Saturday, 9 May 2009

Labour pains

The Labour government seems bemused by its huge unpopularity. They seem to think we're all a bunch of ungrateful sods who can't appreciate their dazzling achievements.

What kind of cloud-cuckoo land are they living in? Most people could produce a list of disappointments as long as their arm, in stark contrast to the soaring hopes when Labour was first elected in 1997.

Out of the pile of rubble, I'll pick out two things that show the dreadful hypocrisy and incompetence of this motley crew.

On the one hand, there are still at least 11 million people (a sixth of the population) living in poverty*, including 3 million children and 2½ million pensioners. Labour's vow to halve child poverty by 2010 looks increasingly unbelievable.

On the other hand, MPs keep voting themselves pay rises well above inflation, as well as fiddling their expenses every which way. They claim for taxes they haven't paid, second homes they never use, inflated cleaning bills, personal TV packages, you name it.

Then they wonder why the voters have turned against them and want to kick them all out of office. They still spin every new disappointment as steady progress and wonder why they aren't getting a deafening round of applause.

Meanwhile they're obstinately spending billions to introduce ID cards, so they can be absolutely sure we're entitled to the public services they're busily running down. Passports and driving licences are apparently not convincing enough, so we're expected to shell out for further documents.

Even if we're debt-ridden parents or hard-up pensioners.

* Defined as households earning less than 60% of Britain's median income


  1. It's the rule of thumb of politicians everywhere, Nick. Once into office it's the same old, same old, dancing to the tune of the true masters, Big Corp, who put them there to begin with and when caught at the till, spin it every which way one can and bleed hypocrisy from every pore.
    Can't you tell I'm disillusioned too? Even with The One.

  2. www - I'm not generally cynical, but I've seen so many politicians lining their own pockets and fobbing off the less fortunate, my scepticism towards them knows no bounds.

    It's reported that one cabinet minister (Geoff Hoon) has amassed a £1.7 million property portfolio while he's been in government.

  3. Nick things sound particularly horrible in Ireland but I'm sure we're being duped in the same way. Our Labour government is more Liberal than the Liberal Party! The latest shenanigins is attempting to get rid of a 30% tax rebate that private health owners have! Where's the incentive to look after your health . . we already pay a Medicare levy to the public system despite also having private health insurance. And (sorry ranting a bit here) I remember Bob Hawke back in the 80's (former head of the trade union movement and PM at the time) announcing that by the year 2000, no child would live in poverty! Well 10 years later and that's just another empty vessel talking as well! He's now retired on his overinflated superannuation. Fwoaaarrr!

  4. Baino - Ahem, Northern Ireland is part of the UK! Though I expect the same fiddles are widespread in the south as well. As a supporter of the NHS, I'm not in favour of private health insurance in Britain, but in Oz where the health services operate differently private insurance seems to be essential.

  5. 1997 seems a very long time ago! ID cards, worst idea of this century and the last!

  6. Suburbia - It's a very long time ago. And what's been achieved in those 12 years? Pathetically little.

  7. Ah, well, I see an immediate solution to the poverty metric. Simply move from median to mean and the resulting lower number will bring large numbers of families up above the poverty threshold imediately :-)

    (That's the kind of thing they do, you know)

  8. Thrifty - Of course, what a wizard wheeze. I'll be waiting for the government to do just that. In fact I'm surprised they haven't done it already, they know every other statistical sleight of hand....

  9. All these MPs now being lauded for handing back expenses - shouldn't they be ashamed of claiming them initially?

  10. Liz - Absolutely. Some of the things they claimed for (cleaning out the moat!) are so outrageous you wonder how they were ever permitted. The huge amounts they're paying back show the extent of their utter piss-taking.