Wilson: The Lords Yell ‘Up The Workers’

The recent Tax Credit vote in the House of Lords has caused some controversy. Writing for Slugger, the DUP MP, Sammy Wilson talks about the vote and how other parties in Northern Ireland have approached this issue.

Following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Leader you’d have expected the cries of ‘Up the Workers’ to be ringing through parliament from the Commons. Yet this week it was the lords, ladies, barons, earls and bishops in the upper chamber raised the workers banner and defended the working poor from Osborne’s raid on tax credits.

The Parliamentarian anoraks went ballistic. This was an unprecedented attack by the unelected house on the will of the elected House of Commons. It was an undemocratic assault on the electorate who had given the Conservative Party a majority at the recent election. It overturned the unwritten rules of our parliamentary system that the Lords should not overturn a finance measure passed by the House of Commons but for the millions of low income people across the UK and the 109,000 in N.I. who were set to lose about £1100 per year on tax credits, I imagine the constitutional pin head dancing will not bother them one iota, they will just be thankful that the government has not got its way with an ill thought out policy.

The losses which thousands of low income families were facing from next year were due to a triple whammy through the reduction of the income threshold at which tax credits would be paid, the size of the reduction of tax credits for every pound earned over that threshold and the decision to limit payments to a maximum of two children.

The argument for introducing this change is that the existence of tax credits enabled employers to pay low wages and the tax payer then paid the rest through tax credits. This was unfair, it was administratively complex and the costs had escalated to £30bn per year so it was unsustainable. By reducing tax credits and imposing a National Living Wage which would gradually increase to over £9 per hour by 2020 workers would be no worse off, employers would be forced to pay their way and the fiscal deficit would be reduced. All this seemed a reasonable rebalancing exercise.

All great in theory but in practise nothing of the sort will happen.

First of all the tax credit reductions will happen immediately but the National Living Wage will be introduced over five years so incomes will fall. Secondly the National living wage will not apply to anyone under twenty five so they will get no compensatory increase in wages from their employer. Thirdly not every region or every sector of the economy has a buoyant labour market so some employers will not be able to afford the increase and of course those families with more than two children will lose out due to the two child policy.

The government has countered that other measures such as tax cuts, increase in allowances for child care and rent freezes in the public sector will also help soften the impact of the tax credit cuts. However all the economic analysis of the policy has shown that low income workers will finish up worse off and indeed the policy will act as a disincentive to work.  So much for the government’s objective of making work pay.

It was on this basis that the DUP MPs and Lords opposed the government. The SDLP stood with us. Sinn Fein’s boycott policy did nothing for the working poor. Then we have the curious tale of the UUP. Despite their claims of opposition the UUP were notable for the absence.  In a key vote in September 2015, Danny Kinahan MP was an absentee despite being in London.  In the Lords, every peer who is presently or in the past connected with the UUP voted with the government or absented themselves.  On the same day the two UUP MPs voted with the government to keep the tampon tax. Is UCUNF alive and well? Following its failure in 2011 did Nesbitt simply decide not to tell the voters in 2015?

Instead of railing against the turbulent toffs of the upper house the government ought to be thankful that they now have a chance to go back to the drawing board with this ill thought out policy. They owe it to those individuals and families who are struggling on low incomes not to add to their financial burdens.

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  • barnshee

    “The Money” will now have to come from elsewhere

    Cue outrage when there are cuts in other budgets and/or tax increases.

  • chrisjones2

    …perhaps it should be taken from the NI Block Grant

    ….or from a raid on unclaimed money ‘just resting’ in bank accounts in the Isle of Man?

  • Neil

    Indeed. They need to find the money for inheritance tax cuts and decreases in the higher tax rate from somewhere. I mean it’s not like they can just print 350 bn quid and give it away to their mates, that would lead to inflation – which would obviously be a total nightmare.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    As much as I am very opposed to many of the DUP’s policies, stances (and some attitudes) can I just say it’s nice to have one of their number on here, I hope the comments will be relevant and not simply exercises in knife-sharpening.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Surely Tom Elliot, Gavin Robinson and Nigel Dodds are bound by DUP/UUP unity pact rules on common policy areas … whatever they really were.

    Should we remind people that the UUP “enabled” Robinson, Dodds and Herman to vote No to tax credits removals.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It would be interesting to see objectively the damage (if any, which I would personally say there world be) the removal of tax credits does to the productivity of the UK economy, because people waiting for daddy and mummy to die and the old money estate owners that are their mummies and daddies aren’t really pulling their weight here.

    The Republic of Ireland and the USA, which have a better ratio of niveau-riche to landed gentry are increasing their tax credit provisions.

  • Kevin Breslin

    VAT … People on working tax credits buy stuff which goes back to the Exchequer, it also keeps them in work and out of benefits saving the UK money there too. It also ensures they are physically active not relying on the health service, it also keeps them away from crime.

    I’d imagine profits acquired through low paid working people’s labour to be quite useful to the economy as well.

  • barnshee

    There is no vat on food (well there is but its at 0%)

    The big vat generators are
    Fuel (petroi etc) Tobacco, Alcohol
    Surely people on tax credits don`t waste their money like that

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apparently poor people waste money on “fuel”, as they should have thicker skins than rich people, must be an evolutionary thing I take it.

    The Institute of Fiscal Studies has written reports on the disproportionate effects VAT rises have on poor people, in comparison to income tax and several other taxes. It’s been well researched and peer reviewed phenomenon.

    It’s also a well known fact that people who are well off from not needing waged labour, or in non-industrial jobs like the media don’t need to be productive or creative, just take care of the money and the money will take care or you.

    Alas, no one ever said Security was the Mother of Invention, now did they?

    Yet some how we are to believe that the Pillars of Industry and Social Mobility lie with those who’d benefit very little from either.

    Would you care to tell me what the Lords and MPs voting against the Tax Credits are actually producing in terms of jobs, trade and social mobility?

    How many of these people invest their savings into Science, Technology, Healthcare … rather than Self-Indulgences.

  • chrisjones2

    I know…they are hanging on and not dying soon enough these days. It is disgraceful

  • chrisjones2

    Its disproportionate in % terms but not in overall ££££

    As you might expect as there are lots more poor people the state wants to tax them

    Tax credits were Gordon Browns great redistributive Ponzi Scheme.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Tax credits are not a penalty on consumption like VAT is, it is a tax cut on production like work and child-rearing (as opposed to child abandonment).

    As for the ££££ obsession, I’m not sure what you want me to admit.

    That those with the most money do the most work?

    Or that those with the most money should have more entitlement?

    Should poor people continue be black market organ donors, drug dealers and prostitutes to appease the rich overlords’ demands for more power and security to make up the raw sum deficit?

    I’m going to guess you think not.

    Sammy seems to have summed this up well…

    The government has countered that other measures such as tax cuts, increase in allowances for child care and rent freezes in the public sector will also help soften the impact of the tax credit cuts. However all the economic analysis of the policy has shown that low income workers will finish up worse off and indeed the policy will act as a disincentive to work. So much for the government’s objective of making work pay.

  • mac tire

    “The Money” will now have to come from elsewhere

    Cue outrage when there are cuts in other budgets and/or tax increases.”

    Oh, I don’t know. There’s a magic money tree somewhere. Didn’t Arlene Foster secure around £133million funding from the Treasury to
    meet the cost of pension settlements for affected retired police and
    fire fighters? She claimed she negotiated with Osborne to get this. Is this coming out of other budgets?

  • chrisjones2

    There is no £££ obsession . You simply quoted a truism that the rich get taxed but in terms of % tax VAT bears harder on the poor – that is because the Government want it to be that way because they want the revenue.

    And before the hue and cry of Tory Scum – it has always been thus. Labour smile more at the poor but fleece them like sheep just the same

    But the Government does have an objective of making work pay – at least making work pay for the Treasury. The Living Wage for example gives workers a rise of £2.50 an hour – of which around £1.40 goes straight back to the Treasury in tax, VAT and NIC. So its a well disguised tax on jobs and businesses and consumers

  • barnshee

    “Would you care to tell me what the Lords and MPs voting against the Tax Credits are actually producing in terms of jobs, trade and social mobility?”

    About the same as the lot in Stormont

  • Thomas Barber

    Why dont we just get rid of one billionaire family, a family that feeds on the people like parasites, we are all forced to pay for their lavish and elegant lifestyles there seems to be no asking for a “Means tests” for those people so why should the poor be forced to bear the brunt while others also living on handouts from the state are unaffected. We could also stop waging war in far off places the money saved would in a few years wipe out the national debt.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    The “poor” forced to pay for the lifestyle of the billionaire? Talk about ass about face. The billionaire, millionaire and anyone in higher tax bracket pays 50p in every pound THEY earn to fund tax credits and the rest of the social system. I’m sorry but when I drag myself out of bed every morning to work a 12 hour day, the last thing on my mind is how my wages will fund the “poor”. Taxation by all means, but this redistribution of wealth is just communist bull****. Time for some personal responsibility. Get off your asses and find a better paying job. There are plenty of them out there.
    BTW, I agree the legislation was poorly thought through.

  • Zeno

    I think He is talking about the ultimate social security scroungers. The Windsors.

  • Zeno

    How much Tax Credits would we have to give Drug Dealers and Prostitutes to stop them having to work?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Then he’s even dumber than I thought. Take Royal related tourism, add crown estate taxes and take away the civil list and you are into 10’s/100’s of millions of profit.

  • Thomas Barber

    Please, being flippant about handing one of the richest familes on this earth millions to further the interests of themselves and other billionaires with taxpayers money is pretending to be dumb while demanding the poorest accept the financial burdens of Britain’s never ending wars in the Middle East and beyond furthering the financial interests of those same billionaires.

  • Greenflag 2

    Money makes money ( savings & investments ) and the money that money makes makes more money ( the compound interest and rule of 72 effect ) and the way to make money first is to make it last (don’t waste it ) and the way to make it last is not to spend it .

    And if all the folks who have barely enough to live on were to spend their meagre funds on just the bare essentials of existence – food -clothing -rent -water – and give up driving , drinking and smoking there would be another economic recession .

    Somewhere Henry Ford’s dictum that if you pay people more than you have to they may buy more of your product and other products in a consumer oriented society . Ford’s shareholders were very upset .

    But then the current international financial oligarchs who make billions off hedge fund investments and speculative currency transactions and derivatives -don’t have to be concerned with tax credits

  • Greenflag 2

    Straightforward piece from Sammy Wilson and he should be thanked for clarifying the subject even if he diverts a little to dig the UUP and SF in the ongoing politicking coming up to an Assembly Election . . What can the Conservative Government do apart from finding the revenue elsewhere .

    As the driving force of the UK economy is now the financial services sector why not a transaction tax on the banks , hedgefunds and international currency speculations . It would’nt have to be that large -not even 1% to bring in billions .

    HSBC has assets which are greater than the British economy and it’s only the world’s fourth largest . The excuse is that the UK can’t do it alone – Why not ? Perhaps a couple of other major countries i.e Germany , France , Japan would agree and the rest would follow ?

    It’ll probably take another Bretton Woods or a world war or another global recession dwarfing the most recent one before the vested interests in the current system are forced to act .

  • Kevin Breslin

    They don’t qualify for working tax credits unless they’re doing multiple jobs. I’m suggesting a modest proposition to use a Swift Term where poorer people are able to pay back the rich for their “generosity” in raw money by harvesting the occasional body part, providing sexual services and being a go between for criminality.

    The logic being used about the injustice of “raw sums” being that a rich person who pays £50,000 on an annual salary of a million a year is worse off as a poor person who doesn’t have to pay a £50,000 liability a year.

    Earning a thousand pound as a nurse is just as hard as earning a thousand pounds as Katie Hopkins. That whole aspect of wage-work-price equivalence.

  • Dan

    Sammy Wilson has some set of balls criticising any MP for missing crucial votes in the Commons, given his appalling attendance record over the years, In fact, whilst he criticises new MP Kinahan for missing a vote whilst being in London, on countless occasions the double jobber wasn’t in London at all during crucial debates and votes as he was back in Belfast.
    Friggin chancer.

    Their opportunist stance on voting against tax credit reductions is pathetic. It demonstrates clearly their cowardice and shows exactly why they’ve delivered bugger all in governance here. They’ve no guts to make the hard decisions needed. It’s easier to let the welfare scammers bleed the rest of us dry,

  • Zeno

    You know that there always have been rich people and poor people. You know that taxes on the rich are used to help the poor? Have you any evidence that people become drug dealers or prostitutes because they are living in poverty. I don’t know anyone who sells body parts.

  • Greenflag 2

    You may have hit a sore point . Britain only finished off paying it’s debt to the American banks for WW2 aid and that was during Gordon Brown’s time as PM. Queenie needs to maintain standards -I’m not sure of the trade off between tourism value and cost but there’s that ‘history ‘ thing and 1066 and all that .

  • John Collins

    Oh come on. The Queen and Prince Charles are the two biggest beneficiaries of European Farming Grants.

  • Greenflag 2

    Next up Mr Osborne proposes that instead of tax credits the British working poor will offer up their newly born as protein supplements . Jonathan Swift thou shouldst be living at this hour . He would of course be somewhat taken aback by the plumposity of the poorer classes these days as compared to the rib showing wretches ( a.k.a human beings ) of his time .

  • Kevin Breslin

    Taxes on the rich are being cut,
    Tax credits are also being cut so the poor pay more tax.
    Economists say these tax credits will disproportionately hit the poor even factoring the raising of the income tax bracket and living wage incentives into the question.
    VAT rises under the conservatives means the poor are disproportionately effected.
    Most rich people benefit from public schools, hospitals, police officers and roads … that is not redistribution.
    The people who have been “audited” have been lied too, have not been listened to, and have had little say in any alternative.

    But the thing I’ve taken objection to is the suggestion that poor people, often working in the private sector don’t pay their way if they receive tax credits and are a burden on the rich. These people have found whatever jobs they can in this economy, are they still in debt to taxpayers?

    And while it is a choice for someone to deal drugs or become a prostitute or indeed sell body parts … these three things are areas rich people rarely get from their own economic peers.

    There are rich people who put their money into investments that create jobs, philanthropy that creates services, and they are having taxes raised, while those who get a windfall from their grandparents dying get taxes cut. Rewarding inertia and punishing industry. At least some forms of tax evasion give people jobs, this is no effort political entitlement in my view.

    There are plenty of examples of rich people paying their way to get these things.

  • Zeno

    There are plenty of examples of rich people paying their way to get these things.

    And also poor people.

  • Surveyor

    Even the nervous super rich realise the scales have tipped to far in their favour. A huge financial inequality gap causes insatiability and has the potential to erupt in violence.

    Why do you think so many of them are buying up remote islands and building huge yachts?

  • Surveyor

    Working people who are eligible for working tax credits are scammers?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sex … Maybe, drugs … Maybe … Overseas flights with a donor to farm organs in order to avoid transplant lists … Probably not.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579322560004817176

  • chrisjones2

    “it is a choice for someone to deal drugs or become a prostitute or indeed sell body parts”

    Yeah …you see a lot of people in Belfast driven to that by economic necessity

  • Sergiogiorgio

    You’re talking out your rear end. The “rich” have no obligation to pay for the “poor”. It’s their money. This rich=bad / poor=good narrative his just facile, socialist nonsense. Confusing it with never ending wars is a political issue, not an issue of wealth. Do try and be a bit more analytical with your lazy generalisations.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Go do some research and then do the maths, to my point above. You’ll find the royal family direct and indirect contributions is a huge net benefit to the country. Certainly more than folks sitting at home, drinking cider and watching their 50 inch TV screens as daytime TV plays out.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Not sure what “insatiability” is, but maybe you should spend less time alone in front of your computer living out paranoid fairy tales.

  • Greenflag 2

    Actually it’s the financial sector scammers who have and continue to bleed entire nations dry . Read up on how HSBC beats up the Tories . Just today we read of Deutsche Bank reducing the number of employees by 15,000 following on Barclays and other banks earlier mass reductions . Many of these job reductions are due to the financial scammers having to pay huge fines (some not enough ) for interest rate rigging – financial fraud – mortgage loan rip offs etc .

    Whats needed is not guts but some thought given to the plight of the millions of British people on low incomes who cannot live on what they earn without Government either supporting them directly through welfare or indirectly via tax credits . The Tories don’t seem to have put much thought into the rush to cut costs and they probably assumed it would’nt cost them many votes as the vast majority of the people affected either don’t vote or if they did would not vote Tory .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thomas you are fighting a very old battle, while other new enemies are the real problem. The descendant of the Hanoverian usurper is only 302 in the wealth list in the UK with some much more worrying figures much higher up the list:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3055643/Ukrainian-oligarch-worth-13billion-Britain-s-richest-man-wealth-1-000-people-doubles-decade.html

    As Warren Buffet put it:

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    While you are targeting one rather beleagured family in this manner, others across the world are chanelling wealth into fewer and fewer hands, and these are our real enemy. If you simply beggered Liz and her family, what would it really change? This media driven obsession with the royals is a classic “look kittens” distraction from the real issue of looking at how others use globalisation to monopolise wealth and how governments appear to connive at this.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Sergiogiorgio, they only pay the 50% if you can catch them. The US has initiated FATCA, but it appears to be catching only the small fish while the bigger game hide behind trusts, etc, to avoid paying tax. And now the GATCA agreements have opened every bank account the IRS may show interest in to their scrutiny in most lands, while there is no reciprocal arrangement for our own tax authorities.

    No, the “billionaire, millionaire and anyone in higher tax bracket” only pays that higher tax if they are careless enough to not pay for good tax advisors, or foolish enough to retain a conscience.

    And “Time for some personal responsibility ” yes, but it should start with those who are not living meagurely in low employment aresas with no opportunity to find work, living in almost empty flats with only one set of clothes for their children and a struggle to even eat.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Are you sure you’re not thinking about the Antrim farmers, John? Oh, sorry, the ones I’m thinking about used to rake in farm payments and then let conacre, and have only just reluctantly shifted to sheep with the new EEC rules on grants.

  • Nevin
  • SeaanUiNeill

    “It’s their money.” Really? Just what did most of them do to deserve such disproporationate renumeration? This really needs rather more unpacking.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Could not agree more, AG. While I may disagree frequently with much of what Sammy says elsewhere, he’s putting up the goods here (although not with that unnecessary dig at Danny) and the flashing blades are simply a knee jerk reaction to the DUP connection.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    What they “deserve” and what they legally have are two entirely different concepts. The politics of jealousy are very dangerous – you have something I want and rather than aspire to gain what I want, I’m just going to take it from you.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Sorry Seaan, but that’s a rank generlisation. The majority of higher tax earners, of which I am one, who are PAYE, pay, what is, 50p in every £1 they earn as tax to fund the poorer in society.Try that tax rate with the lower earners and see how far you go. I agree the billionaires do often avoid tax, but they are the minority. The biggest single issue is corporate tax avoidance with this having the potential to deliver 100’s of billions into the pot, but government doesn’t have the b**** to face them down. Of course the poor need to take personal responsibility. It is they, after all, that are receiving benefit for nothing. It’s the disease of the welfare culture. Why work when I can get it handed to me on a plate? The jobs are out there!

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well fair enough with the sarcasm there, to some it’s not a choice, they can be forced into it by criminals.

  • Surveyor

    What happened to playing the ball on this site, or does that only apply to certain people? It’s instability you pedant. And your tedious tales of 12 hour working days brings to mind the Four Yorkshire men from Monty Python.

  • Greenflag 2

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34664777

    Business Deutsche Bank to cut 15,000 jobs

    So who do you believe the WSJ or the Beeb? . 20,000 people might want to know . For the media its just numbers – For others the higher the number the the better for nano second speculation with the up and down of indexes and hedges.

    Meanwhile in the City – Mr Osborne waves the white flag

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34536689

    .

  • John Collins

    I am not always in front of a 50 inch TV ( mine is a more modest 32) and for your information I never drunk cider in my life or drew any form of state assistance, despite the fact that I am sixty five years old.
    Now with that out of the way how is it that millions flock to Athens, Paris and Rome every year and in at least two of those countries a royal family in power is not even a distant memory. I might add that thousands flock to places like Bannockburn, Flodden and Culloden every year, where all the nostalgia is about the Stuarts and William Wallace and probably not about the eventual overall victors in Scotland. The main point of my argument is that if the Royal family were gone in Britain millions would still visit the Royal Residences.

  • chrisjones2

    We may do when the majority of people want to but they dont and see them as excellent value so its a non starter

  • chrisjones2

    Then don’t winge…elect a Government that is competent and interested

  • chrisjones2

    So what? They are farmers. All farmers quality – look at Ireland for example

  • chrisjones2

    Advice when your write incoherent 6 line paragraphs that are a single sentence its sort of hard to unscramble what you mean

  • John Collins

    Well that may be true but they were not subsidised on the scale the Royal Family are. I refer you to my reply to Sergioriorio above otherwise.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    I’m glad you pointed out your point John because I was struggling. Ask yourself this – when the Chinese premier recently visited the UK where did stay, whom did he meet, and where did he banquet? The Royals are like the BBC – we won’t know how much they contribute and how much we will miss them until the knockers, professional moaners and vested interests get rid of them. They more than pay their way….period!

  • John Collins

    So you would dispense with all taxes. How very original. You definitely should place yourself and your ideas before the electorate at the next election.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    How many times????? Just do the maths John. Tourism + crown estate taxes – civil list. It really is that simple unless you have another agenda.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Where did you see me say dispense with taxes John? I may not like being ripped off in taxes, but I swallow it up, and can say I pay a ridiculous sum of the money I EARN to keep others.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Dry you eyes dear and try working a 12 hour day.

  • Nevin

    You could believe both Greenflag!

    It is also planning to sell businesses employing 20,000 people over the next two years. [your BBC link]

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Generalisation it may be, but where it is true its no less true for all that. One of my family members used to pay the old 90%, Sergiogeorgio, so I’m not unfamiliar with the mileau, here and in the US. And it’s not only the billionares who can evade the IRs and our own tax system.

    The problem is that the billionares and the corporate tax evaders you blame are frequently one and the same persons. I know that big organisations are machines for generating money, but they work through (and for) people with real names and faces, with multable bank accounts to protect from equally greedy tax authorities.

    The problem with me is that none of these people, rich or poor, are entirely faceless to me. My wife’s stepmother was a life-long friend of one of the older Rockafeller brothers, and I’ve met some of those people in the furnatureless flats I mentioned above who would give forty years of their life to be able to find a paying job. My brother in law, who is an international buisnessman, once told me that you need to have businesses falter and shops fail on the high street if you have serious competition. The corolory of this is that you need to have individuals in their everyday lives failing also.

    Making films, and working in other areas of the media, I found that co-operation with people “taking responsibility” for their creative input was far more successful than the current trend to get the “best” out of workers by threat and half baked social Darwinism. Sure people need to “take responsibility”, but that includes all of us. I simply cannot see the point of some of us having more money that anyone reasonably needs in our lives while others are starving (yes, starving! you’ve heard of food banks I take it?) We were all in one society together, as I remember, before the “Iron Lady” made greed, selfishness and social indifference perfectly respectable.

    Now, some of the people I’m thinking off can take as much “responsibility” as you could require and would still be without work, as the bike Norman Tebbit recommended to them has flat tyres in their case, and Osborn is trying to sell off the wheels. The jobs may be out there, but I myself know I could not live on what they pay. And accordingly I’d not glibly expect others to do so, simply to allow others to stack up billions.

    Both the late Earl of Stockton and myself blame that radical extremist in Tory disquise, Thatcher, for selling off the family silver, and the habits of “sauve qui peut” selfishness this has engendered which has sundered the social links that two world wars had developed between the all the classes. This coursening of our sensitivities to the genuine suffering of others has encouraged some of us to think of the word welfare as an ugly word. As with the way law may be twisted, so the abuses of welfare can certainly occur, but it is the fault of the careless application of the rules of a very necessary security net for those who are driven to genuine need. Responsibility cuts both ways, the discipline is social as well as personal.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d need a wee bit of help from the rest of the community, Chris, most of whom seem to prefer the spiv variety of politician, and a lot of shouting about “themuns”and “usuns”.

    So until my fellow citizens wise up to how they are being played, and start voting for honest persons committed entirely to public service on behalf of the community, I’m afraid all I can do is winge.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “The politics of jealousy are very dangerous – you have something I want and rather than aspire to gain what I want, I’m just going to take it from you.”

    I entirely agree, SG! But have you never noticed that since the Regan/Thatcher Revolution thirty five years back, its been those with far more than they could ever imagine spending or using for anything but further investment developing endless ways of taking more and more from the poor and needy, and just incidently from “old money” too. I’m not jealous of anyone’s wealth, I’d rather we lived in a world which was not driven by commercial gain, and feel that this only recently respectable lust for goods and money tends to corrupt everything it touches. A sysyem that wastefully gives some of us what they can never spend so that they may simply hoard, while others have little or nothing and experience genuine suffering, can never be justified by anything but sophistry. I don’t want anyone else’s money, but I’d wish for a world that was organised in the interests of people rather than in the interests of that dangerous reification, finance.

    Since well before John Locke argued to enclose common land so that private ownership would render it more productive, and the previous common land users should go starve, law has been crafted to support the financial system. Law is an expedient thing, not an absolute evaluation of things as “need” is. People die without food and shelter, others are simply inconvenienced when their billions are diminished.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Seaan – I don’t disagree with your hopes/dreams, but I’m a bottom up kind of guy (on err) rather than top down. You are successful because you achieve. If you don’t try then you don’t deserve to get. Somebody making another billion for the hell of making another billion may seem a bit OTT, but at least they’ve “worked” for it. Handling out money to those with no interest to contribute is a worse sin. Give a man a loaf of bread or show him how to make it etc…..

  • Surveyor

    12 hours a day? Luxury! Anyway judging by the time you spend on here posting you don’t actually seem to be all that busy.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I agree, SG, “show him how to make it” but that’s not the way our society is organised, really. The “bottom up” is stymied by the fact that the guy at the bottom has to offer at least 40 hours of his life up every week so that someone else can simply give some money to a good broker who can then get him most of the real value of the “bottom” guys productivity in a microsecond. That’s not “trying”, it’s what stifles any ability in most of our community to even begin to try. I’ve worked freelance as a “creative” all my life, so I understand “trying” from the ground up. But I’ve also watched cousins do no work whatsoever and prosper simply because of a wee bit of inherited wealth. And I’ve watched others get “placed” through contacts in city jobs and start on £200,000 p/a without ever doing anything more than simply knowing the right people. Going to the right school or Oxbridge/Durham really helps……….

    “Handling out money to those with no interest to contribute is a worse sin.” And its exactly how most of these top earners function, with utterly “unearned” handout bonuses from their companies, rather than on trifling amounts from the state. This is not a black and white good poor/bad rich issue, as you have said above, but neither is it a bad poor/good rich one. Those many who are disproportionately remunerated for often quite trifling work (or often for no work whatsoever) appear to have been left out of your see-saw with the deserving rich on one end and conniving scroungers at the other. Not all of the “conniving scroungers” earn under the quarter of a million mark.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Those few who are disproportionately remunerated are not done so through the public purse (bankers allowing). They cost me nothing in tax. The hundreds of of thousands that absorb 30 billion of tax credits every year are paid for by my taxes. Whilst I agree its not black and white its far from grey.

  • Greenflag 2

    Nevin

    Its the part about no dividends that has me upset 😉

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While the many who are skimming off the financial sector, etc, SG, may cost you nothing directly in tax on first glance, they are getting their money from all of us in far less direct ways. For a start, it is to pay their large “lifestyle” incomes that the all powerful financial sector bullies our governments into avoiding levying financial transaction taxes, and requires the state to tax you at 50% PAYE. And that’s just for starter,,,,,,,,

    Far, far greyer (and foggier) than you’d seemingly admit.

    Oh, and speaking of bankers, You’ll have noticed the possibility of future “bail ins” to bolster failing banks garnered from all deposit accounts over £75,000, where the bank can confiscate your money and issue bonds in return. Those who control “finance” own our money, and no amount of aspiration and responsibility can change that rather frightening reality. But at least the state will not be required to bail out failing banks in future, with this most recent “privatisation”, we will be able to do it from our own deposits directly, and our young friends newly out of Oxford and Cambridge will not have to accept the ugly possibility of lower incomes than the “new rich” of their class over the last thirty years.

  • Granni Trixie

    I hope Mr Wilson will be treated like any of the ‘guys’ on here. Wouldn’t want to show favouritism now would we?

  • John Collins

    So if the Chinese Premier paid a state visit to Washington, Paris, Rome or Berlin he would have nobody to meet him, nowhere to stay and they would not be able to entertain him.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank the Gods for Asda, Lidl and Iceland……..

  • John Collins

    I did one small bit of research and it showed that both London and Paris attract the same number of tourists annually, 15.3 million each. Rome however has over 19 million visitors every year and they last had a reigning monarch in 1869.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Yes, but be had a choice and what did he choose?

  • John Collins

    Crown estate taxes?. Well if they were in the possession of somebody else would they not be liable to taxation as well. As regards tourism, as shown above Paris attracts as many visitors and Rome about 30% more. So do your arguments really stand up to scrutiny?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Unless I can buy a crystal ball and look into the future I’ve no idea. What I do know is they delivered £285,000,000 into the Treasury this financial year. Not bad for a bunch of scroungers.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Likely the nice weather in Rome. La dolca vita!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    A financial transaction tax could be fatal for the City of London. You throw the baby out with the bathwater. By and large companies are cash generative. Those sitting on the social are not and, frankly, are a burden on society. Sorry for the directness.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    No, indeed we would not.

    However I’m very aware that many of us (perhaps myself included) are more interested in who is preaching a message rather than the message that’s being preached.

    If a Shinner came on here to argue for or against water fluoridisation it would only be 2/3 comments in before the usual (non-topic related) knives come out.

    I think this does Slugger no favours.

    There’s numerous knives in my digital drawer that I wish to plunge into the DUP but this post does not invite them (apart from perhaps the unnecessary dig at Danny, but, as one can’t blame a scorpion for being a scorpion one can’t blame a politician for being a politician…)

  • Thomas Barber

    Sorry there Sheriff I didn’t know you were looking after the site for Mr Fealty.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    No, thank you for the directness. “The weak can go to the wall”, eugenics lite! But as someone else once said thirty years ago at the end of any real social cohesion, and the begining of this perfidious cult of utterly respectable selfishness, ” I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.”

    And I’d add, don’t ever become unemployed either no matter at whatever strata of earnings you may currently be. Few incomes in large organisations are actually the inevitable result of go-getting hard work and serious effort, for most have a large proproportion of contacts or sheer chance in their make up, in my expereince, although a bit of savvy and some basic intellegence does help slightly with the social side. Mind you, you really, really need some genuine enterprise and ability if you are out in the bitterly cold world of real grass roots “entrepreneurship”, and not being carried by a PAYE job in the public or private sector with benefits and a secured pension floating off there in the clouds of the future.

    So roll on the Financial Transaction tax, as even 1% could subsidise a Citizen Income of about £10,000 a year for everyone in Britain in some calculations, and remove all real social want while giving every really enterprising citizen a genuine foundation of security to work up from. If the City is so vulnerable that it could not absorb even that small a levy, it’s only going to be a matter of time before it collapses anyway in the face of more robust and enterprising international rivals. I’m so frequently (and obviously mistakenly) told by my banker cousins that the reason London has become the financial centre of the globe is because of its unique skills, not the real reason you have now disclosed, its bargan basement cheapness………

  • Greenflag 2

    they last had a reigning monarch in 1869.

    The Pope is still there and he’s a monarch . Admittedly its not a hereditary monarchy like North Korea and others but a monarch nonetheless . The tourists don’t ust go to see the Colosseum.

  • Granni Trixie

    Why be surprised? Isn’t the medium at least part of the message? Plus isn’t communication largely symbolic in nature?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Ouch eugenics, you say. Tell me Seaan, what do you think when you see families on these sink with 10, a dozen kids, through 3, maybe 4, different fathers. Does that sit well with your social idyll or is it just their “right” to bear wee’uns and have the state fund them. Almost allegorical to the right to bear arms. We don’t care how wrong it is, but we have our “rights”. “Contacts and sheer chance” maybe in your world, with your well connected cousins. In my case it was moving all over the world taking jobs, building sell’able experience, and generally working my ass off. Carried by a PAYE job?? That’s your consultant ignorance my friend. Guaranteed penions only exist in the public sector, but that’s a whole other argument. Stop the hand outs and let’s start empowering these people out of relative poverty.

  • Granni Trixie

    Never having been on tax credits I am totally reliant on what I read about the system and assumed it was for lowly paid people so ofcourse I was sympathetic. However just yesterday I was talking to a pharmacist who was complaining that she would lose her tax credits and have to work more than the 3 days a week she currently does. She certainly does not fit the profile I expected.

    All points to how informed is everyone on this issue? Or is it just me who I now see has a half baked notion on which to base their view?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    SG, the trouble is where do you draw the line? Who are the “undeserving poor” to be starved into productive labour and who the genuinely needy? Do you separate sheep and goats on some Olympian plan, or do you let all flounder when in need, eugenics lite style, as mentioned?

    So we’ve both spent our lives working our asses off all over the world, but one of us seemingly understands the fading concept of community while the other dreams modernist Darwin-style survival of the fittest.

    I know of a lot of people with guaranteed pensions outside the public sector at every level of income, and while I’ve never been an employee on PAYE, I know enough people who are to know the difference between those carried and those genuinely developing their own incomes. While far fewer people have jobs for life today, those who still do can float on a world of contacts up promotion ladders that owe very little to any ability, just as much of a dependancy culture as the poor who concern you so, but without any of the biting need. Are you saying that everyone on a higher income entirely deserves every penny they are paid, their work input being entirely of that value to us all? Really? Is anyone, anywhere, actually worth several million pounds a year?

    But the real issue remains, rather than simply sloganing me to terminal boredom with big brave words such as “empowering”, how would you actually begin to create the motivation and self respect in people that would encourage them to work their way out of poverty? And where would all these jobs come from now that China seemingly makes everything we need and the Iron Lady and Tony Blair have sowed salt on our dead industries, ensuring our inability to produce ourselves? I somehow doubt that the financial sector and service industries no matter how expanded would find productive work for everyone now in need, especially for “families on these sink [estates?] with 10, a dozen kids, through 3, maybe 4, different fathers.” How would you solve that problem, outside of the eugenic solution such characterisations hint at? Serious question.

    Some genuine practical solutions please, and your interim solution to what you would put in place of tax credits in the meanwhile, as your ingenious solutions began to make everyone (the children too?) productive enough to remove the need for handouts. Gulags perhaps?

  • Greenflag 2

    I’d leave the Gods out of it -they have enough to do supporting various soccer and rugby teams on behalf of their supporters without having to enmesh themselves in retail competition 🙂

  • Greenflag 2

    Choose your grandparents wisely but beware your children -they may prefer you don’t hang around too long and delay their windfall before they become too old to enjoy it 🙂

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Not to mention Mr Osborne’s own party……

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Now you are just being naughty Seaan. I do believe it was you that first brought up eugenics, not me. But to your points and some practical solutions. The “undeserving poor”‘are those that choose a life on state handouts. I deliberately avoid the use of the term “benefits” as the very word engenders some form of divine right to benefit as opposed to just receiving a free handout. I proactively choose to contribute nothing to society yet I expect society to meet my needs. Those that can work but choose benefits are, to my mind, undeserving. A practical example, although I have not sourced the data, is the 1 in 4 DLA claimants of working age in West Belfast against the national average. Are all/the majority of these people deserving? Similarly child benefit, in that the more children you have, the more benefit you get. That, perhaps, was the point you chose to infer eugenics. So to some solutions. Firstly, DLA and associated “benefits” become more stringently regulated and assessed regularly with a view to moving people out of DLA and into jobs. Secondly, child benefit is only provided for the first two children, if you are claiming “benefits”. Both are immediate solutions. Longer term solutions might include one to one employment advice through a better funded job agency that also “police” the unemployed, such that, you either are in work (seeking or part time) or in training. Educate people of benefits. Both require proper funding and staffing, which is a short term cost to a longer term gain, if done right. There are many people receiving and deserving of benefits, the old aged pensioner who contributed throughout their lives and now lives on a paltry state pension; the disabled and infirm who cannot; those who do work and use tax credits to bolster their low salaries. However there are also a significant number that choose benefits over work, and these people need addressed.

    As to your point on people who are in jobs being undeserving (either through patronage or luck), you are just plain wrong. Irrespective the point is moot as said people don’t cost the state/tax payers.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I’m afraid that’s a bit too deep for me Granni, watcha mean?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    SG, thank you for taking the trouble to reply at some length. I realise that you feel this is a full and decent answer, but I’m still finding it all very, very general, with little beyond pious intentions. Much of it I’d agree with (more focused and intelligent attempts to find people work, for a start, one to one advice from agents in much expanded agencies), but where will the work that the unemployed would be given actually come from, beyond the expended employment agencies themselves? There simply is not the number of jobs out there to actually get all of the organised, potentially motivated people out there into work even now. And if the jobs there are were filled, many of those jobs that would be suitable starter jobs for the long term unemployed would be so poorly paid that they are in no manner able to support the person working. So, as that is what the tax credits (“hand outs”) are meant to remedy, we are back on the need for a serious financial support system for basic employment. You’ve not really thought this thing through much past the bright sparkling neo-Con slogans about the need to ends dependancy culture. Actually ending the present system would require considerably more human effort and expense than simply continuing with the benefit system as it now stands, which is exactly why the benefit system has been developed as it has instead of any serious attempt to focus the unemployed lives into meaningful engagement in the economy. It’s simply cheaper than the alternative, market forces and all that…….

    And how do you actually deal with “families on these sink [estates?] with 10, a dozen kids, through 3, maybe 4, different fathers” in all this? None of what you’re saying would in any way effect those in this situation, short of serious money spent on child care and re-training the single mothers to be able to work in a situation where many of them are now coming out of school without any qualifications. Simply cutting their “hand outs” will achieve little beyond “slowed down eugenics” (no apology, it’s what you appear to be suggesting). But if you have a genuine solution to something as ingrained, as intractable, I’d be very keen to hear it.

    And just how many of those who “choose benefits over work” have you actually met and spoken with ( i have). Every situation is pretty unique, although with the family resemblance that ingrained poverty gives it. These are people with serious, frequently irresolvable social problems, many with young vulnerable children, they not simply units to be knocked into statistical holes.

    And I still stand by my comments about the armies of well paid parasites in the financial sectors, also at middle and upper management both in the private and public sectors. The do actually cost us all money, even if you cannot see the essentially unproductive, parasitical nature of what they do. I remember before the Thatcher Revolution, most activities only required a fraction of the “supervisors” and office staff we seem to have ended up with, funded by either public sector spending (here in NI even the “private sector” is frequently so funded) or by that habit of employing expensive layers of management specially in order to “cut costs”.

    I’m delighted that you have not encountered the armies of chancers and time wasters with massive salaries in tailored suits and Paul Smith shirts, but, alas, I have myself, and all too many for me to simply dismiss them in the way you can dismiss the poor and needy. “They” are how the country is now run, and as parasites they could give any of your bête noirs who “choose benefits over work” a run for their money, literally, and at much greater expense! At least those lumpenproleteriot problem “scroungers” who so concern you cost us all far, far less money per caputa.

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Seaan, I have to plead a delay in response as I’m now down the pub but will respond tomorrow. Have a nice evening old chap.

  • Granni Trixie

    I suppose I was conflating a number of ideas so sorry for that.

    I was adapting the theory of “people shape what they say according to whom they are speaking” – but in reverse – most people on this site convey either deliberately or not a political identity and people respond to them with this in mind. To use your SF example we see that people here tend to interpret what a SF supporter says about anything in the light of their historical baggage. Call it whatboutery,casting up etc – it’s what we do and we will have to do better in future.

    In what I said originally about the medium is the message I was thinking about Marshall McLuans ideas from his 1964 book “Understanding Media” where he observed that the medium through which content is carried plays a vital role in how it is perceived. And I was also influenced by ideas about symbolic interaction most notably in the work of Erving Goffman (eg Presentstion of Self in Everyday Life” (1959) where he talks about people assigning meanings in symbolic interaction.

    AG – you have spurred me to revisit these writers but not sure if I have clarified much.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I was already off for that nice evening, SG. But thank you for thinking about me.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I think John is perhaps forgetting that Mussolini shared power with Victor Emanuel III, the “Re soldato”, who only abdicated to make way for his son in 1946, the year the Italian monarchy was finally abolished following a referendum that voted by 60% for a Republic.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And little of that arrogant nonsense with which one is “served” by French waiters……..

    But I still say that Pecks in Milan beats every Roman restaurant!

    http://www.peck.it/en/