That thought occurred to me last night as I lay in bed. This morning, it seems pretty clear from some reports that pension providers told George Osborne in no uncertain terms what his effective abolition of pension protection would do to the industry. So I’m more than ever inclined to believe that the chap in Number 11 wants to reduce the pension-pilfering backlash by ensuring that, in short order, the electorate gets used to the idea of pensions being a thing of the past. (He also wants their money in current accounts so he can bail them in as and when, but we’ve covered that one already).
I posted recently about the change of name from ‘National Insurance’ to ‘Earnings Tax’. It’s a delicious piece of mad spin, isn’t it? What’s the difference between income and earnings? And of course dear George, what’s the difference between a taxpayer and a depositor? What we see here is a pretty blatant piece of hasty rebranding before the Welfare State disappears in its entirety. But rebranding always has an agenda behind it.
The agenda here is so obvious, I honestly think even Simon Cowell could spot it. That really is saying something; but I keep on having to address the same question on The Slog, or at Twitter, Facebook or MSM comment threads: whereTF is the Labour leadership when it comes to spelling this out to voters?
As every week goes past, I await in vain the moment when either one of the Eds will stand up and say something in plain, straightforward language about the less-than-hidden plan being painstakingly followed by the Rabid Right now running the Conservative Party. I will Ed Miliband on to say something dramatic like we’re all being sold off to the nutters who caused this mess, or Ed Balls to point out in bullet-point mode that the Coalition is rapidly withdrawing from any responsibility to look after the citizen in any capacity whatsoever.
But neither of them are real Men of the People, and this is the problem. Miliband’s élite is Oxbridge and Balls’s is Harvard. Or put another way, they’re both process robots who’ve never had an original idea in their lives, they both talk in management speak, and they both spout cliches of tooth-rattling generality. Ed Balls’s response to the paedophile threat was to suggest vetting 12 million people – a wet-dream for Mark Williams-Thomas, but an idea only a person devoid of common sense would ever suggest. Ed Miliband’s reaction to a Scottish breakthrough in cleaner coal and the NASA study of CO2 escape was not to seize on them as potential game-changers….but to bury them. His reaction to Murdoch at the start of Hackgate was to circulate all Labour MPs with an email forbidding any criticism of The Great Billabonger.
Let’s take time out here to “analyse” what the Dynamic Dummies said about the Budget. The inverted commas there are not to signify that what they said defies analysis, but rather that it simply doesn’t really deserve to be examined at all. But let’s do it anyway.
The Labour Leader is, without question, a copywriter manqué. His tweets are riddled with weak one-liners: ‘This is a budget that shows people are worse off under the Tories. A worse off budget, from an out of touch Chancellor’ or ‘It doesn’t matter if the pound is square, round or oval. If you’re £1,600 worse off, you’re £1,600 worse off.’ That by the way was the grand total of the Leader’s assault on quite the most breathtakingly, blatantly neoliberal rant in Budget history.
Now of course, there’s more than Twitter. But his Budget response speech didn’t address any substantive parts of the Osborne fantasy economics on display. And Labour sources afterwards admitted that many of the words and phrases he used were identical to previous Budget responses. One glaring example will suffice: Miliband started by saying that “the Chancellor spoke for nearly an hour”. He used the same phrase to open his speeches in 2012 and 2011. I’m all for recycling, but a new idea would be good too.
His speech was beyond pathetic: it was a dereliction of duty. Part of the duty of any Opposition Leader is to bring insight and foresight to the table. Miliband delivers neither: he is stuck in Stepford Wife soundbite mode, but in reality the sounds are that of mimesucks – about as mordant as Albert Steptoe’s mouth.
Ed Balls shares the same inability to make comprehension of the bigger picture easier for the ordinary citizen. Unable to critique the Budget at all, instead he focused on a Tory poster, which he said – drumroll for the big idea – ” shows the Conservative party is out of touch”. Oh FFS. Cue resort to “The Chancellor doesn’t get it”.
24 hours later, the wannabe Chancellor admitted Labour will not oppose plans to set an overall cap on the amount that future Governments can spend on welfare. Why not? We don’t know, but Ed broke another front-page holder by telling the media that “you’re £1600 worse off”.
Cut to Children’s Society chief executive Matthew Reed meanwhile, who said: “Applying an arbitrary cap to welfare spending takes no account of changing circumstances of families caught up in poverty facing rising living costs beyond their control, including childcare and rocketing rents. The Government is effectively transferring the risk of rising costs to children and families already struggling to make ends meet.”
Excellent. But not from Ed Balls. Ed Balls merely wanted to show – yet again – that he can out-Tory the Tories if needs be (my italics):
“We’ve supported the idea of a welfare cap. We have said that we should keep out the basic pension but include pensioner benefits. Clearly, we will do things differently from the Government. For example we have said we will abolish the bedroom tax. We’ve shown how we will pay for that. We actually think our measures on housing and on young people and jobs can get the wider bill down. We’ll do things in a fairer way, but the idea of a welfare cap was proposed by Ed Miliband and we’ll support it next Wednesday.”
Inspiring stuff, eh? For different, Fair & untaxed bedrooms, vote Labour. Just as Jeremy Hunt should really have Ezak as a Christian name, so too Mr Balls’s first name should be Loader.
Let’s cut to the chase here. The Labour leader duo is utterly ineffectual for two reasons: neither man has any talent for deconstruction or inspiration; but even more important, neither man is willing to go for the throat. For they are part of the system.
They dare not give a simple helicopter view of how every supra-Sovereign banker-globalist jerk on Earth has screwed up, and now wants to screw us, the long-suffering taxpayers, yet again.
They shrink from giving a vision of the real nightmare to come, because they’re terrified of losing even one middle class Labour voter.
They will not criticise globalism or welfare cuts or privatisation or NHS scandals or EU corruption for the same reason they zipped their obedient mouths in the face of Murdoch’s assault on the British Constitution: all they care about is popularity now, and not offending the powerful.
Like all politics today, they’re just another brand. The brand is called Labour…but not one word has been said by either Ed about the greatest transfer of power from labour to capital since Rome turned to imperial slavery.
Yes, the Conservative Party today is being run by Thatcher’s hobgoblin spawn. But verily I say unto you o Left, the Labour Party is being led by Blair’s offspring – down to the very last toe on their feet of clay.
If they are this unable to land any kind of punch on the glass chin of neoliberal-driven Toryism, why TF would any Labour voter expect them to take on the Enemy once elected? That assumption is worse than the triumph of optimism over experience: it is the rout of sanity by denial.
Sorry to beat the same old, tired and pockmarked drum, but pleeeeze listen up people: an Alliance of Radicals for Decency is the only way. And perleeeeeze don’t give me the UKip Farage stuff again: in his response to the Budget, this is what ex-City boy Nigel had to say:
“Well, I think there are some very good things going on within the British economy, with entrepreneurs taking risks…and no recession can last forever. But no government can take the full credit, or full blame, for the economy”.
Maybe he should join the Labour Party.