The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

From the Corus crisis to the tragedy of Teesside

It is devastating to hear the news that the Corus plant in Redcar is going to be ‘mothballed’, perhaps signalling the death knell to the area’s steel industry and highlighting what a sorry state the economy, and industry in general, is in in this country.

A Labour Government has overseen a far greater decline of industry than there was under Margaret Thatcher. Isn’t that a grim indictment of this dreadful Brownite government?

The Corus crisis has been going on for some time now. The British Steel works, at their peak, employed tens of thousands of people. Now the last 1,700 have been given their marching orders, as owner Tata has decided to close the plant, complaining about the failure of the consortium to come to a solution.

Declining demand is only part of the problem. We have a Government that is more interested in keeping its pals in the City of London banks happy by having uncompetitive exchange rates that’s good for speculators and those who dabble in foreign exchanges, derivatives, and so on.

The London fat cat has got fatter at the expense of the worker in places like Redcar and elsewhere.

There are 1,700 workers, and many families with their kids facing a bleak future this Christmas thanks to this dreadful news.

It’s not just the jobs, it’s the symbolism of the closure of the steelworks, that has cast a further shadow over a once great industrial area.

People lining their pockets elsewhere have colluded in the dire state of our economy that’s led to this situation. We need a mindset change from government in terms of how it handles industry.

After all, if we don’t make anything that adds any value, and keeps decent working people in jobs, and all we do is shuffle money around the world and get paid commission and bonuses (and many of those involved in that profession are far from decent, we must admit), then what as a country are we for?

It’s no use saying “oh, let them take benefits”. Jobs and economic renewal is what places like Teesside and other parts of the North, and of the Midlands, need.

This Government, despite being Labour and formed for the people, isn’t going to deliver that; all they will deliver is more expenses wheezes and other ways of making as much money for themselves as possible.

It’s an absolute disgrace.

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4 December, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

So it’s the worst recession since the 1930s

According to the thinktank NIESR, it is the worst recession since the 1930s Great Depression:
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said in 2009 the country’s GDP could contract by 4.3%, and then grow in 2010 by 0.9%.

But the Nationwide Building Society said UK consumer confidence saw its biggest rise in two years last month.

Separately, a committee of MPs has criticised the government’s growth forecasts as “too optimistic”.

The government has predicted the economy will shrink by 3.5% this year, and then grow by 1.25% in 2010.

But the Treasury Committee said it was “very concerned about the state of the public finances” in its report on the Budget, and questioned the chancellor’s assumption that positive growth will resume in the final quarter of this year.

Whether it is as bad as the Great Depression depends on whether the lenders manage to con people into buying what are still overvalued properties; whether the jobs gloom worsens; whether consumer confidence and, therefore, spending improves; and, in other words, whether we return to the vicious cycle of debt – credit-card or mortgage fuelled – that led to this recession.

I should know about job losses, as mine (and another colleague) is due to go in September, unless one of the people who are responsible for the finances in the university decide to keep us on. My future is in their hands – and whether I can continue living at home, or have to emigrate again to Great Britain to continue my career, or at least  earn a living. I’m not the only one whose life is on hold, but at least I don’t have a mortgage any more. I do have a pension, but having a job is essential to securing it for the future.

There are sadly many people in Brown’s Britain who don’t have the option to go elsewhere looking for a job, because they’d be penalised by the tax and benefit system; it would break up their marriage or wreck their family; whereas many others can sit in their state-paid-for welfare-houses and do nothing.

Getting on my bike, as Lord Tebbit once said, is an option for me – but, sadly, not for most Britons. Brown must go.

7 May, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Part-privatising the Royal Mail? Digging its grave? Lessons not learned?

That ex EU Commissoner Lord Mandy is doing the EU’s bidding in part-privatising the Royal Mail is not in the slightest bit surprising.

Labour backbencher John Grogan said three cabinet ministers had told him they opposed the plan and told the BBC:

“Is this the time for the Labour government, which is going through hard times at the moment, to completely split the Parliamentary party down the middle?

“Over 100 Labour MPs have signed a motion against these proposals – it’s going to be Peter Mandelson against a big bulk of the Parliamentary Labour Party.”

Lord Mandelson, who has come under fire for choosing to introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said he was sorry for the “political pain” that the proposals were causing in Labour ranks but vowed not to “walk away” from the proposals.

Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski told the BBC he would vote against the plan, because he was concerned deliveries to rural areas, like his Shropshire constituency, would be under threat if Royal Mail was run by a private company.

Good on these MPs for standing up to the élites of  the EU and skunks like Lord Mandy and the Government who are rubbing working people’s faces in the mire yet again. How many postmen and other Royal Mail workers (and their families) will suffer, in the current Brownian Depression, because of this?  They will not vote Labour again.

It was the EU that forced competition onto the Royal Mail, which is one national institution in which the free market simply doesn’t work, because delivering certain items and to certain locations are “uneconomical” and, therefore, have to be subsidised.

Lessons have not be learned from the deregulation of the buses, where rural services were axed (forcing many country folk into cars, and others – especially the elderly – into isolation), or for that matter the Beeching of the Trains (not privatisation – just butchery).

So, in digging the grave for the Royal Mail, the EU – which has no accountability or mandate to the British people – has forced part-privatisation and rats like Mandy are lapping it up.

This does not only mean misery for many Royal Mail workers, but it also will damage even further OUR postal service and OUR deliveries (they’re not Labour’s, remember). There would still be 2 deliveries a day, with mail by 7.30am, if it had not been for allowing private mail firms to cream off the best of the business.

26 February, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The empathy vote: “Mess with our mothers and fathers and we won’t vote for you”…

I had an epiphany on a doorstep in Crewe in May last year. A lady’s grandson had committed suicide, because he couldn’t find a job, she told me. She said that there was no way she – or anyone else in her family – would vote for the Party responsible. After I left the doorstep, I felt pretty sad for what had happened to a young man who had lost hope.

This lady’s story is a particularly extreme case. But there are countless other examples in the current climate where people are switching their vote from Labour or Tory because of what’s happened to a relative or friend (or switching from Lib Dem to Tory to put Labour out, for the same reason).

We may be a country of millions of single households – but we still have family ties, and we have friends – and if you mess with our spouses, or our kids, it’s one thing.

But mess with our mothers and fathers…

I wonder how many other elderly people had the shock my mum and dad had today when they opened their electricity bill and saw how much it has soared.

There’ll be plenty of other sons and daughters, who may even have to help their parents out financially as a result of soaring energy etc prices [whichever statistician made up the figures that imply inflation is slowing is taking the mick], and they have lost patience with Labour.

And these are just some of the things which explain why Labour is doing so absolutely abysmally in almost every social group, gender, and location. Its policies have hurt so many people, but they know many others who are suffering and they are voting accordingly: we shall call it the empathy vote.

The only way to repair the system is to rid it of the parasite – the Brownian Labour Government – that is causing the “toxic debt” that is destroying large swathes of our economy and society.

23 February, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

“A weak currency arises from a weak economy which in turn is the result of a weak Government” – Gordon Brown.

Edmund Conway, on p 21 of today’s Telegraph, quotes Brown when he criticised the Tories in 1992 at the time of the disastrous Major/Clarke/Lament era…

Brown was right to say this then, and the quote is even more apposite today.

It’s just a pity he didn’t live by it, and has made even bigger mistakes than the Tories did then.

23 January, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Today we are officially Recessionary

The official figures released today show two consecutive quarters of economic decline or contraction.

Which will stop the ‘downturn’ lie …

… But also remind us what a sorry state Brown has got us in.

23 January, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Suspend the National Minimum Wage? NO.

Julie Hepburn, the next MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East, highlights the scandalous and outrageous proposal by the British Chamber of Commerce’s Mr Frost (or is that Scrooge?) to suspend (or freeze) the National Minimum Wage.  

Frost isn’t very festive when he makes this suggestion.  While businesses (particularly those in the retail sector) are suffering during the current recession, it is their workers who are facing uncertainty and hardship. Making a profit is important to firms, but business ethics is just as important to society at large – and the individual workers who would be affected by an unethical suspension of the NMW. 

Freezing (or Frosting) the National Minimum Wage would equal a reduction of low income workers’ wages in real terms.  With inflation and the current low returns on savings, wages should be increased – not frozen. Also this proposal would affect women, many of whom work in minimum wage retail jobs, disproportionately – so it would be sexist.

Let’s see whether Labour, which as the Bishops rightly said is “beguiled by money”, caves into Mr Frost’s ludicrous demands.

31 December, 2008 Posted by | economy, Labour, Labour Party, politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Labour’s employment shame

Focus on Birmingham

Recently, we have heard much of the possible Lloyds TSB/HBOS job losses of up to 40,000 as well as the shedding of 4,500 Lehman Brothers jobs in the City.  However, what about elsewhere?  What is going on to the local economies – where most of us live – in terms of unemployment and worklessness?

Nationally, we know from the Office of National Statistics that:

The unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent for the three months to July 2008, up 0.2 over both the previous quarter and over the year. The number of unemployed people increased by 81,000 over the quarter and by 72,000 over the year, to reach 1.72 million.

But Labour has presided over an increase of unemployment in the entrepreneurial city of Birmingham again (this is of personal interest to me as I worked there for over three years).  The birthplace of the industrial revolution is suffering from Brownian economic policy with an unemployment rate of 9.2%.

          Source: ONS (2008)

The ONS report also finds that economic inactivity in Birmingham is a staggering 30.7% much higher than the UK’s corresponding 21.6% rate.

Even more of an indictment for Labour – which is supposed to be the party of ethnic minorities – is that in Birmingham the employment rate for non-white adults is only 50.6% (63.1% for the whole population) and their economic inactivity rate is 41.9% (compared to 30.7% overall). 

So if you’re black or Pakistani and living in Birmingham – or anywhere else in the UK – you can blame Labour for your economic situation.

And no matter what colour, gender or age you are, if you live in Birmingham, you’re much more likely to be out of work than if you live in many other parts of the country. 

The next Government needs to sort this mess out and get people, whatever their ‘demographics’ or background, back into work.

18 September, 2008 Posted by | economy, Gordon Brown, Labour Party, politics, shame | , , | 3 Comments