To keep poverty rising Tories attack democracy

9th November, 2011 11:15 am

Aneurin Bevan said that the evolution of our political economy is driven by three forces in a dynamic struggle – private property, poverty and democracy – and at difficult economic times private property will attack democracy to defend its interests from the demands of poverty. This is exactly what is happening in Cameron’s Britain with cost of repaying the deficit loaded on the shoulders of the poorest and the removal of the requirement to register to vote.

The number of children living in absolute poverty ( ie beneath 60% of median earnings) will grow by 600,000 in 2012 according to the IFS as median earnings actually fall by 7%. Meanwhile directors in the FTSE 100 companies saw their salaries grow by 49% last year. This is the stark reality of the ConDem priorities in action. Meanwhile, Shelter predict another 35,000 homeless by Christmas as the Tories and Lib Dems in anticipation switch squatting from being a civil to a criminal offence despite the opposition of the Bar Council.

How we tackle the deficit and who pays most are political questions rooted in who represents the interests of the few and private property – the Tories and Liberals – or of the many and those in poverty – Labour. The question of what is the balance between growth and cuts and who pays most is political. The Tories’ choice is to attack public services, pensions and jobs and the welfare state leading to a massive increase in poverty. The Tories have chosen to abandon Labour’s strategy of short term investment above tax revenues to stimulate economic growth to boost tax revenues. This accounted for a third of the deficit – the rest being due to the bankers – and successfully generated positive growth.

Instead George Osborne announced half a million job cuts which predictably provoked people into saving more and spending less. This has meant a sharp reduction in economic growth so that the deficit forecast is now £46billion higher. They are in no mood to change course but know that without attacking democacy and rigging the system they will be punished for their ruthless ineptitude at the ballot box. That’s why we have fixed term parliaments, new contituency boundaries and a reduction in the number of MPs. In Wales, where Labour is strong, one in four MPs will be removed.

Most pernicious of all is the removal of the requirement to register to vote in Britain. This will remove the votes of millions of the poorest in Britain so David Cameron will be taking their jobs and services and pensions and benefits with one hand and their right to vote with the other. Each new constituency must have 77,500 registered voters plus or minus five per cent. The Tories have calculated that as poorer voters drop off the register, Labour will have less winnable seats. Already a third of registered voters don’t vote and these tend to be poorer and are more likely to drop off the register. Meanwhile individual voter registration is being introduced so in families where the head of household has traditionally filled in the voter registration for the family – in particular amongst some ethnic communities – voter registration will fall. Money provided for voter registration to local authorities will no longer be ring-fenced for that purpose and individuals can opt not to be sent requests to register to vote.

 

As a further move to increase poverty and reduce democracy the Tories are advocating giving taxation powers to Wales and Scotland. They plan to freeze or reduce the block grants and then to say “if you need more money raise your own tax”. The Scotland Act gives responsibility to Scotland for raising 10 pence of income tax and helps push it in the direction of independence. Meanwhile the Silk Commission will look at extending tax raising powers to push Wales in a semi-detached direction.

Both will help consolidate Tory power in Westminster and put pressure on the net subsidies to Scotland and Wales which are £14.3billion and £14.6billion respectively. As total annual oil and gas revenue from the North Sea was £13.4 billion in 2011/12 and just £6.5 billion in 2009/10, the pretence that Scotland can become independent without making the Scots poorer doesn’t add up. In Wales the Welsh Government receives £15.7 billion so an independent Wales would lose virtually all this money.

In just 18 months the forces of conservatism are about to destroy centuries of democracy by taking away the right to vote. They are rolling back the welfare state and public services so that the rights and living standards fought for over generations are being removed. Now is the time for Labour to regain our historic place as the champion of social justice, democacy and the right to work and to heed the words of Aneurin Bevan.

However the Tory strategy of flattery and conceit is in play as part of the broader assault on democracy from private property to keep poverty rising as Nye Bevan would have predicted. The Tories and Lib Dems are dividing up and weakening democracy, making the poor poorer and breaking up the Union.

We must not let Britain down.

Geraint Davies is the Labour Co-operative MP for Swansea West.

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  • Tom Stanger

    It’s about time someone in Labour actually highlighted what’s going on and spoke out about it,  actually what would be even better if this sort of article was put in the mainstream papers.  As not one bit is untrue this govt would hardly be in a place to complain about it!

    It’s high time Labour got back on the offensive instead of apologising for their mistakes.  Lets get on with the job and get this country back in shape!

  • Mark Cannon

    Mr Davies MP is obviously a man to watch.  This is splendid stuff.

    Those wicked, wicked Tories!

    Who but a raving idiot could disagree with the proposition that “In just 18 months the forces of conservatism are about to destroy centuries of democracy by taking away the right to vote”?!?  I believe they and their LibDem accomplices also plan to kill the first born child of every working class family, although no doubt they will deny this if asked.

    It is reassuring to see that the Labour Party has such intelligent, thoughtful representatives in the House of Commons as Mr Davies.

  • charles.ward

    “In just 18 months the forces of conservatism are about to destroy centuries of democracy by taking away the right to vote.”

    I normally try to keep my comments polite but this is bull****.  Mr Davies is either an idiot (if he really believes this) or a liar (if he doesn’t).

  • Anonymous

    How is it a ConDem priority to increase FTSE 100 director  pay packets?

    No ones right to vote is being removed.

    The poor will still be able to register. If they do not, maybe the party of the poor – Labour – could present them with something worth voting for? Beware though as you may have to talk about immigration.

    Why can’t Labour take the initiative and drive to get the poor to register as they will apparently be the losers? Build a community organisation.

    Household registration is a vote fixers dream and should have been banned long ago. Having the ‘head of the household’ do it is in no way progressive.

    Democracy will be reduced by giving more power to the devolved regions? Responsibility brings anti-democratic results?

  • Anonymous

    Well if this article is typical of Labour political thinking, the party is doomed.

    You would have to be an illiterate to think that your opposition want anyone to be poor. After all, politicians want to win elections and making people poor does not encourage them to vote for you.

    Anbsolute rubbish is usually a sign of political desperation. Mind you, with the current leader of the Party, it’s hardly surprising.

    I have a well honed contempt for politicians of all parties. This article reminds me how correct I am in that view.

    • derek

      Then why does this tory led government believe that an unemployed person should be at least £25 worse off per week than the minimum wage earner?

      • JC

        Because it should pay to be in work, rather than be unemployed. I know that not all those unemployed are happy with their lot in life, but showing them that, even at the minimum wage, they’d still be better off than being on the dole… surely this is a good thing?

  • Anonymous

    Dear God for once I agree with a Labour person, he’s right about Wales, but Wales still has some socialism left, unlike New labour, and  you cannot remove a word from the email address and say nope we are now labour it does not work like that.

    we need to get away from being run by England this does not mean a split but we have to be able to offer different methods of taxing and taxing business.

    • Anonymous

      You are welcome to leave. We’ll keep our subsidy thanks…

      • Anonymous

        We are trying believe me…..

        • Anonymous

          When you’re paying the bills, you generally do see a lot of things in financial terms.

          • Anonymous

            Lucky those in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, have the English to thank for invading our countries then perhaps you should not do so much invading ,and then you’d have less bills to pay.

          • Anonymous

            When you resort to going back 700 years in history, then your argument is pretty weak.

            I tell you what. We’ll remove all the infrastucture created  (say) since 1600 and leave Wales free of all English invasions..

            Then you can be truly Welsh..

            🙂

          • Anonymous

            Infrastructure what you mean the Severn bridge

          • Blowing it up on the way out is what I’d expect of the Tories, yes.

      •  It’s the party of the Union kids, rigging democracy by forcing the regions out.

        • Hugh

          Your point is a little undermined by the fact that the Conservatives are staunchly pro-Union despite the arrangement being clearly to their disadvantage. That’s unlike Labour, a party generally in favour of independence and self-determination for every other small nation on earth and not usually prone to feeling bound by historic ties but strangely taking a different view to those supplying a hefty proportion of its seats in Westminster.

          • The Tories are pro-Union? Prove it. Everything they’re doing is aimed at breaking up the union.

          • Hugh

            Er, yes, the Tories are pro-Union. They opposed devolution at the time for Scotland and Wales, are against independence now, will be campaigning against it come a referendum, and are currently proposing a merger with the Ulster Unionists in Northern Ireland.

          • Anonymous

            Prove they’re anti-Union. Your claim, so some evidence to support this would be good.

        • Anonymous

          How is democracy being rigged?

  • Your article would make sense if the Electoral Commision are opposing the introudction of IER, in fact they have been generally supportive of it since 2003 according to their website. Unless I am not looking in the right place??

    Also considering how the Head of the Household is mostly a man, surly it is sexist to continue this  procedure from the Victorian age?

  • Anonymous

    because it makes sense to give people a financial incentive to WORK..

    • When there are no jobs? No amount of punishment can make people do that. Well, it can get them to turn to crime…think people denied benefits because of unfair sanctions are going to starve quietly?

      • Anonymous

        Starve?

        On benefits?

        How many starved to death last year?

        Your argument is fatuous..

        • Anonymous

          And your is not ?

    • Anonymous

      I would open camps with big signs saying work pays, this camp does not. heil  well never mind

    • Anonymous

      Pay them more not remove people into poverty because none of the parties can make jobs

  • Franwhi

    How we tackle the deficit and who pays most are political questions rooted in who represents the interests of the few and private property – the Tories and Liberals – or of the many and those in poverty – Labour.

    What a lot of hypocritical rubbish when we have a Labour front bench sitting in Westminster of whom quite a few including the Millibands are property owning millionaires with property portfolios across London. I can’t stand it when LL people come on here with this pantomime act booing and hissing at the Coalition but saying nothing of the excessive wealth and privelege of many of their own. Let’s face it even the lowliest MP is on at least three times the average wage and many, including Labour politicians, have absolutely no idea what the concept of poverty even means. It’s not just the salary differentials but the accumulated wealth of people like Tessa Jowell and Caroline Flint to name but two whose lifestyles are absolutely  interchangeable with the Tory members opposite. The argument about the poor and the property owning class was put to bed years ago circa 1997 and the first new labour govt I believe when we all went aspirational and got over the culture shock of a Labour PM who urged us to be relaxed about the acquisition of wealth. Now the poor are likely t0 be property owners albeit trapped in debt and struggling to hold onto that property in this recession. Stop treating us like children with your good versus evil fairy stories – using the poor for cheap political propaganda when it suits  while the party leaders equivocate and fudge whenever these same poor atempt to organise and take action to protect  their jobs and pensions. In a mature democracy we deserve better than synthetic platitudes and faux indignation  

  • Can our MP’s please stop talking up the Daily Mail subsidy line. It’s playing into Alex Salmond’s hands. What really cemented Margaret Thatcher as anti-Scottish (and therefore killing the Tories off in Scotland) was the infamous Sermon on the Mound where she turned up and lectured Scotland about how generous the English were to them. It did not go down at all well. By feeding the subsidy myth (and it is a myth, London receives more per head than Scotland does), it only helps Alex Salmond consolidate the SNP line that only they are “for Scotland”. Let’s not make Thatcher’s mistakes. Please.

  • Anonymous

    If you paid them a decent amount and of course made the jobs which labour and the Tories are saying are available

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