halal way.

      Hope it is helpful.

      • Arsalan

        Thanks,
        Yes,
        I think I would have to find out where they want to post me before I sign. And if I have an option choose somewhere with loads of Muslims.
        What I was kind of worried about is whether many years of communism would mean the people there have no idea what Halal food is. I find a lot of Muslims from former communist countries limit themselves to not eating pork and have no idea what Halal slaughter is.

        • Uzbek in the UK

          That is why I asked you to ask if it is Halal before you order each meal. If they understand what Halal is it is most likely to be Halal. But if you are eating in small private canteen in south Kazakhstan meal with either lamb or beef it is likely to be Halal. I would be careful with chicken as it might be cooked from frozen imported chicken. But lamb or beef is most likely been purchased in local market which was most likely been butchered Halal way.

          But still confirm with the waiter or owner of the canteen.

          Try famous horse milk (Kumis) which tastes great! Kazakhs are very hospitable and easy to become friends with. Some drink a lot of alcohol but you make sure that you tell them in advance that you are good Muslim and you do not drink alcohol.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    I realise this is completely off topic but you might be amused to learn that your old nemesis Usmanov is engaged in sharp squabble (via internet video blogging) with Russian opposition politician Navalny.

    The short resume is that Navalny investigated corruption charges against Russian prime minister Medvedev and found that Medvedev was using multiple private and charity companies to purchase goods and services for himself and his family. It was calculated that last year (2016) Medvedev spent over 10 million USD that way which many many times exceeded his official salary. During the investigation Navalny’s team came across one large transaction (over 5 billion russian rubbles – around 100 million USD) when Usmanov transferred large mansion near Moscow to one of the charities which Medvedev used to purchase goods and services from. That triggered further investigation and Navalny demonstrated some photos from Medvedev’s twitter (Medvedev is known as keen social medial users) where he is on vacation in his mansion which exactly match buildings and surroundings of the mansion which Usmanov tranferred to the charity (which Medveded used to purchase goods and services). Navalny claimed that in fact Usmanov paid bride to the prime minister for him and his government to favour Usmanov’s business deals.

    Here is Usmanov’s rant (in Russian I am afraid) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mx9yYZd2f0

    Usmanov claims that Navalny is wrong, that Usmanov never benefited from any “dirty” deals with Russian privatisation. That all his ventures he purchased for his own money and those he borrowed from banks. That unlike Navalny (who is under criminal investigation in Russia) Usmanov was pardoned but spent 6 years in prison which gave him right to teach Navalny some manners. At the end Usmanov claimed that Navalny will pay for his claims against Usmanov.

    Usmanov also taken his case against Navalny to the Russian court where it is believed that he will have no problems proving his innocence.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    May be your blog is being too careful now and auto-prevent any posts with name Usmanov 🙂

  • Uzbek in the UK

    I realise this is completely off topic but you might be amused to learn that your old nemesis Usmanov is engaged in sharp squabble (via internet video blogging) with Russian opposition politician Navalny.

    The short resume is that Navalny investigated corruption charges against Russian prime minister Medvedev and found that Medvedev was using multiple private and charity companies to purchase goods and services for himself and his family. It was calculated that last year (2016) Medvedev spent over 10 million USD that way which many many times exceeded his official salary. During the investigation Navalny’s team came across one large transaction (over 5 billion russian rubbles – around 100 million USD) when Usmanov transferred large mansion near Moscow to one of the charities which Medvedev used to purchase goods and services from. That triggered further investigation and Navalny demonstrated some photos from Medvedev’s twitter (Medvedev is known as keen social medial users) where he is on vacation in his mansion which exactly match buildings and surroundings of the mansion which Usmanov tranferred to the charity (which Medveded used to purchase goods and services). Navalny claimed that in fact Usmanov paid bride to the prime minister for him and his government to favour Usmanov’s business deals.

    I will send link in a separate email as I am having trouble with this post, may be because of the link.

    Usmanov claims that Navalny is wrong, that Usmanov never benefited from any “dirty” deals with Russian privatisation. That all his ventures he purchased for his own money and those he borrowed from banks. That unlike Navalny (who is under criminal investigation in Russia) Usmanov was pardoned but spent 6 years in prison which gave him right to teach Navalny some manners. At the end Usmanov claimed that Navalny will pay for his claims against Usmanov.

    Usmanov also taken his case against Navalny to the Russian court where it is believed that he will have no problems proving his innocence.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    One other funny thing is that that video blog is the first and only one from Usmanov himself. It managed to gain over 200K views and over 62K likes in less than 6 hours. Many regular youtube bloggers claim that likes are being purchased.

    • Sharp Ears

      Bercow (my They Work For You link below) receives hospitality and tickets from Arsenal. He and Usmanov pally?

  • Uzbek in the UK

    And (hopefully) finally on that video, if you look carefully at the bottom left corner of the video, you will see a while line of something which suspiciously looks like cocaine line.

  • Sharp Ears

    Also in the Times today a reference to Bercow. He will returned uncontested in Buckingham. One party did consider otherwise but decided not to.

    As he is not fighting an election and lives in the lap of luxury in Westminster,,I don’t know why he needs £20k but he has just received that sum. £5k came from Lord Levy, BLiar’s friend and tennis partner, and another £5k from a Sir David Garrard, who is a Labour donor.
    Garrard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Garrard_(property_developer)
    and a lot of falling out over money in his family
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/10969400/Labour-donor-tried-to-transfer-2.5m-from-daughter-and-son-in-laws-joint-account.html

    Bercow is well in with the All England club and the ATP. Lots of tennis and football freebies and a visit or two to Israel, one with the CFoI.
    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10040

    • Habbabkuk

      I have a lot of time for Ba’al (even if we disagree in many things). 🙂

      • Alcyone

        I can readily agree with that, despite the couple of run-ins we have had. I always make sure I read him with careful interest. I like the way his brain works and his choice of linguistics.

        • Alcyone

          I’ll go further and say he is a man of education, in the true sense of the word.

        • Habbabkuk

          Certainly. He has done lots of good work on Blair (see the dedicated thread) and although he uses vigorous language at times he doesn’t resort to silly portmanteau terms like “fascist” and “rascist”. Also rather good at spotting the frauds.

  • Dave Price

    In the conservative manifesto, under ‘A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON MERIT’ we have a two paragraph section headed ‘Fairer funding’ (page 51 in the pdf). I’ve included both in full here to demonstrate no sleight of hand: the bits I’m interested in are the last but one sentence in the first paragraph (the schools budget increase), and the second paragraph starting with the connecting phrase “In order to fund these commitments…”.

    ‘The way funding is distributed to schools in England is not fair. Across the country,
    children with the same needs and expectations receive markedly different rates of funding
    for their school place. We have begun to correct this and in the next parliament we will
    make funding fairer still. We appreciate that it is hard for schools receiving a higher level of
    funding to make cuts in order to pay for increases elsewhere, so while we will make funding
    fairer over the course of the parliament, we will make sure that no school has its budget cut
    as a result of the new formula. We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by
    2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. We will
    continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it.

    In order to fund these commitments, we have taken an important decision. We do not
    believe that giving school lunches to all children free of charge for the first three years
    of primary school – regardless of the income of their parents – is a sensible use of public
    money. There is now good evidence that school breakfasts are at least as effective in
    helping children to make progress in school. So under a new Conservative government,
    schools in England will offer a free school breakfast to every child in every year of
    primary school, while children from low-income families will continue to receive free
    school lunches throughout their years in primary and secondary education. The savings
    made from this change will be added to the core schools budget, meaning that every
    penny saved will go towards children’s education.’

    As I understand it, the proposal in the second paragraph is to discontinue government-funded provision of primary school lunches for all but low-income families, providing instead government-funded primary school breakfasts for every child in every year of primary school.

    Now is the intended meaning of the second paragraph that this proposal will free up £4 billion up to 2022, not far off £1 billion a year? Surely the costs of providing breakfast in this way will be broadly equal to the savings made by withdrawing lunch currently provided in this way? I’m left wondering where the £4 billion increase is to come from.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-school-lunch-for-every-child-in-infant-school

    The above link states that the free school meals measures cost about £600 million, and I’ve seen figures of £600 million and £800 million in an article in the Telegraph. So pretty much all of that would have to be saved as a result of switching from universal lunch provision to universal breakfast provision, which seems optimistic.

  • Geoffrey

    Did anyone notice the grovelling Tory media mentioning the rate of unemployment yesterday ? Apparently it was at the lowest level since 1975 !
    There was a lot of media on the fact that the rate of inflation had overtaken the rate of wage growth though !

    • Habbabkuk

      4,5% – almost the lowest in Europe. And that’s with a million or two EU nationals working here!

    • Stu

      It’s because no one actually believes that the rate of unemployment has any relation to the number of people who are not gainfully employed but would like to be.

      Underemployment on zero hours contracts is a huge problem. There are also a massive number of people who are self employed in name only to access working tax credits rather than welfare.

      • giyane

        Self-employed, working 24 hours on paper at minimum wage, receiving Family tax credits to top up earnings, is the standard way small companies can afford to pay full-time staff.

        The only problem with this model is that the government can’t afford to close it down because the unemployment figures would be the highest in Europe, and it can’t afford to pay for it without borrowing, placing the burden on either the next generation or the next colonial victim of neo-liberal illegal proxy war-crime.

        Tax credits is a Ponzi scheme and a subsidy to capitalism. Wealth filters up to the rich, who don’t have to pay proper wages. The money that filters down to the poor is QE-ed, paper money , highly-leveraged from real money borrowed from Saudi Arabia, giving the Saudis carte-blanche to wreck the Muslim world.

    • Anon1

      Just a million more of the feckless to go and it’ll be only the unemployable left unemployed.

      • J

        Why do you suggest that poverty indicates moral degeneracy? I think of you as a moral imbecile and a particularly unpleasant character independent of your employment, employability or wealth. Wasn’t poverty one of the central tenets of Christianity?

  • Habbabkuk

    There you go, Sharp Ears – from Dave Price’s post at 16h55 :

    “..while children from low-income families will continue to receive free
    school lunches throughout their years in primary and secondary education.”

    NOT the abolition of free school meals as your post mendaciously implied 🙂

    • Sharp Ears

      I object to being referred to as mendacious by the troll. This morning I posted three links about free school lunches being removed and guess what. that comment has been deleted. The moderation on this blog continues to be unfairly weighted in favour of the trolls.

      Please therefore remove the comment @ May 18, 2017 at 17:30 where it is said that I ‘mendaciously implied’….

    • Dave Price

      Well, Habbs, it IS the abolition of universal free lunchtime meals. And the reason given for doing this was the provision of universal free breakfast instead. But on closer inspection it appears that sufficient funds have not been allocated for universal free breakfast. So as it stands the Tories are proposing to abolish universal free lunchtime meals without replacement. Looks Sharp Ears’ statement (or at least the statement you attribute to her) is justifiable.

  • Dave

    Interesting information on Daily Politics today with admission that the Chancellor has put back the date for balancing the books till about 2025, enabling billions more in public spending. This change follows Brexit, because Tory/Osborne austerity was really EU austerity to prop-up the Euro. Now there is no prospect of UK joining the Euro the Tories have become the anti-austerity party at least compared to Labour.

  • MARGO STRONACH ALLAN

    Whats in it for Scotland ? boring really ,. seen more life in a bone comb .

    • D_Majestic

      A great comment, so apt regarding some Neo-Intellectuals who abound together in a small, cosy space here. Rofl.

  • Susan spencer

    As always she gives false care for society as a whole, deception as always. New policy April 2017 no tax credits for 3rd child unless mother can prove rape, sick or what? Such austerity these last few years on the sick and claimed fit to work and so many suicides. The disabled had medical evidence ignored and assesments blatant lies and no point no pip. Disgracefull behaviour. Amazes me that anyone votes for them.

    • Habbabkuk

      Is that worse than not giving child allowance for the first child, as in France?

  • RobG

    Here in France today I had to take a relative to the hospital for check-ups prior to an operation at the end of this month.

    My relative was seen by three different medical specialists, in a hospital that was so modern and clean that you could have eaten dinner off the floor. We were there for more than four hours, much of which I spent sitting in my vehicle in the car park. There were no parking charges, in what is a very busy hospital in a large French city.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with the Tory manifesto…

    • Habbabkuk

      You forget to mention that the NHS will pick up the bill. So your relative is in fact doing something equivalent to going private and jumping the queue – except that the NHS will pay,

      • Laguerre

        Perhaps you can tell us, Habb, from the archives you keep on all of us, whether RobG has French social security or not. He has a business in France, if I remember correctly (I don’t keep notes). Normally, in that case he would have SS, and it would be them who would be paying.

  • Sharp Ears

    It was so amusing at the conclusion of Treeza’s epic performance ‘Stand with me…come into the sunshine – so like Agent Cameron and his ‘sunlit uplands’ – when she asked for questions. She looked terrified.
    Her male colleagues (Boris, Hammond, Davis, McLaughlin, Hunt and others plus Ms Rudd stony faced) sat like dummies in a row nodding and occasionally applauding. That looked totally artificial. They do not like their leader.

    Then asked for ‘Laura’ to start with needless to say so up popped Kuenssberg. She pretended throughout the session that she was open to questions from all comers but she kept referring to a list so knew exactly the names of those present and their organizations. Her pretence of gazing into the distance and picking out someone was a piece of very bad acting.

    Especially for Treeza.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2fqjsijaMM

    • Sharp Ears

      I omitted Fallon from the list of stooges. He should have been back in London at the MoD as an escalation is taking place in the war on President Assad and the Syrian people.

      US strikes Syria to protect British and American special forces
      20:06, UK, Thursday 18 May 2017
      By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

      US warplanes have struck Syrian pro-regime forces in a mission to protect British and American troops in the country’s southeast.The airstrikes, which killed Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed militia, occurred close to the border with Iraq.
      http://news.sky.com/story/us-strikes-syria-to-protect-british-and-american-special-forces-10883334

      The version according to Murdoch on behalf of the USUKIsNATO axis. Oded Yinon lives.

  • Aidworker1

    I’ll certainly be voting Labour although where I live the seat should be safe.

    This is a very interesting post showing the long arms of the Israeli lobby:

    https://electronicintifada.net/

    Is this what happened to Shai Masot’s £1m?

  • bevin

    The manifesto is a reminder that the best argument for Brexit always was that it was in Europe’s interest to be rid of the evil influence that anglo-saxon liberalism has on society. Britain’s influence in Europe was an important force working against the ‘social’ traditions of such societies as Germany and France in favour of survival of the greediest neo-liberalism.
    It is best for all concerned that the English people be left to face up to the implications of the road map set out in Victorian times, which is here repeated in the Tory manifesto.
    The most important part of which, it appears to me, is the proposal to wrest the savings of those elderly people in need of care by turning over their estates to private corporations in what is, without irony, called the business of providing care.
    This is a vast subject and one well worthy of discussion here. I will simply say that those who argue, as some have done, that this is an attack on the middle class which will leave the poor, who have no estates, untouched, are quite wrong. Already life expectancy is declining, under a Tory government this decline will sharpen and continue. More and more people will die before collecting their pensions (something that the Financial Times has already begun to rub its paws together in gleeful anticipation). And those who cannot pay for ‘care’ will receive Workhouse standard treatment. As will the middle class if their money runs out before they die.
    Such will be the fate of the many.

    • Stu

      You sound rather dejected here.

      I genuinely believe this could be the policy that changes the tide of this election.This is a straight up direct theft which will surely appal millions of people who have mindlessly voted Tory. There is no opportunity to back down on this as they did on Tax Credits and other budget mishaps over the past seven years. They must stand by this until the election.

      • MJ

        “This is a straight up direct theft”

        Yes and it’s not so much the elderly who are being fleeced but their children, who would otherwise have inherited the assets. It is indeed a smash and grab raid on the middle classes.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    [ Mod: Caught in spam-filter – timestamp updated ]

    Mr Murray,

    I realise this is completely off topic but you might be amused to learn that your old nemesis Usmanov is engaged in sharp squabble (via internet video blogging) with Russian opposition politician Navalny.

    The short resume is that Navalny investigated corruption charges against Russian prime minister Medvedev and found that Medvedev was using multiple private and charity companies to purchase goods and services for himself and his family. It was calculated that last year (2016) Medvedev spent over 10 million USD that way which many many times exceeded his official salary. During the investigation Navalny’s team came across one large transaction (over 5 billion russian rubbles – around 100 million USD) when Usmanov transferred large mansion near Moscow to one of the charities which Medvedev used to purchase goods and services from. That triggered further investigation and Navalny demonstrated some photos from Medvedev’s twitter (Medvedev is known as keen social medial users) where he is on vacation in his mansion which exactly match buildings and surroundings of the mansion which Usmanov tranferred to the charity (which Medveded used to purchase goods and services). Navalny claimed that in fact Usmanov paid bride to the prime minister for him and his government to favour Usmanov’s business deals.

    Here is Usmanov’s rant (in Russian I am afraid) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Mx9yYZd2f0

    Usmanov claims that Navalny is wrong, that Usmanov never benefited from any “dirty” deals with Russian privatisation. That all his ventures he purchased for his own money and those he borrowed from banks. That unlike Navalny (who is under criminal investigation in Russia) Usmanov was pardoned but spent 6 years in prison which gave him right to teach Navalny some manners. At the end Usmanov claimed that Navalny will pay for his claims against Usmanov.

    Usmanov also taken his case against Navalny to the Russian court where it is believed that he will have no problems proving his innocence.

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