Archive for June, 2012

Apparently the former Tory Party Chairman knows something about marriage equality, which noone else does:

He said: “When I get extremely irritated about it, I say: There is no inequality. Any male can marry, barring the restrictions on consanguinity, any female. Any female can marry any male. I’m terribly sorry sir, you want to do something that I don’t wish to do. That’s your problem, not my problem.”

There you have it folks. There is no inequality because any man can marry any woman. But he’s not through:

He also questioned why there was not “more discussion about whether it’s in the best interests of children that they should be brought up in civil partnerships or so-called gay marriage and I think too little attention has been paid to that”.

Ahh. Too little attention has been paid to the question of gay parenting! I wonder what the prize Tory bigot means by that: are my fellow gays indoctrinating their children in some way? Are they too busy (as a remarkable individual on Twitter recently suggested to me) so busy fucking they won’t have time to bring their children up responsibly? Are gay people perhaps less qualified to parent children than straight people? I’d be delighted to have that conversation with him, but I doubt he has the courage to really initiate that discussion! But wait there’s more:

“Within the can of worms that Mr Cameron is determined to open there are several nests of snakes. Why should a marriage be confined to just two persons? What is the barrier to the marriage of sisters, brothers or even parents and children?”

So in this Tory’s mind allowing gay people to marry opens up the possibility of legalised incest. Who says they’re not the Nasty Party?


Tories make things up, won’t answer entirely legitimate questions because the ‘data is evolving’ and again aren’t really bothered about the budget deficit because they can alwayscore some cheap points with tax cuts. It’s all about ‘households and businesses’ after all. If only every incompetent Tory on TV was treated with the same contempt Paxo displays for Chloe Smith here!

Prime Minister David Cameron has been trailing his new ‘big idea’ of throwing young people off housing benefit entirely. What an ingenious move, to suggest that the economy is being ruined by workshy benefits claimants, rather than the bankers who caused the economic crash in the first place. Polly Toynbee makes short shrift of his ‘idea’:

He sounded plausible, and his sweeping tour of benefits seeming common sense to many. Every system since the Poor Law faces the same dilemma – how to help the needy without weakening work incentives, how to tell a “sturdy beggar” from a hard-luck case and give them enough to live but less than a low-paid job. There are no satisfactory answers – but Cameron’s “ideas” are the harshest ever proposed. How knowingly he misled in almost every example he gave, as he pitted “those who work hard and do the right thing” against those on benefits, deliberately disguising that these are mainly the same people. Most of the poor drawing benefits are cleaners, carers, caterers – the 62% living below the poverty line, working hard yet needing benefits to survive.

Cameron’s focus on the ever-rising housing benefit bill omitted key facts. The Smith Institute reports that 95% of the £1bn rise in housing benefitthis year is paid to people in work. Only one in eight people drawing the benefit is out of work; the rest are low earners. The cost is not about feckless people but the housing crisis, the failure to build social, rented or private housing over the last three decades. Shortage makes rents rise faster than earnings, and faster than price inflation. Cameron’s plan to peg housing benefit to prices, not to inflation, will be devastating. Shelter reports that if prices rose as fast as rents since 1971, a chicken would now cost £47.51. Nor is there any sign housing benefit cuts will cause rents to fall: rents are still rising as landlords turn away benefit tenants, easily finding others in this starved market.

In a familiar litany of charges against the workless, single mothers, drug addicts (only 4%), he summons up a familiar portrait of the multi-child household, beloved of television documentaries, seeking worst cases to be entertainingly put right by Ann Widdecombe. Every society will always have enough of those to keep the cameras happy. But the dull lives of cleaners juggling childcare and jobs make bad TV, as do dull statistics that give the lie to the idea that moral turpitude drives the escalating benefits bill.

Low wages and lack of housing are the root cause. A living wage would lift the burden off taxpayers and put it on to employers. Regulated rents and a great housebuilding programme are the way to cut the housing benefit bill. The government prefers mass removal of the workless to low-rent areas with no jobs.

Owen Jones was right when he argued yesterday  that Labour should be arguing for more social housing, rent caps and a living wage, but don’t expect that bunch of neoliberal zealots to spout anything other than the Tories’ lies. Meanwhile the rhetoric will continue to spead that the workshy are the root of all our problems, when the truth is that if you look, for example, at housing benefit, you’ll see just how fraudulent Cameron’s being:

Of course the government and the media don’t like to admit – or is it doesn’t know – that Housing Benefit is an in-work benefit.  I mean who would know that since the coalition took office that 232,340 of the 263,120 new HB claimants since the election are in work – just a mere 88% of them.   So 88% of the indolent workshy bar stewards claiming HB are also paying taxes – Not quite the same story is it Mr Cameron.

Even fewer would know or realise that the nearly £2bn per year of savings this coalition promised its Housing Benefit reforms would deliver currently see the HB bill £4.78bn OVER this target!  Yes I am talking about those HB caps that the public lapped up and had 76% support until the public realised their direct impact in the attempted movement of homeless families from Newham to Stoke last month.

Meanwhile the public are expected to forget about the ‘culture of entitlement’ in Westminster, not to mention in the cabinet. These Tories are getting more detestable by the day. Labour may be 5 points ahead of them in the opinion polls, but they’re largely singing the same tune as this rabble, and as long as they don’t provide any genuine opposition will remain part of the problem. Owen Jones suggested on Twitter that we put pressure on Liam Byrne, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to commit to the solution he and Polly Toynbee point to. I’m not holding out much hope.