Monday 29 February 2016

A Brexit vote is a demand for decent jobs

A vote for Brexit on the 23 June 2016 is a vote not just for yourself, but for your children. By leaving the European Union we will be sending a signal not just to those who own the economy, but to those who grovel to them, that the days when we accepted a life of poverty are over. A vote to leave is a vote that makes that statement loud and clear.

When I was a young man there were two types of work: good jobs and jobs. Good jobs were ones with very strong unions, that forced  management scum to pay their workers a very decent screw. By way of contrast, the other sort, the ones I call jobs, were part of the alright category. They  paid an acceptable wage, with a management that still knew enough not to provoke too many fights with the people who created all the wealth, but they were still only just acceptable.

Many people kept at good jobs for life, but hardly anyone did a job for very long for the same employer. Often they would quit on a whim and go wandering along the row after row of factories until they found another place with another foreman who would give them a start. You didn't apply for a job, you asked for a start, and nobody ever expected you to have references. You just asked the foreman for a start, he would look you up and down and then tell you to start on Monday. At some point on that day someone would collect your name and national insurance number, and that was that: you had another job. 

Today, the children and grandchildren of the people who had good jobs or even jobs back then are forced to accept jobs or crap jobs. In other words what was just about acceptable in the 1970s is something that people can only dream about today. For the bulk of the population across a whole swathe of Britain, their working life consists of crappy agency work, interspersed with long, achingly long, periods on the social. 

 Let me tell you a couple of stories, just to illustrate everything that we have lost when we allowed the good jobs to go: 

The first is from about 1977. I was working at a Manchester cinema, and one of the other projectionists became very ill. I did not need any extra money at the time - hard though it may be for younger people to believe, but my regular wage paid more than enough for me to live on quite well enough - but another fellow did need all the money he could get. He and I arranged between ourselves that he would take all the overtime that was going, which meant he worked a double shift of 70 hours a week, and I would just work my normal hours. 

After about two weeks of this, with the sick man about ready to return, the cinema was blessed by a visit from the regional director, or manager, or whatever he was. A parasite who spent his days sitting on his lardy arse, in other words. That bloke asked me why I wasn't working any overtime? Did I think it was right that one man was working a double shift, and so on and so forth? I could have told him the truth, which was that it had all been arranged beforehand, but why should any working man have to tell any two-legged  management cockroach anything? The rule in those days was that if the buggers wanted to know anything then they spoke to the union and waited their sweat for a reply, which is as it should be. 

Without shouting, or losing my temper in any way, I pointed out that until less than a decade earlier all the major cinemas ran with projection boxes staffed with anything up to a dozen men on each shift. It was hardly my fault that to increase company profits, and thus pay useless managers even more money, they had all reduced it to single manning, was it? I went on to say that if the other fellow got tired then they could either bring in someone from another cinema, or close down for a day or so to let him have a rest. I went on to say that actually I was the wrong type to try the emotional blackmail on, since all I cared about was the next wage packet.  

Give that parasite some credit because he actually thanked me for explaining things to him, and promised me that he would never trouble me again. Amazingly enough, he kept his word and never spoke to me again, and if I am not mistaken he never visited the cinema again when I was on duty. 

Most management scum were not as civil, of course, especially those who were lower down the pecking order. The ones who have National Front haircuts, cheap suits, who walked around with a permanent smacked arse expression on their faces: you are familiar with the type, I'm sure.

Dealing with management  was fun back then. I used to collect my pay packet off one of them every week and slowly, ever so slowly, I would count out every last penny that was in the envelope. As I did that I could sense the fury that was building up on the other side of the desk. The point is that thanks to high taxation in those days people like me earned not all that much less than the lump of middle class crap that was supposedly giving me my orders. To say that they didn't like it was putting it mildly, and if I ever did work any overtime, especially if it was at the triple-time rate that the union negotiated for certain special days, then management fury knew no bounds. That was when I would get a sullen, resentful comment to say that I was getting more than them. 

So that was when I told them that I was a worker and they were staff, but not to worry as with their staff position and the right change they could go and buy a pint of beer. Some would go red in the face; others would clench their fists, but not one of them ever said anything by way or reply. They all sucked it up and accepted that causing trouble for a working man was not worth the candle, so they took whatever shit I and other working men chose to give them, like good little middle class boys and girls should. 

What, I hear you cry, has all this got to do with the European Union? The answer is rather a lot, both directly and indirectly. 

Directly it matters because one of the reasons why our country's rulers took us into the European Union was fear of the working class and economic and political clout that we enjoyed in those days. They believed that by tying the United Kingdom down with European rules and regulations, the demands of the unions for ever higher wages could be headed off with appeals to Brussels. The fact that Thatcher came along with the simpler idea of closing British industry down as a way to put the working class in their place, is neither here nor there. Before Thatcherism, when the old slag was just an unknown backbencher, the aim was still one of ensuring control of the economy by putting us down. So whether we are talking about the EU or Thatcher doesn't matter because they are both about the same end, and as we all know, that end has not been good for us.

Indirectly, it matters because if we want to start the long task of recovering our political and economic status it cannot be done while the middle class are able to call all the shots. They will not even begin to make concessions to us until they get back that arse-clenching sense that provoking us would be a bad idea. Look back to how I was able to treat management in the 1970s: do you think that the upper managerial fellow I explained things to back at that cinema didn't want to lose his rag with me for defying him? Of course he did - but he didn't say anything because he knew that the consequences would be dire for him if he did. 

By voting to leave the European Union you will be sending a message to creatures like him that the days of taking insolence from them are over. By voting to leave you set yourself on the road to retribution for the long, dark decades where all you have had between you and the dole office is a shit job, for a shit wage, for a shit gaffer. 

You owe it not only to yourself, but to the generations that are not yet born, to cast a vote in the name of revenge against the people who mock your poverty and want to see your remain stuck in it for all time.

Sunday 28 February 2016

Immigration is about keeping your wages down: Brexit is about seeing them rise

Go to any Northern English mill town and start asking the older people when the first Pakistanis arrived. Before long, someone will give you chapter and verse, and probably also tell you which company shipped the newcomers into the town, and by how much they cut the wages.

I lived in Nelson, Lancashire between 2010 and 2013, and more than one neighbour was only too happy to tell me that a company called Smith and Nephew brought the first group of Pakistanis in to work the night shift at the company's mill back in the 1960s. In those days the going rate for a unskilled night worker in a mill was £7.00 a week, so Smith and Nephew paid its new workers £6.00 every week.

The notion that immigration is good for Britain is nonsense. It is certainly good for the employers who get the cheap labour. The middle class love immigration because it gives them an army of cheap plumbers and nannies. It also gives the middle class another opportunity to look down on us, because they can condemn our attempts to defend our living standards as waycism, but then again, the middle class has always been very good at covering its self interest with a sanctimonious veneer of self-righteousness.

Back in the 1960s the Labour government of the day could bring in the first Race Relations Acts which prevented management from paying immigrants at a lower rate than the locals, but today we live in a world of hire and fire where management scum can pay whatever they like. Thanks to that, coupled with borders that are wide open to anyone from the Third World parts of Eastern Europe, there is no pressure on any management to pay anything above the minimum wage.

It is a simple economic fact that an oversupply of labour keeps the price of that labour low, and that is true across the board. Even skilled workers, such as lorry drivers who used to be very well paid, are now finding that the influx of foreign workers acts to keep their take home pay down.

By voting to leave the European Union on the 23 June 2016 the ordinary people of this country will send a signal to the employers and those who spend a lifetime with their noses jammed up those employers' ring pieces.

It is then not to fanciful to speculate that within weeks of the vote to leave having been registered, the supply of cheap labour from Eastern Europe may start to dry up. Partly this will be because British management will be having an arse-clenching moment, so might stop actively recruiting scab labour from Eastern Europe, but it will also be because people from those countries will realise that the low-wage jobs are no longer available.

Just think for a moment on the fact that if foreign labour ceases to flood into the country then almost by definition your wages will start to rise. If there is no longer a reserve army of unemployed and underemployed people then management will have to start offering better wages to you and to people like you. They may hate you as much as you hate them, but they are not stupid and they need someone to labour so as to create the wealth that they skim off and enjoy. That someone could be you, with for the first time in your life, a decent bloody wage packet burning a hole in your pocket.

Now I have no doubt that the federasts will argue that companies will move abroad if the ordinary people of Britain refuse to continue accepting rule by Brussels. Some companies may even do that, but we won't know whether they will or not until after we have voted to give the two-fingered salute to the European Union.

What is true, and what cannot be denied, is the fact that you spend your lives going from one crappy job to another, with long periods on the social in between. Those crappy jobs are often via an agency, so really, can anyone honestly say that those crappy jobs are worth defending?

Think about it for a moment. Can your life be any worse? Yes, independence is a gamble, of course it is, but what is the worst that can happen to you if the gamble fails? That you might lose your shitty job, for your shitty wage? You are probably going to lose that job anyway, sooner rather than later. The company will tell the agency that they don't need as many workers next week, and you will get a text message on your mobile 'phone telling you to go to the joke shop to sign on for a bit until something else that is equally shitty turns up for you.

Now let's look ahead and speculate a bit. By demanding that our country becomes independent once more, you will be in a position to demand long-term changes to the way that our country is run. The political class who support the European Union, and the employers' organisations who do so as well out of it, will all be discredited, just by your simple act of refusing to be intimidated and casting your ballot to leave the EU. You will have seen through all their fairy stories and by voting to leave you will have demonstrated your complete and utter contempt for all of them.

The politicians especially will have to start listening to you for once because they, and the middle class as a whole, will start shitting their loads. They will be afraid of what you might do next, having got the taste of power in your mouths. You can imagine that Labour politicians will start scampering to come up with policies that appeal to us and to people like us. Regulation of the economy, nationalisation of industries to ensure that ordinary people get a decent screw, all that will suddenly appear back on the agenda again.

Of course they won't do that because they love us, but because we will have made them afraid. To protect their own positions in society they will look for policies that will buy us off and keep us happy. So long as those policies involve decent wages and good terms and conditions, why should we be care? I take the view that you cannot buy me, but you can rent me for 35 hours a week, so long as you are not too lippy and pay me decently. I suspect that most working people think like that, and so they should.

So, if you are happy doing a shit job, for a shit wage, for a shit gaffer then of course you should vote to stay in the European Union. On the other hand, if you want something better, if you can just smell the opportunities that independence might bring, then you should go to the polling station on the 23 June 2016 and vote to leave the European Union for once and for all.

Seriously, your life cannot get any worse than it is already, and there is the possibility of good times ahead.

What's not to like about that?

Friday 26 February 2016

School calls police after pupil visits anti-EU website

You would think that a secondary school would be pleased when one of its 15 year old pupils decided to visit a political website, but the Wildern School in Southampton got very stroppy with Joe Taylor for having the temerity to visit the UKIP webpage. So stroppy, in fact, that they called for Plod, who promptly sent an anti-terrorism officer along to try and intimidate Joe and his dad, Mick.

The anti-terrorist police then accused Joe of being an "activist" for UKIP and told him that it was "not right" to visit the anti-EU site. 

I am stunned by this story, and reminded of the little matter in Rotherham back in 2012 when a couple were told by the town's social work industry that they could not continue to foster Eastern European children because they were members of UKIP, a racist party, according to the social workers.

What we are looking at here is an example of middle class arse-clenching at the thought that the people of Britain might no be longer prepared to accept the guff that the local elite gives them. By local elite, I mean the teachers, social workers, council penpushers and other assorted rabble who combine to make people's lives as miserable as possible on the estates.

This overreaction by one sad little school isn't about UKIP. It is about the fear that the local polyocracy has that it might lose control of the people; that the people might vote in their own interests and against the interests of the parasitic local government nomenklatura.

It kind of makes you more determined than ever to vote for the UK to leave the EU, doesn't it? Giving two fingers to a rabble like that is just a good in itself.

The Secrets of the Santa Muerte

In case you are wondering what I was up to during my blogging hiatus, one of the answers is that I was was writing a book! The Secrets of the Santa Muerte is an 18,000 word introduction to this fascinating Mexican folk religion, and will be published in both paperback and e-book versions next month.

Don't worry, as this is not a dry text that will send the average reader to sleep. In fact, it turned out to be a how-to guide for anyone who wants to become a follower of the Dark Lady in the United Kingdom. Maybe she was looking over my shoulder as I wrote, who knows?

I did the research some time ago in Mexico, by talking to the people who worship this strange, frightening deity. I wrote down all the spells, prayers and incantations that they would tell me about, and then I translated them all into English for the benefit of the British reader.

The paperback will be available from my publishers, Feedaread,  from about mid-March, with Amazon and bookseller distribution coming on-stream  about a month later. The e-book should be in the Amazon store towards the end of March.

Rest assured, I'll keep you up to date with all developments.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

It's official: Holyrood's new powers are on their way

It went right down to the wire, but the UK and Scottish governments finally compromised on the fiscal framework that will underpin the new powers that Holyrood will get later this year. I don't want to over-egg this pudding, but it does mean that Holyrood will be one of the most powerful devolved legislatures in the world. Not as powerful as a Swiss canton, certainly, and maybe no as much of a heavyweight as Quebec is within Canada, but certainly it puts Scotland up there with the other Canadian provinces or even the American states. 

The hold-up came about owing to different interpretations of the no-detriment clauses of the Smith Commission Report. Actually what both sides were doing was pretending that there is only one such clause, when actually there are two.

The UK government argued that they were meeting clause 95(3) in full by transferring powers without causing any loss of income to Scotland at the point of transfer. The Scottish government said that this was all very well, but clause 95(4) was the problem as that bit states that there shall be no detriment as the powers are used by Holyrood.

In a nutshell, since income tax will be fully devolved, if the population in England continues to grow with high levels of immigration, then the tax take for Westminster will rise. However, Scotland does not have large numbers of immigrants, so her income tax levels would decline over time. Under the existing system that was not a problem, since all the revenues raised in Scotland went to Westminster, there to be put through the formula known as Barnett, and returned to Holyrood with a nice top-up. However, with income tax now being a matter purely for Holyrood, that sum will be removed from the future block grant that London pays to Edinburgh. In simple English, unless a deal could be done, Scotland would get less money from her own income tax than she would had she remained under the pure block grant system.

When these negotiations began, the UK government wanted to cut the block grant by £7 billion, that being the amount, more or less that Scotland raises with her own income tax and other incidentals that will also be devolved. By Monday of this week they had dropped that to £3 billion, then on Tuesday morning they asked for a £2.5 billion cut, before in the afternoon reducing it to £2 billion.

Then Cameron seems to have stepped in and shrugged his shoulders, with the result that there will be no cuts at all. The matter has been kicked into the long grass with a joint promise of a review in five more years, when all the current teams will probably be out of office. Besides, five years is a long time and we can expect inertia to kick in when it all comes up for renegotiation, with the result that it will get rolled over again for the next generation to worry about.

Scotland is very, very lucky with the timing over this. All Cameron cares about is winning the EU referendum. The last thing he wants is to have an outraged Scotland making waves. Far better to provide us with a rather nice bung to go away and shut up. 

To be honest, that suits me down to the ground. I voted Yes in the IndyRef because the thought of continuing to live in a country that was dominated by scummy Tories and their odious hangers-on in ratholes like Nuneaton left me feeling in need of a bath.

Looking ahead, pretty much everything that affects the day to day life of people in Scotland will be decided by Holyrood, a chamber far more responsive that the two that exist in Westminster. 

All with a nice bung courtesy of HMG!
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