Maurice Glasman’s Sun on Sunday column – “The Squeezed Bottom”

24th February, 2012 2:28 pm

As has been reported today, Maurice Glasman’s column for the Sun on Sunday won’t be appearing in the paper this week. However, we’ve managed to obtain a first draft (unsubbed), which you can read below:

There’s something wrong in our country and its been going on too long. It doesn’t seem to be working for the people.

We don’t seem to love and support the good but show more concern for the mean, the greedy and the sneaky. We’ve all been like that, wanted things too much and cared for people too little. We all went into debt and brought things we thought we needed but couldn’t afford. We’ve all tried to cover things up when we’ve mucked up, at home and at work.

And now we have the reckoning. We’ve all got to take responsibility, from the top to the bottom.

We spent too much, as families and as a country and we didn’t generate real value. The ugly marriage of the City of London and public administration that has been driving our economy has not worked out well. It doesn’t treat people right and its children are greedy and needy.

Our trust in invisible earnings led to the spread of an invisible grief and its called debt. There has to be change.

We need not just skilled people, but people who put in an honest shift and care about it. We need people in power who are successful, who lead and bring people with them, who turn things around. Not people with an MBA who write email memos and improve the feedback loop.

The liberal-led coalition will talk about anything except work. They think that money creates value, they think that technology creates value, they think that risk taking creates value, they think that entrepreneurialism creates value, that universities create value, anything other than work and workers. Anything other than people who know what they’re doing getting on with the job. That is what makes things better and drives innovation but they can’t understand that. We are all in this together in a way that George Osborne can’t even begin to understand. They say they want a curb on executive pay but don’t want workers on the renumeration committees.

And that is the truth. Work, the source of value, has less and less value in our country. Its not the fault of this government alone. The average wage is £25,000 a year and its stayed there since 2003. People are not earning enough to feed their families.

For years I worked with London Citizens on a Living Wage. It was the best work I ever did. Working with people who were paid badly and treated badly. Contracted out, used and ignored. No-one invited the cooks, cleaners and security guards to the Christmas Party. And bankers who were earning millions in bonuses didn’t want to pay it. But they did. And it made things better.

We need to honour work. Not welfare but real work. The trouble is that the value of wages keeps on going down until a quarter of workers in the midlands and north of England are earning less than a Living Wage. This is where we are Nearly half the people in the country want to put aside ten pounds a month but can’t. People are borrowing money at rates that double the debt in a month. We need more money as energy companies rack up prices but our earnings are stuck. No savings. No skills. No money. Debt. More debt.

We need to break the vicious cycle and recognise that profits go up but wages down and that people are being pushed from the middle to the bottom. There is a real issue with the squeezed bottom. People who work but can’t cover their costs. The basis of our renewal, the busy and brave people of England, are treated the worst.

And then, to top it all, we may have won the war but Germany seems to have won the peace. And how did they do it? By honouring labour and work. There are workers on the boards of companies, more of a balance of power. They have a vocational economy so that you have to serve an apprenticeship or you won’t get a job. They preserved skills and renewed them. We were told by experts from all areas that Germany would be blown out of the water by globalisation and its come out on top. Hard lessons. Big change.

I’m Labour. The clue is in the name. I honour work and recognise those who do it with skill and courage as nobility. Not just the generals but the soldiers, not just the risk takers but the grafters. Work is our salvation and that is the value that will renew our country.

We’ve all got to do all we can to love and support the squeezed bottom. You should try it. It’s good.

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  • Right, come on then, count down to the first person explaining how this call for Labour to be the party of underpaid workers is further proof that Maurice wants to drag the party to the right…

  • it’s a mistake to stop this being published; i’m not labour myself but this is a powerful piece and a real rallying call to your old supporters.

  • Billy

    Labour needs to be the party of underpaid and undervalued workers, AND the disabled, the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The way to get people into work is not to cut benefits, but to bring in Living Wage legislation, with the rate set at the RPI, and to take low paid people out of income tax altogether, along with a minimum income guarantee. This will make working pay, without penalising those who can’t work.

  • AlanGiles

    There is certainly nothing wrong with this article – quite the contrary, but I can understand why there might be a reluctance to be published in the launch (or should I say relaunch) of the most toxic red top Sunday tabloid, given the bad feeling the old NoTW engendered,

    It is nice to be able to read the piece in isolation without having to plod through pages of smut and soap.

    Actually it is the sort of article that would go well on LL (dare I say much more interesting than those penned by the would-be Brighton police commissioner)

    • treborc

      It has come way to late, this should have been written in 2000 or before when Mr Blair removed the world humanity from the book of socialism.

      I doubt Ed Miliband will be to happy with it either, and I suspect David will be checking to see if they can excommunicate Mr Glasman.

      But yes this is labour and the problem we do not have a real labour party any more.

      • leftythinker

        We stopped having a real Labour party the moment Mandelson made his ‘lose 25% to gain 50%’ calculation, and disenfranchised me and people like me.

      • JeremyPoynton

        “removed the world humanity from the book of socialism.”
        Uh? Would that be the Socialism that slaughtered millions in China, Russia & Cambodia? The same Socialism that impoverished everyone else in those countries – bar the ruling elite? Humanity? Socialism? Give me a break.  – “Is there an After Socialism?”

        • treborc

          So that why I hate Blair he was a communist.

          • JeremyPoynton

            First and foremost, a Narcissist. Brown I think was the Socialist driver of New Labour (he just used the City to fund the building of his Client State). Mind you, if Blair is a Narcissist, there is also ample evidence that Brown is Sociopathic (witness that he is never wrong, goes bonkers when challenged, and lied at the drop of a hat). 

            Whatever – they 5ucked us over big time, and we’ll be paying for it for a very long time. Can’t believe I voted for them. Won’t be fooled again, that’s for sure. 

        • TomFairfax

           Please don’t stop there.

          A good rant from a nutter does so help to showing the Nasty Party is really not how Dave C would like it to appear.

          I like the confusion between communist dictatorship and Democratic Socialist.

          Just image the squeals if someone compared the Tories equally stupidly with Hitler and Mussolini’s regimes.

          • treborc

            I never worry to much when people say socialist are communist, and the times we have been told Hitler was a socialist. Every one has their own view on being socialist, not to sure if Hitler built to many council houses, although he did find lots of work for people.

          • TomFairfax

             Not sure about council houses, but there is the whole of Wolfsburg (obviously under it’s previous catchy name of Joy Through Work burg, Joy through Strength burg or whatever the guy with no balls named it.).

            Clearly Greece is being put in wilful danger of being forced down Fascist or Communist route, so maybe not just a topic from the past.

            It’s just not feasible to consider the Eurocrats and government leaders as even as much as half witted in their endeavours to destroy that country currently.

          • JeremyPoynton

            You know, it is a very stupid assumption that because someone loathes Socialism, that they are a Tory. I loathe them as well, but the Right doesn’t do mass slaughter with the same brio that the Left has shown us last century. And I really don’t see myself voting again as it really is a waste of time. Except tactically, to keep Labour out of a marginal. 

            By the way – have you ever read the German Workers Party manifesto? Nationalisation and an all-embracing welfare state would seem to me to be core Socialist policies. 


            Another reason I would never vote Labour again is their assault on Civil Liberty. 

          • TomFairfax

            Can you maybe give us some official figures on how many people were murdered by Labour members and henchmen since 1901 for ideological reasons?

            Its the same number if you had to find the same figures for Liberal or Conservative Parties. A round  number, something like zero.

            You might want a read of that nice right wing histiorian Niall Ferguson’s War of the World to correct your simplistic and childish view of the past. It’s written quite simply, and it holds some scary thoughts for the future.

            The thing about ridiculous statements is that the person making them will have a credibility problem in any future assertion even when in the they might have a point.

            You might as well charaterise all Roman Catholics as incestuous murderers because Cesare Borgia was one. It doesn’t really make sense does it?

          • JeremyPoynton

            Oh FFS, it’s the same philosophy you twit. And what did the Eugenicists – who formed the Fabian Society – want? In the case of Wells and Shaw, the extermination of those deemed “Unfit” for society. In an era in which we have to apologise for everything, when did the Left apologise for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot & Eugenics? 

          • TomFairfax

             I think sensible people condemned the  criminals you mention. No one can apologise for them.

            As for eugenics, whilst a pseudo ‘science’ to cover extreme views, you’ll find it difficult to find a anyone living supporting them. In much the same way you don’t find Conservatives advocating a return to the gold standard or actually voting to implement the Death sentence for Murder.

            You really should read Prof Ferguson’s book. His analysis is almost entirely the opposite to yours, and he was thought to be a tad right wing even for the Telegraph.

            But then he’s a professional historian and you are not.

          • AlanGiles

            Jeremy, At the risk of being the recipient of one of your outbursts of abbreviated obscenities, those of us on the left often look askance at the Fabian Society today, but Wells died in 1946 and Shaw in 1950, so their crackpot theories are more than sixty/sixty five years in the past. How would the Conservatives like it if we kept reminding them of Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech, which was made in 1968?

          • treborc

            Your right of course different period in time, otherwise people who read the laws and regulations on hansard for labour regulations on lunatics, women who have children without marrying breed like rats in our society, and must be of low mind and intelligence, 1930’s.

            But of course religion was stronger those days.

          • Hugh

             “The thing about ridiculous statements is that the person making them
            will have a credibility problem in any future assertion even when in the
            they might have a point.”

            Statements like “”A good rant from a nutter does so help in showing the Nasty Party is really not how Dave C would like it to appear” for example?

          • TomFairfax

             Fair point except of course I’m not on Conservative home suggesting they all eat babies.

          • treborc

             Of course Germany is a bit different with workers having more of a say on most things from employment to welfare to wage rises to running the local football team

  • Stepney

    And this… “I’m Labour.  The clue is in the name.  I honour work and recognise those who do it with skill and courage as nobility.” is the Labour Party’s problem. Because as a Party you don’t. Anything but. 

    Whilst you are still seen as the defenders of unlimited migration, Town Hall excesses, unlimited dole handouts and outrageous pensions for public sector management you will never, ever be seen to represent or speak for the working man. He works hard. You spend it for him, feathering the nests of those more fortunate than he.

    Work that out and address it and you’ll have a majority bigger than ’97. Ignore it and you’re doomed.

  • george

    “I honour work and recognise those who do it with skill and courage as nobility”

    problem was we didnt do a lot of this when we had the power – remember immigration undercutting wages, high stealth taxes, allowing the exporting of jobs to india?
    Now this looks like the worst sort of hypocrisy because we need something from the ‘workers’ we turned our backs on.

    • Robert Brown 625

      Very well said George, on the money. But Maurices’ article is very good too, shame he did not write something similar in 1997.

  • My understanding from this article is that Glasman wants the party to become a party of labour again not underpaid labour.

    • treborc

        We need to honour work.  Not welfare but real work.

      Bit to close to Blair on that one mate.

  • Robin

    “we’ve managed to obtain a first draft (unsubbed), which you can read below”

    Here’s hoping the SoS has an army of good subs then

  • Adam

    Excellent stuff and far too good for a Murdoch rag.

    Such a tweatable last line, and perhaps only someone like LG who has worked for years helping the lowest paid workers could get away with saying it.

    Trouble is theres no feasible way to lift the bulk of unemployed / low paid workers to middle income / financial security  without the Keynesian policies LG so strangely hates.  Without measures to boost demand and rebalance the trade deficit,  German style regional banks and worker participation on pay boards would trigger a mass exodus of employer.

  • Billy

    Labour needs to be the party of underpaid and undervalued workers, AND the disabled, the elderly, the sick and the vulnerable. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. The way to get people into work is not to cut benefits, but to bring in Living Wage legislation, with the rate set at the RPI, and to take low paid people out of income tax altogether, along with a non-means tested Minimum Income Guarantee for all British citizens. This will make working pay, without penalising those who can’t work.

  • leftythinker

    “We all went into debt and brought things we thought we needed but couldn’t afford”

    Speak for yourself. Some of us believe that borrowing a shedload of cash to buy stuff we don’t need isn’t a good idea. Then again, those of us who think that never get into government, as promising people a free ride on borrowed money will always be a vote winner. By “We”, you don’t mean me. You mean you.

  • Jeff_Harvey

    Glasman looks set to be the new Woodrow Wyatt.

  • therealguyfaux

    Labour will always have a problem, that of being the Party both of workers and shirkers.  So long as benefits are available to be had, a person has to make a prudential decision as to whether work pays when the effort seems not to be commensurately rewarded.  However, warm bodies that fog up a mirror are what is required to win elections, we presume anyway,  and a Party that, as Shaw said, takes from Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul’s vote;  Labour need the Pauls at the polls, so to speak, and so will maintain the benefit structure to keep that element of the recipients who can be arsed to vote happy.   The tipping point will be reached when the workers decide work is too hard for the dosh received and leave employment; what then?   And the other side of the coin: For the workers to be remunerated at a rate that many would see as fair,  the  cost of living might have to rise, and Worker A’s rise in pay will be paid for by Worker B who purchases the good or service produced by A, thus leaving B no better off, and the benefits recipient will need to have a rise to be able to cover the cost of goods and services.   No prizes for guessing where that’s coming from!   Labour are serving two masters and we all know what JC said about that.

    • AlanGiles

      You sound like the editor of the Daily Express (you’ll be commentating on Princess Di and house prices next).

      In case you hadn’t noticed, it was Labour which gave the country David Freud and his ignorant “expertise”.

      It was James Purnell who implemented Freud in full, which made it easy for ATOS to recommend people with terminal illnesses  to lose benefit by putting them on JSA rather than ESA.

      So you might say it was Labour that made the coalitions work easier.

      The sick and disabled have been demonized by politicians on both sides, and people like you swallow it.

      Many of us who supported Labour worked all our lives, and didn’t grudge the help given to those who needed it.

      • Therealguyfaux

        You haven’t addressed the thrust of my mail, which was that Labour work at cross-purposes by on the one hand, championing the cause of those who DO work to have a decent and dignified life and at the same time, promising same to those who do not work.  You’ve just resorted to name-calling.  I am not speaking of Labour-as-politicians-with-ambitions, I am using Labour as shorthand  for all those whose sympathies lie with yours and who vote Labour, never having done otherwise and having no intention ever to do otherwise.  I speak of the rank-and-file Labourites who, like you, see that what is said and what is done are often two different things.  In short, I am not speaking of expedient decisions taken by those in Government at the time.  What I AM saying is that reality dictates that in order for Labour to be a realistic force for social justice, a certain ruthlessness of purpose must be implemented which says to the voter, Yes, we know things are bad and they won’t get any better unless we redefine our mission and stop trying to be all things to all voters.   Any philosophy which defines from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs will perforce have to reckon with the fact that as Henry George said in the 1880’s, everyone is looking for the greatest return on the least exertion, i.e. everybody’s looking for a free lunch if they can get one.  Labour errs on the side of not expecting from each their true ability (all human beings sandbag when possible) and allowing to each according to desire and not need (as a way of not having to split the hairs inherent in trying to make such determinations lest having to be subjected to endless whingeing from the never-content).  Can Labour  take a moral high ground and say, Let’s be honest, folks, and we mean HONEST– many of you are taking advantage and many of you are taking the piss out of us as to what you can truly contribute,  and that’s got to stop if we are to continue and prosper as a society;  if Labour cannot say that, they are doomed to be in opposition till they wind the whole shooting-match up.  The happy medium is well this side of a Dickensian parade of horribles.

  • “love and support the squeezed bottom.  You should try it.  It’s good.  ”

    April 1st has come early.

  • Amber Star

    The ‘squeezed bottom’ pun is sooo Sun, it’s excrutiating. Thank goodness Ed persuaded Glasman not to go ahead with this.

    • treborc

      Glasman will state he’s socialist and he’s labour, yet he did write this for the Sun, having to leave the leader to explain the Sun tends to be Conservative.

      Far better if Glasman had come to this by himself and said nope I will not write for the The Murdoch rag.

    • AlanGiles

      Yes – it’s a bit “ooh, er, missus!” isn’t it?

      Shame because the sentiment of the article is good, but as “Mr” Rupert is so anti-Labour anything written by anyone on the Labour side will be traduced

  • Scandalman

    I am not labour. I value work, whatever you may feel I promise you that is not an exclusive haunt of the left. I guess I fall into your pigeon hole of a risk taker; That is an employer who backs up his business with his house, his home and his castle like so many other SME’s still smarting from the decade of attrition, taxation and increased regulation by the last government. That the current government has done nothing to re-invigorate the private sector is surprising; I would dearly love the business to enable me to offer apprenticeships/employment to youngsters.

    A friend of mine has had the loan called in on his place of work; He’s up to date with payments, in profit but the banks want the money back, all of it – now.

    He’s a fighter and values his workforce, but it really isn’t easy out there; Many business owners are being forced into laying off their workforce and losing their homes. Whilst I don’t feel this is a major concern to the Labour party it is dedicated entrepreneurs and risk takers who will make qualitative decisions along the lines of ‘can I afford to employ this person long term’, ‘if it doesn’t work out and I want to replace them will the regulatory process be so time sapping and expensive  it’s not worth it?’. I know someone else who has an under performing member of staff who uses
    every trick in the book to do as little work as possible. This
    employer of many simply is too scared of sacking him. This employee is
    not someone who should be protected by too much regulation; He is being
    carried by every other member of that SME.

    We, the SME’s can make a huge difference to employment in the UK, with interesting, varied and hopefully stimulating and rewarding employment – if we are encouraged that it’s safe out there, that the economy is in safe hands and we aren’t going to be stitched up by over regulation.

    Unfortunately that rules out labour until such time as they have a coherent fiscal plan to encourage growth rather than spend, spend spend on buying voters by employing them or giving money away like confetti and employing every directive they can invent or import from Europe.

    Hence I find your romantic flag placing of ownership on the moral high ground of honest work and all that is right and honourable inappropriate.

    Do you really want to work hard and contribute? Pool your resources, start your own businesses and employ people. Risk your homes, empty your bank accounts and stand up in the blast, scream and roar of the open market and work your backsides off – because you can’t afford to fail.

    That is work and that is commitment.

    Some of you will make it. Others will end up searching for employment but working together is how we made Britain great. Even if you fail your economic activity will make a difference. Waiting for someone else is… well, work it out for yourself.

    If that’s not possible (and I understand it’s a toughie) then find a way to contribute and we can all pull ourselves out of this together. Labour got all of us into this mess; We’re all in it together and must work together to get us out of it. For good.

    Whinging and doing nothing is not an option, that’s called letting someone else do the work and I would like to think that is beneath being British.

    • derek

      Hey singing Sandalman, that’s some pontification, Blessed are the owners for they shall inherit all the hard work rewards.

      Give us a sign! wow! it’a a sandal but what does it mean? one sandshoe  is better than none. LoL!

      • Scandalman

        Hello Derek,  It’s nice to be appreciated and welcomed into the blog, I can see the attraction of entering into a dialog you.

        • derek

          Who said any thing about “appreciation” but it sounds as if you didn’t get the cheese mountain you’d wished for from the tories? so you’ve decided to opt for greener pastures! do the complete 380 turn and I’ll be much nicer?  

          • Scandalman

            I hadn’t realised this was an employees only blog – sorry!  However I am looking forward to being converted with your pearls of wisdom and humour from your state of exalted enlightenment. Please, I grovel at your perfection Oh perfect member of the order of the blog, let me hear just one more wise crack?

            Whilst this may be amusing for a short while, we are in a mess and SME’s can help. There is nothing wrong in a/ demonstrating a wish to help and b/ what problems we are facing and c/ demonstrating what changes might make it attractive for SME’s to employ people. There are a lot of SME’s and I don’t remember sitting in a wing chair in a white suit and with a white persian cat on my lap talking in a stange accent was necessarily a part of being an employer.

            I am genuinely interested to hear that you associate an employer with greed, particularly one who has just stated he’d like to help. You must try running that past your local corner shop. Or perhaps your local MP, A4E, schoolteachers taking extended sick leaves and sending each other postcards, doctors charging for ghost patients. Not everyone who runs an SME is a greedy multi trillionaire tycoon. Most of us run small garages etc., But don’t let that stand in the way of a good biased rant.

            Night night.

          • derek

            Holy Shmoly  it’s Craig Whyte, the Rangers director, the £1 is in the post Craig, no worries. 

          • Scandalman

             Not bad! 😉

          • derek

            To be serious! Ooooo, your right about the need to get the order books flowing for SME and I’d welcome the signing of apprenticeships.

            SME is behind the black-ball and taking a loan when it’s the lack of demand is a real killer.

            We’ve got to push ahead with building more affordable homes, we’ve got to generate the demand and full those order books, bank loan aren’t the answer, create the demand and the problems will start to reduce.

    • treborc

      Interesting nope.

    • AlanGiles

      i and employing every directive they can invent or import from Europe. ”

      Let’s be frank and fair about this. Despite being “In Europe but not run by Europe” both Labour and Conservative governments have followed EU directives – the occassional “opt-out” of this or that by both parties is really just a grand gesture – like a concert pianist wowing the audience by delivering the big tune from Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto.

      You cannot blame Labour alone for doing EU’s bidding – if you have problems with the EU, UKIP is the only party who say they will take on the EU, and will do so by leaving it. All three main parties are committed to Europe and despite the  rhetoric and the occasional gesture, it will always be thus.

      ” Labour got all of us into this mess; We’re all in it together and must work together to get us out of it”

      Frankly this sounds like a cut and paste job from a Conservative election flyer.

      Was Labour seriously to blame for the world banking crisis?. Don’t tell me you seriously believe that.  Gordon Brown bailed the banks out, but would George Osborne have done anything different? And if he had done something different, wouldn’t you  conceed things might have been even worse than the are?.

      Between 1997 and 2007 you had one of the most pro-business administrations – Blair was a defacto Conservative PM with an ever open door to big business. I would suggest that Conservatives loved Blair more than their own three leaders during that period – certainly a lot of them voted for him, hence the two landslides of 1997 and 2001..

      For the record I worked for small, medium and large companies, including one start-up, and for three or four years in the public sector. I enjoyed most of it, and never had many complaints – if I found a company unbearable (and it only happened only twice in 50 years), I left it and moved on. I can remember people who took advantage but this wasn’t just when Labour happened to be in power – let’s face it, it is a completely apolitical situation when you get somebody like – as a matter of fact the most lazy, dishonest person I ever worked with was in the early 80’s – and this person got away with it because they were a close friend of the managing director – I didn’t blame Mrs Thatcher for that, because it would have been ridiculous to do so, just as it would be absurd to suggest that Labour was responsible for every bad employee a company employed between 1964-70, 74-79 or 97-2010.

      It seems harsh to blame Lord Glasman or Ed Miliband for todays woes because neither was responsible for them. In the same way, though I wasn’t the greatest fan of New Labour, you cannot blame every problem we have today on them. 

      I’ll finish by saying you wouldn’t like me because I am on the left – far more so than the Labour leadership(s) of the past 18 years, but I had some very good employers – with the exception of the 2 I alluded to. I know there are good employers – but we all know there are bad ones who exploit their workforce. It was ever thus, but to demonise one party as you have done here is frankly totally unfair.

      The current government are wasting money – not least on the NHS reorganisation  nonsense, which even some Tories oppose, and there are ministers who frankly seem to have no idea of what they are doing – again this is not just a failing of this government, but you cannot fairly or honestly blame Labour for every problem we have .

      • Scandalman

         Hello Alan, thanks for your reply. I can see that my post reads like a speech from a pompous windbag FX: Ooops!.The content and essence was meant well. As an employer the lens of my perception is going to focus on problems I have encountered although I remain sensitive to social injustice. One thing of which I am sure is the ownership of mistakes is the mark of responsibility and the first step towards a strategy to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

        With respect to pints, I choose to drink with people who don’t lie, don’t let me down, make me laugh and by the sounds of that I reckon we’d get on just fine, perhaps with just the odd fisticuffs 😉

        I voted labour to get rid of the weak conservative government whose higher echelons had descended to nepotism, sleaze and reacting to news by rushing out inappropriate measures. Once a government is in that state it just has to go, whatever its bent. I haven’t voted Labour since and looking at the opposition performance I can see no reason to change my mind.

        History repeated itself and it was time for Labour to spend some time in the wilderness. Unfortunately the many good things they might have done are clouded by the memory and legacy of the bad things they have done. I could list them but if you take a peep in your soul before you write you will know that the last Labour fundamentally let us all down on so many levels. They had to go.

        I believe in the basics; Democracy, freedom of speech and transparency hence my core beliefs are incompatible with all three traditional parties. Any party which makes promises and then reverses those decisions soon after the election in my opinion has lied to the electorate. Historically politicians appear to have believed that they can change their minds, lie and decieve and I am so grateful to say that Mr. Google is making that much harder for them, we are really starting to show we care and understand what our politicians are doing to the country and excitingly can do something about it due to unfettered blogs like this, twitter, facebook and the excellent government petition site.

        Other ways a government can show contempt for us is by rigging the result of discussions in parliament triggered by the will of the people such as a petition. A three line whip is nothing less than a slap to the public that we should shut up, know our place and pay our taxes.

        What amazed me was the cross party consensus to deny a proper debate – what was that all about?

        So Conservatism is not what we need – as the author pointed out, it’s all in the name. David Cameron is as radical as mushy peas. He has also adopted the stance of the worst conservative leader we have ever known, Edward Heath. Lord help us all.

        With respect to the NHS it needs continual reform else it wouldn’t be able to cope. Labour introduced many privatisation mechanisms during their tenure so I don’t think making soundbites about that is very wise… back to Mr. Google.

        The NHS should be fit for purpose, efficient and not wasteful. It doesn’t exist for  the sole purpose of employing as many people as possible, it’s there to provide a service for which we all pay. Again, hat tip to the author, the hint is in the name. If we are truly going to fix Britain we may need to support measures put forward by the ‘other party’ (heaven forbid) if and only if they are right – or nearly right. That isn’t disloyal to a party, that is loyal to ones country.

        I don’t blame Labour for all our woes, but boy have they made it harder. However there are countries who hadn’t sprinkled their savings and emptied the cupboards who are doing just fine. We could have had that cushion; Look across the North Sea to Norway.

        OK, so what measures in the past have resulted in growth, preferably meteoric. Over to you, Mr. Google…

        • AlanGiles

          Hi. If you read some of what I have written on here, you will see I am far from forgiving of New Labour. I have made the point to the point of repletion that Blair/Brown made the coalitions work a lot easier for them, especially on welfare and the NHS (after all Blair Brown and Purnell gave the Tories David Freud), but the current NHS reforms authored by lansley comes from a man with vested interests and have been condemned by both medical and psychiatric doctors, nurses, the BMA the RCN patient groups and people of all political persusasions and none. Can it be that they are all wrong and Lansley alone right?.

          John Major though he was right about rail privatisation. Many of his own MPs told him he was wrong – it was costly and destructive and they were right.

          Major wasted money on that as Lansley is doing with the NHS. It is a gamble, but it is not their own money they are using to back their horses. Blair wasted money on the NHS computer system which never worked and on the absurd ID Card scheme. All governments sadly waste money – Blair was too fond of war, and God knos how many billions got wasted on his adventures.

          But Ed Miliband is of a new generation, who had nothing to do with most of Blair’s lapses, and though I would be lying if I suggested he will ever be a great politician (but how many really are?), I do beleive in giving people a chance to prove what they can do.

          At least the man is innocent of expense scandals (one of the few of the last cabinet who were, along with Hilary Benn), and I would like to see him at least get a chance to show what he can do.

          • Scandalman

             … ‘it is not their own money they are using to back their horses’

            If only that was carved over every doorway in the HOC and impressed into every mind of very civil servant and MP.

            I am so totally with you on that one.

            Transparency, Freedom of information, transparency etc., etc., Fiscal prudence and transparency can ensure our money goes where it should. If it went to where it should in fair and correct amounts we would a/ have more spare and b/ need to tax less.

            I have had many conversations with HMR&C who like to impress small businesses by bleating on about ‘their money’. It’s not. It’s *our* money which the government has enabled HMR&C to collect from people like me (but only after I have earnt it) and I want it spent wisely!

        • “Look across the North Sea to Norway.”

          Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, instead of setting up a sovereign wealth fund*, Margaret Thatcher spent oil revenue on subsidising the de-industrialisation of the U.K. i.e. unemployment and welfare benefits.

          Thatcher hoped the post-big bang deregulated financial sector would deliver an alternative…     

          • Scandalman

             Neither did Major or Brown who then went on to sell our gold reserves with an amazing ability to spot the lowest point in the market.
            We don’t have a government now that is truly taking a long term view. The last government cheerily launched themselves into the void still clinking glasses and leaving messages like ‘there is nothing left’.

          • Agree again. When Thatcher was asked what was her greatest achievement, she replied: “Tony Blair and New Labour.”

            Both New Labour and Conservatives prioritised the financial sector. And the momentum of the failed ideology persists, within both Labour and Tory parties. Certainly, there’s plenty at Labour’s top table who have taken up with a Marie Antoinette-like approach and prefer to live in a New Labour comfort zone. As Lord Glasman, commenting on Labour’s predicament, recently said:

            “the old is dead and the new is not yet born, and in the meantime all kinds of morbid symptoms emerge”

      • evad666

         Blair was not pro business if he had been he would have implemented some appropriate policies. Blair was pro city where you could make money out of thin air or so it seemed and get paid a big fat bonus for doing it.
        Blair and his ilk were wrecking the country before the implosion of the banking sector. Way too little focus on manufacturing just as the previous administration had done.
        Now we have foreign workers imported to do jobs British workers should be doing.
        God help the original people of these islands as no politician will.

        • AlanGiles

          Fair point. He certainly loved the City. I take your point about manufacturing

  • Daniel Speight

    There are times Glasman can be so right. His problem usually comes not with the diagnosis but with the prescription. The whole ‘squeezed middle’ thing was always going to be a problem for Labour. It’s too much out of the nerdy spin doctors, focus group marketing people’s rule book. Glasman is right  to talk about the squeezed bottom, if only to get Labour talking about the larger range of society they are meant to represent, not just swing voters in southern constituencies.

    Still things must be getting better. Nobody has used the word ‘triangulation’ for at least a month.

  • Thats_news

    Nose, face, scissors Ka-Snip!  

  • philhuk

    “Work, the source of value” – oh dear. The idea that value is somehow created by the production of a thing through work is such nonsense. You can work and produce all you like but if no one wants to trade that which your work as produced then it has no value. Ironic though that Glassman should recognise areas that where the Coalition is wrong about value and then proceed to get it completely wrong himself. I almost thought he was going to write that “work sets you free” at one point. 

  • mikestallard

    First of all, you must answer the question: Why? Why work? Why not lie in bed and receive the dole? Why not be totally selfish? Can you find a convincing answer to that? How about watching (as I make myself do) Jeremy Kyle?

    Secondly, our views of human nature differ. I believe (I am a Catholic) in fallen man. We are a mixture of good and bad. Freedom encourages bad people to fit into the system by paying them money. Muck that up and you muck up the economy. Labour people have already learned (under Tony Blair) that mucking up the economy makes them unelectable. Mr Blair was elected on landslides several times.

    Thirdly, squeeze the bottom and what happens? Not very much, actually. The Chinese and Indians are doing it very effectively at the moment. That is why a lot of our stuff comes from them and puts money into their banks. Squeeze the top and the richest remove themselves from the tax system entirely.
    Once their taxes are removed, the government cannot support all the Vulnerable. Do you really want to kick the crutches away from physically challenged people? Do you really want to deny mothers with cancer the chance of a recovery? Don’t you believe in the NHS?

    I thought that was what Labour was all about.

    • AlanGiles

      Mike,It is not that easy to get the dole: even in New Labour days, hoops were made to jump through and each month we hear that xxx people are unemployed, but a lesser number are getting JSA.

      There are – and have been for decades – pockets of the UK decimated by unemployment – Wales, the North East, Scotland etc. Also, despite the fact that both this and the previous government want people to work on long past retirement age, it becomes more and more difficult past the age of 50 to find employment.

      I have only ever seen extracts of Mr Kyle’s circus – always unwillingly in waiting rooms and the like. From what I see these people are either actors, desperate to be on TV or fantasists or liars, and certainly exhibitionists. Man may be fallen, but you can hardly gauge the human condition by the exhibits on this programme. As you say everyone is a mix of good and bad (or perhaps good and not so good in most cases).

      You seem to be saying indulge and humour those at the top, because they have the sanction of removing themselves from the country. How many so-called “entertainers” and businessmen have threatend/promised to leave the country if Labour win an election, and how many do so? sadly Cilla Black and co are still here. Even Jim Davidson seems to pop back regularly to let us marvel at his wit

      • mikestallard

        Actually I lived in the north in the 1990s and I was also on the dole there for about ten years too.
        In a fallen world, we have to work with fallen people. And, let us remember, none of us is perfect (except us two of course!)

        • treborc

           I’ve never been on the dole, ok I have been disabled from 1996, but I have never been out of work, yes it was luck, the company I worked for had enough work to keep us employed, but being crippled was not my doing, it was classed as an accident caused by neglect, to carry out routine service. Today the company would have a director locked up, or at least the threat.

          But I’d hate to be unemployed to day because like it or not less employers around in my area then I’ve ever known, and to many dead end  jobs in retail the wages are so low because they know people have no or little choice.

    • Jeff_Harvey

      Comments like this make me thank God that I’m an atheist!

      • mikestallard

        Jeffrey, I can answer all the questions.
        Now let me hear your own answers please.

        • Jeff_Harvey

          Mankind hasn’t fallen anywhere, Mike. We’ve always been here at this level trying to scrape a living on the surface of this globe throughout our relatively short history. If anything humanity as a species has risen, i.e.,  evolved, to become the most successful primate that has thus far existed – sophisticated tool-making hominids, with spoken and written languages, but not special creatures different from all others created in the image of a mythological God. Essentially all that we have is this world and each other and so I reckon we had best try to treat each another – along with the planet generally and every other living thing that shares the planet with us – compassionately and kindly without selfish thought of heavenly reward in order to make life as tolerable for as many as possible for as long as possible. Living kindly and rationally like this mankind might endure as a species and not become extinct for several hundreds of thousands if not  millions of years to come.

          Baldly reality is completely uncaring, aloof and disinterested in man.

          Which is why as unique instances of the universe become conscious we should care about everyone and everything individually and collectively.

          • mikestallard

            “we had best try”  “WE should do”
            I cannot see that this is convincing. Man is not that good. We just aren’t. Quite apart from all the bad stuff (bank robbing etc), the people like Stalin, like General Tojo, like Hitler, like Pol Pot, like Chairman Mao, with the very highest ideals seem to have done the most damage.

            “The universe is completely uncaring, aloof and disinterested in man.” Of course – like us, it is created. And how can anyone deny a creator? Paley’s argument from design works so well (I have read Voltaire). And also, of course how do you explain survival without some form of benevolent supervision?

            I realise that this will not convince. I realise that, in this country, you are the mainstream.

          • AlanGiles

            You have a very bleak view of mankind, Mike. There is thankfully far fewer Hitlers and PolPots, than there are those who show kindness, compassion, love, concern and all those other things that make life bearable.

            In this country alone, just think of all those people who give their time trying to help others. You think of sometimes what appears to be minor acts of kindness, that says a lot about the person doing it – the fireman climbing up a tree to rescue a kitten. Some people might say “why bother?”, but it shows the genuine compassion humans are capable of.

            Of course nobody will ever be perfect but most people are a mixture of good and not so good, and sometimes a few bad faults, but mass murder is luckilly not one of them in the majority.

          • mikestallard

            What a paradox.
            You have a benevolent view of human nature. I have a view of fallen man.
            So you might expect you to trust people and give them a lot of freedom to do what they do best, whereas I might like to lock them up and try and control them!
            So it must come as a real shock when we both believe in things which are totally contrary to our convictions about human nature.

          • Jeff_Harvey

            In my experience human beings unless made otherwise are largely good and want to do good, by and large, unless persuaded otherwise (by politics, philosophy, religion, abuse or brutality) or personal frailty (mental or emotional illness or some kind of more exotic psychopathology).  

            Stalin was a megalomaniac, Tojo was an imperialist and a militarist raised in the tradition of the Samurai who wanted a new Japanese Empire. Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot et al were all similarly fatally damaged individuals with massively distorted views of what the world was, could and should be.  

            Life is stochastic.

            Happenstance creates monsters not evil.

            But you are completely correct when you say that complete self-belief and belief in some dogma are necessary although not necessarily sufficient prerequisites in order to encourage displays of the greatest inhumanity imaginable: most people are naturally good and HAVE to be bent out of shape by some delusion, derangement or some other means before they can be motivated to behave cruelly and unusually.

            As far as creation and survival goes I see no need to invoke any kind of supernatural or divine agency. Beside, as far as geological time goes, our species hasn’t yet survived that long – modern humans have only been around for about 200,000  years. We may yet destroy ourselves or be destroyed in any number of interesting ways, e.g., nuclear, biological or chemical warfare, runaway greenhouse effect, pollution and environmental degradation, global pandemic, new ice age, collision with an asteroid, volcanism etc. Events like this are few and far between so it might not be so much a case of some outside agent nudging us away from harm as simply that we haven’t reached the fatal event on the timetable yet. Our end may simply be pending rather than postponed. To guarantee the longest possible survival for our species I would put my trust in human kindness, intellect and science rather than hope that some “Divine Watchmaker” might intervene to keep the clock going by giving it a wind every now and then out of the goodness of his heart.    

            Don’t you find it odd that I (an atheist) fully believe in the nobility and goodness of man while you (a theist) actively deny it?

            Who would have thunk it?

          • Hugh

             “Don’t you find it odd that I (an atheist) fully believe in the nobility
            and goodness of man while you (a theist) actively deny it?”

            No, it’s almost inevitable because the only benchmark for an atheist is another human. Theists are generally measuring against the standards of a perfect deity.

          • Jeff_Harvey

            But unless you are perfect yourself your understanding of ultimate perfection must ipso facto be imperfectly conceived. This being the case you can only compare things that exist within the compass of currently imperfectly understood reality against some imaginary state of perfection that you yourself have conjured or have accepted as existing based on the say-so of other(s).

            This makes no sense to me.

            I can happily live knowing that all I am is a clevered-up version of an ape and that because I will always be limited and ignorant will never be able to fully understand all and everything in the way I would ideally aspire to.

            But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

            As far as I can see there is no hereafter only here and now.  Sparing the living pain, distress, suffering and death is far more important to me than curiosity or imagined knowledge in respect to any godhead – which, in any case, as a humanist I consider simply an artefact created by the human mind and by-product of complex societies.

          • Hugh

             None of that as far as I can tell really alters the fact that if you think the only really important standard is perfection revealed by God, you’re inevitably going to be less impressed by the goodness of humanity than if you consider that to be all that exists.

            Of course, declaring that people are good without a God to provide an objective standard is fairly meaningless anyway. They’re by definition about average, some better, some worse.

          • Jeff_Harvey

            “… revealed by God…”

            In scripture you mean? Written down by men in Hebrew and Greek before being translated (often mistranslated) into English (and other languages) by various nameless scholars?

            So I suppose you could say that human beings were the ghost writers hired by God to reveal his/her/its truth to the world?

            To me a much more plausible explanation as per this phenomenon is that established folklore and mythology which flourished in ancient tribal societies, as  an oral tradition, eventually got written down by human scribes and later co-opted as holy texts by various civilisations, aristocracies and priesthoods.

            I see no real reason to accept that any work of literature – Bible, Koran, Vedas, Torah, Book of Mormon, whatever – authored by human beings is any more or less divine than any other book written by human beings no matter what its historical precedent or because another person told me so.

            When you talk to God it’s called praying but when God talks back, in the modern world at least, it’s called schizophrenia not prophecy.

          • Hugh

            My observation didn’t really revolve around the phrase “revealed by God”.

            It’s a fairly simple point: if your standard is perfection (however  conceived) then unless you’re terrifically starry eyed about humanity you’re going to consider man fallen. If your standard is humanist philosophy you’re likely to conclude humans pass.

            I didn’t ask you to accept the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Torah or Book of Mormon,

          • Jeff_Harvey

            I think you’re wrong.

            But then my DNA is 96% the same as a chimp!

            Out of room and out of time.

            Good fortune favour you.

          • mikestallard

            I want to point out how we differ.
            You believe in the perfectability of man: I do not.
            You believe that man is born good but has been corrupted by his environment: I believe man is a strange mixture of all sorts of urges, emotions, ideals, lusts and self control. Sort of like Freud said…..

            More important, at bottom, I think you believe in man becoming good through his own efforts, and the efforts of other humans.
            This, to me, is Pelagianism.
            The Person who is bringing good about is what I define as God. Without God, you just cannot do it. Hence the awfulness of human endeavour without God’s help.

            PS God is not in any way limited to ‘religious” Christians. Like a great painter, his hand can move across the whole of his canvas.

            PPS Let us respect each other’s opinions. Only after our death, will we know (or not) the Truth.

  • EoinClarke

    Great Piece! Maurice understands the frustrations of the urban unskilled worker.

    • treborc

       According to labour they are all on the dole enjoying life and do not really belong to society unless they are  hard working.

  • Chas999

    What a dreadfully written, rambling pile of nonsense. The man is barely literate. The Sun would not have paid a penny for it.

    • AlanGiles

      It is very easy to make a glib comment like that, but since your critique is so devastating, I think we have the right to know what you regard as so nonsensical.

      It seems eminently well written to me, and frankly far too good for the Sun New News Of The World and it’s scandal hungry readers.

      I have no intention of buying the SOS, but I am sure this will be a rare piece of erudition amongst a heap of smut

  • Franwhi

     IMHO there’s something a bit disturbing about this piece with its valorisation of work and the worker. Not disagreeing with anything which gives more power to the squeezed bottoms or middles but – and it’s a big BUT the piece tips over into something approaching romantic mysticism of the working man or woman and that phrase “ is our salvation” gives me the creeps quite frankly.  

    • Its what I refer to as ‘workerism’. There is a very fine line between recognising the way that people in manual occupations and those without work have been marginalised, and seeing the horny-handed sons of toil as somehow a more noble type of worker than the university lecturer or the call centre worker. Militant had a workerist orientation, to the extent that people with degrees were very much suspected and had to spend longer being indoctrinated than those from manual occupations.

      Does this qualify? In part, I agree with franwhi’s critique of the language, but there is certainly an urgent need to move away from seeing our future as a giant offshore Switzerland

      • AlanGiles

        I think had I written the article, Mike, had I been Lord Glasman, I would have added that the work that people do, as carers, or in charities or in all those other areas where there is no pay involved, is just as valuable, and it is still work. Of course, when you are retired you have the extra time to do these things, but there are a lot of people below retirement age who do things for various organisations. Also, of course, you have people looking after elderly relatives or neighbours and that is still work. Many “unemployed” people help kin charity shops, and that is still work

        A call centre worker, or a supermarket worker, or a lecturer also does valuable work.

        In my opinion the only work that isn’t really “work” are those desperate to be on TV people who pollute the networks with “reality” shows – I’d say that is more of a hobby (but then again I suppose you could say some hobbies involve work)

    • All power to the squeezed bottom! 

      I’m with your big BUTT, but draw the line at tipping over: 

      It’s a wind-up, a parody. Someone’s having a laugh, either at Glasman HQ or LL HQ.

    • treborc

      It’s annoying this  never ending attack on welfare, lots of young men and women will be back from labours wars and claiming benefits.

  • I agree with this article but I’d never vote Labour as I wouldn’t trust them to make any of the authors suggestions a reality. I have seen what a Labour government in power is actually like and I don’t like it.  I’ll vote SNP from now on.

  • Andrew Nicholas

    Labour shafted the working class. and appear to be proud of it. I’m no Tory and the Lib Dems make me puke, but forget ever being forgiven for it. By the way even though I’m terminally ill I coninue to put a shift in, it’s not all about money you see, think about it when you’re whining about another bunch of bludgers that might have to move house.

    • mactheanti

      If you wish to use your time like that  this is for you and good luck to you, but others do not feel the same way, others may prefer to spend their time doing other things, to each his own. Who is whining about “another bunch of bludgers that might have to move house”?  Why do you automatically assume people in that position are “bludgers”? Are they supposed to have no rights? Are we just going to reside in a country that doesn’t care about its people? you may not care but I (and plenty of others) do.

  • mactheanti

    I would place more credence on this article if it tallied remotely with Maurice Glasman’s last newspaper article, which was a thinly veiled attack on Ed Miliband.  However, I am glad that he has written it, perhaps an acknowledgement to Ed  would be good.

  • treborc

    Mandy is one bloke basically side lined now, he is working for his mate Blair now, flogging religion

  • blingmun

    “Work is our salvation and that is the value that will renew our country.”
    You lefties still haven’t spotted Karl Marx’ fundamental mistake. You could work 14 hours a day digging up mud or untangling pieces of old rope. A physicist and a union representative would both call it “work”. But no one would pay you a penny for your time (although the union rep would be very keen for someone else to do so).

    Value is a phone when you want to speak to someone in another city, a lightbulb when it’s dark or a drink when you’re thirsty. You will pay for those things when you want them and you won’t pay someone to dig up mud.

  • derekemery

    The elephant is the room that is being ignored is the many headed hydra globalisation which is on course to to create poverty and drastically reduce life chances in the UK .
    New Labour wanted and introduced mass immigration. In the Midlands the effect of this aspect of globalisation has been to progressively reduce the wages and life chances for the resident UK workers.

    Wages have halved or more over the last few years  to  finish close to state minimum even for skilled work because there are masses of east Europeans who see these as excellent wages compared with back home. Last year over 70,000 residents lost jobs but 50,000 immigrants gained jobs here. Many now can only find  occasional short term poorly paid contract work.

    The public knows that politicians have zero  interest in them as people as politicians’ only real interests are in causes. In the last 5 years I have never met a single person who had a good word to say about politicians – any politicians from any party. Usually they are berated without first being asked for there opinions. Distrust in politicians and parties in the Midlands is very low and yet still ever-decreasing.

  • treborc

     Not many houses or factories  would be built without people digging up  mud, it’s called footings. You can ring the world, sadly it’s not going to lay a floor or a roof without the foundations being dug, mud again

    • blingmun

      They’d be paying for the space previously occupied by the mud. They would be paying for its removal, not the mud itself.

      But you knew that already unless you’re as stupid as you’re pretending – presumably the case by the fact you didn’t counter the example of untangling pieces of old rope.

      Would you care to address the argument or is the left reduced to pedantry?

  • treborc

     As easy as that, tell you what give me back my legs and I will return to work, bet you were the one that stole the sign over the gate to the concentration camp

  • Dave Postles

     Complete rubbish.  As treborc mentions, there are foundations and footings for buildings; there is the substructure for roads (in particular new roads).  Quite honestly, people underestimate how many ‘manual labourers’ (in the old parlance) will still be necessary in the future.  Bricks, concrete, tarmac, breeze blocks do not lay themselves; whilst there is mechanization, manual labour is still inherent in this work, in completion and finishing as against the heavy lifting.  Farmers, of course, work with the soil – prepare for the increase in the price of foodstuffs later in the year.

    • Dave Postles

       … and the further point is this: we had better make proper provision for these people – they cannot work until they are 70, but will suffer from the outside weather, chronic pain, will be knackered and should be allowed to retire early.  We should prepare for their pensions and their health needs.  Who is investigating all that?

      • blingmun

        Since you are aware of the issue hopefully you will be investigating it yourself and/or encouraging others to do likewise. Or you could wait and hope the nanny state does it for you. What do you say?

    • blingmun

      Of course there’s great value in removing mud for the foundations of buildings and turning soil for agriculture. I thought it was clear I was talking about the mud itself i.e. mining it in order to sell the stuff.

      The distinction I was trying to make is that as with untangling old rope (an example which you ignore for some reason?) there are many activities which require great physical or even intellectual effort — that have the hallmarks of work — but that do not produce anything of value to anyone else. If this seems a rather obvious point, please consider that this is the mistake Karl Marx makes when he states that the value of a thing resides in the work that’s gone into it. It is also a mistake made by many socialists today, for instance the author of the above article who thinks that it is work, not entrepreneurialism that creates value.

  • michellegraham

    This is a joke, right?!? No-one could really expect anyone to take this seriously, surely?

    ‘We’ve all got to do all we can to love and support the squeezed bottom. You should try it. It’s good.’

    The squeezed bottom!?!

  • AlanGiles

    According to the early morning radio press review (March 4th) the “Labour”(?) scribbler for this weeks new News of the World is……. DAVID MILIBAND


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