Sunday, 30 July 2017

Politicians & journalists need to consider their own roles in toxifying the political environment

Just imagine if an independent left-wing website had published an article from a self-confessed Holocaust denier that featured brazen displays of sexism and anti-Semitism like the Sunday Times just did.

You know as well as I do that the right-wing media would pick up on the article and use it to smear the entire left as a bunch of misogynistic and anti-Semitic bigots, and to generate the absurd narrative that it's abusive and violent fanaticism in politics is solely a left-wing issue.

When the Sunday Times published an extraordinary article from the controversialist Kevin Myers which was dripping with sexism (repeated claims that women don't earn enough because they're not as driven, logical or masterful as men) and casual anti-semitism (allusion to the age old greedy money-grabbing Jew trope) they simply expected to get away with it as if printing such casual bigotry is just "fair comment".

We all know that we would never hear the end of it if some Corbyn-supporting site had hosted such brazenly sexist and anti-Semitic content, but because it's one of Rupert Murdoch's propaganda sheets, we're all supposed to be mollified with the deletion of the article and the explanation that it was just a "mistake" (as if commissioning a Holocaust denier to write an article full of bigoted stereotypes and then publishing it is the kind of mistake we've all made in our lives).

The bigoted Times column that would have had
right-wingers howling with outrage if such sexism
and anti-Semitism had appeared on a left-wing blog.
The most shocking thing about the article isn't that it was written (we all know there are still loads of sexists, racists and anti-Semites out there) but the fact that a supposedly reputable newspaper saw fit to publish such outright bigotry.

It tells you everything you need to know about the cultural acceptance of sexism and anti-Semitism at the Sunday Times that they actually commissioned an article from a known Holocaust denier and nobody at all saw fit to raise concerns about the extreme bigotry in the article as it went through the editing and publishing process.

Of course anyone who pays attention to the political environment knows that most of the hateful and violent extremism comes from the political right. We know that it was an extreme-right "Britain First" screaming fanatic who murdered Jo Cox, that the three people jailed for bombarding the Labour MP Luciana Berger with anti-Semitic abuse were all extreme-right fanatics not "lefties", and that the Finsbury Park terror attack suspect was a Britain First follower, and that his attack was wildly celebrated in the Britain First hate chamber.

Then there's the fact that Tory party has an incredibly lax attitude towards extreme-right propaganda that goes right to the top of the party (consider Zac Goldsmith's bigoted BNP-style campaign to become mayor of London, or Theresa May's decision to quote an bigoted extreme-right Twitter troll in the House of Commons as a cheap dig against Jeremy Corbyn, and the countless Tory politicians who have been caught out saying bigoted things and/or sharing extreme-right content on social media).

Not only do the Tory party have a very lax attitude towards right-wing extremism, the right-wing press who run constant propaganda for the Tories also feature regular displays of bigotry and right-wing extremism.

The Sunday Times are far from alone in hosting extreme bigotry for which independent left-wing websites would (rightfully) be condemned for if they did anything like as bad.

Unlike the radio station LBC the Daily Mail saw no problem with continuing to employ the unspeakable woman, even after she publicly called for a "final solution" against Muslims.

A columnist who writes for a newspaper that supported Adolf Hitler and the rise of fascism in the 1930s calling for a modern day Holocaust against Muslims is offensive on so many levels, but the Daily Mail are as comfortable with employing the unspeakable woman today as they are with their history of promoting fascism in the 1930s.

Then there's the S*n who published an article comparing a mixed race footballer with a gorilla, and the Daily Telegraph that called for the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to be beheaded for having the wrong political opinions.

Self-righteous MPs have launched an inquiry into the abuse of MPs, but the inquiry will tell them absolutely nothing unless they widen the scope of the investigation to look at what is inspiring people to send so many abusive messages to MPs.

Without widening the scope of the inquiry to look into the extreme behaviour of the right-wing press (the casual displays of bigotry and extremism outlined above, declaring judges "enemies of the people" for the "crime" of standing up for parliamentary democracy, the "crush the saboteurs" headline, the extreme smear-mongering campaign against Jeremy Corbyn during the election) and to investigate MPs own extreme behaviour and tolerance of extreme-right online abuse when it suits their purposes (like Theresa May quoting an extreme-right Twitter troll in parliament) then they'll never get to the bottom of why so many ordinary people feel emboldened to lob extreme abuse and threats at politicians.

If MPs and supposedly reputable newspapers create a political atmosphere where bigotry, threats, smears, abuse and extreme-right nastiness are normalised, it takes incredible feats of self-regarding hypocrisy for theat lot to react to ordinary people behaving in the very same way as if they're uniquely sick degenerates, rather than easily led people simply imitating the behaviour they see politicians and journalists continually getting away with.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Friday, 28 July 2017

How the Tories used "divide and conquer" tactics to trash all of our wages

Since the Tories were enabled back into power in 2010 workers in the United Kingdom have suffered an unprecedented attack on the value of their wages.

The wage collapse

George Osborne's imposition of hard-right austerity dogma and wage repression resulted in the longest sustained fall in the real value of workers' wages since records began.

In fact the only country in the entire developed world to have suffered a post-crisis collapse in wages as bad as Britain's was crisis-stricken Greece, and they were forced into imposing austerity dogma and wage repression by the Troika, the Tories imposed the same toxic hard-right economic snake oil on Britain simply because they wanted to.

The dreadful outcome of these fanatically right-wing economic policies put UK workers in a uniquely bad position. The UK is the only developed nation in the world where the economy has been growing, but the share of the wealth going to workers has been in decline, which leaves the obvious question of where all that extra wealth has been going if not to working people.

Another obvious question that arises is how on earth the Tories have managed to get away with such a prolonged ideological attack on the wages of hard-working people without triggering a furious backlash.


One of the obvious reasons the Tories have got away with this sustained ideological assault on ordinary working people is the fact that the complicit mainstream media barely ever covers the issue.

The facts that British workers have suffered the worst wage collapse since records began should be the narrative that underpins pretty much every newspaper article about politics or the economy, but somehow the ideologically driven Tory "war on wages" is a story that only ever pops up intermittently, with much greater prominence given to absolute drivel like Diane Abbott's bouts of innumeracy, fake stories about Jeremy Corbyn breaking a student debt promise he never made, and endless hate-mongering attacks against any public figure who dares argue for anything but the most extreme-right anti-democratic interpretation of Brexit.

Not only have the mainstream media been complicit with the Tory "war on wages" by omission, they've also desperately failed to ridicule the ridiculous Orwellian propaganda narrative from the Tories that they're the party for "hardworking people".

The Tories have orchestrated the worst collapse in workers' wages on record, repeatedly slashed in-work social security (Tax Credits, sick pay, the child welfare system, maternity & paternity pay, Employment Support Allowance ...), attacked workers' rights (like the right of low-income workers to take bad bosses to Employment Tribunals without paying £1,200 in unlawful Tory tribunal fees), and created a system where a shocking 55% of all families living in poverty are working families.

It's absolutely extraordinary that the mainstream media have allowed an anti-worker party like this to dress themselves up as friends of "hardworking people" without repeatedly calling them out on their completely backwards "black is white" propaganda.

Divide and conquer

One of the classic right-wing political tactics is to drive divisions within sectors of society in order to get them hating each other, rather than fighting back against the government that is actually to blame for most of their problems.

The division the Tories have created in order to drive down all of our wages is between public sector and private sector workers.

The right-wing press have been particularly helpful to the Tories in helping spread this social division with their continual attacks on public sector employees, especially teachers and NHS staff.

The idea is to stoke jealousy amongst private sector employees about the supposedly brilliant wages and fantastic pensions enjoyed by public sector workers in order to justify imposing real terms pay cuts on public sector workers year after year, whilst simultaneously increasing their workloads too.

The economy is interconnected

Dim-witted private sector employees buy into the crude envy politics of the right-wing press and actually end up supporting the public sector pay freeze. They support it because they're actually gullible enough believe the ridiculous narrative that public sector wage repression is about equalising conditions between the public and private sector, rather than a political means of driving down the wages of all of us.

The reason they're too stupid to understand is that they've been conditioned into thinking about the economy in super-simplistic "us and them" terms, rather than seeing the economy as a spectacularly complex mass of interconnections.

Just think about it. If nurses, paramedics and other NHS staff are hit by huge real terms pay cuts for seven consecutive years, what kind of effect would this have on the local economy? 

Would the private sector employees of a hospital's now-struggling local coffee shops and sandwich bars be better off, or worse off, as increasingly over-worked medical staff bring packed lunches instead of eating out?

Would local businesses like restaurants, cinemas, gyms, and takeaways fare better or worse as their public sector clientele are forced to cut back dramatically on luxury expenditure?

If public sector wages in your town are collapsing and people are quitting public sector jobs in droves to seek private sector employment, is this increased competition for private sector jobs going to have an upwards or downwards influence on wages in the private sector?

Anyone who can't see that an intense campaign of wage repression against one sector of society is going to have a knock-on effect on their own wages too is obviously so riddled with envy that they've abandoned even the most basic critical thinking skills in favour of outright jealousy and hate.

Tory inertia

Remember how the Tory party actually cheered themselves when they won their vote to continue repressing the wages of the firefighters, police officers and NHS staff who were the heroues of the Grenfell fire and the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester?

Those cheers were an illustration of the ideological hatred that Tories have towards public sector workers (despite being particularly well-paid public sector workers themselves!). 

To actually cheer themselves for their continued attacks on public sector pay just goes to show how much the Tory party have bought into their own vile divisive propaganda.

A significant proportion of the Tory party are now so enamoured with their own anti-public sector propaganda that there is no way that the party can change direction without triggering yet another internal party civil war on top of the battles that are already raging over Europe and Theresa May's pathetic leadership.

These people actually believe that it makes economic sense to attack workers' wages which depresses economic demand, and create a repetition of the household debt boom that preceded the 2007-08 financial sector meltdown.

They also see public sector workers like nurses, firefighters and teachers as the new "enemy within" who need to be attacked and crushed like the miners were in the 1980s.

The Tories are now in a hopeless bind because they're incapable of seeing beyond their own propaganda. 

They've spent seven years making excuses for socially and economically ruinous austerity dogma, and they've spend seven years deliberately repressing all of our wages.

Just look at the epic struggle Jeremy Corbyn has had trying to tear the Labour Party right away from their fixation with hard-right austerity dogma and attacks on the in-work benefit system, and Labour are traditionally the workers' party (hence the name)!

If Corbyn's had such a difficult job of steering Labour away from hard-right austerity dogma and wage repression policies, just imagine how difficult it would be for a new Tory leader to convince their MPs and party members that they need to reverse austerity and stop wage repression because they've been guilty of driving the UK economy in totally the wrong direction for seven disastrous years.

As long as this Tory government continues to defy the national interest by clinging onto power, there's going to be nothing but the most superficial PR-driven changes of direction.

As long as they cling to power their wage repression policies which affect all of us will continue to increase rates of in-work poverty, cripple economic demand, and re-inflate the dangerous household debt bubble.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

12 reasons Chris Grayling was an absolutely dreadful Justice Secretary

The fact that a serial failure like Chris Grayling still has an important cabinet position is indicative of the absolute dearth of talent in the Tory party.

Grayling started off as one of Iain Duncan Smith's henchmen at the DWP, the then spent three years as the worst Secretary of State for Justice imaginable.

Despite his almost unbreakable tolerance for abject incompetence from his ministers* David Cameron finally saw sense in 2015 and moved Grayling into largely ceremonial roles where he had little ability to wreak havoc over ordinary people's lives.

After David Cameron's EU gamble backfired so spectacularly Theresa May gave Grayling a lifeline back into a position where he could cause more damage by making him Transport Secretary.

Since then he has bee pursuing policies like handing the Southwestern franchise to the Chinese government to operate (because Tory ideology prohibits the UK state from running UK transport networks, but is fine with the Chinese state running UK transport networks!), deciding to hand operation of the UK taxpayer funded HS2 line directly to foreign governments to profiteer from (France, China and Italy are the bidders), and sneakily cancelling several rail electrification upgrades in Wales and the north of England just days before parliament went off on summer break.

Here's a recap of 12 things that make Chris Grayling not only the worst Justice Secretary ever, but possibly even the worst government minister in David Cameron's dreadful coalition of failure with the Lib-Dems.


Since 2007 the role of Secretary of State for Justice has included the job of Lord Chancellor. Before David Cameron appointed Chris Grayling to the position, every single Lord Chancellor for centuries had been a qualified legal professional. 

Grayling was the first head of the legal system to have no legal qualifications whatever, and this Tory anti-expertise trend has continued after his departure in 2015.

Grayling's successor Michael Gove was the 2nd unqualified Lord Chancellor in modern history, Gove's successor Liz Truss was the 3rd, and her successor David Liddington is the 4th legally unqualified Lord Chancellor in succession.

Unlawful Tribunal fees

It's taken four years and an epic battle all the way up to the Supreme Court to get Chris Grayling's discriminatory anti-worker employment tribunal fees declared unlawful (thanks to Unison for fighting to protect workers' rights).

Despite their claims to the contrary this legislation was always intended as a bad bosses' charter to give terrible employers the freedom to abuse their low-income workers and sack them at will, safe in the knowledge they wouldn't be able to afford the employment tribunal fees.

Not only did these fees act as a deliberate Tory barrier to the justice system for low-income workers, they also demonstrably discriminated against women. It's telling that instead of quitly backtracking on this depraved policy of pricing people out of seeking justice Theresa May carried on fighting tooth and nail to keep these sexist Tory rules in place long after Grayling was gone.

Probation service privatisation

Chris Grayling's ideologically driven privatisation of the probation service was criticised at the time as a reckless gamble, and the resulting chaos is probably even worse than predicted.

Grayling decided that the taxpayer should keep responsibility for probation services for long-term prisoners while probation services for prisoners sentenced to a year or less were carved up and distributed to 21 different private outsourcing companies.

A 2016 report found that ex-prisoners are being failed and the public put at risk. Of the 86 released prisoners the research team investigated not a single one of them had any help in relation to training, education or employment. A third were released with nowhere to live, and one registered sex offender simply disappeared after release.

Legal aid cuts

Legal Aid is a fundamental part of the modern welfare system which prevents the justice system from being just a plaything of the rich by providing adequate legal representation to people from poor and ordinary backgrounds.

Grayling is a fanatical right-winger so he attacked legal aid funding with glee, stripping legal aid entitlement from all kinds of cases. The result was a predictable rise in the percentage of people attempting to represent themselves in court, meaning thousands upon thousands of wasted hours in court (especially family courts) as proceedings had to be abandoned due to procedural cockups from self-representing legal novices.

Aside from the costs and the wasted time, there's also the fact that unknown thousands have been denied justice altogether as they simply gave up on the idea of seeking legal redress for the injustices they've suffered for lack of legal representation.

Restrictions on legal aid for domestic violence victims

As part of Grayling's assault on legal aid he decided to slash women's entitlement to legal aid for domestic violence cases.

If a woman couldn't prove that they'd been subjected to domestic abuse with either medical evidence or legal records from the previous five years they wouldn't get legal aid. This attack on domestic violence victims was widely condemned at the time, and in February 2017 it was finally reversed when the government caved into the pressure to accept evidence from charities, solicitors and housing officers.

Tendering for legal aid contracts

Aside from cutting legal aid to the bone another of Chris Grayling's brainwaves was to introduce tendering for legal aid services, so that people needing legal aid would have no longer have freedom to chose their own lawyer (from a local company, or from a firm of legal specialists in the field required) and simply be handed one from a pre-approved government list.

This planned shakeup was designed to benefit big legal companies and drive small independent legal practices out of business. One of the big players in this get-what-you're given strategy was, believe it or not, the haulage company Eddie Stobart!

Thankfully Grayling's successor Michael Gove listened to the absolute chorus of condemnation from the legal profession and scrapped Grayling's madcap plans.

Selling prison advice to the Saudi tyrants

One of Grayling's most widely condemned schemes was the establishment of a shady commercial offshoot of the Justice Department called Justice Solutions International which won a £5.9 million contract to advise the brutal Islamist tyrants in Saudi Arabia how to run their prisons.

In October 2015 Jeremy Corbyn forced one of his first significant U-turns out of the Tory government by calling for the contract with the Saudi tyrants to be scrapped, which Grayling's successor Michael Gove eventually did due citing "human rights concerns".

Criminal court fees

In 2015 Chris Grayling introduced fees for defendants found guilty at a magistrates court to pay £150 and those convicted at crown court to hand over £1,200.

People complained that the fees were incentivising innocent people to plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit out of fear of being hit with Grayling's fees if they tried to plead their innocence.

Over 100 magistrates resigned over the charges. Grayling's successor Michael Gove scrapped the charges saying the "intent has fallen short".

Cutting legal aid for prisoners

Chris Grayling loved playing up to the hard-right press by devising policies to be tough on prisoners. One of these schemes was a 2013 ruling banning legal aid for prisoners.

In my view you don't have to be a tree-huggling liberal leftie to believe that a prisoner who has been denied any kind of education, offender behaviour programmes or training while locked up should have the right to seek legal intervention to ensure they do get the help they need to avoid re-offending in the future.

In 2017 Grayling's cuts to legal aid for prisoners were ruled unlawful and overturned.

Banning books

Another of Grayling's attacks on the prison population was his ruling banning them from receiving books. This one really hit the headlines because there's nothing quite as right-wing authoritarian as banning books.

In December 2014 a High Court ruling found that banning prisoners from receiving books was unlawful, and Grayling's successor Michael Gove sensibly decided not to bother appealing against the judgement and binned the policy.

Unlawful prison absconder policy

One of Grayling's most ridiculous blunders came when he decided to introduce a knee-jerk policy after the right-wing press whipped up a huge fuss when an armed robber called Michael "Skullcracker" Wheatley went on the run from day release.

Grayling's new policy was to rush through a ban on any prisoner who had absconded from serving in open prison. The problem was that this new policy glaringly contradicted a previous Grayling policy that inmates serving indeterminate sentences should go through a phased release from closed to open prisons "in order to test their readiness for release into the community".

In 2015 Grayling's knee-jerk prisoner absconder policy was declared unlawful at the High Court after a case was brought by a prisoner called John Gilbert who technically absconded from day release because he missed his last train, but handed himself into a police station first thing in the morning.

The judges said the inconsistency between Grayling’s new absconder policy and his long-standing directions to the parole board was "irrational", and they were also "not impressed" by Grayling's absurd claim that since the ban and the parole board directions had both been issued by him, he had the power to ignore or contradict either of them at will!

Making Michael Gove look good

Michael Gove is a Rupert Murdoch hack turned politician. As education secretary he vandalised the education system by privatising thousands of state schools into the hands of unaccountable private psuedo-charities (many operated by major Tory party donors). He also oversaw a proliferation of unqualified teachers into our classrooms and once famously claimed that all schools should attain above average status!

The fact that a bumbling right-wing fanatic like Michael Gove had to come in and clear up so many of Grayling's messes just goes to show how utterly crap he must have been.

Just imagine how ideologically extreme and incompetent a person would have to be in order to end up making a right-wing fruit loop like Michael Gove look level-headed and competent in comparison!

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


* = Despite their serial incompetence Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne and Theresa May were never sacked, but Grayling's monumental blunders at Ministry of Justice were so huge, and so regular that even David Cameron couldn't ignore them.

Theresa May's "feminism for the rich"

When the BBC announced the pay rates of their highest earning stars Theresa May was quick to wade into the debate to blast the gender disparity between the top earning male and female stars.

While the gender disparity amongst the top six-figure salary BBC stars is an issue, it's worth pointing out that Theresa May has absolutely no qualms about imposing policies that discriminate heavily against the poorest women in society.

Two high profile examples I mentioned at the time were the fact that 86% of the economic burden of Tory austerity dogma has been loaded onto the shoulders of women, and the Tory income requirements for non-EU spouses are twice as likely to force women to live in exile from the UK for the "crime" of falling in love with a foreigner as men*.

Another example of Tory discrimination against ordinary women has been catapulted into the news agenda as their outrageous anti-worker tribunal fees have been ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the fees have the effect of preventing access to justice.

The Supreme Court ruling found that the Tory tribunal fee regime isn't just unlawful for preventing access to justice, but also because the way it puts women at a particular disadvantage is banned by the 2010 Equality Act.

The fact is that while Theresa May was crying tears of faux outrage about the earnings of extremely wealthy women earnings not matching the pay of extremely wealthy men, she was simultaneously fighting tooth and nail to preserve a system of tribunal fees that discriminates most heavily against low-income working women.

Just think about the searing hypocrisy of posing as a feminist when it comes to the salaries of some of the richest women in society whilst simultaneously battling all the way to the Supreme Court to defend her party's unlawful policy of pricing low income workers out of the justice system that hits the lowest income female workers the hardest of all.

This shocking hypocrisy from Theresa May is evidence that she's only a feminist if it's super-wealthy women like her facing injustice. If it's working-poor women facing injustice then she's determined to make the injustice even worse by deliberately pricing them out of the justice system when their bosses discriminate against them, sack them for getting pregnant or taking maternity leave, or sexually harass them at work.

Some people think that the misandrist anti-men ranters are the worst kind of feminists, but I disagree. These people certainly give feminists a bad name, but in reality they're not feminists at all, they're bigoted female supremacists.

The worst kind of feminist is the kind of feminist who only stands up for women's rights for their own elite class because they are totally and completely immune to their own privilege, or even worse, because they're driven by such hatred and contempt for "the lower orders" that they consider them unworthy of having the same rights as elites, like the right to freedom from discrimination for example.

Theresa May is a woman who is so riddled with elitism and class hatred that she's continued David Cameron's policy of economically persecuting low income women with austerity dogma to fund tax cuts for the mega-rich, and has fought tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court to continue the unlawful Tory policy of deliberately pricing low income female workers out of the justice system as a favour to bad employers.

She is only capable of caring about women's rights when it's comes to her own super-wealthy class because she believes in an elitist "feminism for the rich" where deliberate Tory gender discrimination against low-income female workers is perfectly fine as long as millionaire women have pay parity with millionaire men.

What's more Theresa May sees the even greater suffering faced by women in grotesque misogynistic societies like Saudi Arabia, or the women of Yemen suffering horrific Saudi war crimes, cholera and starvation as a small price worth paying in order to make £billions flogging the Saudis the British weapons they use to commit their war crimes with.

Theresa May doesn't give a damn about low income British women because she's a leading member of a political party that has been economically persecuting them and deliberately pricing them out of the justice system for years, and she gives even less of a damn about the even greater suffering of women in countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

One of the most important things about feminism is recognising that the worst gender discrimination, misogyny and violence is almost always suffered by the most vulnerable women in society. 

Feminism isn't something that needs to be addressed top-down by ensuring gender parity amongst privileged millionaires as a priority, it's something that needs to be addressed from the bottom upwards by combating the harshest injustices as a priority, and one of the biggest obstacles to this bottom upwards approach to feminism is demonstrably Theresa May's Tory party.

It's beyond doubt that Theresa May believes in a sickeningly elitist form of feminism where women at the top of society deserve parity with men, but the lower down the social hierarchy, the fewer rights women deserve. 

She believes in this "feminism for the rich" so strongly that she actively and deliberately discriminates against low-income British women in numerous different ways whilst crying tears of outrage over the pay packets of millionaires.

In reality she gives so little concern to women she considers beneath her on the social hierarchy that she even wilfully colludes with the misogynistic Islamist tyrants who rule over Saudi Arabia.

Anyone who imagines that Theresa May is a legitimate feminist just because of her gender, or just because she cries faux tears of outrage over the suffering of her own elite class is a ridiculously gullible idiot who knows nothing about feminism whatever.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


* = During her time at the Home Office Theresa May was the actual architect of this deeply discriminatory policy of using economic apartheid rules to force British people to live in exile for the "crime" of falling in love with non-EU citizens. She doesn't give the slightest damn that these rules discriminate against women, especially women who live in poorer regions of the UK like the north east, south Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The Supreme Court has outlawed anti-worker Tory tribunal fees

In 2013 the Tory party introduced a truly sickening attack on workers' rights designed to deter from seeking justice when they'd been unfairly treated by their employers, but this attack on workers has been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Chris Grayling

The then-Justice Secretary Chris Grayling* introduced £1,200 fees for employment tribunals as a deliberate economic barrier to the justice system.

This callous Tory attack on the workers' right to seek compensation from bad employers meant that if your boss stole your wages, abused you in the workplace or sacked you for your age, gender, political views, pregnancy, illness, sexual orientation, trade union activities, ethnicity, or your refusal so suck his dick, you'd be assumed to be guilty of inventing the accusations and hit with a £1,200 fee in order to seek justice.

Adrian Beecroft

The idea of launching an ideological attack on the employment tribunal system dreamt up by the massive Tory donor Adrian Beecroft, who the Tories invited to draw up a wish-list of pro-corporate legislation he'd like to see enacted, and then rushed it through parliament with the help of the ever servile Lib-Dems.

Beecroft is a major investor in the payday loan company Wonga, and anyone should be able to see how further impoverishing low-paid workers by preventing them from seeking compensation for being unfairly sacked would create new profiteering opportunities for exploitative "legal loan shark" companies like Wonga.

It's sick enough that the Tories invited one of their mega-rich corporate donors to write up a wishlist of ro-corporate laws then enacted them for him, but that the guy had such an obvious financial conflict of interest in impoverishing sacked low-paid workers is absolutely outrageous.

Vince Cable

The Lib-Dems love to pretend that they moderated the Tories during the coalition years, but the new Lib-Dem leader Vince Cable was a principle cheerleader for these deeply illiberal and unlawful tribunal fees, describing sacked workers as scroungers with "time on their hands".

Now the Lib-Dems have the brass neck to pretend that they oppose these sickening and unlawful fees, but without their votes this ideologically driven Tory attack on workers' rights would never have seen the light of day.


The trade union Unison has been fighting these monstrous Tory tribunal fees all the way to the Supreme Court where they won a victory meaning that the tribunal fees must be scrapped, and the £27 million extracted from ordinary workers seeking justice must be refunded.

It's worth remembering that as the Tories continually try to pose as the party of hard working people, they're the ones who have overseen the longest sustained collapse in workers' wages in recorded history, they're the ones who introduced these grotesque and unlawful anti-worker tribunal fees, and it's trade unions who are fighting the anti-worker Tories every step of the way.

Tory sexism

Unfortunately this ruling will be no compensation to the tens of thousands of (majority female) workers who were deterred from seeking justice by impossibility of scraping together over a grand to pay these unlawful Tory tribunal fees.

The most affected workers of all were low-paid women seeking compensation for sex discrimination, or discrimination based on their pregnancy or maternity leave.

The number of women lodging pregnancy discrimination cases fell 40% because of these unlawful Tory fees, and the number lodging sex discrimination cases fell 82%!

It's astounding that Theresa May cried her crocodile tears over the gender disparity between BBC celebrities earning six figure salaries, but she was simultaneously fighting, all the way to the Supreme Court, to defend her party's unlawful tribunal fees that hit poor working women the hardest of all.

The Tory bad bosses' charter is dead

The £1,200 Tory tribunal fees simply acted as a bad bosses' charter, giving them the ability to abuse and discriminate against their lowest paid workers with impunity, safe in the knowledge that their workers would be highly unlikely to scrape together £1,200 in order to seek justice, especially if they've just been sacked.

During Theresa May's vanity election Labour pledged to scrap these obscene anti-worker tribunal fees, and thankfully the Supreme Court have ruled that Labour were right to want to scrap this unlawful Tory attack on workers.

Well done to the Supreme Court judges for recognising these fees as the affront to justice that they are. Well done to Labour (and the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Green Party) for fighting to scrap these fees before they were outlawed. And most of all well done to Unison for fighting on behalf of ordinary workers all across the UK to tear down this outrageous Tory anti-worker barrier to the justice system.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


* = Chris Grayling is a serial failure of a politician who has made an absolute mess of every brief he's been given, yet he keeps bouncing back because the Tory party is suffering such a dearth of talent that he's all they've got. He's now working as the Tory transport secretary and his "achievements" so far include handing the Southweatern franchise over to the Chinese government to run (because Tory ideology bans the UK state from running UK transport infrastructure, but is fine with the Chinese state running UK infrastructure), proposing to hand the operation of our taxpayer-built HS2 direct to a foreign government (Italy, China or France) and scrapping much-needed rail infrastructure improvements in Wales and the north of England.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The proposed Trump-Tory trade deal is absolutely nothing to celebrate

The disgraced Liam Fox has been in America begging the United States for a trade deal to save face over the absolute shambles his Tory colleagues are making over Brexit, but be warned, any such Trump-Tory trade deal will be a disaster for Britain and the British people.

Donald Trump has scrawled a lunatic Twitter rant to talk up a trade deal and deride the EU as "protectionist". It's as if Trump sees EU nations protecting their own economies, workers and environments from monstrosities like chlorine-washed chicken products, US deregulation demands, the rapacious US private health sector, and the opaque and anti-democratic US-based ISDS legal industry as terrible "crimes" that he's confident that the Tory government won't dare to commit when grovelling for the trade deal they need so very much more than he does.

Trump may a bigoted loudmouth, but he's not too thick to see a dupe to be taken for every penny they've got when he sees one. And a nation that's backed itself into a diplomatic corner by turning its back on its main allies (8 of Britain's 10 biggest trading partners are in the Single Market) is just such a dupe as far as Trump is concerned.

Especially since it's a nation led by a bunch of inept self-serving charlatans with a long history of gleefully selling off their nation's assets and selling out their fellow citizens for a few pieces of corporate silver.

Brexiteer-in-chief Nigel Farage was quick to retweet Donald Trump's deranged raving as if it represented some kind of proof that Brexit Britain has a glorious future, rather than being proof that Mr "America First" is a total hypocrite when it comes to protectionism.

What Trump seems to be referring to with his accusation that the EU is "protectionist" is the breakdown of the of the proposed TTIP trade deal between the EU and the US, which is dead in the water because several EU27 nations have sworn to veto it.

Aside from the astounding hypocrisy of an accusation of protectionism from a President who keeps on espousing protectionist policies and blabbering on about "America First", there's also the fact that Brexiters like Nigel Farage who cynically used legitimate concerns about the TTIP corporate power grab to fearmonger about the EU are now wildly celebrating the idea of a Trump-Tory corporate power grab that would make TTIP look almost acceptable in comparison.

Nigel Farage and the Brexiters have manoeuvred the UK in this desperate position where we have to go begging Trump for a fanatically right-wing corporate feeding frenzy of a trade deal when the Americans know we're in such a diplomatically weak position that we'll have to cave in to all of their pro-corporate demands.

When it comes to your common Brexiter they're likely to be way too ill-informed to even acknowledge that we've put ourselves in such a desperate position of diplomatic weakness where we need a trade deal with the US a hell of a lot more than they need one with us.

But when it comes to the likes of Nigel Farage, the disgraced Liam Fox, and US-born Boris Johnson, you really wouldn't put it beyond them to have deliberately manoeuvred the UK into this position of subservience to US corporations because their loyalty to their corporate paymasters far exceeds their loyalty to Britain and the British people.

When the Americans begin demanding that we allow their chlorinated chicken and other abominations onto our supermarket shelves, that we trash our environmental standards and our workers' rights, that we carve open our NHS for the benefit of US health companies, and that we abandon our national sovereignty to allow secretive US based corporate tribunals to override our democratic and judicial systems, just remember Nigel Farage's smug face, and remember who was to blame for manipulating the UK into such a position of weakness that such a TTIP on steroids Trump-Tory corporate power grab could even be possible.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Monday, 24 July 2017

Is anyone actually gullible enough to believe the Tory student debt lies?

Does anybody know a student or graduate who has actually been convinced by the Tory campaign of lies that Jeremy Corbyn has broken a promise to wipe out all student debt that he never actually made?

Everyone I've chatted to about the issue has said basically the same things:
The Tories relying so heavily on these ludicrously deceptive smears proves how absolutely bereft of ideas and policies they are.
The Tories have got incredible brass neck to try to weaponise student debt after they hiked tuition fees to £9,000 per year, lumbering 75% of graduates with debts they will never be able to pay off despite paying a permanent 9% social mobility tax on their disposable income.
The evolution of this deceptive propaganda story from an extreme-right Guido Fawkes blog post, to official Tory HQ propaganda, to the BBC Sunday politics shows (where the new Tory chief propagandist used to work until a few weeks ago) is yet more proof of the incredible pro-Tory mainstream media bias.
The fake Jeremy Corbyn-student debt smears are being used to divert the news agenda away from yet more malicious policies and blunders from the Tory party like ripping off some 7 million 1970s born people to the tune of £10,000 each by increasing their pension age, the absolute shambles they're making of the Brexit negotiations, the fact the UK is the slowest growing economy in the developed world, and the way they sneakily cancelled a load of much needed infrastructure investment projects on the last day of parliament.
If the Tories really wanted to attract the under-40 vote, they'd propose some actual policies to benefit under-40s, not spread easily disprovable lies about what Jeremy Corbyn said as a pathetic attempt to drive a wedge between Labour and the student vote.
I've not yet come across a single student or graduate who voted for Corbyn under the impression he'd ever vowed to write off all student debts (because he didn't), nor one who is gullible enough to have actually taken the Tory Corbyn/student debt fake news smear campaign at face value.

It's amazing that the Tories and their chums in the mainstream media have managed to stretch this completely fake story out for more than an entire week.

So why are they continuing to push it if it's so easy to disprove. The only conclusion is that they're assuming that students/graduates are so thick they can't differentiate between their own existing student debt burdens, and the student fees of future generations that Jeremy Corbyn did promise to scrap!

Assuming that students and graduates are a bunch of absolute thickos who are incapable of spotting such an obvious deception is definitely a gutsy move from Theresa May's propaganda team.

They honestly seem to hold students/graduates in such contempt that they think they'll mindlessly lap up their lies about student debt, instead of seeing their staggeringly dishonest framing of the issue as yet another reason to despise the Tory party and their professional propaganda attack dogs in the mainstream media.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.