(Lack of) Food for thought

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Not a wholly original blog today – stats & video are taken from “The Canary”

The stats below all have links and at the bottom is the link to a gentleman called Peter Stefanovic who is a campaigner and lawyer. He makes arguments that most decent people would support but no-one seems to be fighting for them.

Regardless how you are thinking of voting, please don’t fall for the apathy that some media outlets are already peddling. Ever time we get a chance to vote we should use that democratic right to it’s fullest. This is an opportunity to make your voice heard. If we all moan that nothing ever changes it’s because too many people aren’t voting.

We need to encourage everyone to get out for both the local and Westminster elections and have an impact. If you don’t believe me just look at the Brexit vote – well over 10 million people didn’t vote. That’s madness! Those people could have easily changed the vote either to Remain or to securely stamp Leave rather than the paper-thin difference we ended with.

This is a real turning point for the UK – and not just about the EU. We have had a Tory led government since 2010 and an SNP led Government since 2007 and both north and south of the border things are getting worse for our valued public services and servants. We are looking the other way at Europe and wondering what will happen there while behind us Education, Health, Mental Health, support for Carers and the Disabled are being eroded. Not enough money is being provided and where money is coming in it’s not to the people who so desperately need it. The poorest in the UK are miles behind those at the top – we are one of the richest countries in the world yet we are failing too many people.

Vote – but think carefully before you do and ensure your vote is for a positive change and a strike for hope in a world where too many are being left behind.

  • 400,000 children are now living in poverty, a figure which rose 100,000 in 2015/16. 67% of those are from working families.
  • Food bank usage has risen, with over half a million people reliant on just the Trussell Trust for food packages.
  • In two reports, the UN heavily criticised the Tories for “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. The government, meanwhile, has severely cut their benefits.
  • The past year has seen strikes by junior doctors, rail workers, teaching assistants, library workers, and other public sector staff. Their pay increases have mostly been capped at 1%.
  • National debt has increased by more than 50%.
  • Homelessness has risen by 54%.
  • Corporations have seen tax cuts [pdf] while the tax gap is around £120bn per year.
  • The NHS has seen a real terms cut in the amount of money given to it per patient. While the amount of NHS money paid to ‘independent’ companies has more than doubled to £8bn a year.
  • The government has cut the number of people getting social care by 26%. And it has cut £50m from children’s mental health services.

JD

Omnishambles

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An utterly useless clusterfuck of a move today by Despicable May. I wonder at what point she decided, “Well the world’s on the brink of a nuclear winter, our traditional allies are putting distance between us because we asked for a divorce and the UK’s devolved administrations are all at loggerheads with Westminster – let’s have a General Election to bring us all back together!”

In which sane part of the land is that even an idea – never mind a good one? It comes of course with a huge amount of baggage and politically the public are confused to what to do. Do Labour Voters who support Brexit vote Tory or UKIP for the first time in their lives? Do the Remainers return to the Lib Dem fold even though Fallon is as wet as Corbyn during a wet t-shirt contest? Does it really matter how Scotland votes?

It appears to me that there is no positive outcome to this election. Starting with the Tories –  if they gain seats as predicted, then Brexit is not just Hard but Granite – a majority would leave backbenchers without the ability to frustrate and hold its own party to account. We would be looking at a possible exit without a deal as we know these things could take up to a decade to finalize and we have 23 months. May would be bolstered and would march into Brussels thinking she had a mandate – but the figures from the EU referendum don’t change because of a General Election, it’s a different vote altogether.

She assumes that because the other parties are weak that she’ll automatically be put back in, but she has to be careful. The 52% of the country who voted to Leave the EU are not all right wing voters. All other parties (apart from the SNP) have said they respect the decision but want checks and balances the other end of the negotiations. To many this seems like a fair thing to do and her hardened stance that she and her government have the final say may come across as dictatorial and unreflective of the uncertain mood in the country.

Labour must be both loving and dreading this. On one hand Corbyn could be out on his ear and we’d get a stronger leader. His ideas are good, he’s just not the man to deliver them. A more public service friendly, compassionate and thoughtful leader he has been – but his charisma is now on watchlists as it hasn’t been seen for years. The upside could be they pull back in the working class vote lost to UKIP but the mixed messages on Brexit could be their undoing.

Where the have an opportunity is by fighting on traditional Labour platforms – the Health Service which is in crisis, education being damaged across the whole UK, tax cuts for the rich, abolition of support for the most vulnerable and disabled – these could be winners if they get their message straight. Will they? I doubt it. £10 minimum wage seems unrealistic and considering that the front bench can’t agree on very much would see a very divided party pushed front and centre. Do we need that as a government at such a difficult time as we live in?

The Lib Dems are frustrating. Tim Fallon is a worse leader than Uncle Jeremy for me. Regardless of your opinion of Nick Clegg and his coalition with the Tories I think hindsight has shown us that actually he did a good job of keeping the rabid right-wingers at bay during his time as Deputy Prime Minister. They have sensible ideas just as Labour do, but I find it difficult to buy into them as they struggle to be heard above the noise.

UKIP are racist, misogynistic, sexist, thugs that don’t deserve the inflated the platform that they continue to get from the media. It’s an embarrassment to this country they have had the airtime they have considering their only MP is no longer in the party. But they could make an impact if the North of England tip to the right as they did in the EU referendum. Labour really are the only alternative for many voters, but with such a weak leadership many might look to UKIP to ensure money is taken from the EU and given back to the UK. In my humble opinion, I do think this is the end of the road for the party – what do they stand for now? They got their wish and unless the LIb Dems become the government the other two main parties agree that leaving the EU will happen.

SNP are in a strange position as well – they can only really lose in this election. Consider where we were last May compared to where we are now – leaving the EU and on the edge of the break-up of the UK. Around a third of SNP voters wanted to leave so that may well impact on their votes and the rise of Ruth Davidson as a sensible voice north of the border could see the Tories take away some of those yellow patches on the map. I can’t see Labour or the Lib Dems doing much damage in Scotland, but if they did it would start to bring into question Surgeon’s decision to demand a second Scottish Referendum.

So where does all that leave us? Potentially even more split than we were after the 23rd June 2016 and the EU referendum. With the country divided and uncertainty ahead will we stick with the shambles that is May, Boris, Hammond and Davis or bring in a potential coalition of Uncle Jeremy, Tim-liberal-but-bland and the SNP?

A rainbow coalition? No, just storm clouds ahead.

JD

Lies, Damn Lies and Alternative Facts

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It would be easy to do a character assassination on this man – who will only be referred to as 45, his position in the succession of Presidents. What that hides is the more important job of actually looking at his actions and why as non- Americans we have a job to do.

45’s actions so far have been to appease his core supporters – to show those who voted for him that he was serious about the things he said. The truth is far scarier in that he doesn’t actually know what he is doing, does not have the support of his party and is already in danger of ignoring the principles that created the USA in the constitution.

While his Executive orders can always be overturned in the Senate, House of Representatives and a half decent court of law the are still having impacts on the people of America and those who visit and work there. So what has he actually done and how can we help stop them from this side of the Atlantic?

Border Security is the big one: Building that wall, tightening all borders, increasing officials, banning travel from seven mainly Muslim countries and stopping refugees from entering the country. This is the move that has finally sparked people to life and to take to the streets and online to form petitions of protest. The UK petition on the Government website to remove the State Visit privileges broke through the million mark on Monday morning and only looks like continuing to climb. In the US the people are taking to the streets in protest and surrounding airports and ports to try to help the causes of those trying to return or enter the country.

What difference can we make? We can campaign to try to do more to help refugees around the world – lead by example and take in more ourselves. Utterly condemn the position of the US and work with the UN and other organisations to help these people being forced from their home lands with shelter, food and safety.

This alongside the action to remove women’s health care support when an organisation deals with abortion shows the pure callousness of 45 and his administration. He proclaims he is trying to put America First (an anti-Semitic slogan of the 1930s) but he is damaging America’s standing in the world and actually setting them up for a bigger fall and placing a larger target on themselves.

The claim to be championing the working and forgotten in America is undermined by his actions on weakening Obamacare and the U-Turn on the two pipelines. He is damaging the health of the nation in so many ways through these two actions and they will both in turn damage the economy. Add to that the freezing of hiring for Federal jobs and you wonder if he really understands anything about the job. (A rhetorical point if there ever was one!)

My concern as a citizen of the UK is that we are not doing enough to speak up and out about these actions. We could be come a strong leader and rally voices from across Europe and the wider world in challenging these moves. But we won’t because Theresa May’s thirst for Brexit is stopping her from showing strength and leadership. She is scared to go toe to toe with 45 because we might not get a trade deal. Here’s an idea – forget the referendum and Brexit. Go to the country and explain that despite the narrow victory for leaving the change of situation in the US means that we would be in a poor position were we to leave just now.

Also she had a platform to criticise 45 whilst in front of the world’s press last week – and I’m not thinking of “Love Actually” when I write this. If she truly is a strong female, daughter vicar then a graceful speech about respect for women, their bodies and their rights was needed. Respect for faith and religion from peaceful people should have been represented. The need to open our arms to those we are bombing out of house and home is essential and our duty as citizens of the world to ensure the planet is safe for generations to come. Instead we had a simpering, apologetic, pandering, sycophantic congratuwank of a man who deserves nothing but derision.

May is not the only one that could be doing this. Jeremy Corbyn’s lack of backbone on this issue is embarrassing. He has a platform that could, alongside the SNP and Lib Dems, pull in Tory MPs to enforce that we look again at the Brexit issue once things settle down. We have a choice here – 45 or Europe. That’s not a choice, it’s simple. Our biggest market is on our doorstep and to leave that and make deals with countries like the US, Turkey, China – all of which are not aligned to us in terms of vales – would be financial suicide. As would potentially opening our NHS and other civil services to international privatization.

We cannot let 45 dictate the future of this country, let alone damage his own. To leave Europe now means we’re desperate for a deal, which as “Art of the Deal” ghostwriter makes clear is the best time to get what you want – 45 has the upper hand.

We have to stand up to him and we have to support others who do the same in a peaceful manner. Picking up weapons, threatening behaviour and physical violence is not the best way forward right now as that is sinking to 45’s level. Instead we need to support the media in reporting facts; good investigative journalism is key to bringing him and his administration down to earth. We must also stand up with those of different creeds and colours and show they deserve respect and equality across society. We need to be articulate, intelligent and factual.

We also need to use humour and language because he cannot match us here either. His skin is at its thinnest when it comes to his image. Tease his ego, ridicule his medieval stances on sex, race, religion and gay rights, hold up a mirror to the monstrosity and reveal him for what he truly is – ignorant.

You won’t beat him in a physical fight, but in a war of words, a battle of wits and a united international voice he can be stopped. But this has to happen now before things get worse. At the moment there is cowardice and appeasement from some in the international community – don’t let the UK be one of those who is afraid to speak up because of a trade deal.

JD

The Power of Apathy

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There’s only been one topic of conversation in the classroom since Tuesday’s US Election – “What do you think of Trump becoming President?” And rather than rant, rave and have a go at the dusty pumpkin dildo I have given them all this talk which I feel is worth sharing with everyone.

This is your fault. Not directly but you are part of the problem. If I ever ask you about your opinions on politics you laugh and say you don’t watch the news or read newspapers but you did see something funny on Facebook about Trump. Some of you can’t even tell me the name of the Prime Minister or Chancellor. And I’m aware that this has always been true to a point with teenagers – but the difference now is that apathy has grown up with the last couple of generations and we face Brexit and a Trump presidency as a result.

We have a sway of people who would rather vote for Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing than for Ed Balls as a politician. From the comfort of our home we can be armchair pundits on events in the world and vote for pretty much anything by a tap, swipe or email address. We can sign petitions and share memes on things we feel strongly about from politics but actually go out and vote? No thanks – what’s the point?

The point is this apathy and “What difference will it make?” attitude is perfectly shown by this week’s election in America and the Brexit vote. Not only were millions of people sitting at home not bothering to vote but when you look at the overall figures of who could have voted and the outcomes the truth becomes painfully real.

In the EU vote:

UK Electorate eligible to vote – 46,501,241

Voted to Leave – 17,410,742

Voted to Remain – 16,141,241

Spoiled Ballots – 26,033

Did not vote – 12,949,258

In the US Election:

US Electorate eligible to vote – 231,000,000

Trump – 60,071,650

Clinton – 60,467,245

Others – 6,180,868

Did not vote – 104,280,237

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m no maths whizz but these stats show two things: Brexit was only voted for by 37.4% of the UK and only 26% of Americans voted for Trump. So they didn’t carry the day; it wasn’t a landslide victory and despite what politicians tell you it is not the will of the people – it’s the will of those who voted for whatever they are advocating.

I know this is common sense, and I’m also aware many will be shouting at me that this is how democracy works and not voting is still taking a stand. That’s where I call bullshit.

Not voting, not caring enough to put a cross in a box, pull a lever, press a button is a disgrace. Today we celebrated those who have given their lives so we can be free to enjoy democracy and our communal view is gradually becoming “So what?”

I’ll tell you what – look at your payslip: tax, National Insurance and pension payments. Look at your kids – schools, child benefit, tax credits. Look outside; roads, street lights, police. It’s not difficult to understand that everything we do is driven by politics and if we don’t care or can’t be bothered then when the police numbers drop and the local A&E shuts and the street lights are put out at night to save money and your kid’s school is threatened with closure don’t you dare suddenly decide to get involved, because you’re too late.

You should have been paying attention and shouting when the politicians at local, national and international level were standing with a manifesto on which they wanted your votes. When they take office don’t just sit there and accept that life has to be this way – challenge the status quo or a decision you think is unfair or unjust. We have become lazy and indifferent.

Why?

Because they don’t listen to us? No probably not to the dozen people who took to the streets or the hundred thousand who signed an online petition. Why would they. But if you fill their inbox and postbox with questions and requests for information and clarification then they are truly accountable. Just because they are elected doesn’t mean for one minute they are finished with us.

That’s the attitude we seem to have now. Not good enough.

If there is a vote coming up you need to ensure your MP, MSP or MEP knows your views – that’s their job to represent you, even if you didn’t vote for them.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy to be apathetic about something as important as politics because if you don’t care, then why should the politicians? They know they don’t have to turn up to debates or speeches if you are never going to check/ask/need something from that decision.

Brexit and Trump happened because people felt they had something to vote for – a voice that echoed theirs. Yes, part of the problem with Brexit is it’s hard to stir up passion for the status quo but you will lose it if you don’t stand up and say something when it really matters. And yes Clinton wasn’t the most palatable candidate we’ve ever seen for the Democrats but with the choice they had surely it wasn’t beyond the wit of the more than one hundred million voters to make sure it wasn’t The Donald.

I look at the current situation in politics and wonder why our leader of the free world is a reality TV star with no experience. I see our Foreign Secretary in the UK as that idiot that was funny (for the wrong reasons) on Have I Got News For You. I see 1960s cartoon character Nigel Farage leading the charge for Brexit and befriending the day-glow fucktrumpet billionaire.

Is this what we have become? A world who will only vote for the same people we can vote for on TV, tweet from our smartphones or Facebook Friend? If it is then we need a new revolution where policy matters. Where people matter – not frivolous personalities and stupid soundbites. Where policy matters – not redundant rhetoric or quiz show appearances.

We need to stop this cycle of apathy because you just need to see how fucked up 2016 has been – and we caused that. You and Me. Sharing a picture on FB is not enough. Setting up or signing an online petition is not enough. We need to step away from the virtual world and start living in the real world again where there are real dangers and issues.

The rise of the KKK. The need for the hashtag BlackLivesMatter in 2016. The amount of Food Banks in the developed world. The wars in Syria and Yemen and Iraq and Afghanistan. The refugee crisis in Europe and Africa and the Middle East. The gap between Rich & Poor expanding like never before.

I know, I see the irony of me putting this on a blog. I’m as guilty as those I’m complaining about in many ways. But in others I’m not. I always vote. ALWAYS. For local, Scottish, UK, EU elections or referendums. They matter. They really matter and will have an impact on your life. I joined a political party for the first time this year. not because I agree with everything they say, but because i believe in the core values and want to help shape the ideas they produce. I want my kids to grow up in a country and on a planet that gives a fuck.

If you are still apathetic then I don’t know how else I can convince you. But when you see the images of Russia moving further into Ukraine; see more violence against those who have emigrated to our country; see the dismantling of the only healthcare many in the us have; the images of the melting ice caps and you shrug your shoulders – then you deserve what you get.

JD

So far, so good for Labour

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The Labour Party Autumn Conference 2015 - Day 3

He’s doing okay so far is Mr Corbyn. Of course I’m hesitant to celebrate as I am old enough to remember being disappointed by politicians since…forever really. But there is something fundamentally different about Jeremy Corbyn and that’s being genuine. Whether you agree with his politics or not you have to respect the man has walked the walk and talked the talk for over thirty years as a politician and before that as an activist.

And it’s that honesty and candour that appeals to so many people like myself who had become disillusioned with political leaders. The Spin Doctors and media whizz-kids have put up a barrier between us and our leaders – we don’t feel any connection with them and because of that the simple “like-ability” test has been lost. Don’t misjudge that for only looking at him and not the substance of his policy ideas and aims because that’s where it really starts to get interesting.

He’s not proposing the end of the world as many on the right and in the Tory press would have us believe. He’s not rising or retaliating to the personal comments and mudslinging. He’s not going to tax the rich unfairly or drive business away – in fact the opposite is true. The 50p top rate of tax coming back in is almost a gesture to show that those at the very top of society should contribute that wee bit more. Also the top 60,000 people who have benefitted from the cuts in inheritance tax are being told that the reversal of the cut is on the cards too.

The welfare state will support everyone who needs it. He’s not naive enough to think that there aren’t problems but he knows that there are those who have been and will continue to be hammered by a Tory led economic strategy. The working single parent, carers, the disabled and the self-employed are being considered, with the possibility of statutory sick pay, pensions and maternity/paternity a real possibility under a Corbyn led administration. Supporting Entrepreneurs? Labour’s out flanking the Tories on that front.

Not everything is perfect or shaped yet, but for only a couple of weeks into the job he is making some strong sweeping changes. Finally a voice to challenge the SNP north of the border and calling them out for the privatisation of areas of the NHS, cutting college places and damaging Further and Higher Education by the amalgamations and funding approaches and looking at the huge damage done by CfE. The SNP’s rhetoric has gone without anyone seriously challenging them and Corbyn is determined to stop that and ask people to look at the real issues. The SNP’s projected increase in majority is under threat now and they need to fight to protect what they have got never mind add to it.

Most of all I like the man’s principles. The idea of “Straight Talking; Honest Politics” is one that everyone would prefer, so why has it taken Jeremy to bring that to the table? We’re all fed up of Spin and lies and refusing to answer the question. He’s made it clear he doesn’t support the cyberbullying and misogyny that has crept into politics; he’s asking you and I to stand up for what we believe in – to protest peacefully and challenge decisions we disagree with; he’s openly challenging the idea that we need Nuclear Weapons, which in a modern world are pretty much redundant anyway and the money would be much better spent elsewhere; he’s engaging with us as individuals and that’s refreshing.

He will make mistakes. I’m sure at times I will question his opinions and policy proposals but at least I feel like the country is being represented rather than a few at the top who have paid for the privilege – both in the Tory and New Labour Parties. If we’ve learnt nothing from Lord Ashcroft’s book (apart from the fact Cameron stuck his dick into a dead pig’s mouth) it’s that those with money think they can get jobs and demand power over the politicians they pay for. Hedge fund managers investing £55m in a system that let’s them benefit by over three times as much in tax cuts. You know that with Jeremy Corbyn we won’t have that. He won’t allow it. And I like that honesty and representation in my politicians.

Really it comes down to these questions: Do you think he means what he says? Do you think he is determined to change politics and the Labour Party for the better? Do you think that a few to the right of the Labour Party will be able to remove a man who has the biggest mandate to be leader in the party’s history? Do you think the tens of thousands of people joining the Labour Party across the country don’t want change?

This is a grassroots groundswell demanding change – a change that many have said was coming and Corbyn is the start of it. Long term he might not be the solution, but where he leads many of us will gladly follow and support to bring about the new politics we so desperately need.

JD

Are we getting the politicians we deserve?

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In the last few weeks we’ve had Michael Gove performing Wham Rap and taking selfies, Milibland taking selfies with Joey Essex and Lily Allen, Diane Abbott live tweeting Tony Benn’s funeral, Mike Russell not being honest about the legal advice he was given about Scottish Uni tuition fees, Iain Duncan Smith misleading the House of Commons on the Bedroom Tax and Welfare reforms, Nigel Farage opens his mouth and lies about the EU on TV and in Aberdeen the misuse of tax payers money to send out election material with the council tax notices. Why is it that the most sensible voice in politics in the last week or so has been Kermit the Frog?

What’s the solution Bagpuss for Prime Minister – of course not he’s always asleep, Mr Benn would be a much better idea obviously. But the serious point is we have a group of people in charge of us from national to local level who just don’t seem to understand what absolute pig’s arse’s they are making of the jobs they were voted in to do. Who’s to blame? I’m afraid the answer is us.

We don’t take politics very seriously until it directly affects us. Whether it’s voting, discussing the issues of the day or campaigning about things that have an impact on those we know and love we are all guilty of running hot and cold on our democratic rights. Turn outs of 30 – 40% for local elections let in the kind of pointless and feckless morons like Willie Young and Barney Crockett in to do great damage to our city. I’m normally a Labour man but their behaviour over this last year or so has been an embarrassment topped off with the sending out of literature to promote the No vote in September’s referendum. This was a misuse of public funds in my opinion and even though I support the No campaign this was wrong and should not have been allowed under any circumstances – all it does it motivates the Yes vote anyway.

In Scotland we have the opposite problem with the SNP spending money on promoting the Yes campaign using tax payers money. The continual lies, refusal to answer questions and to be open about all the legal advice they have been given on issues connected to the Independence debate is a disgrace. It should be a warning to those who want to separate that this bunch of chancers are just as duplicitous as the other parties and should be under no illusion that there will be a new politic in a “free” Scotland.

Last week the death of Tony Benn reminded us what a real conviction politician should be. While you might not have agreed with everything he said – few did – you have to respect the man for his passion and hard work to do the best for majority and not for himself. Yes he had his flaws and in the 80s lost his way a bit focussing on personal success at the cost of his party he did what he believed in and that should always be admired. What do our politicians of today believe in? No one really knows because until they have taken several polls of public opinion they can’t decide how they feel.

And therein lies the biggest issue. The politicians are looking to us to tell them what to think on the subjects of the day – this is wrong. We vote them in and we speak as a collective at elections. If they were brave enough to stand on solid and focussed principles and through our democracy they get voted in we can then ensure they follow through with their promises. Thatcher and Blair were both hugely unpopular but at least they had visions – no one cares or feels strongly enough about Camoron, Milibland or Clegg because they don’t stand for anything.

Maybe we need to be braver and vote for independent candidates who stand for something rather than tiny cogs of huge machines that have no voice. Maybe more of us need to stand up and be counted and seek office to stop these half-wits. You might scoff but we are only a couple of elections away from the possibility of Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister – you won’t be laughing then.

JD

 

Despicable Us

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Daily Heil

The Daily Heil doing what it does best/worst. But it’s wrong and so are we. I’ve always said that if I ever got on Room 101 (which I won’t but never mind) my first choice would be the general public. Sorry guys but we’re all going in because we’re collectively stupid – not individually, but when we become a mass we become idiots.

There was a great article yesterday in the Independent about a new survey for the Royal Statistical Society and King’s College London which shows that we will believe the kinds of spin and bullsh*t that the extremes of right and left put out there. And it’s not even a wee gap in our knowledge, its vast ignorance of the kinds of things we should know before shouting about them. Now I include myself in this too as I am as guilty of looking shocked when a random stat is thrown at me too but these gaps in our collective knowledge show we’re not as tolerant or switched on as we think we are. They polled over a thousand people and these were the collective facts & figures they believed were true.

Here are the fictions and then the facts:

Benefit fraud: the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed.

We should really know that this is not true already but we tend to believe the right wing agenda that the working class are scum stealing our hard earned tax money. Well the actual figure per £100 claimed fraudulently is seventy pence which is miles off our perception. Continuing the spending theme nearly a third thought that we spent more on dole money than pensions when we spend fifteen times as much on pensions as we do on Jobseekers allowance. If you consider we have an aging population that is only going to increase but for some reason we seem more concerned with JSA rather than the Grey Timebomb sitting waiting in the corner.

Immigration: some 31 per cent of the population is thought to consist of recent immigrants

If we include the illegal immigrant count our population of 70 million has only 15% immigrants in it; more than half what the public thinks. Again the Telegraph, the Mail and the “right” in general seem to focus heavily on this issue when we only have 2% illegal immigrants in the UK. That’s a tiny amount considering the scare stories we are used to like the one on the front page above. Another interesting stat in this area is that only 11% of the total population of the UK is black or Asian as opposed to the 30% we think there is. If you consider that in the recent Census London was the only place in the UK that had a “white minority” then the majority of UKIP’s so-called foreigners don’t exist and they are stirring up problems that don’t exist.

Teen pregnancy: 15 per cent of girls under 16 are thought to become pregnant every year

Wrong again – go on have a guess (unless you’re from Dundee then the figure above is very conservative). Only 0.6% of girls under 16 are pregnant according to official figures. Again consider the headlines and the spin we are fed about our disgraceful sex-crazed teenagers and the reality is that if they are doing anything they are either a) lucky  or b) using contraception.

Foreign Aid: 26 per cent of people think foreign aid is in the top three items the Government spends money on

No it’s well down the list with only 1.1% of total spending from the Exchequer going abroad. It is ring-fenced along with Education and Health spending but is made out to be a colossal figure, in real terms this is far from the truth. Science & Tech only receives around 0.7% funding yet we make much more noise about that being a big budget.

So what does this tell us? Well that’s the wrong question actually, instead we should be asking the media and the politicians: why don’t you tell us the truth? Why would any of the above do anyone any damage? Well it comes back to fear a lot of the time something that is omni-present in western politics yet it’s the first thing criticised by the west of middle eastern and far east governments. No-one is better off afraid or lied to yet we all sit here like idiot sponges accepting this guff year after year. If the public perception is so far off the reality then we need more simple facts and figures that haven’t been spun or shaped to hide the truth; we need to see the real picture to avoid this confusion and misrepresentation of our own society. With the public’s image of politicians though would the truth ever sound real coming from their lips?

JD