Responsio: Carol Malone’s article on Jeremy Corbyn and why it was completely wrong.

For a long time now, I have considered myself a Blairite of the old era; I think Tony Blair made some very good decisions and I am a great admirer of his. I feel I should preference this article by saying that, despite my support for Blair, everything changed in 2008. Where fear rules (like during recession) the Conservatives will thrive. Blairism was, to put it quite simply, a “one era pony”.

(Wikipedia)

(Wikipedia) Tony Blair

The article which I am going critique, which makes several harsh remarks about Jeremy Corbyn was written by Carol Malone on page 25 of the Sunday Mirror (released on 26/07/2015). The article was entitled “A lurch to the left will never be right” and under Carol Malone’s name at the top of the page, we were informed that her column was “telling it like it is.”

So, I thought I would write an article to remind her how it actually is.

I divided the article into the three columns, and divided the last two again, so that the article can be easily criticised.

Column 1

[She opened the article by speaking for all Labour voters and saying that they “don’t want a rabid left wing dinosaur who if he wins will consign the party to the political wilderness”. She then proceeds to blame the “35 idiot MPs” who nominated Corbyn and says that “THEY decided there should be a left winger on the ballot paper”.

She then says that the other candidates simply couldn’t stand up to Corbyn, who she calls a “firebrand.” Then she propmptly blames Corbyn, saying that the party is “imploding courtesy of a man who divorced his wife mainly because she wanted her son to go to a grammar school” and reminds us that Corbyn went to a “top grammar school” and pointed out Corbyn was willing to sacrifice anything on the “altar of his principles.”]

To start with, the term “rabid left wing dinosaur” is no more than a meaningless insult to a very serious politician. Jeremy Corbyn has not shouted or done anything that would lead him to deserve the adjective “rabid” being applied to his gentle nature.

(Islingtontribune.com) Jeremy Corbyn

(Islingtontribune.com) Jeremy Corbyn

This “political wilderness” is an anti-austerity alternative that has been wanted for years now. The SNP offered it, and they took Scotland by a sweeping majority. Now Jeremy Corbyn uses it and he gains a 60% majority in pre-election polls. Like him or not, his politics cannot be called a route to “political wilderness.”

The way which Malone refers to the 35 MPs (who actually took the time to consider who supporters wanted to be on the panel) occurs to me as being somewhat dismissive. Trying to broaden public debate does not make someone an “idiot”, in my view, but believe what you will.

The sentence “THEY decided” also seems to suggest that these MPs were not perfectly entitled to put forward whomever they choose for leadership. If Malone is against MPs having too much of a say in who is put forward as candidates (they require backing from 15% of Labour MPs), she should have taken it up when Labour’s 2014 review changes were made following the Collin’s report. However, given current polls, Jeremy Corbyn seems to have strong grassroots support- these “idiot MPs” appear to have been respecting the wishes of the grassroots supporters.

As to the accusation that Corbyn is dividing the party, the nature of politics is division. The nature of political debate is division. The Grammar school incident happened in May 1999 and Corbyn says he actually gets along rather well with his ex-wife.

If you want to support a more right wing candidate, that’s fine. The Sunday Mirror published two articles in support of other candidates, but Malone suggests that she doesn’t think much of any of them. That’s all fine. But don’t turn around and tell people who support a different MP that they are “imploding the party.” It takes two to tango, I believe the expression goes.

theukdatabase.com

theukdatabase.com

He wanted his son to go to the local comprehensive, his wife wanted their son to go to the grammar school. The fact Jeremy went to a top grammar school really is irrelevant; he did not choose to go to that school. I also faintly suspect that, even if he hadn’t gone to a top grammar school, the line would be “why is this man denying his son an opportunity that he never had?” It doesn’t really add anything to the argument to state that someone who is pro- state education was forced to go to a grammar school when he was a child.

It’s also nice, in my opinion, to see an MP who remembers what “public servant” actually means. He put his money where his mouth is. He wasn’t “sacrificing” his child’s education. He was trying to improve the existing system, in keeping with his beliefs. It is comparable to a plumber’s son moving into a house that has a broken pipe system, with some poor housemates; the plumber wants to help all of them by fixing the pipe work. Jeremy Corbyn wanted to help all the children by fixing the schools. This idea was not a sacrifice, but a display of dedication to children’s education.

Column 2 (i)

[She puts Corbyn in a category of “far left activists who are arrogant enough to believe they’re right and everyone else is misguided” and that Corbyn would put forward “what HE wanted for Britain whether it was good for us or not.” She then says that the party lost in May 2015 because “it had no economic credibility” and Corbyn’s economic plan is “let’s not pay off the debt, let’s not make cuts anywhere and let’s give pay rises to everyone.”]

First of all I would have to question whether someone who claims to be “telling it like it is” can really accuse Jeremy Corbyn of hubris in any way. And once again, I have to say that this is simply the nature of politics. Politics is making a stance, and persuading people why you are right and they are wrong. The majority of the electorate only know what they are told by the media and strong politicians. He is not arrogant for doing his job.

In fact, if you are going to say that simply putting forward his views is arrogant, you are going to undermine democracy. To take any view in politics is to claim that people are misguided- that is rather the point. It is just as true of David Cameron, Chuka Umunna, Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg, Tony Blair, Natalie Bennett, or any other politician you care to name. Jeremy Corbyn cannot be called arrogant for putting forward an opinion.

people-voting-clip-art-21417

The same is true of him putting forward “what HE thinks is best”. He is not a dictator; he’s a politician who is perfectly entitled to do what he thinks is best. We vote him in if we think he has the right judgement. It also seems to be a slight contradiction to say that he is arrogant and does whatever he pleases, but also to say he’s a “firebrand” politician who puts his principles above personal gain. I don’t think you can have it both ways. The record seems to say good things about Jeremy Corbyn, if I’m honest.

I think it would be true to say that Labour had no economic credibility during the election, but I don’t think being “too left wing” had anything to do with that. I think it is more that Tory-lite policies don’t impress the electorate very much- why would they cut through the bone at a slow pace when they could take it off much quicker by voting conservative? (Corbyn is the antiseptic and his plans are the antibiotics, if you hadn’t worked it out)

(from Jeremyforlabour.com)

(from Jeremyforlabour.com)

It is worth taking the time to read Jeremy Corbyn’s outline of his economic plan (entitled “The economy in 2020”). I took the time to read it, and it simply isn’t true that he is saying that we shouldn’t pay off the debt. You will find that far from lacking in economic credibility, Corbyn advocates a system of growth and wealth creation which is based on the work of many economists (such as Richard Murphy who is named in the plan). His messages are logical alternatives that do not entail more debt; you cut the welfare budget by stopping people being dependent on welfare to subsidize their income, for example. Policies that fix the economy, without hurting too many working people.

The plan also makes it clear that cuts to vital services would not be necessary if taxes were collected properly (there is very strong evidence to support this) but it is flat out not true to insinuate that Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out making any cuts. He never ruled out making some cuts, but he doesn’t want to harm the most essential services. This seems to me to be the sensible position to take.

Column 2 (ii)

[Then she suggests Corbyn is a hypocrite for saying he feels Greece’s pain but his “economic policies would put us right where the Greeks are now” (I assumed she didn’t mean in the south of the Mediterranean sea) and that “He also seems to like terrorists” and is “unapologetic about his sympathies with Hezbollah, Hamas and Sinn Fein”]

Anyone who knows Greece’s history knows that these problems existed long before the Syriza government, and will go on for many years after if the Syriza government don’t stand strong. The Syriza government’s plans to tackle tax avoidance and evasion (in 2012 Greece was ranked as the most corrupt country in the EU (in terms of tax) by Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index) might have saved Greece from falling into it’s current crisis.

Even so, the comparison between the Greek economy and our own is complete rubbish; our economy is totally different. For a start, we don’t use the Euro, which gives us control over our own bonds. It is a completely different system, with completely different rules. It only takes a few seconds of research to confirm this.

To suggest that Corbyn has terrorist sympathies is an utter falsification; Corbyn has never shown to “like terrorists.” What actually happened was that he invited Hezbollah, Hamas, and Sinn Fein for peace talks. Peace talks. In Ireland, peace talks have greatly improved the situation. Another person he supported (when few people did) was Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. This, I notice, was not mentioned.

(londonlovesbuisness.com)

(londonlovesbuisness.com)

I disagree with Mr. Corbyn a lot when it comes to the Middle East, but opening peace talks does not suggest any sympathy. Jeremy Corbyn does not condone violence or war; he’s always made that clear. He does not “sympathize” with terrorists. Neville Chamberlain opened peace talks with Nazi Germany in 1938; are you going to tell me that Neville Chamberlain was a Nazi Supporter? I don’t think so.

Column 3 (i)

[She goes on to tell us that “Tony Blair was right” when he said we “shouldn’t treat the electorate like idiots” and should be a “proper party of opposition.” (Suggesting Corbyn doesn’t represent this) Malone then said that “people aren’t interested in the far left any more” and that people want “security, stability and jobs”]

I would argue that putting forward a political view that contradicts the Tory view (it’s not even a majority view- they only got 30% of the vote) is not “treating the electorate like idiots.” I can’t see why anyone would believe it is. It seems even more insulting, in my opinion, to suggest that the electorate will not change their mind or adapt on any issues, even in the face of new evidence. New evidence, or an alternative view.

(leftfutures.org.uk)

(leftfutures.org.uk)

Being in opposition means doing the opposite of the Tories when it goes against your principles. For example, when Jeremy Corbyn and only 37 other Labour MPs did the right thing and opposed the recent welfare reforms. That is being a good opposition, not a bad one.

People aren’t interested in the far left anymore? Well, the rise of the SNP in Scotland and Jeremy Corbyn’s 60% majority in pre-leadership election polls would suggest otherwise. In fact, what it suggests is that the left are desperate for a strong leader to unite them against the Tories. Particularly the young are attracted to Corbyn, because he promises them a vision of hope; read my article entitled “Live while we’re young” and you’ll get some idea of the situation that faces us young people.

Quite apart from that, neither Corbyn nor the SNP can be called “far left.” He is a socialist who believes in the good of working together; better distribution of wealth and taxation is not a ‘rabid’ far left idea.

Corbyn being arrested for his resistance to apartheid

Corbyn being arrested for his resistance to apartheid

The emphasis of socialist ideas is stability, security, and jobs. It’s simply a case of persuading the electorate of that. The one thing that is guaranteed to take away stability, security, and jobs is austerity and austerity-lite. How much stability was created by the “two child” welfare policy? How much security? How many jobs? It greatly reduced security and stability.

Column 3 (ii)

[After that, she tells us that people “want politicians who understand what they need” and “never has the party been more disengaged with the people who voted for it” and finally said that electing Corbyn would be a “betrayal of everyone who ever voted for and trusted in it (the Labour party)”]

Everyone needs something different. And there isn’t a person alive who can understand what everyone in the country needs. Therefore, we have to generalize; on the whole, I’d say an emphasis on things like growth, a strong NHS, secure public services, education, and a decent pension are good focal points.

And Jeremy Corbyn is working hard to further each of those things. Putting his principles first. It’s just my opinion, but I think we have been deprived of principled politicians for far too long. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband even had the same haircut. I don’t want these factory politicians that are trimmed and groomed by the media.

David Cameron, Nigel Farage, Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Natalie Bennett or Nicola Sturgeon will all make the same claim. To “understand”.  Corbyn’s claim to understand is no better or worse than any of theirs, but there may be a slight edge; Corbyn claims (or claimed, at one point) the least expenses of any MP. It seems that he puts his money where his mouth is.

3392398414_e397d9ff64_b

I think it is ill-advised to speak of such a large group of people collectively and say that something would “betray them.” It seems to me to be a little bit of a generalizing conclusion, for Malone to tell us what would and wouldn’t be a betrayal of the Labour party. I think that is entirely up to it’s members to decide.

The left wing has been divided for too long, but a man like Jeremy Corbyn could unite the left to be a strong and persuasive match for the right. This is not an insane idea. Politics is division, but here is a leader who could be a uniting force. But first people must stop slandering him as a “rabid” extremist.

"What!? An genuine MP with honest intentions!?"

“What!? An genuine MP with honest intentions!?”

People keep referring to him as an extremist, but anyone who has reviewed his policies will see that he is simply not extreme. When did it become extreme to oppose bombing, fight for education and look after public services? Investment and growth are not extremist or “hard left” policies.

But I do take heart in one way; they called Margaret Thatcher an extremist when she wanted to become leader of the conservative party.

They called Bevan an extremist.

They called Clement Atlee an extremist.

They called Nelson Mandela an extremist.

They called Abraham Lincoln an extremist.

They called David Lloyd George an extremist.

Now they are calling Jeremy Corbyn an extremist.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of him.

Live While We’re Young: Why Anyone Hoping to go to University and All Young People Should Be Angry With This Government.

Point

The purpose of this article is to explain why young people simply cannot afford to be apathetic about this government. I want to explain to you in the simplest terms, why you should be aware, if not angry, at what this government has done.

images

I am a 17 year old undergraduate, hoping to go to University at some point in the next two years. So I know that the one thing that most of my peers are tired of hearing is how awful it is that University fees were allowed to be increased to £9000.

Everyone knows that they’ve been capped at £9000 since 2010. Around about half of people know that you only start paying off that loan once you start earning over £21,000 per year. A few less people know that any University that can charge the maximum amount, will do so. Almost no one has considered the implications of this.

Fees

The Conservatives have used all these techniques to downplay the horrific nature of University fees. Have you ever sat and thought exactly what this means for you? Well, the first implication is £27,000 worth of debt. Horrible, but not horrendously damaging to pay off, right? But, I’m telling you now; that is just the tip of the iceberg.

download (2)

In the budget (which outlined Conservative government policy) it was announced that Universities that demonstrated standards in line with what Jo Johnson (Universities minister for this government) expected, would be allowed to “increase tuition fees in line with inflation”.

What does this mean? Well, basically that £9000 cap means absolutely nothing to the government. They can, and will, raise tuition fees. William Hague (Conservative leader of the House of Commons) said they had not ruled out the possibility of increasing tuition fees to £11,500.

So, it’s fairly safe to say we will have at least £34,000 of debt coming out of university.

William Hague

William Hague

Grants

But thanks to the government, our joys don’t stop there. Maintenance grants were offered as a free gift (of £3000 per year) to help poorer students with their living costs while they are at university. But, thanks to Mr. Cameron, those are a thing of the past. Now, you can take out a loan of up to £8,000 per year. Not a grant. Not a gift. A loan.

You see, the government are good people; they’re really doing their best to encourage people to go to university…oh no…wait, they’re just kicking us in the teeth again!

Of course, nothing is free with the Tories, but you get the idea

Of course, nothing is free with the Tories, but you get the idea

£3000 is a good estimate of how much it costs for a year of maintenance at university, assuming you were able to find a job. That would mean your debt levels are likely to be £43,000 at the time you leave university.

£43,000 is a lot of money. Yes, the government can accept that. They’re human too! It might take a decade, but you’ll pay it off eventually, right? It’s not impossible. And you’ll only start paying it off once you earn over £21,000 per year (which is about £9 per hour), right?

Interest

But there’s a lovely little thing called “interest rates”. Currently, interest on student loans is capped at 2.5%… so let’s make it easy and say 2%. That means that (currently) every year you don’t pay off your fees, the debt that you owe the loan sharks increases by £690 and the debt that you owe them for your maintenance grant will increase by £180 per year.

At current levels.

However, it is likely that interest rates will soon be commercialised- meaning they go up.

£43,000. Add £870 per year in interest rates. So, £43,870 within one year. And I remind you: all this is being offered to us by ministers who were not charged a single penny for their university education. And, if they were in financial trouble, could get £3000 per year in maintenance grants.

Our right to a free education is being taken away, because these people and the bankers they supported buggered up the economy.

The good news is, the debt will be written off after 30 years. Thank you so much Mr. Cameron. Nothing says “caring for our young people” like jamming them under a fricking poverty barrier until they’re 50.

50th-birthday-sms-wishes

What use is it going to be writing off the debt after 50 years of my life has been and gone?

Implications

Why did I say “poverty barrier”? Well, the loan essentially stops you earning over £9 per hour. Unless you already have the money to pay it off, then you are stuck below a poverty barrier.

One of David Cameron’s favourite phrases is “the best route out of poverty is work”. Not with £43,870 of ever increasing debt, it isn’t!!

Regardless of whether you’re going to university or not, the government have plenty of new changes to smash you over the head with:

Housing

First of all, no 18-21 year olds will be able to claim housing benefit. Many times when I tell people that, the response is something along the lines of “Yeah, that’ll stop them scroungers moving onto a life of benefits.” I usually rub my temples slightly before I gently explain that housing benefit is only to subsidise the cost of owning a house.

Most people who use this benefit (because they have a right to, having paid into the tax system) are working, but struggling to make ends meet. It’s largely used by the very large numbers of 18-21 year olds who have been kicked out of care homes or run away from homes that they couldn’t live in, due to abuse or any number of problems that would make you and I feel sick to the bone. Most people could scarcely imagine what a young person in that situation has been through.

(From Dreamstime website)

(From Dreamstime website)

But it’s okay to steal from these people and those who need help staying in private accommodation at university, right?

Those damned kids, thinking they have a right to eat and get a good education! Mr. Cameron says you’re not doing this austerity thing right! Bad peasants!

Minimum “living” wage

Thankfully, David Cameron (or rather, his chancellor George Osborne) decided to introduce a living wage that will gradually increase, starting at £7.20 from April next year… (…but it’s not actually a living wage; the living wage [ie. What you’d need to survive with a decent standard of living] was £7.85 this year. And it increases every year with inflation. Also, because of various changes to tax credits, the average family will be £1000 worse off. In order to subsidise this, the “living wage” would need to be £11 per hour, just at current levels. Not much of a pay rise at all.)

But do you know the best thing about this “pay rise”? It doesn’t apply to you. The young ones. Or me. That’s right! You only get this new “living wage” (which replaced the minimum wage) if you are over 25. 18-25 year olds just have to suck it up and hope they get a reasonable employer.

Thank you again, for that spectacular kick in the teeth Mr. Cameron! images (1)

Unions

But, we have unions, right? Thanks to Unions, the working man (or woman) has a limit on the number of hours they can work per day, lunch breaks, a right to holiday, a right to safety in the work place, and a whole list of worker’s rights. Surely they can help if employers start abusing their power over a young work force?

Well, that’s a thing of the past now too.

The government have decided that Unions must have 50% of all members (that are eligible to vote for/against a strike) vote in favour of a strike, before a legal strike can happen.  It doesn’t sound like a lot.

Put that into context though; imagine getting half of the people in your school/ college/ sixth form to walk out, in order to defend your rights. They have to be willing to give up their pay (go hungry if they must) to defend your rights. I would struggle to find 20 people, let alone the (round about) 200 I would need, who would even consider the idea. It’s ludicrous!

It's worth noting that it's hard to get people to vote.

It’s worth noting that it’s hard to get people to vote.

The government, as you may know, only won the election with just under 30% of the vote. Around 40% of the people eligible to vote usually don’t vote. So they got 30% of 60% of those who could have voted.

And now they have the nerve to make strike action (and the possibility of demanding your rights) ten times harder. Wake up! This is not good!

Times of Sickness

But, despite all this cost, at least you have free healthcare, right? Well, that’s going down the bog too.

For years, the left have been telling us the Tories (Conservatives) have been ripping apart the NHS and selling it off. Lots of people ignored them, and I can understand why; unless you are a GP, have a serious condition or work in the NHS, everything seems relatively normal. But recently, Jeremy Hunt (Health secretary) has said we must “look at the possibility of a pay NHS”.

What he is suggesting is that the NHS is unsustainable in it’s current form. A bit rich coming from a party that gave £93 billion of tax breaks to big companies in the year leading up to the election. Of course, anyone with a brain knows that the NHS cannot move to a “pay system” (although we already pay through taxes).

In America, they have a “pay system” of healthcare. They also have an average life expectancy of 20 years less than in this country. They live to around 60 on average, we live to around 80. It’s not a question of money. It is, first and foremost, a question of how healthy we want the British people to be.

And then, David Cameron has suggested that the state should no longer give you what you paid for through National Insurance…that’s right, no more sick pay! Why should the government give you what you paid for through your taxes? Unless you’re willing to pay £5 per week into a private “sick fund” for your company and it’s employees.

If you don’t pay into it, or you don’t earn enough to pay into it, there is another option for when you are ill; you can starve!

Because the conservatives are truly compassionate people, they always like to give you a choice. They are a lovely bunch, aren’t they? gbmrv

Angry Conclusion

All in all, I would say that the government does seem to have a grudge against us young people. It must hate us. I can’t see why else it would do this.

It’s out to take away our support barriers and do us real harm. According to IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies), 2/3 of children living in poverty are from families who work full time. Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis (the homeless charity) said “Under 25s already make up a third of homeless people and there is a real danger that these changes (to housing benefit) could make things even worse.”

Make no mistake. We are a vulnerable group. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, the government is playing political games with people’s lives.

I have no sympathy with rich Tory toffs who decided that we should suffer because of the mistakes that their generation made.

I’m sorry Mr. Cameron. It simply isn’t our fault. I have a right to be angry. It’s personal. And yes, I am angry.

How To Turn a Bad Day Around

It seems to me that whatever advice is given will always seem hypocritical to those who are suffering from a bad day. A “bad” day can make you feel alone and isolated, like no one else cares. Anyone who tries to give us advice on a bad day usually ends up being ignored. It’s hard for us to listen to anyone on a bad day.

Therefore, you must be prepared with this knowledge beforehand. Go in with it in your arsenal, so to speak.

snowball120215

Most bad days can be attributed to a process called the “snowball effect”. The snowball effect of negative thoughts is the idea that our negative thoughts get bigger and bigger the more we have to think about- negativity building on itself until it envelopes you. Sound familiar?

Self pitying is also a big contributing factor when we’re having a bad day. The circle usually goes: we become angry at others for letting us down, so we avoid being kind to them, and then they reciprocate by letting us down again. Much of it is down to exaggeration; at least 75% of all thoughts we have are negative. Recent research has shown it could be as high as 80%.

k1837395

However, the way we see it at the time, we are just not being “noticed” or appreciated by others. We can say that we don’t care what others think of us all we like, but to a certain degree, we are social mammals by our nature. If others think negatively of us, we think negatively of ourselves. And the same is true if we think that others think negatively of us. In other words, our egos do care what people think.

All of this makes our thoughts (and therefore our lives) move in circles.

So, I would like to propose a generic solution to the problem that will help you turn that bad day around. The bad day is coming. It’s only a matter of time. Be prepared.

As any good soldier knows, the key to looking after yourself is to look after the people around you. If you can do that, you will have far better protection from external, as well as internal threats to your well-being.

To put it bluntly...

To put it bluntly…

Therefore, it is not enough just to laugh at someone else’s expense. As much fun as that may be, it doesn’t actually help. What you need to do is… care for others. Ridiculous as that sounds, read on- it is grounded upon tried and tested psychology.

A simple way to do that is by acting in a kind way. I guarantee you, if you reach out and show a loving nature first, you will feel so much better. Not only that, but you’ll take everyone else up with you. People will enjoy your company, and you’ll be able to see your own value again.

I had a very long and heated discussion with a friend just yesterday who insisted that you cannot love others unless you love yourself. I countered by saying that self-respect is more important than self-love. Not loving yourself does not mean you have to hate yourself. But it is inevitably easier to have self-respect and healthy self-love if you know that others think of you as a good person. Be nice. Your actions will define how “loveable” you are.

It has always occurred to me that people who say that they don’t care what others think are often exaggerating or lying. It is part of being human to care what people think.

To turn the problem on it’s head; how could you value yourself if others did not value you? It seems to me that being kind is the cure.

I first realized this when I was having a bad day a few months ago. I felt dead that day. It was horrible, and I couldn’t break the depressing feeling of under appreciation. So I put an idea into action which I’d heard about a while ago; chain reaction.

The aim was simply to get people to commit kind acts, loving acts. As many as possible.

It came from an account I’d heard about a toll bridge. A man had driven up to pay his toll, but decided, in a random act of kindness, to pay the toll of the person behind him. When she heard what he had done, she paid the toll of the person behind her. And so the chain went on.

k2810253

So I attempted the same thing at poundland- paying £1 towards the shopping of the person behind me. I’m 98% sure it didn’t work, but it completely turned my day around. Everything changed. I felt better about everything. Because I knew I had done something that was morally good, and would help somebody. But best of all, prove to the world that I am a good person.

The part of us that proves we are good people is the part that saves us on a bad day.

However, we don’t always have money to give. Margaret Thatcher thought that the message behind the tale of The Good Samaritan was that you need money in order to be able to help people. Like most things that Margaret Thatcher said, it was well articulated, but absolute crap.

You don’t require wealth to be a good person or commit kind acts. You can go on Facebook and find any number of videos where homeless people are being generous in ways that most of us would struggle to even contemplate.

If your worries are financial, you can always write a letter. A letter? Yes. A letter.

Write a heartfelt letter to someone who means a lot to you. Tell them how much they actually mean to you. Have you ever thought about how many people you don’t show enough appreciation for? I thought my list of people would be small, but it’s pages long. The list is a limitless source of elevated feelings.

It’s all too easy to be dismissive, but you will make that person’s day. You’ll be doing something that most people put off until they lose the chance.

From The Guardian

From The Guardian

Handwritten letters are even better, because they are less common nowadays. Take your time over it. If you’re having a bad day, you’ll know what it’s like to feel under appreciated. Make sure that those around you know that they are appreciated. You’ll feel ten times better.

So, whether it’s paying for the person behind you in a queue, giving money to charity, volunteering to help someone, checking up on someone who looks lonely or writing a letter to a friend, be ready to do it all. At the end of the day, the day will have been as bad as you let it be. Unless you are clinically depressed, you have 110% of the power in your mind, if you only give yourself permission. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise, it’ll only bring you down.

k12520918

George Bernard Shaw once said “Both Optimists and Pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist, the parachute.”

Do your bit in whatever way you can. Go. After it’s done, you’ll feel ten times better.

Bait To Catch a Kipper- My Case Against UKIP

The big appeal of UKIP is supposedly their stance on immigration. They are seen as a party who “we can trust on immigration”. I, however, think it takes more strength to take a step back and look at the history of our “concerns” about immigration in the UK.

ukip-poster-manchester-stop-open-door-immigration

The one thing you can guarantee is that xenophobia will be at peak levels whenever money is tight. That’s just a given fact. But then surely you’d have to say that the worst time to be discussing immigration is while we are recovering from a financial crash. Maybe you agree? Maybe you don’t? It doesn’t matter. My case does not concern immigration. My case against UKIP is based on the fact that they are a magnet for blundering extremists.

When arguing with Kippers (UKIP voters) the argument will usually digress to racism pretty quickly: they know it is their weakest link, but, as such, they are overly defensive of their position on immigration.

However, there is plenty more to argue about when dealing with the Kipper’s history. For example, an explanation has yet to be given as to why Nigel Farage has said he will return as leader after pledging to resign if he lost his seat. I don’t care if the UKIP leadership wanted him to stay in power. I really don’t.  And I maintain that it is a disgrace for him to go back on this promise, despite losing his seat in May.

broken-promises-hurt-astrakhan-russia+1152_13194807708-tpfil02aw-20797

I also think it is past the time that UKIP addressed the issue of the letter written by a teacher at Nigel Farage’s school in June 1981, which protested against Farage being made a prefect, on the grounds that Nigel had “publicly professed racist and neo-Nazi views.” This was uncovered by Channel 4 news last year, but I have yet to hear a member of UKIP even try to deny the problem.

And there are more than a few policies which I think UKIP owe us an apology for. Why? The policies are an insult to our intelligence; Calling for the destruction of wind farms, legalisation of handguns (even after the shootings in America that we have been forced to watch over the past years), giving MPs more freedom with their expenses (meaning they could take more money without question) and putting regulations on British football teams restricting them to a maximum of 3 foreign players. Yes, that’s a serious policy; stopping British football teams having more than three foreign players. This is, I might add, plain nationalistic discrimination. These people are not serious or credit worthy politicians.

The right to bear firearms (second amendment) doesn't seem to have a good impact in America

The right to bear firearms (second amendment) doesn’t seem to have a good impact in America

UKIP should be judged, and will be judged, upon the members they seem to attract. The BNP, EDL, KTI, Lionheart GB, Britain First, The National Front and ex- EDL leader Tommy Robinson have all expressed support for UKIP. These are the friends you make when supporting UKIP. More than that, Britain First called off their election campaign to support UKIP’s own election campaign.

It’s true, UKIP attempted to dissociate themselves from these people, but does that really solve the issue? If a friend asked you round for dinner and then said “I’m sorry if we get a knock on the door from Stalin, Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, Himmler, Yagoda, Kim Jong-Un, Kim Il-Sung, Yezhov or Gaddafi….I don’t like them, but they keep coming round because they love me so much.”

Tell me, would you really want to go round that person’s house? Honestly?

And UKIP endlessly attract these people. I found so many examples on Leftfootforward blog and LivemagUK that I have to categorise them: Anti-Gay issues, Anti-Muslim issues, General racism and General stupidity.

It is my full intention that UKIP’s abysmal record be tolerably better known than it is. There is an endless list, but these were the ones which I felt…stood out…most:

Anti- Gay/ Homophobic Blunders

From the campaign a few years ago

From the campaign a few years ago

-UKIP Councillor Donna Edmunds said that “Businesses should be allowed to refuse services to women and gay people”. (That’s over half the human race right there!)

– Ex-UKIP councillor David Silvester famously said that gay marriage caused the floods in 2013

-UKIP by election candidate Winston Mckenzie said in November 2012 that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children because it is “unhealthy” (And they describe UKIP as the “party of the people”…oh please!)

– UKIP council candidate John Sullivan said that compulsory exercise in schools can “prevent homosexuality”

Anti-Muslim/ Islamaphobic Blunders

Islamophobia1

  • Ex-UKIP MEP Gerard Batten demanded that ALL British Muslims should sign an agreement to abstain from violence and extremism
  • UKIP council candidate Ken Chapman said that “Islam is a cancer that needs eradicating…multiculturalism does not work in this country…clear them all off to the desert with their Camels”
  • Former UKIP MEP Joseph Quirk said in November 2014, “Well I reckon dogs are more intelligent, better company and certainly better behaved than most Muslims”
  • Ex-MEP Gerard Batten also called for the building of mosques to be outlawed in the UK
  • Ex-Camden UKIP chairman Magnus Nielsen described Islam as “Organised crime” (which is ironic coming from a chairman of a party that is supported by the most racist thugs in Britain)
  • Ex-UKIP councillor Harry Perry constantly tweets about “white genocide” via “forced integration” and has asked if anyone could see a difference between Islam and Naziism.
  • Ex-UKIP councillor Eric Kitson commented on a Facebook post about Muslim women, saying “Hang um all first then ask questions later” (note the awful grammar alongside the awful morals)
  • UKIP TV publicity campaigner Andre Lampitt explained that he thought Enoch Powell was right, Islam was satanic and African people should be “left to kill themselves”.
  • UKIP South Thanet tweeted in response to a BBC news report “Perfect place to hold vote in front of a mosque in London. The BBC’s random means selective.”…but, of course, the building was not a mosque, but Westminster Cathedral.

General Racism and Xenophobia

racism

  • UKIP candidate William Henwood said that comedian Lenny Henry (who said more should be done to help black people fight against employment inequality) should “move to a black country”
  • UKIP council candidate Anna-Marie Crampton said that she thought Jews orchestrated the holocaust (which anyone who isn’t as dense as a black hole can tell you is ludicrous)
  • Ex-UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom said that he is against foreign aid because he doesn’t want British money being sent off to “bongo bongo land”
  • Ex-UKIP councillor David Small said on his facebook that he “visited the city of Birmingham recently and felt like a foreigner…we also have the pakistani’ and the Somali’s [bad grammar again]. Tell me Mr. Cameron why? The men wear their pyjamas.”
  • Ex-UKIP councillor James Elgar tweeted “#ThingsAsianBoysDo groom and rape underage white girls, stab and rob innocent old white people, bomb innocent white people ectectect”
  • UKIP TV campaigner Andrew Lampitt tweeted “Most Nigerians are bad people…I grew up in Africa and dare anyone to prove me wrong”
  • Ex-UKIP councillor Rozanne Duncan said on the BBC’s “Meet the UKIPers” programme: “The only people I do have problems with are negroes. And I don’t know why. I don’t know whether there is something in my psyche or whether it’s karma from a previous life or whether something happened to me as a very, very young person and I’ve drawn a veil over it – because that sometimes happens, doesn’t it? But I really do have a problem with people with negroid features.”

General Stupidity

Nigel Farage must wonder if he is the leader of UKIP or if he is simply there as a carer...

Nigel Farage must wonder if he is the leader of UKIP or if he is simply there as a carer…

  • Nigel Farage said that there is a pay gap between women and men because because working mothers do not work as hard as working men. Ex-UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew backed that statement and added “Women don’t have the ambition to get to the top because babies get in the way”
  • Ex-UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom called a group of women “sluts” and proceeded to hit a reporter with his party brochure
  • UKIP energy secretary Roger Helmer declared he didn’t believe in climate change
  • Nigel Farage decided to side with Putin (yes, the Russian Vladamir Putin) over the tensions in Ukraine
  • After the death of Nelson Mandela, UKIP secretary Pamela Preedy asked why his death had had so much coverage as he “had nothing to do with Britain”…
  • Ex-UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew stood up in the European Parliament and declared that it was “cruel” to combat carbon emissions, because plants and trees “wouldn’t be able to breathe” (you can watch this particular instance of mental vacancy on YouTube)
  • Ex-UKIP MEP Geoffrey Clarke called for the possibility of “compulsory abortions for down’s syndrome foetuses”
  • And UKIP candidate Henry Reilley pledged to support Bashar Al-Assad (the dictator of Syria)

Other parties have had their blunders. But I don’t think any other serious party can be said to have quite such an extensive list of blunders as the UKIP lobby.

So whenever anyone says that UKIP shouldn’t be judged by it’s “extreme minority”, be sure to point them in the direction of these blunders and the endless list of “coincidental” collisions between UKIP, stupidity and discrimination.