Wage Repression explained
Wage repression is a fairly self-explanatory term meaning the deliberate undermining of wages by employers. Wage repression is most often used by private sector employers in order to cut their payroll expenditure, but taken as a whole, the state is actually the largest employer, and is just as capable of repressing wages as the private sector.
The idea that economic efficiency can be increased through the repression of wages is an article of faith for ideological neoliberals. Witness the effects of the current Tory austerity programme on wages, or think back to the 1980s when the collective bargaining rights of millions of workers were attacked by Margerat Thatcher's government.
I say that wage repression is an article of neoliberal faith because (much like a lot of orthodox neoliberal theory) there is actually little actual evidence that wage repression is good for the national economy, and in fact, a lot of evidence that it is actually harmful.
The reason that the subject of wage repression is important now, is that the UK is currently enduring the longest period of wage repression in over a century, in which the average wage has fallen in real terms every single month for three consecutive years (every month since the Tory led government came to power).
The idea that wage repression is actually bad for the economy is hardly a new one. Quakers and other non-conformist religious groups realised early in the industrial revolution that by paying reasonable wages, and providing additional benefits such as education and healthcare, they themselves benefited from the massively increased productivity of a loyal, healthy and educated workforce (as compared to the bitterly exploited, poor, unhealthy, malnourished and ill-educated workforces of the less ethically minded of the early industrial pioneers). Probably the most famous rejection of wage repression was the high pay / low price policy of the American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford (hardly a "leftie" by any stretch of the imagination), who paid high wages and made low profit margins on his vehicles, so that his employees would return their wages back to his business through the purchase of the vehicles they themselves had been constructing.
To put the historic objection to wage repression into reasonably simple economic terms: Wage repression is bad because it reduces the disposable income of workers - When workers have less money to spend, this results in a fall in consumer spending - When consumer spending falls, aggregate demand falls - When aggregate demand falls the economy falls into low-growth, recession or depression.
I don't think it takes a lot of brains to realise that the less money the public have in their pockets, the less they are going to spend, and that this fall in spending will have a negative knock-on effect on the wider economy.
Private sector wage repression
Ever since the global financial sector meltdown
of 2007-08 the private sector have gleefully used "the crisis" to justify wage repression. Millions of workers have suffered pay cuts or below inflation wage rises year, after year, after year. Meanwhile the FTSE 100 has risen to back to pre-crisis levels, British corporations are hoarding £billion in assets and executive pay is skyrocketing.
Over the last three years private sector workers have experience real terms wage cuts every single month, as the rate of inflation massively outstrips their rate of pay increase. The average British worker has lost 9% of their salary to inflation. Meanwhile the corporate executives have got fat engorging themselves on ludicrous pay hikes and bonuses. The average salary and bonuses of FTSE100 directors rose 33% in 2010, a whopping 49% in 2011, another 27% in 2012, and 14% in 2013, whilst their workers barely scraped a below inflation 1% average pay rise.
Wage repression and the welfare state
the welfare state was originally designed in order to support those that couldn't work (the elderly, the disabled, the sick, mothers with newborns) and those that found themselves temporarily unemployed.
Since the beginning of the neoliberal era in 1979, the role of the welfare state has become ever more distorted, as it has been used to facilitate private sector wage repression.
In the 1980s the Conservative government completely abandoned the idea of maintaining near-full employment and enacted policies which resulted in millions of people suffering long term unemployment. The benefits system was used to provide these millions with a subsistence income, just enough to keep them alive and available for work. The creation of mass unemployment was a deliberate strategy to aid wage repression by creating a vast standing army of unemployed people, willing to work for low wages in order to undermine workers wages. The Tory attacks on trade union rights went hand-in-hand with their policy of creating an artificial labour surplus via mass unemployment.
When New Labour came to power in 1997 they did very little to reverse the Tory wage repression policies; unemployment declined gradually, but nothing like the full employment era of the 1950s and 60s was achieved. New Labour also kept in place all of the oppressive anti-trade union laws enacted by their Tory predecessors. In fact, in some ways they allowed things to get much worse, through their refusal to legislate to prevent the rise in exploitative employment practices like Zero Hours Contracts.
What New Labour did instead was to use the benefits system to boost low wages, essentially facilitating the payment of poverty wages by exploitative employers by topping up earnings with benefits like Tax Credits and Housing Benefits.
When the typical reactionary anti-benefits ranter sees these payments, they don't even think about the role of wage repression in the situation, they simply label the victims of this exploitation as scroungers without the slightest thought for who the beneficiaries actually are. The real scroungers in this situation are obviously the private companies who increase their profit margins by paying poverty wages, and then expect the taxpayer to make up the shortfall so that their workers actually have enough money to survive.
To me, this stuff hardly seems difficult to understand, however it does seem to be far beyond the cognitive skills of most Tory voting anti-welfare reactionaries to grasp that the real "scroungers" are not the underpaid workers that actually receive these benefits, but the exploitative employers that benefit from cheap labour whilst the taxpayer makes up the shortfall.
Now that the Conservatives are back in power, they are determined to undo the New Labour welfare reforms designed to mitigate the worst effects of wage repression. They have launched round after round of benefits cuts, always relying on the combination of "scrounger narratives" and the absurd "making work pay" fallacy to create pseudo-justifications for their attacks on in-work benefits.
When benefits like Tax Credits are used to mitigate the effects of private sector wage repression, cutting these benefits can be seen as a deliberate attempt to increase the effects of wage repression.
Public sector wage repression
Wage repression is not exclusive to the private sector, it is also used by the state on workers that are directly employed by the state. In 2013 the Tory led Government (with the backing of the ever servile Liberal Democrats) imposed a below inflation 1% pay cap on public sector workers (except for MPs themselves of course, they'll collect a vast 11% pay rise). To put this into perspective, 75% of local government workers earn less than £21,000 a year. Capping their wage rises at 1% whilst simultaneously giving an average £100,000 a year tax break to Britain's 13,000 income millionaires is frankly obscene.
Another way in which the Tory led government are deliberately increasing levels of wage repression is through below inflation rises in the National Minimum Wage. This means that the incomes of millions of the lowest paid workers in Britain are suffering real terms income cuts.
Less repressive economies
It is obviously very difficult to make analyses between different countries given that there are so many factors other than levels of wage repression that can influence economic growth, however I think it is worth noting that the five countries with the highest National Minimum Wages have all significantly outperformed the UK economy since the effects of the global financial sector meltdown hit in 2007-08.
It would take willful ignorance to overlook the fact that the longest period of wage repression in a Century has coincided with the weakest period of economic performance in a Century.
This period of wage repression and economic contraction has also coincided with a period of unprecedented corporate largesse, with soaring executive pay, corporate asset hoarding and lavish cuts in Corporation Tax by the Tory government.
The Tory government haven't just lavished wage repressing businesses and their highest earners with huge tax-cuts, they have joined in with the wage repression too by imposing real terms cuts on public sector workers (apart from themselves of course), on in-work benefits, and on the salaries of those unlucky enough to be earning just the National Minimum Wage.
The stagnating UK economy is a clear illustration of the kind of economic destruction that results from building an economy on a foundation of ruthless self-interest. When an economy is administered by a government that can't see the glaring flaws in their beloved neoliberal pseudo-economic theories, the ruling class will give absolute priority to serving the financial interests of a tiny economic minority and repressing the incomes of everyone else to pay for it. When this crony capitalist "serve the rich, smash the poor" mentality is elevated above all other considerations (such as long-term economic stability, stimulation of economic demand, combating poverty, increasing national productivity, cutting the trade deficit or improving general public welfare) the economic consequences can be dire. But worse than that, the social consequences of driving the majority into greater poverty in order to enr
- Nigel SimmonsThe Constitution of the United Kingdom is the set of laws and principles under which the United Kingdom is governed . Unlike many other nations, the UK has no single constitutional document. This is sometimes expressed by stating that it has an uncodified or "unwritten" constitution .
It follows that Parliament can change the constitution simply by passing new Acts of Parliament.
- Nigel SimmonsThe fundamental law, written or unwritten, that establishes the character of a government by defining the basic principles to which a society must conform; by describing the organization of the government and regulation, distribution, and limitations on the functions of different government departments; and by prescribing the extent and manner of the exercise of its sovereign powers
Political correctness has a basic flaw. If all views are equal, why do some who embrace this view feel the need to push this agenda as the "correct" one at the same time demonizing other views as "incorrect"?
Jamal was offended by me calling him a perverted gay fairy black boy all stung out on crack. The politically correct thing to say would be that Jamal is leading an acceptable alternative lifestyle as an african-american homosexual who has the disease of drug addiction.
Famously, the government of James Callaghan fell by one vote, partially due to Labour deputy whip Walter Harrison suspending the unspoken obligation of his Conservative counterpart Bernard Weatherill to pair for the terminally ill Labour backbencher Sir Alfred Broughton after Weatherhill was unable to find an MP in his party willing to pair on such an important vote.
Pairing in the British House of Commons was later ended by a decision of the Labour and Liberal Democrat Chief Whips, Donald Dewar and Archy Kirkwood on 17 December 1996, following an incident when they claimed to find the Conservative government cheating in a vote by pairing the same three Conservative MPs with three absent Labour MPs as well as three absent Liberal Democrat MPs.
The decision came into effect on 13 January 1997. It is not clear how long this protest lasted. In the 1997 general election, Labour were elected with a huge majority. Pairing is currently practiced by all three of the major parties in the UK House of Commons, but only for votes that aren’t of great importance (one or two line whips)
THE ROYAL PEROGATIVE
The Royal Prerogative
The Royal Prerogatives are a series of historic powers formally exercised by the monarch acting alone, but which in reality are exercised by government ministers. They enable government ministers to rule virtually by decree, without the backing of or consultation with Parliament, in many areas not covered by statute. A.V Dicey has described the Royal Prerogative as: “the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the crown”.
What are the prerogative powers?
In relation to foreign affairs, the powers cover:
- the recognition of foreign states;
- the declaration of war;
- the making of treaties;
- the accreditation of diplomats; and
- the deployment of armed forces in the UK and abroad.
In relation to domestic matters, the powers include:
- the appointment and dismissal of ministers;
- the issuing and withdrawal of passports;
- the appointment of Queen's Counsel;
- the dissolution of Parliament;
- the granting of honours;
- appointments to, and employment conditions of, the civil service;
- the commissioning and regulation of the armed forces; and
- the calling of elections.
There is also the prerogative of ‘mercy’, which affects the judicial system. It means that ‘pardons’ can be granted in relation to a criminal conviction (i.e. it used to allow the withdrawal of the death penalty), or legal proceedings can be halted against an individual.
Who exercises them?
The Queen will exercise the prerogative these days only in accordance with advice from government ministers. However, there are still some powers that she can exercise directly, for example, there are some honours (e.g. the Order of Merit) within her personal choice. There are also some circumstances where the Crown may need to have some personal influence, for instance if there is a hung parliament. However, on the whole, the executive exercises prerogative powers.
The main concern regarding the Royal Prerogative is that the powers are outdated and can be exercised by the Government without recourse to Parliament. As they are not enshrined in statute, they are unclear. In the past, government ministers have refused to respond to questioning on them on the grounds that they are not responsible to Parliament for providing advice or information in relation to prerogative powers. However, Parliament through its scrutiny procedures, can ask the Government to account for its exercise of the prerogative.
The powers allow for governments to potentially take the country to war, or to sign far-reaching treaties, without consultation with Parliament. Given the seriousness of a decision on whether or not to take a country to war, it seems archaic and undemocratic that such a decision in this country can be taken without a formal right of debate in Parliament.
Although Tony Blair did consult with Parliament before declaring war in Iraq, whether Parliament is allowed such a vote should not be decided at the behest of the Prime Minister; indeed, future Prime Ministers may not take such a democratic view.
Unless the prerogative is expressly abolished, it will remain an uncertain and somewhat arbitrary source of power for the Government and the Crown. However, prerogative powers can be, and have been in some cases, diluted if new legislation regulating the same subject comes into force.
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS –TODAYS JUSICE SYSTEM
The Terrorism Act whereby you can be held in Custody without being charged for 28 days as well as Closed Courts known as CPM’s Closed Material Procedures are just two new powers the Authorities have .So anyone can be arrested kept up to 28 days ,charged taken into a Secret Court and Imprisoned .All in Secret .
But another very little know Power the Public are unaware of is The out-of-hours rulings about care or medical treatment .Where a decision is given by a Judge over the Telephone .
Late on a Sunday night, Justice Sir Mark Hedley decided to let a man with mental health problems die of an overdose rather than pump his stomach, because he believed the man "had capacity" to refuse treatment. The judgement was never recorded or published. Sir Mark, now retired from the bench, said of his ruling: "I decided he had capacity, so he died that night. That's exactly what he wanted to do." He added: "It was a phone call at 10 o'clock on a Sunday night. Actually directly from a consultant at the hospital, though usually they come through lawyers. There would have been no [published] order at all because once I'd made a finding of capacity, there was no jurisdiction for the court to act .
GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS
Genetically modified foods (GM foods, or biotech foods) are foods produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), specifically, genetically modified crops. GMOs have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques
Commercial sale of genetically modified foods began in 1994, when Calgene first marketed its Flavr Savr delayed ripening tomato. Typically, genetically modified foods are transgenic plant products: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. These may have been engineered for faster growth, resistance to pathogens, production of extra nutrients, or any other beneficial purpose. GM livestock have also been experimentally developed, although as of July 2010 none are currently on the market.
Critics have objected to GM foods on several grounds, including safety issues, ecological concerns, and economic concerns raised by the fact GM plants (and potentially animals) that are food sources are subject to intellectual property law.
Genetically engineered plants are generated in a laboratory by altering their genetic makeup and are tested in the laboratory for desired qualities. This is usually done by adding one or more genes to a plant's genome using genetic engineering techniques. Most genetically modified plants are generated by the biolistic method (particle gun) or by Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation.
Once satisfactory plants are produced, sufficient seeds are gathered, and the companies producing the seed need to apply for regulatory approval to field-test the seeds. If these field tests are successful, the company must seek regulatory approval for the crop to be marketed (see Regulation of the release of genetic modified organisms). Once that approval is obtained, the seeds are mass-produced, and sold to farmers. The farmers produce genetically modified crops, which also contain the inserted gene and its protein product. The farmers then sell their crops as commodities into the food supply market, in countries where such sales are permitted .
EUGENICS -GENOCIDE - SOCIAL CLEANSING
Whether it be called Genocide ,Eugenics or Social Cleansing it has been a method of Population Control throughout the World .When the subject arises we immediately think of Nazi Germany Rwanda or Bosnia .The concept being so abhorrent people don’t think it possible in their own country .Eugenics was a populist theory in the early twentieth century before its global decline although Sweden still held beliefs in it until the 1970’s .Eugenics is the name of a system that by means of identification and classification of individuals and their families are deemed undesirable ,the groups involved were the Poor ,Mentally ill ,Disabled ,Blind and Deaf and other groups deemed to fit the criteria .Power ,money and a self-serving attitude creates such situations whereby a minority has control over the majority .At its peak Eugenics was supported by Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt , George Bernard Shaw and J P Morgan the banker but to name a few .Bill Gates the richest man in the world ,his father was the President of the American Eugenics Society renamed Planned Parenthood ,Gates Jr himself funds the vaccination programme in Africa and has stated in an interview that “his family’s involvement in reproductive issues has been extensive” .His involvement in GM crops is also to the forefront of his interests ,denying African farmers traditional seeds and supplying them with genetically modified .It was an Englishman and not a German that started the Eugenics movement Francis Galton , they lobbied Parliament to promote their theory that physical and learning disabilities resulted in crime ,vagrancy ,alcoholism ,prostitution and unemployment and that they should introduce selective breeding .Galton received a knighthood .Life is cyclic it’s all been done before ,and reappears to be re-enacted dressed as something else .
EU HAND BOOK ON ASSYLUM BORDERS & IMMIGRATION
AS NIGEL FARAGE SEES IT
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – AS NIGEL FARAGE SEES IT
"I am the Tory Party's Worst Nightmare. I am a White, Tax-Paying, God fearing English man. I am a hard working Brit and I work long hours to earn a living. >> I believe in God and the freedom of religion, but I don't push it on others. I believe in British products and buy them whenever I can.
>> I believe the money I make belongs to me and not to some
governmental functionary, to share with others who don't work!
>> I think owning a home doesn't make you a capitalist; it makes you a
smart Brit. I think being a minority does not make you noble or
victimized, and does not entitle you to anything. Get over it. Join in
with the majority! >> I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, you should do it in
English. I believe there should be no other language option.
>> I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and
where they want to.
>> My heroes are fellow Brits like Freddy Flintoff and Winston
Churchill and I know I've missed a few thousand!!!!!
>> I don't hate the rich. What I hate is the way they always manage to
avoid paying proper taxes. I don't pity the poor, I just hate the way
they are always moaning that they are hard done by!!
>> I know wrestling is fake and I don't waste my time watching or
arguing about it.
>> I believe if you don't like the way things are here, go back to
where you came from and change your own country!
>> This is ENGLAND.....We like it the way it is and even more so the
way it was...so stop trying to change it to look like some other
socialist country! If you were born or legally migrated here and don't
like it... you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have
you. I believe it is time to really clean house, starting with the
House of Commons, the seat of our biggest problems
>> I want to know where the "Do Gooders" get their money from, and why
are they always part of the problem and not the solution?
>> Can I get an AMEN on that one?
>> I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you're
breaking the law, regardless of what race, colour or creed you are.
And, no, I don't mind having my face shown on my driving licence. I
think it's good....
>> I dislike those people trying to guilt me into making 'donations' to
their cause....Get a job and support yourself and your family!
>> I believe 'illegal' is illegal no matter what the lawyers think!
>> I believe the Union Jack flag should be allowed to be flown anywhere
in the United Kingdom !
>> If this makes me a BAD Brit, then yes, I'm a BAD Brit. If you are a
BAD Brit too, please forward this to everyone you know....
>> I hope this offends all illegal aliens.
>> My great, great grandfather watched as his friends died in the Boer
War. My grandfather watched and bled as his friends died in World Wars
1&2. I watched as my friends died in Sierra Leone Bosnia, & Desert
Storm. Our sons and daughters watched & bled as their friends died in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
>> None of them died for the Afghanistan and Iraq Flag. Every Briton died for the British flag
>> At one high school, foreign students raised a Middle East flag on a
school flag pole. British students took it down. Guess who was
expelled...the students who took it down.
>> West London high school students were sent home, because they wore T-
shirts with the Union Jack flag printed on them.
>> What is going on?? What idiots do we have in authority?? Enough is
enough. >> This message needs to be viewed by every Brit; and every Briton
needs to stand up for Britain . We've bent over to appease the Brit-
haters long enough. I'm taking a stand.
>> We cannot have Christmas trees in shops during the festive time
because it may offend ethnic minorities!
>> We cannot have Christmas trees in shops during the festive time
because it may offend ethnic minorities!
>> I'm standing up because of the millions who died fighting in wars
for this country, and for the British flag. >> And shame on anyone who tries to make this a racist message. IT IS
NOT ! >> Britons, stop giving away Your RIGHTS ! >> THIS IS OUR COUNTRY !
>> This statement DOES NOT mean I'm against immigration !
>> YOU ARE WELCOME HERE, IN MY COUNTRY, welcome to come legally:
>> 1. Get a sponsor !
>> 2. Learn the LANGUAGE, as immigrants have in the past!
>> 3. Live by OUR rules ! Dress as we Britons Do
>> 4. Get a job !
>> 5. Pay YOUR Taxes !
>> 6. No Social Security until you have earned it and paid for it !
>> 7. Find a place to lay your head !
>> If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone,
then YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !
>> We've gone so far the other way... bent over backwards not to offend
>> WAKE UP BRITAIN ! ! !
WORLD POVERTY - BIG BUSINESS
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – CAMERONS PRIORITIES WRONG – ENHANCING BIG BUSINESS Let's start with a few unpalatable truths: nearly a billion people in the world are starving and two billion are malnourished, while 1.4 billion are overweight or obese. There really is enough food for everyone and yet a child dies from hunger every 15 seconds. (In fact, recent figures from The Lancet suggest it's nearer one death every 10 seconds.) Either way, this issue is less about how food is grown than how it is distributed. Less about access to food than control of food distribution systems.
Here's a line from David Cameron's speech at last weekend's "hunger summit" in London: "It's all about helping those in developing countries take control of their own destiny” Yet I fear that if you believe your chairmanship of the G8 Lough Erne summit next week will mark out 2013 as the beginning of the end of world hunger, you will be disappointed.
Why? Because many of those who have been tussling with this dilemma for decades think that, far from eradicating hunger, the hunger summit and the G8 will make it worse. Based on the principle of "the market knows best", the main plank of the summit was the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Launched last year by the G8, it pledges to increase investment in agriculture through "partnerships" between those to be lifted out of poverty and the alliance's corporate partners, including Monsanto, Dupont and Unilever.
Nine African countries have signed up so far and the UK has pledged £375m of core funding.
But these deals are only true partnerships if they have been concluded with the participation and consent of communities affected. If they have not and if these agreements involve corporate land grabs and the eviction of thousands of peasant farmers (as appears to be happening in pilot projects in Mozambique and Ethiopia), the New Alliance looks more like 21st-century colonialism than the answer to world hunger. Suspicious that the scheme is more about filling corporate coffers than empty stomachs, a number of charities have demanded that the UK Government withhold the aid pledged to the scheme in the next three years. Oxfam describes the focus on big agribusiness as taking us "down the dangerous path of corporate-led agriculture over publicly funded, small-scale farmer-led initiatives that support food security".
A recent UN report found "large scale investment is damaging the food security, incomes, livelihoods and environment for local people". A World Bank report says: "Many investments failed to live up to expectations and instead of generating sustainable benefits, contributed to asset loss and left local people worse off than they would have been without the investment." What's worse these partnership deals dismantle measures designed to protect poor peasant farmers, while biolfuel quotas, EU Common Agricultural Policy and the US subsidies for its cotton farmers remain untouched.
Meanwhile, the G8 has palpably failed to deliver on promises on food security made in Aquila four years ago. Of the impressive $22bn pledged, 26% did not materialise and two-thirds turned out to be double spending (money already committed). Any benefit has been cancelled by the 30% hike in world food prices, largely caused by panicky speculators.
Potentially poor countries have as much to gain from tackling tax dodging as from aid and trade. Zambia reckons it loses $2bn a year that way. Sadly, here too the Lough Erne summit seems destined to disappoint. Apparently, the US and Russia have ganged up to derail Cameron's plans to open up tax havens, making it harder for developing countries to pursue companies exploiting their natural resources without paying tax. I support the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign from Oxfam and 200 other charities but fear that on all their main demands the agenda is slipping away from them because the G8 (once the world's power house) is increasingly impotent in the face of big business. The development agenda must be reclaimed in the name of social justice, not Monsanto.
PM's QUESTION TIME - LIAR CAMERON
POLITICAL DONORS FOR FAVOURS ALL PARTIES 12/06/13
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – CAMERON A BLATANT LIAR
Cameron at PMQs. All parties offer tax avoidance advice to their donors, Labour, the LibDems and the Tories. Cameron's own legacy scheme helps donors “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers.
For a sum you could donate to the Party Patrons £50 per month or Join the Team 2000 for £2,000 per year .Become a member of the Business and Entrepreneurs Forum for £2,500.If you have £5000 to spare become a member of the Front Bench Club.
The Renaissance Forum will set you back £10,000 and the Treasurers Group £25,000 per year.
But the Ultimate is the Leaders Group and for £50,000 you can join David Cameron and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches .Our Servants are selling off themselves whilst being paid by us it should be stopped .http://brokenbritishpolitics.simplesite.com
MONEY & DEBT
Together, families and non-financial firms’ debt is still worth 208pc of GDP and is merely back to levels last seen in mid-2007, a time when leverage was already utterly unsustainable. Current debt levels remain much higher than they were a decade ago (170pc of GDP) and 15 years ago (128pc of GDP).
Nobody knows what the “right”, sustainable level of private sector debt is, and it depends crucially on expected productivity, wage and jobs growth, as well as on inflation, but it is certainly far lower than today’s levels.
A fair bet is that the private sector’s debt to GDP ratio will have to fall back by another 50 percentage points or so; even if nominal GDP grows by a highly optimistic 4pc to 5pc a year over the next few years, net borrowing will also have to fall every year until 2020.
Debtors will actually have to repay loans, not merely assume that a growing economy will bail them out. This will depress consumer spending as well as corporate investment, unless the rise in the stock market continues, unlocking alternative sources of finance for companies. Inflation won’t bail us out: with private sector wage growth now almost zero, higher prices reduce household incomes just as much as they cut their debt, making no real difference.
Anybody who believes that private sector debt has ceased to be a problem should stress-test their own finances. Could you cope if the base rate rose to 5pc, from today’s 0.5pc. Or 8pc? Or 10pc? Even if you could survive, could others? Could your employers? If not, that means that the debt burden needs to be lower.
The current, extraordinarily low levels of Bank interest rates, combined with quantitative easing and subsidies for credit, are an aberration. At some point, they will be replaced by more normal conditions, something for which millions of households are still not ready.
Shockingly, even after the recent repayments and write-offs, the combined debt of families and non-financial firms remains 82pc of GDP higher than they were at the start of 1997, just before Gordon Brown became Chancellor.
By contrast, as the Citigroup research paper points out, America’s private debt burden rose by a more reasonable 39pc of GDP during that time, helped by massive deleveraging and write-offs in recent years, and even the eurozone’s 58pc of GDP increase is lower than ours. Forget the US sub-prime crisis or the euro bubble: we were the real debt junkies, and will continue to pay the price for our stupidity and the previous government’s incompetence for years to come.
Only Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Portugal and Cyprus currently have more private debt (as ever, excluding the banking system) than us, a horrible reality which shows that the British should not mock the woes of mismanaged, peripheral eurozone nations.
We would have gone bust and had to beg for a bail-out had we joined the single currency and been unable to rely on quantitative easing. The UK economy continues to rest on the bed of nitroglycerine first identified by Bill Gross, the US investor, in 2010.
It gets worse. The Government has increased its own debt burden so much that this has more than compensated for the deleveraging by families and private firms. General government debt has reached 90pc of GDP, up from 43.5pc when the crisis erupted in mid-2007.
Combined UK private and public debt (as ever, excluding the balance sheets of City banks) therefore reached a recent record of 298pc of GDP at the end of last year, higher than the eurozone average of 268pc.
Total debt levels only rose moderately in the UK between 1987 and 1997, increasing from 144pc of GDP to 178pc of GDP. They then started to shoot up, hitting 207pc of GDP five years later and 253pc at the start of the crisis. When Ed Balls insists, as he did this week, that the last Labour government didn’t spend too much and didn’t push the national debt too high, he is focusing exclusively on the government’s official, on-balance sheet national debt prior to the crisis.
But Gordon Brown fostered an unsustainable private sector credit bubble, grabbing a large chunk of the proceeds as tax. When the music stopped, the economy collapsed and the public finances were left with a gaping hole.
Osborne’s unbelievably silly plan to engineer his own neo-Brownite mortgage boom, combined with hugely overpriced housing, may temporarily halt the private sector’s deleveraging. This would give the Government a short-term boost, bolster consumer spending, buy some “growth” and help the Tory party’s election hopes, but would store up even greater problems for the future.
At some stage, the bond markets will pop, house prices will plunge, another large economy will implode, the cost of borrowing will soar and we will suffer another recession. At the moment, neither the private nor the public sector would be able to cope.
Unless we become serious about tackling private and public debt, the next crisis, when it eventually comes, will be unimaginably devastating
BRITISH GAS RIP OFF
BROKEN BRIRISH POLITICS – BRITISH GAS A RIP OFF
A friend of mine recently downsizing moved from a house to a flat ,British Gas being the Supplier for both gas and Electricity he contacted them to register the new customer details .The gas was supplied by a prepayment meter and he was instructed to go to any Pay Point and ask for a Blank Prepayment Card .He was then instructed to place the new card into the meter and leave it for 1 minute and then put credit on the card and top up the meter.
Having put £5 on the card he inserted it into the meter and it took the £5 off the card but left no credit .
He did this three times before it left him with 40pence worth of Credit.What the meter was actually doing was clearing the previous tenants Debt as British Gas do not now charge a daily Tariff which would accrue an owing amount .British Gas’s explanation was the blank card should have wiped any arrears off ,there was no question of a refund .BEWARE if you are moving !
LANDLORDS SEEKING EVICTION
Landlords seeking to evict a tenant with a disability must be able to demonstrate to a court that: they have taken the disability into consideration when deciding to start legal proceedings; concluded that taking legal action it is the ONLY option. So lots of discussion must have been made on repayment etc, and remember non payment of benefit to you is not in itself a defence. So this argument will not wash with a judge . In the case of Manchester Council v Romano, the Court of Appeal decided that a possession order could be granted against a disabled tenant but only if the landlord believed it was justified in seeking the order to avoid endangering the health or safety of the neighbours, and it was reasonable in all the circumstances for the landlord to hold that opinion. In the same year in the case of Manchester Council v Pinnock, the Supreme Court confirmed that any person at risk of being evicted by a social landlord should have the right to defend the claim on the basis that their human rights were being infringed, even if their right of occupation under domestic law had ended.
MANDLESON THE FIRST SPIN DOCTOR
BROKEN BRITISH POLITICS – WHOS IS PETER MANDLESON
Mandleson was elected an MP for Hartlepool in 1992 until 2004. Mandelson was one of a group of people behind the rebranding of the Labour Party as "New Labour" and its subsequent landslide victory in the 1997 general election. Now President of the international think tank Policy Network, he is the High Steward of Hull since 2013 . He resigned twice from Tony Blair's first government while holding Cabinet positions. After his period as an European Commissioner, he rejoined the Labour government, by then led by Gordon Brown, at which point he was made a life peer and took his seat in the House of Lords on 13 October 2008.
Peter Mandelson was born in London in 1953, the son of Mary Joyce (née Morrison) and George Norman Mandelson. His father's family was Jewish, and his father was the advertising manager at The Jewish Chronicle. On his mother's side, he is the grandson of Margaret (Kent) and Herbert Morrison, the London County Council leader and Labour cabinet minister .
He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at St Catherine's College, Oxford (1973–1976) and in the late 1970s, became Chair of the British Youth Council. As Chair of the BYC, he was a delegate in 1978 to the Soviet-organised World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba, where with several future Labour cabinet colleagues, he with Hilary Barnard, future IUSY President, and Trevor Phillips successfully frustrated agreement on a distorted Soviet text on youth in the capitalist countries
In 1986, Mandelson ran the campaign at the Fulham by-election in which Labour defeated the Conservative PartyFor the 1987 election campaign, Mandelson commissioned film director Hugh Hudson, whose Chariots of Fire (1981) had won an Oscar as Best Picture, to make a party political broadcast promoting Neil Kinnock as a potential prime minister. Tagged "Kinnock – the Movie", it led to the party leader's approval rating being raised by 16% or 19% in polls and was even repeated in another PPB slot. The election, held on 11 June 1987, returned Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives for the third time, although Labour gained 20 seats, and, this time, convincingly pushed the SDP-Liberal Alliance into third place. Opponents termed the Labour Party's election campaign "a brilliantly successful election defeat"
First elected to the House of Commons at the 1992 general election, Mandelson made several speeches outlining his strong support for the European Union. Although sidelined during the brief period when John Smith led the party, Mandelson was by now close to two Shadow Cabinet members – Gordon Brown and Tony Blair – each regarded as potential future leaders of the party .
In July 1998, he joined the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
He launched the Millennium Bug And Electronic Commerce Bill and a Competitiveness White Paper, which he described, as 'bold, far reaching and absolutely necessary'. He also appointed a 'Net czar' to lead the UK in what he termed the "new industrial revolution". In 1998 he was appointed a Privy Councillor.
During the Parliamentary expenses scandal of 2009, The Daily Telegraph raised questions about the timing of Mandelson’s second home allowance claim, dating from 2004, saying, "Lord Mandelson billed the taxpayer for almost £3,000 of work on his constituency home in Hartlepool less than a week after announcing his decision to stand down as an MP." Mandelson said in a statement, "The work done was necessary maintenance. All claims made were reasonable and submitted consistent with Parliamentary rules .
On 22 November 2004, Mandelson became Britain's European Commissioner, taking the trade portfolio. Mandelson was a member of 35 of the 43 Cabinet committees and subcommittees.
In August 2009 Lord Mandelson was widely reported to have ordered "technical measures" such as internet disconnection to be included in the draft of the Digital Economy Act 2010 after a "big lobbying operation", even though the Digital Britain report had rejected this type of punishment . In August 2011 a Freedom of Information (FOI) request showed that Lord Mandelson had decided to approve the inclusion of technical measures, such as the disconnection of internet access, at least
two months before public consultation had finished, and that he had shown little interest in the consultation .
In October 1998, during his first period in the Cabinet, Mandelson was the centre of media attention when Matthew Parris (openly gay former MP and then Parliamentary sketch writer of The Times) mentioned during a live interview on Newsnight, in the wake of the resignation of Ron Davies, that "Peter Mandelson is certainly gay".
In 1999, 2009 and 2011 Mandelson was an invited guest of the Bilderberg Group and attended the annual conferences
MINISTERS ABOVE THE LAW
While members of parliament are not criminally responsible for their actions as parliamentarians, they are, however, responsible for their actions as private citizens. There are, however, strong limitations as to their prosecution. Members of parliament may be arrested or otherwise deprived of their freedom, or face restrictions thereof, only with the permission of the desk of their assembly. This authorization is not needed in case of a flagrant felony (e.g. the parliamentarian was caught red-handed) or in case of a definitive condemnation by a court of law. The assembly of which the parliamentarian is a member may oppose any such measure for the duration of the parliamentary session. Requests for the arrest or detention of a parliamentarian are issued by the general prosecutor of the competent Court of Appeal, sent to the Minister of Justice, who transmits them to the Desk of the relevant assembly. The Desk examines the requests and rules on it; its ruling is published in the Journal Officiel.
Lobbying (also lobby) is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by many different types of people and organized groups, including individuals in the private sector, corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups). Lobbyists may be among a legislator's constituencies, meaning a voter or bloc of voters within his or her electoral district, or not; they may engage in lobbying as a business, or not. Professional lobbyists are people whose business is trying to influence legislation on behalf of a group or individual who hires them. Individuals and nonprofit organizations can also lobby as an act of volunteering or as a small part of their normal job (for instance, a CEO meeting with a representative about a project important to his/her company, or an activist meeting with his/her legislator in an unpaid capacity). Governments often define and regulate organized group lobbying that has become influential. The ethics and morality of lobbying are dual-edged. Lobbying is often spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law (twisting it away from fairness) in order to serve their own conflict of interest. But another side of lobbying is making sure that others' interests are duly defended against others' corruption, or even simply making sure that minority interests are fairly defended against mere tyranny of the majority. For example, a medical association, or a trade association of health insurance companies, may lobby a legislature in order to counteract the influence of tobacco companies, in which case the lobbying would be viewed by most people as justified (duly defending against others' corruption). The difficulty in drawing objective lines between which lobbyists are "good lobbyists" and which ones are "bad ones" is compounded by the cleverness with which lobbyists or their clients can speciously argue that their own lobbying is of the "good" kind. At heart, the effort to influence legislation is a power struggle. As in other forms of power struggle, such as war or law enforcement, motives range from predation to self-defense to fighting for justice, and the dividing line between predation and justice is subject to rationalization.