Economics

Protests against UKIP Racism at their Party Conference

A few days ago, on the 21st and 22nd September, 2018, UKIP held their annual party conference at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre. The event was billed as the party’s 25th birthday celebration.

The Kippers’ were expected to launch their new manifesto at the conference, copies of which were to be given out to everyone attending. The party announced that they would have “brand new policies on the economy, housing, taxation, policing, the foreign aid budget and many other important areas, all designed with the key principle of putting our people first”.

Hope Not Hate have pointed out that Batten himself is a long-time anti-Muslim activist, and since he became the party’s new fuehrer in February has taken it even further to the right. The anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organization said that the manifestos would indicate whether Batten was putting his islamophobic rhetoric into policies.

The conference was also going to include three other extreme right-wing personalities. These were Paul Joseph Watson, Carl Benjamin, alias ‘Sargon of Akkad’, and Mark Meechan, alias Count Dankula. Watson used to be the British best mate of Alex Jones, the notorious conspiracy theorist, on his channel, InfoWars. He seems to have gone his own way and is now putting out his videos on YouTube. According to Hope Not Hate, in 2013 Watson declared that the 7/7 bombings were a false flag event, and that Media Matters also reported Watson’s extreme views on race. He claims that liberals are anti-science, because they don’t accept that people from Africa and the Middle East have lower IQs and are more aggressive. Benjamin, or ‘Sargon’, is a Sceptic who has decided that his mighty intelligence has allowed him to perceive how false feminism is, and posts videos on the internet attacking it. Which suits UKIP, some of whose members have extremely misogynist and reactionary views about women. As for Count Dankula, he’s the idiot that got tried and convicted of anti-Semitism ’cause he taught his girlfriend’s do to do the Nazi salute.

The conference was also due to vote on whether to accept Tommy Robinson, the former founder and leader of the EDL, as a member. Robinson had been banned under the party’s rules forbidding former members of the BNP and EDL from joining the party. Despite Batten’s support, the vote was cancelled by Tony McIntyre under a legal technicality. But Robinson’s supporters were still expected to turn up at the conference to make their views known.

See: https://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2018/09/21/watch-ukip-conference/

There were mass protests against the party and its racism outside the conference. Yesterday, RT UK put up this video of the demonstration on YouTube. The video show protestors chanting ‘We are here to say racist UKIP go away’. They hold placards denouncing UKIP’s racism and also saying ‘Refugees’ welcome. One elderly lady tears up one of the placards, saying ‘That’s what I think of them.’ Presumably she’s an irate Kipper, not a member of the protesters.

The video shows one man talking to the camera, who states that

UKIP is becoming increasingly irrelevant in British politics. I think that’s why they’re clutching at straws, trying to court the Far-Right to try and rebuild their ranks because they are really on the margins of politics with very few supporters.

Another man say that

Since the Brexit referendum, where they were very important and very influential, they have declined and have internal squabbles and a much more smaller organization, and they’ve been associating themselves with Far-Right demonstrations against Muslims.

A third man gives his opinion on the Kippers, saying

Gerard Batten has taken UKIP to the extremes of the Far-Right, the fact that he wants Tommy Robinson to be in his organization speaks volumes.

It’s significant that Tommy Robinson is still a controversial figure for the Kippers, despite the very public islamophobia and racism of some of their members. But Robinson has been welcomed in Israel, and the Blairite MPs and Marie van der Zyle, below, of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, were more than happy to attend the fake protest against anti-Semitism organized by the North West Friends of Israel. Who are firm friends of Tommy Robinson and the EDL.

Yes, it is childish, but I’m still not sick of this joke yet.

This shows very clearly just how racist and islamophobic the Blairites and the Board are, when even UKIP is more liberal and anti-racist.

John McDonnell is right to challenge the corrupted and corrupting capitalism we have in the UK

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 25/09/2018 - 4:53pm in

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Economics, Labour

John McDonnell presented a radical view of the Britain he wanted yesterday. It was genuinely left wing. It was genuine. It has not gone down well with the right wing press, which is the surest evidence that Labour has stopped its failed attempts to appease those who will never find merit in anything it says. But will it work?

In my opinion the speech was classic opposition. Apart from the demand that companies work to Fair Tax Mark standards (which, I admit, I knew was coming) where John McDonnell has appointed churches, trade unions and pension funds to be his tanks on the lawn in the process of demanding change now, almost everything that has been said is about positioning and not detail. That is wise for a number of reasons.

First, shadow chancellors can’t deliver on their plans. Their job is to position themselves in the public mind. The purpose of what John McDonnell said was to do just that. So he has made clear PFI is to be brought back into the public fold (which is a role for People’s QE, as I predicted as long ago as 2010). And he made clear that those industries that were nationalised that were wholly unsuited for private ownership because they are natural monopolies on which we all rely will be brought back into public ownership. There will be no effective cost to doing so: saved payments of dividends will more than cover the cost of compensation. And with workers on the board and share ownership funds he made clear that business is to become accountable to all its stakeholders again.

I have reservations about some aspects of the shared ownership fund, but am not greatly concerned: this one will develop and change before it becomes a reality and I am quite sure rough edges will be polished off it. As I have already noted, this is a positioning statement at present.

In that case those obsessing about the detail have wholly missed what I see to be the point of it. This scheme is not, and very deliberately is not, a scheme to create a new shareholder economy of the sort Thatcher tried to create. The absence of direct shareholding is, in that case, not an accident, but quite deliberate. The chosen structure is not about becoming ‘mini-me’ capitalists. It is about the merit of collective ownership.

I have suggested requiring that for the ownership to be transferred by share payment of additional higher rate tax charges makes sense to me as this would immediately bring non-UK owned larger companies into the fold: their UK subsidiaries can then partake and the idea that such entities might have a minority holding within them is no challenge at all to any known concept of capitalism since such things are common.

Such an arrangement would also bring a healthy and welcome focus to corporation tax liabilities: this would be no bad thing, especially if coupled with an Alternative Minimum Corporation Tax which is an idea of mine that transferred to the IPPR report to which John McDonnell gave much praise in his speech.

Workers on boards is about the same issue of collective particiaption. And the suggestion that unions nominate such directors is also made for a reason: the great decline in the labour share in GDP can be directly linked to the decline in union participation in the workforce. Encouraging people back into collective bargaining helps redress the massive imbalance in society in favour of capital.

The suggestion that wages will be set by sector based collective bargaining is also right, and something I called for in my book The Courageous State. Pay rates should not be negotiated in relationships of asymmetric power where the employer has many, if not most, of the advantages. There is an urgent, even desperate, need for a restoration of the labour share in our economy. This little commented on policy proposal, which might set minimum wages by sector, would address this issue.

So would it work? My answer is that it would. And for good reason. This is not Marx: 90% at least of the ownership of companies is left as it is in this plan, albeit with the requirement that the interests of all workers be taken into account. Rather this is the pragmatic co-operative movement at work coupled with the economic incite of Henry Ford, which was that workers not paid enough can never create demand in an economy.

And it is precisely because this model might increase wages and so demand that this model will work.

In fact, it could more than work. It could save capitalism from itself. The reason should be obvious. Through its own excesses capitalism is eating its own heart out. No one but a naive ideologue can really now believe that the model of capitalism in use in our economy is working, or about free markets. Rather it is about power, wealth and income concentration for a few. John McDonnell is tackling that head on. And whilst I could definitely offer suggestions for improving the detail (and no doubt will) I reiterate that is not the point now. That point now is that John McDonnell has signalled that the game would be over for this corrupted, corrupting and simply corrupt form of capitalism if Labour comes to power. And that was the right thing for him to do yesterday,

Jeremy Corbyn on Arms to Saudi Arabia, the Environment, the Living Wage and University Education

This is a short video from RT of just under two minutes, in which the Labour leader gives his views on Britain selling weapons to Saudia Arabia, Donald Trump’s disastrous attitude to the environment, the living wage, and that university education should be free.

Arms to Saudi Arabia

Addressing the Labour party conference, Corbyn states that whilst he obvious wants us to send all the aid necessary to deal with the consequences of the war and the bombing, the best thing to do is to stop the war altogether and to begin that by ending our supply of arms to the Saudi coalition that is undertaking that bombardment.

The Environment

Corbyn explains that Donald Trump is saying that he wants to walk away from the Paris climate accord and tear up all those decades of environmental campaigning that got us over that hurdle to that place, are totally wrong. Corbyn states that our movement has to be as strong on environmental protection and eco-protection as it is on social justice, because that is the way we protect the future for all of us.

The Living Wage

He declares that he does not think there is anything particularly extreme in saying a living wage should be for all workers at ten pounds an hour. You should have rights at work from the time you start your work.

On University Fees

He admits that Labour’s proposal is expensive, but he thinks it’s the right way to invest our money. It was to end college and university fees in order to make further and higher education free for everyone that wants to undertake it.

These are excellent policies and are certain to draw fire from the Tories and Blairites. There was a piece in the I this weekend about the massive growth in British arms exports. It’s supposed to have grown by 83 per cent last year.

And it was under Thatcher and Major that student grants were axed, and tuition fees introduced under Tony Blair, though they were raised massively by the Tory – Lib Dem Coalition.

As for Trump’s position on the environment, this is almost omnicidally dangerous. Some environmental scientists, according to the press, believe that we may actually only be ten years away from the tipping point where global warming is irreversible. We have to protect the environment, if we are not to bequeath our children a ruined, poisoned, dying world.

Now watch the Tories, the Lib-Dems and the right-wing press go absolutely berserk telling everyone that this’ll all be bad for the economy, that businesses won’t be able to afford it, that it’ll make our exports uneconomical, and repeat all the old tropes about ‘high spending Labour’ and that this will lead to more tax rises ad nauseam. Of course, none of this will be connected to the fact that very many Tory MPs have strong links to the arms and petrochemical industries, and that too many MPs across the House are millionaire managing directors. Quite apart from the fact that any tax rises Labour may make will be placed on the extreme rich, not the poor, who can’t afford it. It’ll be the complete reverse of what the Tories and New Labour have done.

Why Labour has to give not just power but income and wealth back to working people

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 11:13pm in

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Economics

This chart shows the labour share of GDP (or national income) over more than two centuries:

It comes from a speech by Andy Haldane of the Bank of England in case anyone suspects deeply suspect left-wing sources.

And that long-term downward trend is precisely why Labour has to take radical action now. People are simply not paid enough. And that has to end.

So when people say Labour will destroy the economy by giving people a fair share the simple response is, 'no they won't: they're repairing the damage that's brought us to our knees'.

Why capitalism​ always will create bullshit jobs

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 10:02pm in

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Economics

 

Re-examining economic laws

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 7:25pm in

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Economics

In mainstream economics, there is a lot of talk about ‘economic laws.’ The crux of these laws that allegedly do exist in economics, is that they only hold ceteris paribus. That fundamentally means that these laws only hold when the right conditions are at hand for giving rise to them. Unfortunately, from an empirical point […]

Economics for the Many

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 5:49pm in

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Economics, Labour

I am going to plug a book I am not in:

John McDonnell has not forgiven me for once criticising Corbyn. That is his right. But many of the ideas in this book are familiar on this blog, even if there are also some I disagree with. Some issues discussed are, in fact, core themes here, from the Green New Deal to corporate tax reform. It would be churlish not to say that it's good that such things are getting the attention they deserve.

A national wealth fund

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 4:55pm in

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Economics, Labour

Everyone appears to be reporting Labour’s plan to deliver a variation on a national wealth fund this morning. As Politics Home puts it:

The Shadow Chancellor will say companies with 250 or more staff would have to sign them up to an ‘Inclusive Ownership Fund’ shareholding scheme.

Employees would receive dividend pay-outs at the end of the year worth up to £500, with any excess paid into a national pot that would go towards improving public services.

I feel much the same about this plan as I do about the plan to increase council tax on some second homes: it is a good start, but......

There are issues. First, wealth is linked to very particular employments by this plan. And since the plan is only applicable to those employed by larger U.K. companies, who already pay higher wages in average, income inequality may increase because of it.

Second, the scope is very limited and because it can be avoided by moving corporate domicile not really that wise. It disincentivises the UK and does not require foreign owned companies to partake.

Third, I am concerned that there is no plan for capital gains within these funds. What happens to them?

Fourth, this plan does not diversify employee’s risk.

Fifth, should 10% of a company where only 3% of employees are in the UK be owned for the benefit of those employees? Is that fair? And a true reflection of international solidarity?

So, again, the sentiment is fine. The problem is in the execution.

What would I have done? I think one way to deal with this desire would have been to increase the tax rate on larger companies in the U.K. and require settlement in shares. This would only be on UK profits and maybe profits remitted to the UK. That would be reasonable. And since  companies use profits to fund share buy backs this would be a wholly justifiable approach. The rate could be as much as 10% of profits. And half should go to a national wealth fund, automatically. The wealth should be shared.

My instinct is that this would create a considerably more equitable outcome, as well as generating considerable interest in what UK taxable profits might be, which would be no bad thing.

The radical tax policies I’d be looking for if we had a general election now

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 24/09/2018 - 2:16am in

I am delighted Corbyn has backed the idea that he will follow his party conference on a second referendum today. Assuming that the conference is given a free vote there is no doubt that Labour party members will back the idea. That will enormously boost Labour, its membership and the belief that the members may actually be able to influence Labour Party policy, which will help many when it comes to voting.

But let's consider Labour's preferred option instead. This is a general election. Talk of it appears to be almost open now. When a minister has to deny it this morning the possibility that it is a real option was openly acknowledged.

I believe a general election is now the best way to settle the Brexit question. It would be best for the country, for democracy and for Europe and allay all the nonsense on there being no choice but see this through. So saying, I acknowledge that Brexit would be the absolute number one issue in any such election. But let me suppose for a moment that other issues might be considered. Let me just suggest some tax and related issues Labour might like to consider. The following is not a complete list. It's just a starter for 10 (or a bit more):

  1. Make income tax rates more progressive - including a 50% top rate theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/07/should-the-50p-tax-rate-go
  2. Reduce tax rates on those with lower income
  3. Increase corporation tax rates for larger companies taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2014/01/30/george-osbornes-10-billion-a-year-tax-giveaway-to-big-companies/
  4. Create an alternative minimum corporation tax taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/09/30/time-for-an-alternative-minimum-corporation-tax/
  5. Create a proper general anti-avoidance principle to underpin the attack on tax avoidance taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2012/06/20/why-we-need-a-genuine-general-anti-avoidance-principle-to-beat-tax-abuse-2/
  6. Create a Ministry of Tax to ensure the effective management of the tax system as part of overall fiscal policy taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/09/05/a-ministry-of-tax/
  7. Improved measurement of the UK tax gap and increase the resources available to tackle it taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/10/26/i-would-love-the-uk-to-have-reliable-tax-gap-data-but-right-now-that-still-looks-like-an-aspiration-and-not-a-reality/
  8. Introduce public country-by-country reporting to hold large companies to account for the corporation tax they should pay concernedafricascholars.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/caploss07-murphy-14th.pdf
  9. Equalise capital gains tax and income tax rates taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/07/17/wealth-taxation-a-programme-to-tackle-the-crisis-of-inequality-that-we-face/
  10. Abolish capital gains tax Entrepreneur’s Relief which is a pure subsidy for those already wealthy taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2015/11/17/why-we-dont-need-capital-gains-tax-entrepreneurs-relief/
  11. Remove the cap on income tax so that it is paid at full rate on all earned income - however much it goes up to taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/WealthtaxUK816.pdf
  12. Remove pension tax relief at higher rate with the aim of reducing wealth inequality taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/03/01/in-the-last-ten-years-the-uk-has-subsidised-pension-saving-by-481-billion-wasnt-there-a-better-use-for-that-money/
  13. Remove higher rate charitable donation tax relief taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/01/31/time-to-reform-charity-tax-relief-2/
  14. Introduce an investment income surcharge on unearned income as the equivalent of national insurance on such earnings taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/WealthtaxUK816.pdf
  15. Add new council tax bands to make this tax more progressive, allowing reduction in rates at lower rates and its removal from those in receipt of benefits taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/12/13/there-is-only-one-acceptable-council-tax-solution-to-the-care-crisis-and-thats-to-create-more-higher-rate-bands/
  16. Abolish university tuition fees taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/10/11/tuition-fees-the-neoliberals-just-dont-understand-why-we-must-educate-our-undergraduates/
  17. Write off student debt taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/05/09/to-get-young-people-to-vote-offer-to-write-off-student-debt/
  18. Create a National Investment Bank to build the new housing this country needs at affordable prices greennewdealgroup.org/
  19. Bring the control of all economic policy back under the control of the Treasury since monetary policy is now effectively inoperative in the UK taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/06/27/the-role-of-the-bank-of-england-the-debate-continues/
  20. Remove the savings rate tax as ISAs already provide all the same benefits and this allowance complicates the tax system
  21. Restrict ISA investment to funds creating new employment and real investment in the UK taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2017/05/31/its-time-to-scrap-isas-and-other-tax-related-savings-schemes/
  22. Replace inheritance tax with a wealth tax taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2018/03/25/its-time-to-tax-wealth/
  23. Pilot a Carbon Usage Tax commonspace.scot/articles/11614/10-steps-could-create-fairer-better-tax-system-independent-scotland

I'm open to suggestions, and ones on ranking of priorities as well.

This time we’re not sleep-walking into a crisis. We’re choosing it instead

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 4:41pm in

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Economics

The Guardian has noted that:

The west’s leading economic thinktank has warned that the expansion in the global economy may have peaked after cutting its growth forecasts for an array of rich and developing countries.

In its latest update on the health of the world economy, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the outlook for both 2018 and 2019 was less good than it had predicted in May.

I expect the OECD is right. Trade wars, Brexit, the impact of increasing dollar interest rates on emerging markets, an impending debt crisis and an absence of leadership to deal with it all suggest to me that they are being optimistic in simply thinking we’ll just fall back a bit. None of the portents look at all good in reality.

But still the financial markets march on, apparently disconnected from the reality of the actual economy to which they have only the very loosest of relationships. Until, that is, the readjustment arrives.

And this time the prospect of anything positive coming out of that readjustment programme looks remote precisely because last time most sleep-walked into the crisis. This time we have no such excuse.

The trade wars are deliberate.

So too is Brexit.

As are inappropriate interest rate rises.

And a debt boom.

These were made by the political  leaderships who will be in office when readjustment might be needed.

And that’s the real cause for concern.

 

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