Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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New Low

Mick Hall lets loose on those well paid Guardian journalists who called for pensions to be slashed:

The UK is well able to pay decent state pensions, for the Guardian to claim otherwise shows it has sunk to a new low.




Last Tuesday the Guardian published an editorial entitled The Guardian View On Golden Oldies: Time To Move Over. It was a nasty attempt to divide the young and old and thankfully the paper's readership saw through it. In almost 50 years of reading the paper I don't think I have ever seen a Guardian editorial being torn to pieces by its readers in such a ferocious way. Well done Guardian readers, unlike the editorial floor you understand right from wrong.

This editorial was written by journalists who have good private pensions, and have earned inflated salaries for much of their working lives, I don't hold that against them, but for them to write this piece of drivel which is clearly designed to drive a wedge between young and old is a damned disgrace. It wreaks of the type of neoliberalism and austerity which placed Donald Trump in the White House. 

We're told we live in the 4th richest country in the world, if so it's not the majority of pensioners who are hoarding this great wealth, the more likely culprits are the banksters and tax dodgers whom consecutive governments have turned a blind eye to for decades. 

According to Age UK:

1 in 7 pensioners (1.6 million or 14% of pensioners in the UK) live in poverty, defined as having incomes of less than 60% of median income after housing costs. A further 1.2 million pensioners have incomes just above the poverty line (more than 60% but less than 70% of median income). Low income in retirement is often linked to earlier low pay, or time out of employment due to caring responsibilities, disability or unemployment. Women are more likely to be in poverty than men, and older pensioners, especially those aged 85+, single people living alone and private rented tenants. 

Rather than over claiming pensioner benefits the opposite is true as Age UK points out:

Given these levels of poverty, it is of great concern that many older people are missing out on entitlements. The Government estimates that in 2014-15, £3.5 billion of low income benefits (Pension Credit and Housing Benefit) went unclaimed by older people. This is likely to be due to a combination of reasons including: lack of knowledge about the complicated systems, an assumption they will not be entitled, negative attitudes to claiming benefits.

Having become a low wage, low skilled economy after Thatcher tore the heart out of industrialised Britain, a rise in pensioner poverty became a racing certainty. Far from encouraging government to cut pensioner benefits one would have thought the Guardian would be fighting to shore them up, but no these wretched scribes call for austerity and cuts, never mind the UK state pension is one of the lowest in northern Europe. Like many with powerful and influential positions today their exalted status seems to give them an inbuilt inability to place themselves in other peoples shoes. 

The Guardian once a beacon of common decency has sunk to a new low when it attempted the age old Tory trick of divide and rule. If the Tory government succeed in cutting pensioners' benefits those without a private pension top up will have to go cap in hand to the 21st century equivalent of the workhouse.

This country is well able to pay decent wages, benefits and state pensions to all, but to do so is not in the interest of the money grabbing shysters, neoliberal fanatics and their spin masters who have taken control of the media and State. 

To paraphrase Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the unemployed and I did not speak out because I was not unemployed. Then they came for the sick and disabled, and I did not speak out because I was not sick and disabled. Then they came for the pensioners and I did not speak out because I was not a pensioner.  Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

The video above of Martin Hurkens with 'You raise me up', in the city of Maastricht says it far better than I can.
More of this nonsense about cutting state pension benefits here:

30 comments :

AM said...

Worth it for Martin Hurkens alone!

mal higgins said...

I’m disappointed that the Guardian newspaper is doing the dirty work of the Tories by attempting to justify a cap on senior citizens pensions. I wonder what view they have on the repair of Lizzie’s London stately home, by the British taxpayer, to a total £300 million plus or the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapon. It’s time people stopped viewing the Guardian newspaper as somewhere on the left of British politics as that ship has sailed years ago.

DaithiD said...

The pension liabilities for Western Governemnts has been giving them nightmares for at least 15 years.At present they are unfunded, especially with native birth rates. Ive long thought the resource the West is after in these foreign wars is those countries youth, not commodities like oil. But maybe articles like this are kites being flown, testing us now the public is definatively turning against immigration. If this is true, some ancilliary proof will be if Dignitas clinics are rolled out sequentially across Europe (or Former Europe if thats the case then) .
I dont like this netting off of public finances, but it was incredible to think the Daily Mail had an article whose tone was basically 'of course 400m is needed to renovate Buckingham Palace, and its cheaper than fixing problems if they occur at a future point. Of course the Queen shouldnt pay out of her own pocket to put ensuites in etc'.Patronising bastards. I saw with horror the adulation at the Jubilee for the Queen, but even this was too much for the most favourited comments.
Id put elderly Londoners in there instead, every room is effectively ensuite anyway for the incontinent.

larry hughes said...

People have had a belly full of liberal austerity. A contradiction in terms is it not? Bankers deliberately destroying their own banks for personal profit and being let off scot-free. Populations being forced to refill the vaults. The biggest and deliberate scam in history. It is over, the elite simply cannot accept that yet. They certainly won't care though they achieved their aims. It may get ugly in the future. I cannot wait for the Italian referendum and the French Presidential election.

larry hughes said...

Daithi D

The UK government has an issue regarding pensions because successive governments Labour and Torry both, robbed the pension pot and never replaced the money. Pensions are another 'financial-services' scam. Better with a wee house or flat you can rent out collecting the rent yourself. THAT would supplement the non-contributory pension wonderfully well.

Steve R said...

Larry,

The elite won't care as long as the masses believe main stream media, and the irrelevant distractions and outright lies they pour into peoples homes via Fox 'News', CNN, An Phoblacht, et cetera.....

I laughed when they came up with 'fake news sites'. The hypocrisy knows no bounds. They are bitter that Trump stooged them and had to come up with something I suppose, to explain how the Great Unwashed dared to vote the wrong way.

Current affairs today is heading towards even more turmoil. I'm getting my popcorn ready!

larry hughes said...

Steve R

TOTALLY agree. The media rather than take a step back and accept that people have long since stopped believing them are pushing down harder on the accelerator trying to force home their lies. Trump merely had to tell his rallies, 'there they are folks at the back, the media, they lie, they just lie'. And everyone on the planet 'dug-it'. The farce of corporate buying of tweedle dee and tweedle dumb parties combined with media conditioning has come unstuck. The media are that out of touch they refuse to even contemplate it as it becomes evident in front of them. I saw Ferage laughing today on RT saying if they (the political establishment) thought Brexit and Trump were bad, it is going to get a bloody site worse next year.

There was a time Steve your inclusion of An Phobcrap in your list there would have been seen by me as a slight/insult from the loyalist community. At this stage it gives me much merriment. The BBC ITV RTE (Vatican 1 + 2 TV) are ALL establishment conditioners. How absolutely fitting An Phobcrap be added to the list, they have 'arrived'. lol

DaithiD said...

Larry I dont know the mechanics of it, but a I think if people realised what large and rich pension funds were they would question it too. So pension funds pay decent salaries from any profits,deduct transaction fees, deduct management fees etc, then if they have managed to beat some index (which is a basic aim) the rest goes into the pension pool for reinvesting. Basically your pension fund needs abnormal returns for 30 years for your money to even grow. But its a 30 year can down the road and no politician takes on any problems he/she doesnt need to.They tried to add a new layer to tax pyramid with immigrants, but unfortunately rather than working they preferred to gang rape wheel chair bound women, and so this tap will likely be turned off with sucessive elections.

larry hughes said...

Daithi D

Politicians simply do not work for anyone but themselves and their hangers-on. Media facilitated in dumbing down the hoards. To the extent they don't seem to even proof read the shite they spew over the airwaves. I am presently trying to devise a 'pension-plan' of my own which involves a job paying sufficient enough or for me to buy a cheap flat that I can rent out in the future to supplement my non contributory pension when the time comes. I expect little from the government here other than probably forcing me to sell the flat if I ever actually manage get one, in order to receive said income. The merry go round continues. I wonder how all those FF cute hoors are faring out after destroying the country and walking away with 350,000 euro rather than face the electorate?

DaithiD said...

Sure Larry. At least its something tangible and has some utility beyond just an investment. If Britain does exit the EU (which I doubt) then Ireland as an English speaking nation will be a major hub for services type job (although I think they said they dont want banks HQ's there) so that will bid up prices too. God we might even be thanking the Brits for supplanting our mother tongue!
Im glad the traditional media is dying, and the alt-media is growing, the type of outlets Trump and Brexit disseminated their messages. Although I can this concept of 'fake news' being used to try and cripple these types of outlets as Governments realise they can no longer bank on herding the masses via things like the New York Times, the Guardian etc. (I wonder if WMD's in Iraq, or Britain being 45 mins from doom would qualify as fake news ?!?)
It all ties in with the intolerance and erosion of basic decency the Left are promoting, we are on a horrible trajectory. If things carry on,I hope in their last moments,when the bastards who have recked the West have been judged and are kneeling before the gravel pits that will soon become their eternal home (like ISIS photos from Speicher, Iraq) , they will think about what they did to get there, the lying, the stealing, the hatred, the intolerance, the attempted destruction of our megre way of life...there is too many to mention.

Henry JoY said...

Dáíthí

"we are on a horrible trajectory"

Horrible as compared to what? Or we as compared to whom?

Steve R said...

Larry,

You know well enough by now i put that in just for you!lol

DaithiD said...

Larry, compared to us a few weeks ago. The incoming Sec. Gen for the UN Gutteres is openly calling for goverments to ingore wishes of their voters, and stick to the "values" of their elite club. Blair is also openly calling for UK Govt. to ingnore the Brexit vote. The losing side in the US elections still seek to revise the result. Combining this with the long term policing of language, thought and expression,means I and many like me have lost the goodwill towards these bastards, and we can only see malign intentions, not legitimate political differences. To quote JFK "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". They cant expect people to passively accept all this, not anymore at least.

DaithiD said...

Sorry that comment was addressed to HJ.

larry hughes said...

Daithi D

If only those responsible ended up on their knees at a gravel pit.

Steve R

May your 'giving - hand'never cease to type!!

larry hughes said...

Diathi D

There is a recount coming up in Wisconsin. Methinks the genie is about to be unleashed very shortly.

Henry JoY said...

Dáíthí

in the ebb and flow of life there always comes times of uncertainty and challenge. Uncertainty and challenge arouses the masses and generally tends to leave one more susceptible to manipulation. People have to carefully choose the voices they listen to during such times as now exist. We are free to choose between reactionary and inflammatory voices or more grounded and cautious ones. Sometimes that is a bit of a hobson's choice. T'is generally advisable to opt for the lesser evil though.

DaithiD said...

Larry, the worry part of it is the characteristic shortnsightedness of them. It runs like DNA through everything they do, In the scheme of things, Brexit and Trump are chickenfeed compared to what comes after them if they are usurped, you would think this is apparent to most people. Like more and more debt might not be such a good thing. Like house prices might not always go up. Like unlimitted migration might put some pressure of local services of the host country. I just want an honest assesment of how things will play out if they get there way in this,no more 'how they fuck did we end up here ?' type situations.

DaithiD said...

HJ,

...We are free to choose between reactionary and inflammatory voices or more grounded and cautious ones...

Maybe once we were, but now we are only free to choose between the range of opinions given to us. And this range is visibly narrowing over shorter periods. Progress isnt some inexorable path to righteousness and truth, for example we already see defacto Blasphemy laws in the West (many Islamic countries cite Irelands blasphemy laws as a reason they should be incorperated in the UN charter).

larry hughes said...

Daithi D

The political 'jobs for life' self serving elites are imposing austerity as a punishment upon populations as a solution for bankers deliberate criminality. No rule of law for these collective parasites for their political and financial DIS-services. There is not even the comfort of a tiny light at the end of the tunnel as those in control see the opportunity to unleash endless carnage upon public services indefinitely. Seeing the likes of HJ on here promoting caution is pathetic. Jews walking meekly into the showers is where our Enery would send us all. He must be a shinner - New Stickie. It is unfortunate that the right is offering the crowbar to jemmy the greedy hands of the elite off the national controls with which they are deliberately running their populations into the buffers at great speed. But free movement of slave labour and austerity is criminal. Just some of many problems, but the most notable. It is no longer about left or right worthless labels, it is about whoever is honest enough to stand up for their own electorate. It is about common sense, not the common market. BRING IT ON. Sitting warning of danger and promoting caution is cowardly and disgusting. Get rid of the euro and roll back EU powers.

Henry JoY said...

Dáithí

I agree with you that the range of opinions offered to us is indeed visibly narrowing. Therefore its more and more important to be judicious in our consumption of information. As adults with premolars and molars we have the capacity to chew things over. Its not as if we are infants who are limited to gulping things down or rejecting immediately by blowing it off the spoon!
But you're right we need to be mindful of the sources of the information provided and the motivations and agendas of those sources. We need to bring all our critical faculties to the quality and the means of dissemination of the information presented to us, hunting out the gaps and anomalies too. We ought let our positions remain fluid until we find a decent level of understanding to what are invariably complex situations. There's an old Scots saying that comes to mind here 'T'is better to bend, than to break'. Always leave some flexibility in our positions?

And even having arrived at such positions we need to reflectively consider what influence each of us can individually, or collectively, safely and effectively bring to bear on our concerns. Agency in the first part requires such distinctions.

Larry

any worthy point you might make is lost in your ad hominems.

Yeah BRING IT ON and let's give it RIGHT FCUKIN UP THEM!!!!!
More 'wise' advice from Mr Hughes.

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

I have the courage of my convictions. You have been co-opted, your bend over and take from the unionists attitude is right up there comedy wise with Michael Henry. Actually I miss him come to think of it. Also, who exactly are you? No surprise you hide yourself behind a false name here.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

on the "The Struggle Turned Out To Be For Nothing" thread I thought you and I were coming to some sort of an agreed position that neither of us now held onto much or if any Republican conviction, courageous or otherwise.

That I now am hesitant to rush to support populist and reactionary positions is part of the learning and insights gained from the outworking of my previously held republican convictions.

I invite you to read the totality of my contributions on this thread again. I think my cautionary position is well enough explained. If you wish to challenge the substance of that position then I'll engage as best I can but let's leave out the name-calling and insults.

That I choose to avail of the anonymity option has been worked to death here before so I'm not going to revisit that yet save to say that its my contention that every time the issue has been raised it has been a form of misdirection from the debate at hand.

Steve R said...

Larry,

Only you nutters would use your real name on this blog! I for one don't fancy a Belfast OBE for disclosing my name, if I ever returned home!

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

The warnings about the right are premature. Hitlers transformation of Germany in the 1930s was widely admired at the time. I think to ring alarm bells about right wing politics is going from zero to five hundred in under sixty. Unfortunately the right looks like the only game changer where unnecessary and criminal austerity and liberalism are concerned. Two party farce politics requires changing. Lets see what happens if there's a shake up brought about by a rise in nationalism in the coming months. In any case don't you think we are already in right wing states in the UK EU and USA? The media certainly seems as controlled as N. Korea apparently is. Just a little more subtle, or maybe not.

As for fake names, I recon you would be in dire trouble just for engaging on here Steve R should you return home. I have never even contemplated looking at loyalist sites. Nationalists have no such reason for caution. I slag off shinners over a beer the way I do on here and take as good as I give. Then we order more hooch. Some of them are disillusioned with the scandals and Adams refusal to step aside. Others, including the odd family member have left the party altogether. It sin't a matter of life and death. Just a matter of life in jail, if yer on Gerry's Christmas list.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

it seems there's not that much difference between us after all!!!
Yes, you're right, let's wait and see. Yes, let us be vigilant but not alarmist. Cool heads almost always formulate better strategies.

Are we really in a right wing state? That's a right wing state as compared to which others?
The shifts and turns on the water issue in this state would suggest that the pressures and inbuilt checks of electoral democracy are functioning fairly ok.

Idealistic hankerings for a perfect system are exactly that, idealistic ... and juvenile. With a bit of maturity people might come to see more accurately that equality and fairness are but human constructs. Yes worthy and noble of themselves, though constructs none-the-less.
Those concepts will only survive and flourish to the degree that they are the cement that binds us together in service of an inclusive civic society. On the other hand, the rise of nationalism calls on us to differentiate and often generally a step along the way to totalitarianism.

Though I appreciate this doesn't always come easy to you Larry ^_^ , its time me thinks, for restraint and measured responses.

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

The EU and freedom of movement is a farce. A little back tracking to regional/ national control and priorities are essential. Trump recognises it. Out sourcing by big business to China Latin America and India whist cheer-leading the working classes into the military for the next unnecessary war is not patriotic. Same with businesses in UK/Ireland, they see only slave labour and profits. SHAME on them all. When people feel they have a stake in their own country and a future at home they may be less resentful of people from severely poverty stricken nations coming to find a better future. Just now they are being cynically used to avoid a living wage for locals. When I left school in 1980 I was able with my partner shortly after, both on minimum wages to buy a 3 bedroom semi detached house, front and back garden. No ones kids that I know are in a position to do that now. It has been nothing but greed gone mad for way too long. It may be dofferent if it was benefiting everyone, but it is isolation more and more from society. Water charge protests so far have merely delayed the inevitable. FF and FG and SF when the time comes will bring them in either as water charges or a tax hike elsewhere. Bertie Ahern is making a comeback, I absolutely dispair with people in this country at this stage.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

there's some veracity in what you say. Life is sometimes challenging.

Given all you've just said though do we all still not have to revert back to more basic and fundamental questions such as whether to live or die; and if we choose life, how do we live well?

And doesn't living well require a capacity to accept hardship and limitation?
Doesn't it mean accepting life on life's terms rather than resentfully demanding it fulfil our fantasies of how it should or ought to be?

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

'WE' could start by electing political leaders who do what they say and who have some semblance of integrity. If it is somehow cute hoor clever to elect charlatans then it is time to look seriously at the entire 'democratic' process as we know it. I think THAT is a large part of the populist swing to the right. People want to inflict pain on career criminal politicians in their frustration at what passes for the system. I think Gerry the Paedo Liberator may finally be in above his head. But who knows, the electorate hasn't covered itself in glory to date.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

I agree wholeheartedly that we should elect representatives who have 'some semblance of integrity'. As you say the electorate hasn't always covered itself in glory. But as always there are exceptions. Presidential elections in this state have borne some noble outcomes as in the cases of Mary Robinson and Michael D.
I consider it a matter of civic responsibility to claim one's vote.Though on occasion I have deliberately spoilt my vote I now tend to vote in order of preference for the candidates whom I consider the most decent and vote against those I abhor most by giving them the lesser preference (SF candidates invariably now last).
Our system of multi-seat constituencies via pr isn't perfect but it does produce a fairer and broader representation than does for example the single seat, non-transferable Westminster one. I think there are benefits to a list system that we could incorporate into the 26 county system. Nominees for the list could allow for people with specific expertise to come into government for short terms, offer their expert opinion for a term or two and then return to their chosen field.

Beyond that I don't know to what degree we ought interfere with the democratic process. I could though support any and all alterations that were to come about by consensual agreement.

Its said that competition is the essence of good trade, and so it must be with democratic systems. Representatives within that system have the unenviable task of competing with each other and of providing governance that attempts address the tensions within the individual as well as attempting to manage tensions between competing needs of various sections of society. Isn't amazing, considering such complexities, that democracy works as well as it has ... but only amazing until one considers the alternatives!