Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Why Labour loses

Why is Labour out of touch? Why are people so pissed off with the establishment? Why are they voting for other parties? After all, all the clever people say that inequality isn't a thing and that poverty isn't that much of an issue. Well, I have a few ideas. It's a matter of life quality. In this post I outline a few things that piss me off. And while they appear to be a list of irreconcilable whinges, stick with me. There is a point to this.

Car insurance

The car insurance industry is a grubby cartel. It isn't a functioning market and I do not like giving money to crooks. For sure you can get a low price provider, and that's all very well until you have an accident and then you discover your insurance is next to worthless. 

Speeding points

A fine is a pain. Fair is fair though. They do paint speed cameras bright yellow. But why harm job prospects and add hundreds to my car insurance?

Bus lane fines

Sure, fine me £60 for being in a bus lane for nine seconds. Because that's really a problem for commuters at 1am on a sunday isn't it? 

Council CEO salaries

Golden hellos of £90k and wages reaching £235k in some instances for town clerks. Nobody in the public sector is worth that much. Nobody. Don't fucking tell me you need to cut the local library when you are heaping cash on these useless cunts. 


Councils have turned law breaking thugs into millionaires - chasing money that isn't there for a grossly unfair tax system. Offensive. 

Affordable justice

If you have any legal bother at all, you'll need £1500 for starters. Most people can't put their hands on £1500. Justice only for those who can afford it? That's not Britain is it?

Credit scoring

Some corporate decides I owe them money when I don't. The system says "talk to the hand". I can't get a mortgage now. Fucking awesome. I know we need a system for credit scoring, but the one we have is totally fucked because the county court system is a conveyor belt and it's open to industrial scale abuse by corporate parasites.

Council tax

As a single person I have no demands on the council and need my bin emptying once a month only. I pay upward of £1100 for a small flat. Why?

Availability of doctors appointments

Usually if I'm sick I wait two weeks as I will probably get better. If I'm sick enough to call a doctor, I need to see one that day. A&E's are filling up for that reason. 

Poor quality doctors

Arm falling off? Here, have a tub of E45 cream. Seriously, do we just drag people off the street and make the GPs?

Affordability of education, Access to decent training

There was once a time when you could be good at something and succeed. Now that everything is compartmentalised requiring high levels of specialisation, you get nowhere without decent qualifications. It shouldn't be that way but it is. And let's face it, £9000 a year is way too much - especially when university teaching is shit and degrees are increasingly utilitarian. 

Business rates

Absurdly complicated and grossly over expensive. Shops empty on the high street? Abandoned warehouses? Have a guess why. 

Useless police complaints system

Arsehole plod? Write to the police commissioner. The reply "We do not comment on staffing or operational matters". Bureacratese for "Fuck you".

Useless healthcare complaints system

Drinking water from flower vases? Your problem, not theirs. 

Availability of jobs

Permanent jobs were once commonplace, but after a string of new "rights", it ironically created a thriving temp market where even small cities had a dozen shop from temp agencies.

It was a pretty good time to be starting your career where you could bum around and try things out, knowing that if you got fired in the first week you would bounce into something else in the next. A fluid and dynamic labour market is essential for young people.

That was about the time when if you managed to stay in a job for six months there would be a reasonable chance of converting it to a permanent job. If you showed some aptitude you could even be offered a better job. It worked. That was the general understanding that made you try a bit harder.

But then along came a bunch of new rights where employers were obliged to give you more rights after six months. The result of that was rolling six month contracts. That social contract that had existed was ripped up. This then became the norm and as more rights crept in, permanent jobs became even rarer.

And to fix the problems all those new entitlements created they then gave us the Agency Workers Directive, affording gold plated protections to workers after three months. The result of that... zero hours and insecure contracts.

Cost of public transport

Governments moan about congestion caused by cars. Yet public transport is more expensive and slower. What do councils do? Axe more bus services. 

Impossibility of home ownership

Along with out completely fucked credit scoring system, houses are just too damn expensive. And they shouldn't be. 

Cost of booze

£40 for a bottle of scotch. Does this deter binge drinking? No. I just means people buy the cheaper, nastier stuff that causes more health problems and have even less to spend on food. Why make poor people with alcohol problems even poorer?


To borrow words from Paul Mason, "for the past 30 years the whole structure of politics and economics in Britain has been built around the project of making the lives of working class people worse, not better, and disempowering them in the process."

How can this be true? Every metric says we are healthier, wealthier and better off. Or so they say. 

But this is why Labour can't understand why ordinary people reject them. It's not about numbers on a chart somewhere. It is a matter of being in control of our lives. 

Most of the problems we face in our lives, admittedly first world problems, are those things that interrupt our normal functioning. They are those things that limit our chances, those things that take food from our mouths and those things that crush social mobility. They are all in some way a result of remote government systems or systems responding to government policy. 

For sure, most of us have the basics in our lives but we are not involved in our own governance and when the system makes decisions, more often than not, they are final unless you can afford the legal battle. 

We have a system that goes fairly easy on violent criminals and thieves but one that will ruin you if you for administrative offenses. Council facilities have been outsourced, complaints go unheeded, and the system fucks you around to the point of exhaustion and despair. All of this absolutely crushes any sense of personal obligation to behave as a citizen. 

The system is designed to manage us as a herd rather than serve us. Humans are removed from the decision making process at all levels. We are absolutely disempowered - and the government won't do anything about it because the government likes it. 

And yes, all of the above can be attributed to the fact that I drive too fast, drink too much, didn't make the right choices in the past - and most of my complaints could have been avoided by not falling foul of the system and living a drab and austere existence. But why should anyone be condemned to that? And why should choices of ten years ago be irreversible?

Social policy makers look at the charts of income distribution and see a wealthier population, but I would venture that social mobility has stalled, people feel trapped by their circumstances and there are masses of bureaucratic and financial obstacles in the way of getting even a basic foothold. The English dream of a house, a car and a family was once a birthright. Now if you have a crappy semi in Wiltshire and a car less than five years old, you might as well be Alan Sugar by the estimations of most young people. 

With so many things now beyond the reach of young people without making unacceptable compromises, they are resigned to live a pointless life with no stake in anything, working in service jobs, grazing according to their short term whims and no real direction. And we're supposed to vote for more of the same? 

These are the reasons why Labour has absolutely nothing to say to working class people. Or anyone with a pulse for that matter. They are far too obsessed with their own internal feuds and bombing Syrians for no reason. The Labour leadership cares more about Palestinians than Yorkshirefolk.

It is not interested in removing these bureaucratic constraints because they are major sources of revenue for their public sector empires. They are not interested in creating more freedoms for people. They like telling us how to live and controlling what we do. 

This is why I am instinctively a conservative. I believe it is the job of government to remove obstacles, not create them. If you want an aspirational society then you have to give people a helping hand and second chances. If even the basics are out of reach then you simply don't have a society. You have cohabitation. Miserable cohabitation. We're left to rot, filling in forms, working tedious jobs to pay exorbitant rents, unfair taxes and a mountain of public debt. 

If you look at the list of gripes above and they are very much hangovers from the Blair era. The era of massively inflated public sector, nannying interventions, ever more CCTV, unnecessarily outsourced public services and a mortgage system completely warped by Labour's debt binge. And what has Labour got to say for itself now? Nothing. Even now, the Blairite wing of Labour is conspiring to reassert control over the party when they are the ones who made Labour unelectable. 

And why would Labour have a clue what it's like to struggle to find a path in life? When you have Jo Cox's and Chuka Umunnas and Corbyns, none of whom ever had to lift a finger, it's little wonder they are out of step with just about everyone in the country. With a head full of fair trade and sustainable development bilge, their world is not our world. 

In our world a penny on petrol matters. A bus lane fine means cancelling a school trip, speeding points mean crippling insurance, a CCJ costs the chance of a job anywhere in the banking and insurance world, and a hike in business rates closes down the local shops we rely on. Bailiffs make us frightened to answer the door. Council tax means the poor never get a holiday. Court costs means we can never address injustice. Education costs mean we can never change careers. Public transport costs eat into our disposable income. That is Labour's legacy. That is why Labour deserves to die.  

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