Thursday, 5 March 2009
The Enemy Within?
So they are now running the money printing presses (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7927100.stm). I am not an economist, but I would bet that ordinary people derive no benefit from this measure. The banks will hoard the cash. The powerful are so cynical. They are still trying to sell us the theory of trickle down wealth. It never trickled down to ordinary people during the supposed economic good times. Instead it geysered upwards, while ordinary people’s incomes stagnated. I remember when my trade union (Unison) stopped negotiating meaningful pay rises and instead offered me a cheap introductory rate on a credit card and cheap car insurance. Anyway, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. The following figures were pointed out to me by a friend in the SSP.
Over the years 1950 to 1970, for each additional dollar made by those in the bottom 90 percent of income earners, those in the top 0.01 percent received an additional $162. In contrast, from 1990 to 2002, for each added dollar made by those in the bottom 90 percent, those in the uppermost 0.01 percent (today around 14,000 households) made an additional $18,000. (http://monthlyreview.org/081201foster-magdoff.php)
For more on the financial crisis and the desperate situation facing the European Union, check out the Left Banker blog (http://tinyurl.com/btambf).
The fact that the Bank of England have also reduced interest rates on the same day as rolling the printing presses, smacks of utter desperation.
I felt sad and vindicated at the same time watching Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King on Channel 4 News this evening. He admitted that it was a mistake to build an economy on services and credit and that in future our economy would have to be built on exports. (I took that to mean manufacturing real stuff.) This man who represents the interests of the powerful said these things on the 25th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike – a strike that was about defending jobs and producing real stuff. So 25 years to the day, we get an admission that the ruling class were wrong about the way forward; that their dogmatic worship of market forces was misplaced. And what a mess they have created! Ever widening inequality and no right to work, or to a roof over your head.
Most of the TV coverage today about the strike has been guff and it is really quite incredible that no TV channel is running a week of programmes focusing on this massive industrial dispute. What a breath of fresh air to see heroes of the strike - honourable men like John McCormack of Polmaise, or Bob Young of Comrie on the telly this evening, instead of the usual parade of slick, talking-head chancers of the banking and political worlds. It was particularly poignant to see James Hogg of Bilston Glen & his comrade wearing “Coal Not Dole” stickers when they appeared on BBC Reporting Scotland this evening. The current catastrophic financial crash, caused by the policies of first the Tories, then New Labour and all their neo-liberal partners in crime around the world, has starkly revealed who were the real “enemies within.”
At the weekend, I will try to post my personal recollections from the strike. It’s not big political ideas, just the memories of an ordinary person.
While we focus on our economic woes, an even bigger crisis is engulfing the world. Some truly terrifying news today, that the Amazon Rain Forrest is susceptible to drought caused by global warming, which causes trees to die and release massive amounts of carbon instead of storing it (http://tinyurl.com/akqyer).
Lastly, I feel compelled to express my disgust for Glasgow New Labour MSP, Tom Harris, who is always at his best when attacking the vulnerable (http://tinyurl.com/b2bbbk). On this occasion he has accused teenage mothers of raising an “underclass”. Is that Newspeak for “enemy within”? He further criticises young mums for “living off the state” and claims this is a “national catastrophe”. Well, Tom, from looking at reports by Unicef etc, it is clear that it is actually New Labour’s continuation of Thatcherite policies that has created an “underclass”. And it’s a bit rich for someone who earns in excess of fifty grand a year from the state, for sticking the boot into the vulnerable to accuse anyone else of “living off the state”. They don’t live half as well as you, Tom and they do a difficult job. As a community nurse, I can attest to the fantastic job that some teen mums make of parenting their children. The problem is not so much pregnancy in the young, but the fact that the youngest mums are plunged into the most adverse and challenging poverty because they get even lower benefits than older single mums. Also, if there was adequate child care provision and student grants etc, a lot of young mums wouldn’t be on benefits for long. The lack of adequate child care provision is the fault of New Labour and all the other mainstream political parties. Right at this moment, Tom's New Labour buddies in Glasgow City Council are butchering nursery places. And maybe if we lived in a society that affirmed women and the poor, young, poor women would truly believe they had other options.