We can’t Afford not to Invest in a Better Society.

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How we Afford a Better Society – and How to Recognise it

When someone asks you , “How can we afford to spend more on our public services”, the simple answer is, “We can’t afford not to.”

Every day we see the effects of austerity policies, from boarded-up, depressing High Streets, poverty, and hungry children to decimated public services. We can’t go on like this.

Austerity was always a political ploy, unnecessary, and intentionally cruel, and it is a policy which propels us  further in a downward gloomy spiral. No one really benefits, no one is really happy in an increasingly divided society, where the only solution is to blame one another, where in reality we are all missing out, from what society could be.

And the only way out of this is to invest in our society towards better lives for us all.

We are not short of labour, resources or land in order to invest in a society in which we can thrive, where people can live fulfilled lives. But people are without jobs, land and property is underused, held back by those in power, because it suits the Tory, capitalist philosophy, where it creates division, competition, greed – and ultimately war and hate too. And rich pickings for the very few.

We just need the political will to rebuild, to build a better society.

The government has the ability – and responsibility – to release money into the economy right now to get our economy moving efficiently again.

As a sovereign state, the UK government controls its own currency, and can release as much as it needs, and so it should. It’s not like a household budget waiting for payday. I imagine the flow of currency like running a bath, you can run as much as you need, then turn off the tap when you’ve enough. And rather like a bath with an overflow, excess funds can be drawn off – and that’s where taxation comes in, preventing inflation, but in a fair, balanced way so that everyone is benefitting from the investment in the new and better society, and everyone is that bit happier.

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The state’s currency is indeed the People’s money, but not ‘taxpayer’s’ because we don’t need to pay tax to use it. It’s there already. Money can be created by a computer keyboard whenever the government chooses to. Tax is not needed to pay for resources, because tax results from previous government spending, and is a way of ensuring a fair distribution.

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When adequate money is circulating in the economy it doesn’t stay hidden away. People spend, and so it means more jobs, and so what comes around, is shared around. Like cycles in nature, water or carbon cycles, money circulates as it makes things happen. In a successful economy, no person or place is left behind. Poverty is unacceptable, and it is avoidable.

A better society is one which puts people first, is sustainable, where every person can reach their potential, to learn, to enjoy leisure time, to enjoy good health and a good home.

We can envisage a society where everyone is caring for one another, everyone can contribute and participate, rather than blaming one another for the ills of a society caused by a flawed economy, backed only by the myth that funds are non existent. And this vision can be realised by a Labour government, determined to ensure an economy which really works for the many, not the few.

This was realised by the 1945 Labour government after the war, when despite the ravages of war, and rationing, there was investment in people, providing an NHS, homes for all and the welfare state, providing a safety net for all of us in times of misfortune. It was possible then because people came together with a strong will to build a better society. The people had seen the effects of divided people, greed, and mistrust. People came together by a united will for peace. And it worked. A whole generation benefitted from opportunities never seen before in their families.

The right wing media frequently use a Shock Doctrine to keep people fearful and divided. Deprivation and fear can mean people look to blame each other rather than see it is caused by the flawed and unjust system and so hold back from change . This is why scare tactics are used by the wealthy establishment, reinforced by the right wing media who repeat the same adages so often they believe them to be true.

But as we have seen, out of adversity, out of fear and desperation, comes a determination to change society for the better for us all. We cannot afford to carry on with an economy which is leaving people homeless, dying on our streets, leaving children hungry. We cannot afford an economy which benefits the few, and not the many.

 

At Labour Party Conference 2017, Naomi Klein said:

“Moments of crisis do not have to go the Shock Doctrine route – they do not need to become opportunities for the already obscenely wealthy to grab still more.

They can also go the opposite way.

They can be moments when we find our best selves….. when we locate reserves of strength and focus we never knew we had.

We see it at the grassroots level every time disaster strikes.

We all witnessed it in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe.”

When we witness the potential of humanity, of hope and determination, we know we can achieve a better society.  We can afford a better society, and to make better use resources at our disposal.

There is so much potential in the people of Britain, and of the wider world.

We can’t afford not to use it. We can’t afford to waste any more lives.

Free Speech – Preserving the right to express and share opinions

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We share these concerns expressed, of information of individual members being suspended, for what would seem to be expressing personal opinions, or sharing others, and look upon the Labour Party to preserve the right of free expression.  Please see below the text of a motion from Henley BLP and reasons for their support of the motion.

(Permission to post given from member of Henley BLP:)

TEXT OF FREE SPEECH MOTION

This branch believes that there should be no infringement on the rights of free speech and free criticism within the Labour Party. The thousands of suspensions of Labour members during the 2016 leadership election, based often on one-off comments on social media, unsubstantiated claims or association with left wing organisations, appears to have been politically motivated.

This process was an affront to democracy and this CLP condemns the entire process. Legitimate grievances should be dealt with according to the principles of fairness, with suspension as a last resort not a primary action. We demand the reinstatement of all those still suspended without a hearing.

Regarding expulsions, there should be no ban on memberships of campaigns or organisations as long as they are not campaigning against the election of a Labour government or Labour councils.
The only acceptable political limitation on membership of the Party, other than the exclusion of proscribed organisations, is that people who join or are members or supporters, commit to support Labour candidates in future elections. Earlier electoral activity is of no importance.

We call on the CLP to welcome in any supporter and member prepared to make such a commitment.

We call on the National Executive Committee to ensure that these principles are reflected in the membership application process, so that all party units will welcome in any supporter and member prepared to make such a commitment.

We demand the Party implement the proposals in the Chakrabarti report.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION

I believe that if there is to be any real unity in the Labour Party, we must have transparency, fairness and people must be free to express their opinions freely, without fear of reprisals.

In the run up to the election thousands of members were purged; the figure is now given as 182,000.

The entire Brighton and Hove District CLP were suspended – the Labour Party’s biggest CLP with 6,000 members – days after a vote that installed officers supportive of Jeremy Corbyn in key posts. The entire Wallasey CLP, was also suspended after they threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in Angela Eagle when she was nominated as a candidate in the leadership election.

Others have had the most tenuous accusations to justify their suspensions: retweeting a tweet from the Green Party in 2013; posting a tweet supporting a rock band, the ‘ Foo Fighters’; unsubstantiated accusations of ‘ abuse’ with no details of rights to appeal, or pending investigations.

The Labour Party have gone through members’ Facebook and Twitter accounts for periods up to three years back, in order to dredge up treasons to purge them, contravening their democratic and human right to free speech, a right of privacy and due process.
Many of the purged have had no reasons given to them at all, such as two bed ridden grannies with terminal cancer who have participated in no political activity whatsoever. We have no idea how many conference delegates were suspended.

What most of the purged have in common is that they supported Jeremy Corbyn.

Anti-Corbyn supporters have not been purged in the same way despite a tide of insults, including one who described Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters as Nazi Storm Troopers.

Given the timing it is reasonable to assume, it was intended to reduce Corbyn’s mandate.

Many of those who have been suspended remain distressed. One woman claims to have developed depression. Others are afraid to say what they want on social media, for fear that their accounts will be snooped and things will be used against them – because the purge continues.

Last week Labour suspended the black Jewish vice-chair of Momentum, Jackie Walker, after she asked questions deemed inappropriate.

People must be free to express their opinions freely in the Labour Party. There must due process and the right of appeal. These things are natural justice and the Labour Party, must be seen to enact them. The Labour Party has always been a broad church and we must not conduct a witch hunt of our members or silence people by exclusion and force.

Education: What if..?

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Education: What if..?

First posted on December 8, 2013 by julijuxtaposed

What if we were to agree that all humans have value that lies way beyond their financial capacity and academic intellect?  That it is obscene to reduce people to nothing more than a unit of monetary worth?  That artistic, sporting and practical abilities be as valid?  That the higher intelligences such as empathy, grace and kindness be seen as strengths, not weaknesses?  That education is its own reward rather than merely a means to someone else’s ends?

The point of a structured period of compulsory schooling should be to facilitate the awareness and understanding of a complex world to children, not merely the ability to pass tests and march to the beat of the latest diktats of fashionistas, inept governments and corporate drummers.

What if we decided that we didn’t want to have to choose which school to send our children to?  What if we didn’t feel the need to?  What if we made sure there were enough state schools at every educative level, easily accessible to every child in the country?  And what if each and every one of those schools were of such an excellent standard that only fools and radicals would seek to pay extra to send their children elsewhere?  What if our state schools were so blooming good that every child received the highest possible standard of education and every parent and employer knew it?  What if teachers were trusted and valued as highly as are the expectations placed upon them?  Any worth their salt would be clamouring to work in such an amazing public sector.

And why the rush to bring our children to employable maturity if emotional intelligence cannot keep up?  (Indeed, why the rush if there are insufficient jobs to even require their labour?)  It hasn’t been coined as ‘childhood’ for nothing.  We are adults soon enough and it lasts, hopefully, for a very long time so why are we heaping panic upon pressure upon stress on our kids?  To compete in the global race to be grateful automatons?  It is part of being a child that s/he should be in a hurry to grow up but it is the job of adults to temper that impatience, not to concede and actively demand they do.  If we really are all living longer then let’s make it a life worth living by getting right one of the fundamental building blocks of a confident, prosperous people.

Education is supposed to facilitate self-confidence and the ability to learn; to encourage critical thinking, curiosity and a love of learning.  Thus, though school cannot teach absolutely everything, if it has done its job properly, it shouldn’t need to.  Education is supposed to reveal an individual’s potential.  In order for this to be achieved, schooling needs to provide the opportunity, time and space for a child to discover what that might be.  Teachers need the freedom and scope to assist and appropriately indulge or signpost that opportunity.  The next generation are the future, the continuum of the human race.  Our children are our legacy.  Not in the sense of property, but as the living arrows of Society’s bow, to paraphrase Gibran.  Could there really be any task more worthy or vital?

And what if we were to decide to phase out faith-based schools?  What if we said that doctrinal faith should not be prescribed to children with little or no escape or counterbalance?  Perhaps our society would lose an excuse for the oft-cited sense of cultural division if the doctrines of cults were retired to their temples.  The point of a secularist/pluralist society is to achieve and uphold equality under the law and in a multi-faith and no-faith country like ours, that makes Faith (which is not exclusive to Orthodox Religion) a matter of personal rather than public policy.  It does not negate nor deride it but recognises that not everyone has it and that no one faith is superior to another.  Religion, like Politics, is a living history, based on theory and belief.  In schools, shouldn’t it be reflected, explored and debated as such, under the umbrella subject of Philosophy, rather than passed off as though its teachings were fixed by empirical data or as though it were the sole route to ‘God’ and the only expression of a spiritually and consciously lived life?

In fact, what if we decided that any school, within or outside of the state system that was intentionally selective about its admissions or adherence to a compulsory, base-line national curriculum should not qualify for funds from the Public Purse?  I don’t mean barring schools from adding subjects to a mandatory curriculum – I’d have loved the opportunity to learn Latin, or even circus skills, actually – I’m talking about the ridiculous notion that a minimum national curriculum is not necessary; that schools should be able to opt out of any of the recommended subjects, particularly such issues as drugs and sex and relationships.  This is not acceptable.  Students need to know they share a common level of knowledge and that they are not being cheated of vital information or a major life skill.

Obviously it is not the place of a free society to dictate to individual adults the manner in which they live, so long as it does not harm another.  Neither, therefore, what individuals do with their income.  It follows, then, that it is unwisely authoritarian to take away the freedom to choose and pay for exclusivity.  But I would happily – very happily – see governmental policies that rendered it superfluous.

Threat to our Rights as we slip into the Post-Democratic Era

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Whilst we argue over semantics, we miss the erosion of our Rights

In the worst cases, governors can be rather like the jury that was dismissed from a high-profile trial last week: ill-informed and not able to make good decisions”; this is what BBC News quote Sir Michael Wilshaw Ofsted Chief Inspector of having said to support his call for some school governors to be paid.  Apparently Sir Wilshaw, who is also Michael Gove, the education secretary’s  ”hero”, in a speech today will cite “ weaknesses in leadership, including governing bodies, were a common problem among the 6,000 schools rated less than good“.

This comes hot on the heels of Sir Michael Wilshaw the judge presiding over the Vicky Price Trial, describing the jury as having “absolutely fundamental deficits in understanding“; because 10 of the 12 members couldn’t agree upon a verdict and that they asked questions seeking advice.

I’m not attempting here to debate the abilities of everyone to be an effective school governor, nor even jury member; my concern is that within a week there are two knights of the realm in the news claiming the general public are effectively not able, to carry out civic duties.

The notion that people in general are not capable is not only offensive but I believe untrue, I can’t help but think this is nothing more than posturing in an attempt to justify the ongoing erosion of the civic & political rights of the general populace

For me, this is an attempt to further undermine the confidence of the people, in, the people. It coming at the time, when most people are becoming poorer via the struggling National economy and therefore in need of a greater amount of State Support, is I believe, another example of the Elite playing divide and conquer. While we argue on the abilities, or lack of, in each other we fail to recognise the reality; we are losing another right every week; the loss of legal aid will result in little or no access to natural justice, fewer employment rights leaves us at the mercy of Company owners, the effective removal of living space via the commonly known bedroom tax means a depletion in our right to privacy , increased powers for the Police to ‘kettle’ demonstrators disallows our right to assemble, etc.

The loss of these Rights might appear as unimportant as we struggle to make ends meet but this is exactly what the Government and the wealth holders want, they continue to profit in both finance and power believing the people too bemused to understand the bigger picture.

And I’m truly worried that they may be correct??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21593576

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/14/michael-wilshaw-new-ofsted-chief

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/20/vicky-pryce-retrial-jury

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/feb/20/vicky-pryce-trial-10-questions

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/20/vicky-pryce-jury-can-reach-majority-verdict

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Cameron attacks our hard-won ‘Right to Challenge’

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Labour Should Be The Party of Civil Liberties

Are we already in the post-democratic era?

The NHS and TINA – Mrs. Thatcher’s ideological, anti-democratic, political legacy

Straight-Talking Labour