Yet another promise shredded as Starmer maintains 100% weasel record
Keir Starmer has broken yet another promise – maintaining his perfect betrayal record – by abandoning his pledge to scrap the hateful and cruel Universal Credit system through which the Tories have inflicted years of misery and poverty on the UK’s lowest earning and most vulnerable.
Starmer’s Work and Pensions spokesman Jon Ashworth, challenged directly whether Starmer – who has already been mocked this week for claiming he will ‘renew’ the UK after thirteen years of Tory cuts without spending more – would honour his promise to scrap the system that has pushed huge numbers into abject poverty, responded that:
We’re going to reform universal credit … it’s a computer system. We’re not going to go back to the six different benefits that I think it brought together but we are going to reform it.
The lumping together of benefits that were previously tailored to the needs and circumstances of different types of claimant is one of the fundamentally damaging aspects of Universal Credit – and Labour had unequivocally promised to get rid of the whole system and ‘replace’ it with something fit for purpose, to show that ‘Labour is on the side of working people’, millions of whom rely on benefits to top up low pay they are forced to accept while employers fatten profits:
Starmer was asked this week by an interviewer what the point is of voting Labour when he will be no different to the Tories. If there is any difference, it’s an even lower level of trustworthiness. A Starmer promise is not fit to wipe your backside with.
Yet public ownership is opposed passionately by the Conservative government, while the leader of the opposition has said he is “not in favour” of it – despite his election on a platform that committed to “bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership to end the great privatisation rip-off and save you money on your fares and bills”.
Public ownership is on the media’s radar, too. When Labour leader Keir Starmer announced his policy to freeze bills this week, he was asked why he wouldn’t also nationalise energy, replying that: “In a national emergency where people are struggling to pay their bills … the right choice is for every single penny to go to reducing those bills.”
But so long as energy remains privatised, every single penny won’t. Billions of pennies will keep going to shareholders instead.
The energy market was fractured under the mass privatisations of the Thatcher governments in the 1980s. It contains three sectors: producers or suppliers (those that produce energy), retailers (those that sell you energy), and distribution or transmission (the infrastructure that transports energy to your home).
It is important to bear this in mind when we’re talking about taking energy into public ownership. We need to be clear about what we want in public ownership and why.
By 2019, Labour had a detailed plan on how to do this – worked up by the teams around then shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey and then shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The plan is not the only way, but it illustrates what exists and how one could go about re-establishing a public energy ecosystem, run for people not profit.
The recent TUC report shows the cost of nationalising the ‘Big 5’ energy retailers – British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Ovo – to be £2.8bn, which would go on buying all the companies’ shares. That’s a lot of money, equivalent to more than the annual budget of the Sure Start programme in 2009/10 (its peak year). But it’s a one-off cost, not an annual one.
And it’s not like the current privatised system doesn’t have its costs: since June 2021, the UK government has spent £2.7bn bailing out 28 energy companies that collapsed because they put short-term profits ahead of long-term stability – companies like Bulb Energy. We have spent billions of pounds already to get nothing in return. So £2.8bn is not a large amount of money to pay to gain these assets, rather than just bailing them out.
The big energy retail companies made £23bn in dividends between 2010 and 2020 according to Common Wealth, and £43bn if you include share buy-backs. What you choose to do with that surplus in public ownership is another matter: you could use it to invest in new clean energy or to lower bills or fund staff pay rises, rather than subject your workers to fire-and-rehire practices as British Gas did last year.
Labour’s previous plan also involved taking the distribution networks – the National Grid – into public ownership. This would end the profiteering at this level, too – with £13bn paid out in dividends over the five years prior to 2019. As Long Bailey said at the time, we need “public driven and coordinated action, without which we simply will not be able to tackle climate change”. Like previous nationalisations, the purchase of the grid and distribution networks could be achieved by swapping shares for government bonds. By international accounting standards, the cost is fiscally neutral as the state gains a revenue-generating asset, which more than pays for the bond yield.
The final part of the plan – and the most complicated – is production and supply. It would be impossible to nationalise the oilfields of Saudi Arabia or Qatar – and for good reasons we should want to leave fossil fuels in the ground, anyway, rather than contest their ownership.
And so what Labour proposed in 2019 was a mass investment in new renewable energy generation projects, with the public sector taking a stake and returning profits to the public. For example, under the ‘People’s Power Plan’, we proposed 37 new offshore wind farms with a 51% public stake, delivering 52GW alone by 2030, equivalent to 38 coal power stations. There were additional proposals for onshore wind, solar, and tidal schemes, as part of a 10-year £250bn Green Transformation Fund, which included other schemes like the Warm Homes insulation initiative.
Labour’s new shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised a similar level of investment – a £28bn a year climate investment pledge.
Any surplus energy would then be sold on international markets, with a People’s Power Fund – a sort of sovereign wealth fund – to deliver public investment in local communities’ social infrastructure: a genuine levelling-up fund, perhaps.
Many people will say this can’t be done, but of course it has been before. The 1945 Attlee government nationalised energy and successive Conservative governments – including those of Churchill, MacMillan and Heath – were happy to have a nationalised asset. Harold MacMillan famously accused Margaret Thatcher of “selling off the family silver” when she privatised state industries.
When I was born in 1979, the National Coal Board, British Gas and British Petroleum were all publicly-owned or majority publicly-owned companies. Between them, they were the major suppliers of our energy. Our gas bills came from British Gas and our electricity bills from our regional electricity board (in my case Seeboard, the South Eastern Electricity Board), and coal and oil fuelled our power stations.
The regional electricity boards had been brought into being by the Attlee government’s Electricity Act 1947, when electricity companies were forcibly merged into regional area boards and nationalised. The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 and the Gas Act 1948 had together brought energy into public ownership.
Seeboard was privatised in 1990, and later became part of EDF Energy – ironically, the nationalised French energy company, whose profits from the UK’s stupidity are used to subsidise French consumers.
The French government has now fully nationalised EDF (previously it was 84% publicly owned), and household energy bills rose by just 4% this year – compared to over 50% in the UK and a forecast 200% by January 2023.
If Starmer doesn’t want to listen to me (or his own commitments from 2020), perhaps emulating the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this instance would be palatable?
From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources
In his later years, Robin Cook argued: “The market is incapable of respecting a common resource such as the environment, which provides no price signal to express the cost of its erosion nor to warn of the long-term dangers of its destruction.”
From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources. The market has also failed to decarbonise at pace, or to end the scourge of fuel poverty.
On the media this week, shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband said Labour is “continuing to look at what the right long-term solution is for our energy system”. It is up to all of us to campaign for that solution to be public ownership – whether that’s from within the Labour Party (like me) or from the outside.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances at Lloyd’s of London headquarters and prevented staff from entering the building, with the aim of closing down the insurance and reinsurance giant for the day.
The climate campaigners are is demanding that Lloyd’s of London stop insuring fossil fuels projects, and highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the Lloyd’s marketplace.
The action is part of the April Rebellion and comes after 10 days of ongoing disruption across the UK from Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil coalition.
The United Kingdom’s ostensibly leftist Labour Party came under fire Monday after calling for nationwide injunctions to block direct actions by climate campaigners that shut down oil terminals to demand an end to new fossil fuel investments.
“Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“On the Conservatives’ watch, drivers are being hammered by rising petrol prices and now millions of motorists can’t access fuel,” tweeted Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. “The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions to put an end to this disruption.”
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, made similar remarks Monday, outraging supporters of the Just Stop Oil (JSO) demonstrations—which started at the beginning of April—along with other leftists within and beyond the U.K.
“The Labour Party has just called for nationwide injunctions against climate protesters who are peacefully demonstrating against fossil fuels for all of our futures,” said Joe Ryle, who campaigns for a four-day work week and serves as the media and communications lead for a think tank.
“This is a disgrace, flies in the face of all the climate science, and will be deeply unpopular with Labour members,” asserted Ryle, a former press officer for the political party.
Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn made clear he disagrees with the push by Labour to criminalize or further block legitimate climate activism directed at the fossil fuel industry.
“We need a Green New Deal and a sustainable planet for future generations,” said Corbyn. “Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“Absolutely incredible,” declared British columnist Owen Jones. “In Keir Starmer’s game-changing video in the Labour leadership campaign, he was showcased as a crusading lawyer who defended activists from being prosecuted by the state. Now he’s calling for environmental protesters to get locked up!”
Looks like I should start campaigning against Keir Vissarionovich Starmer and his Stalinist Blue Labour party. Looks like the best election result I could hope for would be a hung parliament so that the smaller parties with green policies will have power.
6/3/22 Since the election of Keir Starmer as the leader of the Labour Party – and arguably before but definitely since – the Labour Party is not a democratic party having abandoned party rules, principles and policies to the benefit of the right-wing of the party.
If you vote Labour, then you are voting for dictatorship.
7/3/22 1.25am Went to a Wetherspoons pub tonight. No nuts, dark rum or brandy, that’s pretty crap Tim.
Your wi-fi was crap too. I had taken a new device but prompted and expected to login over http, not https. I recognised that it was crap and unwilling to take such a dangerous step because I know what it means. Being a pub, it’s probably worse not having any nuts, dark rum or brandy. It’s not really a pub then, is it?
[11/3/22: Was there again last night Tim. The forty-niner is off. It’s got that nasty sweet taste where fruit flies have got in or the lines have never been cleaned. It looks the wrong colour too, clear but like a strong orange tint. I shouldn’t need to tell you this really, you should make sure that it’s good. Shame I can’t afford a real pub.]
Back to Keith being crap
Oh, sorry been to the pub, forgot about making the postscripts blue. That’s magick that is ;) Shall I make it really skimple? “with love”. I can do that because I’m a magickian ;)
Back to Keith Stalin. The Skwawkbox is probably the best source that documents Keith’s Stalinism. As I said earlier, if you vote Labout you’re voting for dictatorship.
Cor, I had a wierd week. A local bully set his dog on me Tuesday in the park and we were fighting. I was ill with an upper respiratory tract infection (like a cold but actually a swollen neck causing cold symptoms) and NHS 111 were really crap, should be 5417 or 7175 or something instead. I’ve got it recorded thi scunt trying to rebuke me for not registering with a GP. The point is that I had registered and deregistered because GPs are cnuts. I am not registered with a GP practice because they are abusive shits.
Then on Friday a cabbie smacked mirrors with me and tried to claim that I had damaged his car so the mirrors didn’t tuck in any more. Did my mirror smack his mirror or his mirror smack my mirror? If his mirrors don’t tuck in any more, why does the left one not tuck in? Is his car just an old car like Blair’s one with the knackered gearbox?
Yes, I know Keith Stalin Fascist Shit. I haven’t smoked for five days.
2.37 Why you waiting for me? It’s all at skwawkbox.
The 2019 UK general election matters because the climate emergency means that the next decade is critical for the future of humanity. Only a Labour government can really turn things around, not just in the UK, but globally. This may sound exaggerated, but it’s true. Let me explain.
While flooding has affected people in Yorkshire during the election period, look further afield and many millions are suffering the impacts of catastrophic floods in Central and East Africa. Fires have raged in Australia and things will get a lot worse until humans stabilise Earth’s rapidly changing climate. To do that means carbon emissions need to decline to zero. Fast.
Pursuing policies to limit warming to 1.5℃, as the Paris Agreement mandates, is a two part process. Stage one is to halve global emissions by 2030. Stage two is to eliminate the other half by 2050. Getting the world to zero emissions is extremely difficult as it means every sector of every country needs to get to zero. We can still pollute, but every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted will need to be immediately captured again, giving a net impact of zero emissions.
A serious plan
Finally, after 30-plus years of scientists explaining the problem, a major political party of a major economy has a serious plan for part one of the process. After wrangling between grassroots activists and trade unions, the Labour Manifesto pledges that the “substantial majority” of UK emissions will be eliminated by 2030. This isn’t bluster, as there is serious investment planned across electricity production (more wind and solar), buildings (retrofitting all UK houses to high efficiency standards), transport (investment in buses, only electric cars sales from 2030), and heavy industry (research and development into hydrogen and carbon capture technology), to name a few sectors.
Crucially, this would be driven by those who control the finances of the country. A new Sustainable Investment Board would bring together the chancellor, business secretary and Bank of England governor to oversee and co-ordinate these major investments. A National Investment Bank with £250 billion allocated for decarbonising the economy provides serious funds. And climate and environmental impacts will be included in the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts, so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every government decision.
Labour are calling it a Green Industrial Revolution. And it would be. It is a far-reaching set of policies and investments befitting the scale of the problem.
Tory plan ‘lacks ambition’
By comparison the Conservative Party manifesto lacks ambition and seriousness. Capital spending on climate – broadly conceived – is just £20 billion. There is no overarching strategy to reach net zero. As the independent analysts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said of the whole manifesto, “If a single Budget had contained all these tax and spending proposals we would have been calling it modest. As a blueprint for five years in government the lack of significant policy action is remarkable.”
While the Conservatives have a net zero target of 2050 and official UK emissions have dropped by 43% from 1990 levels, most of the reduction has come from the power sector, and the low-hanging fruit of switching from coal-fired electricity generation to gas and renewables. Beyond this, their record over the past decade in government has been poor – emissions from transport, buildings and agriculture have not declined over recent years.
Of course, UK emissions are just 1% of the world’s total, so does it matter what the UK does? It does. First, because every country needs to get to net zero emissions. Second, as the fifth largest economy in the world, large and sustained reductions in emissions across all sectors simultaneously would become a beacon to other countries to learn from the UK and reduce their emissions more quickly. Third, Labour would use £4 billion of new overseas development funds help countries leap-frog the fossil fuel age.
Finally, geopolitics matters. The world is gripped by right-wing populists who are often hostile to tackling climate change. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro abandoned hosting this years’ UN climate talks, while Donald Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement. Fearful inward-looking nationalism means that the internationalism necessary to tackle climate change is being eroded.
The antidote to the rising right-wing populism that Brexit and Boris Johnson are part of, is a Labour government with a Green Industrial Revolution at its heart. And just as Brexit spurred the Trump campaign, a win for Labour would increase the chances of the Democrats in the US reaching office and pursuing a similar Green New Deal. The tide would be turning towards deploying the tools of the state to reshape the economy to seriously tackle climate change.
Scientists working on climate often say some form of transformation of society is needed to tackle climate change. Here’s a rare chance to lever serious resources to do just that. Of course, supporting any political party is a major compromise, especially with our voting system.
When it comes to the environment, you can’t beat the Greens, but they can’t form the next government. The big prize is to grasp the chance to turn things around. So, I won’t just be voting this election. I’ll be out knocking on doors to canvas for Labour. It’s the least I can do. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
A rough guide to factions in UK politics. Comments are welcome.
This is my own work looking at the influences behind various UK politicians. You are welcome to disagree with any point. It should be recognised and accepted that some politicians will not have any philosophical or ideological basis at all – many people simply unquestionably accept the politics and world-view of their parents. Some of them may also be mad or simply whores to power or financial gain.
Socialists are a diverse bunch often fighting injustice e.g. anti-racism, and campaign for human rights, universal healthcare, democracy, equality, workers’ rights, etc. There are more radical Socialists outside of parliamentary politics fragmented according to adherence to the different historical origins and aspects of Socialist Ideology. The Labour party catchphrase “For the many, not the few” catches the Socialist ethos perfectly. [17/1/22 This article is now dated and was written while Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the UK Labour Party. “For the many, not the few” was a slogan of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and the title of the 2017 Labour Party manifesto. This ethos has been abandoned by the current UK Labour Party under leader Keir Starmer which should be regarded as a return to Blairism i.e. Tories pretending to be Socialists and no mainstream political representation of Socialism in UK.]
Parliamentary Socialists are not that concerned with historical Socialist ideology. They will recognise and object to the vast inequalities in wealth and control of the media but that’s about it.
Neo-Liberals are Capitalists who believe that “the market will provide”. These are the ones who are keen on deregulation so that businesses are unhindered by “red tape” – actually laws and regulations that protect standards and ordinary people – and the privatisation of everything. Brexit is all to do with deregulation so Brexiteers are mostly Neo-Liberals.
Neo-Conservatives are Neo-Liberals with the added aspect that they are Zionists – supporters of the state of Israel. Theresa May and many of the Conservative party are Neo-Cons.
Rabid Zionists are extreme supporters of the state of Israel. These are the ones that make accusations of anti-Semitism within the Labour party. The Al Jazzera series ‘the Lobby’ shows that Israel is directing accusations of anti-Semitism and the Israeli embassy may deserve its own entry in this guide.
Appeasers to Zionism. Since Zionists are attempting to apply a veto on UK politicians there are those that appease them to gain advantage. Strangely, these are often found to be trombonists.
The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party). Theresa May’s minority government is supported by the DUP. In any abusive relationship, the party that needs the relationship least is in the position of power.
6/3/19 Apologies that I neglected the nationalists. I did intend to but was on a roll.
“In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, ‘just to keep people frightened’. This was an idea that had literally never occurred to him. She also stirred a sort of envy in him by telling him that during the Two Minutes Hate her great difficulty was to avoid bursting out laughing.” George Orwell, 1984
As it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Charlie Hebdo attack on cartoonists in Paris was fake, manufactured terrorism I need to point some things out. I apologise this is basically in note form at the moment.
Repeated false-flag events. 9/11 was clearly not the first, [?Madrid? NB days after 911], London, Paris [most likely Mumbai too]
The joke they play – killing their own people. Warning given.
Surprised at the French people being taken in – are they or just some?
Police, politicians, journalists permit this to happen. For example, police, politicians and journalists conspired in the murder of an unsuspecting foreign national by a foreign national gang (on the tube).
A Fascist state – not democracy. A small, organised criminal cabal in charge with state institutions subservient to it. Similar to P2 in Italy. Neo-Con scum. Deception as per teachings of Levi Strauss. That Muslims are being demonised as Jews were.
Political parties beholden to them – relate to TTIP i.e. totally contrary to public interest, democracy but for the benefit of the small wealthy elite.
Labour Party just as bad as the Conservatives / Conservative Lib-Dems. Ed Balls & Mandy Mandelson (although New Labour, current LP no discernible difference to Tories) at Bilderberg. Did Blair attend? Blair did attend and lied to parliament about attending. Tiny filthy rich minority getting filthy richer.
Conveniently-timed deaths and suicidings. For Blair John Smith, David Kelly, Robin Cook (who was a challenge, on tour).
Relate to paedophilia – that paedophilia is a way to control politicians, Blair’s cabinet [There may be an assumption that the Blair minister involved in exerting influence so that a convicted paedo child care home supervisor in South London could adopt children is mandy. I don’t assume that and my working hypothesis is that there were many paedos in Blair’s cabinet – as is the case in previous cabinets.], Kitty, Blair’s entertainment in Washington.
People have to stand up to them & they should be held accountable under the law. They are organised criminals.