.@JeremyCorbyn found #Farage bathing one day & stole his #BREXIT/#LEXIT glad rags, but only for @UKLabour to wear them ironically? #FBPE

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Corbynism is not the future, it is the future refusing to be born

1964, 11 years before the EU referendum of 1975, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment.  The infamous slogan that propelled a Tory into the House of Commons was, “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

Peter Griffiths, the successful Tory candidate refused to disown the slogan, “I would not condemn any man who said that,” he told the Times during his election campaign.  “I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.”

All sounds rather depressingly familiar, does it not?  One need not strain one’s imagination to hear Farage today saying exactly what Griffiths said to the Times in 1964.

One never, in one’s wildest dreams, expected to hear a Labour leader use the same language.  Certainly not one like Corbyn, whose fans claim he is the true Socialist Messiah.

ukip’s forebears, dear Cult of Corbyn members, were fascists in the 1930s, fought the suffragettes in the 1900s, burnt industrial machinery in the early 19th Century, persecuted Catholics (sometimes with official approval and even sanction in the two centuries after 1605), massacred 150 Jews in York on March 16th, 1190 at York …  I could go on, but the common link is an inability and/or unwillingness to accept economic, political and social change, combined with various forms of intolerance towards the other.  Moreover, these responses were and are not unique to any one particular class.

Anti-semitism being quite common amongst the upper class in the 1930s as much as it was amongst the working class followers of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats.  Anti-semitism is today rife amongst some of Corbyn’s most committed supporters.  One might go so far as to say that it is a defining trait for some of them.  As Aneurin Bevan once observed, “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society.  It is the future refusing to be born.”

Bevan once asked, “How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power?  Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the twentieth century.”  Step forward, Alf Garnett, the perfect example of a working class Tory.  Alf  arrived on our television screens in 1965, but as a skilled member of the working class he got the vote in 1867, courtesy of Benjamin Disraeli.  Mr Disraeli gave Alf the vote because he was banking on the conservatism of the British working man favouring the Tory Party at election time.  Alf was not liberal in outlook.

ukip is wealth persuading poverty to keep it in power, because ukip has nothing to say to the left behind that would make their condition any better than it is now.  Labour under Corbyn is asking the working age poor to vote it into office so it may expand the middle class welfare state at their expense.

The Liberal Democrats went into the 2017 General Election committed to reversing all of the £9bn of Social Security cuts over which IDS resigned.

Labour only committed to reversing £2bn of the cuts, leaving the benefits cap and benefits freeze in place, because, Emily Thornberry said, it could not afford to do more.  Although it could commit without any caveats to the Pensions Triple Lock.

Labour only committed at most £500m for Sure Start.  Not enough money to fully reverse the savage Tory cuts since 2010.  Although it could find the money to commit £10bn plus to deliver universal free university tuition for students mostly from middle and higher income families.

Incidentally, if you are on a low income in our society you are more likely to be from a background other than the white middle class (the group illustrated in Momentum’s recent home video).

You are more likely to be from an ethnic minority background.  Warm words at an anti-racism rally and posing for pictures with Weyman Bennett are no substitute for real action to address the disadvantage someone faces, simply because of their family tree.

And posing with a man with a reputation like that of Bennett casts doubt on your commitment, Corbyn, to helping the most disadvantaged group in our society, women (whatever their sex, their age, their disability, their gender, their race, their geographical locality, their circumstances, their background and their class), realise their full potential.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with people who think LGBT folk have no right to live, because of being LGBT is no way to flaunt your liberal credentials.

How many of those, Corbyn, whose take on LGBT rights you endorse by standing on a platform with them, come anywhere near the view ISIS has of the disabled?  They murder children with Down’s Syndrome for being born with that condition.

How many of those extremists, with whom you make common cause, Corbyn, are opposed to democracy; equal rights for all; the right of Israel to exist and so on …

956706

Let me see, BAME, LGBT, women, the disabled, the poor and the working class, BAME as well as white.  Do they not, Corbyn, make up the group with whom you, uniquely, claim to relate?  Are they not en masse a large enough group out of whom to build an General Election winning majority?

There was a time when Labour was behind in coming forward to call out racism.

There was a time when Paul “Foot castigated “the inability of the local (Smethwick) Labour party, corrupted as it was by anti-immigrant sentiment, to hit back in a determined and principled way” against Griffiths and what he stood for.”

It is a moot point whether Foot would have wholly approved of Labour’s General Election 2015 Campaigning Against ukip document, but I think he would have accepted that Labour had moved on.

Has Labour moved on though?

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him, blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.  The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. He added, “What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.”

Did Corbyn ever tell his ex girlfriend’s mother, Diane Abbott’s mom, that she had in some way damaged the pay and conditions of indigenous workers when she came to the UK to work in the NHS?  That was an argument used by, amongst others, trades unionists back in the 1960s.  They worked then with the CBI to attempt to prevent a Race Relations Act going on the statute book that would address discrimination in the jobs and housing market.  The first Act of that kind having failed to address either subject.  Roy Jenkins on becoming Home Secretary (boo, hiss from the seats of the committed socialist ABC1s now dominating Labour’s membership) put that right.

The question each generation has to ask itself is do you seek to narrow or bridge gaps within society or, like Farage widen and exploit them for your own political and financial ends?  Corbyn, born into a similar class background as Farage, has decided to do the other thing, the easy thing and blow the silent dog whistle that Griffiths bequeathed to Farage.

How about we try taking Gandhi’s advice about hating the sin, but not the sinner, and thereby try to change attitudes and not reinforce them?

Incidentally, Alf Garnett, through seeing people as individuals not as a mass of the other, mellowed over time …

Smethwick 1964

For those unfamiliar with the events of 1964 in Smethwick and how they resonate in sympathy with the events of today then I think Stuart Jeffries article is a good place to start.  Incidentally, I understand that a variation of the slogan that I have read in a number of places was “… vote Liberal or Labour”.

Other interesting articles:

Looking Back at Race Relations

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Daily Telegraph)

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Wolverhampton Express and Star)

Neil Hamilton provides a link between then and now.  Griffiths once wrote, “Apartheid, if it could be separated from racialism, could well be an alternative to integration.”  Hamilton did his bit to try and help the apartheid regime of South Africa improve its chances of survival.

Jeremy #Corbyn & The Return of Alf Garnett Or If You Don’t Want a Bulgarian For a Neighbour Vote #Labour? #ABTV #WATON #FBPE #RJCOB #PCPEU

Standard

Corbynism is not the future, it is the future refusing to be born

1964, 11 years before the EU referendum of 1975, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment.  The infamous slogan that propelled a Tory into the House of Commons was, “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

Peter Griffiths, the successful Tory candidate refused to disown the slogan, “I would not condemn any man who said that,” he told the Times during his election campaign.  “I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.”

All sounds rather depressingly familiar, does it not?  One need not strain one’s imagination to hear Farage today saying exactly what Griffiths said to the Times in 1964.

One never, in one’s wildest dreams, expected to hear a Labour leader use the same language.  Certainly not one like Corbyn, whose fans claim he is the true Socialist Messiah.

ukip’s forebears, dear Cult of Corbyn members, were fascists in the 1930s, fought the suffragettes in the 1900s, burnt industrial machinery in the early 19th Century, persecuted Catholics (sometimes with official approval and even sanction in the two centuries after 1605), massacred 150 Jews in York on March 16th, 1190 at York …  I could go on, but the common link is an inability and/or unwillingness to accept economic, political and social change, combined with various forms of intolerance towards the other.  Moreover, these responses were and are not unique to any one particular class.

Anti-semitism being quite common amongst the upper class in the 1930s as much as it was amongst the working class followers of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats.  Anti-semitism is today rife amongst some of Corbyn’s most committed supporters.  One might go so far as to say that it is a defining trait for some of them.  As Aneurin Bevan once observed, “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society.  It is the future refusing to be born.”

Bevan once asked, “How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power?  Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the twentieth century.”  Step forward, Alf Garnett, the perfect example of a working class Tory.  Alf  arrived on our television screens in 1965, but as a skilled member of the working class he got the vote in 1867, courtesy of Benjamin Disraeli.  Mr Disraeli gave Alf the vote because he was banking on the conservatism of the British working man favouring the Tory Party at election time.  Alf was not liberal in outlook.

ukip is wealth persuading poverty to keep it in power, because ukip has nothing to say to the left behind that would make their condition any better than it is now.  Labour under Corbyn is asking the working age poor to vote it into office so it may expand the middle class welfare state at their expense.

The Liberal Democrats went into the 2017 General Election committed to reversing all of the £9bn of Social Security cuts over which IDS resigned.

Labour only committed to reversing £2bn of the cuts, leaving the benefits cap and benefits freeze in place, because, Emily Thornberry said, it could not afford to do more.  Although it could commit without any caveats to the Pensions Triple Lock.

Labour only committed at most £500m for Sure Start.  Not enough money to fully reverse the savage Tory cuts since 2010.  Although it could find the money to commit £10bn plus to deliver universal free university tuition for students mostly from middle and higher income families.

Incidentally, if you are on a low income in our society you are more likely to be from a background other than the white middle class (the group illustrated in Momentum’s recent home video).

You are more likely to be from an ethnic minority background.  Warm words at an anti-racism rally and posing for pictures with Weyman Bennett are no substitute for real action to address the disadvantage someone faces, simply because of their family tree.

And posing with a man with a reputation like that of Bennett casts doubt on your commitment, Corbyn, to helping the most disadvantaged group in our society, women (whatever their sex, their age, their disability, their gender, their race, their geographical locality, their circumstances, their background and their class), realise their full potential.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with people who think LGBT folk have no right to live, because of being LGBT is no way to flaunt your liberal credentials.

How many of those, Corbyn, whose take on LGBT rights you endorse by standing on a platform with them, come anywhere near the view ISIS has of the disabled?  They murder children with Down’s Syndrome for being born with that condition.

How many of those extremists, with whom you make common cause, Corbyn, are opposed to democracy; equal rights for all; the right of Israel to exist and so on …

956706

Let me see, BAME, LGBT, women, the disabled, the poor and the working class, BAME as well as white.  Do they not, Corbyn, make up the group with whom you, uniquely, claim to relate?  Are they not en masse a large enough group out of whom to build an General Election winning majority?

There was a time when Labour was behind in coming forward to call out racism.

There was a time when Paul “Foot castigated “the inability of the local (Smethwick) Labour party, corrupted as it was by anti-immigrant sentiment, to hit back in a determined and principled way” against Griffiths and what he stood for.”

It is a moot point whether Foot would have wholly approved of Labour’s General Election 2015 Campaigning Against ukip document, but I think he would have accepted that Labour had moved on.

Has Labour moved on though?

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him, blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.  The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. He added, “What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.”

Did Corbyn ever tell his ex girlfriend’s mother, Diane Abbott’s mom, that she had in some way damaged the pay and conditions of indigenous workers when she came to the UK to work in the NHS?  That was an argument used by, amongst others, trades unionists back in the 1960s.  They worked then with the CBI to attempt to prevent a Race Relations Act going on the statute book that would address discrimination in the jobs and housing market.  The first Act of that kind having failed to address either subject.  Roy Jenkins on becoming Home Secretary (boo, hiss from the seats of the committed socialist ABC1s now dominating Labour’s membership) put that right.

The question each generation has to ask itself is do you seek to narrow or bridge gaps within society or, like Farage widen and exploit them for your own political and financial ends?  Corbyn, born into a similar class background as Farage, has decided to do the other thing, the easy thing and blow the silent dog whistle that Griffiths bequeathed to Farage.

How about we try taking Gandhi’s advice about hating the sin, but not the sinner, and thereby try to change attitudes and not reinforce them?

Incidentally, Alf Garnett, through seeing people as individuals not as a mass of the other, mellowed over time …

Smethwick 1964

For those unfamiliar with the events of 1964 in Smethwick and how they resonate in sympathy with the events of today then I think Stuart Jeffries article is a good place to start.  Incidentally, I understand that a variation of the slogan that I have read in a number of places was “… vote Liberal or Labour”.

Other interesting articles:

Looking Back at Race Relations

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Daily Telegraph)

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Wolverhampton Express and Star)

Neil Hamilton provides a link between then and now.  Griffiths once wrote, “Apartheid, if it could be separated from racialism, could well be an alternative to integration.”  Hamilton did his bit to try and help the apartheid regime of South Africa improve its chances of survival.

#Corbyn & The Return of Alf Garnett Or If You Don’t Want a Bulgarian For a Neighbour Vote #Labour?

Standard

Corbynism is not the future, it is the future refusing to be born

1964, 11 years before the EU referendum of 1975, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment.  The infamous slogan that propelled a Tory into the House of Commons was, “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

Peter Griffiths, the successful Tory candidate refused to disown the slogan, “I would not condemn any man who said that,” he told the Times during his election campaign.  “I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.”

All sounds rather depressingly familiar, does it not?  One need not strain one’s imagination to hear Farage today saying exactly what Griffiths said to the Times in 1964.

One never, in one’s wildest dreams, expected to hear a Labour leader use the same language.  Certainly not one like Corbyn, whose fans claim he is the true Socialist Messiah.

ukip’s forebears, dear Cult of Corbyn members, were fascists in the 1930s, fought the suffragettes in the 1900s, burnt industrial machinery in the early 19th Century, persecuted Catholics (sometimes with official approval and even sanction in the two centuries after 1605), massacred 150 Jews in York on March 16th, 1190 at York …  I could go on, but the common link is an inability and/or unwillingness to accept economic, political and social change, combined with various forms of intolerance towards the other.  Moreover, these responses were and are not unique to any one particular class.

Anti-semitism being quite common amongst the upper class in the 1930s as much as it was amongst the working class followers of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats.  Anti-semitism is today rife amongst some of Corbyn’s most committed supporters.  One might go so far as to say that it is a defining trait for some of them.  As Aneurin Bevan once observed, “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society.  It is the future refusing to be born.”

Bevan once asked, “How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power?  Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the twentieth century.”  Step forward, Alf Garnett, the perfect example of a working class Tory.  Alf  arrived on our television screens in 1965, but as a skilled member of the working class he got the vote in 1867, courtesy of Benjamin Disraeli.  Mr Disraeli gave Alf the vote because he was banking on the conservatism of the British working man favouring the Tory Party at election time.  Alf was not liberal in outlook.

ukip is wealth persuading poverty to keep it in power, because ukip has nothing to say to the left behind that would make their condition any better than it is now.  Labour under Corbyn is asking the working age poor to vote it into office so it may expand the middle class welfare state at their expense.

The Liberal Democrats went into the 2017 General Election committed to reversing all of the £9bn of Social Security cuts over which IDS resigned.

Labour only committed to reversing £2bn of the cuts, leaving the benefits cap and benefits freeze in place, because, Emily Thornberry said, it could not afford to do more.  Although it could commit without any caveats to the Pensions Triple Lock.

Labour only committed at most £500m for Sure Start.  Not enough money to fully reverse the savage Tory cuts since 2010.  Although it could find the money to commit £10bn plus to deliver universal free university tuition for students mostly from middle and higher income families.

Incidentally, if you are on a low income in our society you are more likely to be from a background other than the white middle class (the group illustrated in Momentum’s recent home video).

You are more likely to be from an ethnic minority background.  Warm words at an anti-racism rally and posing for pictures with Weyman Bennett are no substitute for real action to address the disadvantage someone faces, simply because of their family tree.

And posing with a man with a reputation like that of Bennett casts doubt on your commitment, Corbyn, to helping the most disadvantaged group in our society, women (whatever their sex, their age, their disability, their gender, their race, their geographical locality, their circumstances, their background and their class), realise their full potential.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with people who think LGBT folk have no right to live, because of being LGBT is no way to flaunt your liberal credentials.

How many of those, Corbyn, whose take on LGBT rights you endorse by standing on a platform with them, come anywhere near the view ISIS has of the disabled?  They murder children with Down’s Syndrome for being born with that condition.

How many of those extremists, with whom you make common cause, Corbyn, are opposed to democracy; equal rights for all; the right of Israel to exist and so on …

956706

Let me see, BAME, LGBT, women, the disabled, the poor and the working class, BAME as well as white.  Do they not, Corbyn, make up the group with whom you, uniquely, claim to relate?  Are they not en masse a large enough group out of whom to build an General Election winning majority?

There was a time when Labour was behind in coming forward to call out racism.

There was a time when Paul “Foot castigated “the inability of the local (Smethwick) Labour party, corrupted as it was by anti-immigrant sentiment, to hit back in a determined and principled way” against Griffiths and what he stood for.”

It is a moot point whether Foot would have wholly approved of Labour’s General Election 2015 Campaigning Against ukip document, but I think he would have accepted that Labour had moved on.

Has Labour moved on though?

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him, blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.  The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. He added, “What there wouldn’t be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry.”

Did Corbyn ever tell his ex girlfriend’s mother, Diane Abbott’s mom, that she had in some way damaged the pay and conditions of indigenous workers when she came to the UK to work in the NHS?  That was an argument used by, amongst others, trades unionists back in the 1960s.  They worked then with the CBI to attempt to prevent a Race Relations Act going on the statute book that would address discrimination in the jobs and housing market.  The first Act of that kind having failed to address either subject.  Roy Jenkins on becoming Home Secretary (boo, hiss from the seats of the committed socialist ABC1s now dominating Labour’s membership) put that right.

The question each generation has to ask itself is do you seek to narrow or bridge gaps within society or, like Farage widen and exploit them for your own political and financial ends?  Corbyn, born into a similar class background as Farage, has decided to do the other thing, the easy thing and blow the silent dog whistle that Griffiths bequeathed to Farage.

How about we try taking Gandhi’s advice about hating the sin, but not the sinner, and thereby try to change attitudes and not reinforce them?

Incidentally, Alf Garnett, through seeing people as individuals not as a mass of the other, mellowed over time …

Smethwick 1964

For those unfamiliar with the events of 1964 in Smethwick and how they resonate in sympathy with the events of today then I think Stuart Jeffries article is a good place to start.  Incidentally, I understand that a variation of the slogan that I have read in a number of places was “… vote Liberal or Labour”.

Other interesting articles:

Looking Back at Race Relations

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Daily Telegraph)

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Wolverhampton Express and Star)

Neil Hamilton provides a link between then and now.  Griffiths once wrote, “Apartheid, if it could be separated from racialism, could well be an alternative to integration.”  Hamilton did his bit to try and help the apartheid regime of South Africa improve its chances of survival.

Farage Talks Of #NMW Repeal, #ukip Say No One On It Works Over 40 Hours & Tories No One Over 30 #GE2015

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Put simply, both parties claim that they would take people on the highest weekly rate of the National Minimum Wage out of paying Income Tax, but not National Insurance and/or Value Added Tax.  Well they are lying with regards to Income Tax too.

The Tories say you will not have to pay Income Tax if you are working 30 hours or less a week.  ukip says you will not have to pay Income Tax if you are working 40 hours or less per week.  The average working week is one of 43.6 hours and over 4 million people work more than 48 hours per week.  I leave you to work out which end of the pay scale is most likely to be working those hours.

ukip has never been more than lukewarm about the NMW and Farage has now come out against it.  He has said he opposes an increase in the minimum wage because it could encourage immigrants to come to the UK.  Farage made his comments on Friday 17th April during a phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live, when a caller asked whether he would raise the rate.

He replied, “There is a problem with doing that.  That is that if you increase the minimum wage, you may actually even attract more migrant labour.  Don’t forget, the minimum wage in Britain is now nine times what it is in Romania. If you increase it even more people would want to come.  I want to see the market adjust this.  The current proposal to increase the minimum wage, which is the Labour proposal, to put it up by 2019 to about £8 an hour, I don’t think an marginal increase is really going to make a difference.  I think the minimum wage was designed to be a floor and it has actually become a ceiling.  Unless we restrict the flow of migrant labour … I think if we do increase the minimum wage, we will effectively just set a new glass ceiling.”

Many people on the NMW at or below the highest rate already do not earn enough now to pay Income Tax, but they have no option but to pay VAT.  VAT bears down hardest on those on low incomes, whether they are in or out of work.  It bears down on those on fixed incomes like pensioners and those on Social Security.  It bears down on those with little or no opportunity to improve their earnings.  ukip made a bit of a joke, at the launch of their policies for women, about cutting VAT on sanitary towels, a product that only 49% of the electorate may regard as non essential.

Two right wing parties in this General Election are posing as the friend of the working class.  Working man, in ukip’s case, as women need not apply.  And ukip thinks women mistake its candour for misogyny.  When it comes to the NMW and Income Tax both parties are lying.

The Danczuks, The Dangerous Dogs Act & Those Enduring Myths About Lone Parents #GE2015 #RaceForNumber10

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“In a political arena in which words are carefully chosen, PR narratives carefully designed, and human frailties rarely admitted, the Danczuks stick out.  They both come from broken families, in which dependence on benefits was par for the course.

Karen, one of five children, was the only one to carry on her education after school and says she lives a life that her siblings wouldn’t recognise.”

“Danczuk has been an outspoken critic of politics geared towards the metropolitan elite.  On welfare, he and his wife agree that Labour isn’t tough enough.  “Instead of people being sat around on benefits, if they are capable of work why not have them make a contribution locally and keep them in mind for work,” Simon says. “If you want to call it hard-line, so be it.” ”

“The reason people should listen to them, they say, whether it is on child abuse or the problems of welfare, is that their views come from experience.  “If my mum had been forced to work and not live her life as a single parent on benefits, she would have had a job and friends and a better life, which would have benefited me,” Karen says.”

We’ll keep telling it like it is on welfare, immigration and the liberal elite

Well, Karen, in my experience your kind of subjective approach to policy making leads to Dangerous Dogs Act outcomes.  Personally, speaking, again from experience, I think we have already had quite enough of that sort of ‘informed’ approach to Social Security and Welfare to Work.

Alas, for Simon and Karen, I am not a member of the metropolitan, liberal elite, although I do live in a metropolitan county.  I was, though, Birmingham and Solihull’s lead Employment Service Implementation Manager for New Deal for Lone Parents in 1998 and a deputy Childcare Partnership Manager for the same area in the late 2000s.  I know a fair bit about Children’s Centres, I have worked alongside Gingerbread and the National Council for One Parent Families, I have worked with groups supporting lone parents, groups of lone parents and I have even interviewed a fair few lone parents in my time.  I suspect that gives me as much, if not more insight than the Danczuks into the challenges facing lone parents, but I would not say enough of an insight to be able, on my own, to draft policies addressing those challenges.  I may know most of the questions to ask, but few of the answers to them.  I know my limitations!

In over two decades I only ever came across one person who regarded herself as married to the State.  Frankly, I was gob smacked that anyone would want to be a lone parent until they claimed their State Pension at 60, but this person was very much the exception to the rule.  I did segue into the dependant on the State line on the grounds that surely she would not want to bring up more children on just Income Support.  What about their quality of life?  I say more children as she was in front of me, because her youngest child had reached 16 and so she had no option, but to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.  She seemed more than a bit put out by the requirement to be both available for and actively seeking work.  She took the line that at 40 or so it was too late to take up employment hence the discussion of possible alternatives to paid work.

Now, Karen and Simon would it really be a good idea to build our party’s (that is Labour’s, by the way, and not ukip’s) policies for lone parents on that interview alone?  You certainly seem to think that your personal experiences are representative evidence of the behaviour of the typical (tabloid) single parent and thus the basis on which to formulate a tougher Social Security regime for lone parents.  Or would it be better to adopt an evidence based approach?  One starting with the facts (listed below) about single parents, courtesy of Gingerbread, an organisation that thinks discussions about lone parents (a very diverse group) should be based on reality and not myths.

Incidentally, Karen is Simon’s second wife and he had two children with his first partner so I guess he knows a bit about making lone parent families (see fourth bullet point in the list below), if nothing else about them.  A policy of tough on lone parents, but not tough on those who put many in that position, eh, Simon?  And what happened to sticking with one’s husband or wife through thick and thin until death do you part, eh, Simon?  Surely, a big problem is the ease with which one may get divorced, eh, Simon?  Now is it not the liberal elite which was responsible for making divorce easier, eh, Simon?  Shame on you Simon, a working class boy, for allowing yourself to be seduced from the path of righteousness into the path of divorce.

Simon, some days I wish I had been born a decade or so earlier than I was so I might enjoy the experience of living through the 1960s first hand.  I get the distinct impression that you (like Farage, Howard and Blair) wish that decade had never happened.  Well it did, get over it and move on.  And, I have no problem with your divorce or the divorce laws, but I do with your hypocrisy.

Roy Jenkins was a real Socialist when it came to addressing the social issues of the 1960s.  He saw through Parliament, when Home Secretary, the permanent abolition of hanging, the relaxation of the licensing laws, the ending of theatre censorship and introduced a ground breaking Race Relations Bill.  He secured government time to ensure the passage of Private Members’ Bills on both homosexuality, finally legalising it and abortion.  He ended flogging in prisons.

In 1976 he told the Police Federation conference that for many prisoners, prison did not work.  He urged them to look at the evidence and to recognise how little the widespread use of prison reduces crime or deals effectively with the individuals concerned.  Faced with concerted booing, he gave his hostile audience a lecture on democracy.  The rule of law in a democratic society did not mean our pet prejudices, but the rule of Parliament as applied by the courts.  One cannot have a rule of law while dismissing with disparagement Parliament, the courts and those who practise in them.  The job of the police and that of the Home Secretary, he told them, is to apply the law as it is and not to decry it.

Roy Jenkins was one of the most reforming Home Secretaries of all time.  He was in favour of evidence based policy.  I understand you think people like me are in the wrong party, because we are proud not only of his bringing in such liberal legislation, but because we want to do more?  That our liberal tendencies makes us less socialist than you?  Personally, I think you would be more at home in ukip with its net curtain twitching, back to the 1950s, knee jerk attitudes than in a party which is at its best when it bases policy on evidence not anecdote.  Evidence, Karen, tinged with more than just a little empathy for those worse off than ourselves.

And now for those facts about single parents

There are 2 million single parents in Britain today (1) – they make up a quarter of families with children, a figure which has remained consistent for the past decade (2)

Less than 2 per cent of single parents are teenagers (3)

The median age of single parents is 38.1 (4)

Around half of single parents had their children within marriage – 49 per cent are separated from marriage, divorced or widowed (5)

63.4 per cent of single parents are in work, up 19.6 percentage points since 1996 (6)

The employment rate for single parents varies depending on the age of their youngest child.  Once their children are 12 or over, single parents’ employment rate is similar to, or higher than, the employment rate for mothers in couples (71 per cent of single parents whose child is 11-15 are in work) (7)

Who are single parents?

There are 3 million children living in a single parent household (23% per cent of all dependent children) (8)

Around 8 per cent of single parents (186,000) are fathers (9)

The average duration of single parenthood is around 5 years (10)

Only 6.5 per cent of all births are registered alone, and 10 per cent are registered to two parents who live apart (11)

Single fathers are more likely to be widowed than single mothers (12 per cent of single fathers are widowed, compared with 5 per cent of single mothers), and their children tend to be older (12)

Just under half of couples divorcing in 2009 had at least one child aged under 16.  Over a fifth (21 per cent) of the children in 2009 were under five and 63 per cent were under eleven (13)

The proportion of single parent families has increased since the 1970s, but it hasn’t changed much in the last ten years

In 1971 just 8 per cent of families with children were single parent families (14)

In 1998 24 per cent of families with children were single parent families (15)

In 2011 26 per cent of families with children were single parent families (16)

Single parent families and poverty:

Children in single parent families are nearly twice as likely as children in couple families to live in relative poverty.  Over four in every 10 (42 per cent) children in single parent families are poor, compared to just over two in 10 (23 per cent) of children in couple families (17)

Paid work is not a guaranteed route out of poverty for single parent families; the poverty rate for children in single parent families where the parent works part-time is 30 per cent, and 22 per cent where the parent works full-time (18).

The median weekly income for working single parent families doing 16 hours a week or more is £337, compared with £491 for couple families with one worker and £700 where both parents work (19)

43 per cent of single parents are social housing tenants compared to 12 per cent of couples (20)

71 per cent of all single parent renters receive housing benefit compared to 25 per cent of all couple renters (21)

Single parent households are the most likely to be in arrears on one or more household bills, mortgage or non-mortgage borrowing commitment (31 per cent) (22)

38 per cent of single parents said that money always runs out before the end of the week/month compared to 19 per cent of couples (23)

63 per cent of single parents have no savings compared to 34 per cent of couples (24)

Work and childcare

Where single parents are not working, this is often because there are health issues that make work difficult: 33 per cent of unemployed single parents have a disability or long-standing illness (25) and 34 per cent have a child with a disability (26)

Over half of single parents are in work (59.2 per cent), up 14.5 percentage points since 1997.  In the same period, the employment rate of mothers in couples has risen three percentage points to 71 per cent (27)

Single parents rely heavily on informal childcare.  Of those using childcare, 46 per cent said it was informal. (28)  For single parents working 16 hours a week or more 34 per cent had a childcare arrangement with the child’s grandparents, and 17 per cent had an arrangement with their ex-partner (29)

Working single parents paying for childcare are much more likely than working couples paying for childcare to find it difficult to meet childcare costs (32% compared to 22% of couples where one partner is in work, and 20% of couples where both work) (30)

Child maintenance

Only two-fifths (38 per cent) of single parents receive maintenance from their child’s other parent (31)

For all those with an agreement for child maintenance (both through the CSA and private arrangement) the median weekly amount received is £46 per family (32)

The average amount of child maintenance liable to be paid through the CSA is currently £33.50 per week (£22.50 if all cases with a weekly assessment of zero are included in the average). (33)  Among parents with care in receipt of income-related benefits, the average amount is £23 (excluding cases with a weekly assessment of zero) (34)

Of single parents receiving child maintenance through the CSA, 40 per cent receive less than £10 per week, 38 per cent receive between £10 and £50 per week and 22 per cent receive more than £50 per week (35)

Family life

At least 9 per cent of single parents share the care of their child equally, or nearly equally, with the other parent (36)

The majority of children have face to face contact with their other parent.  71 per cent of resident parents said that their child had direct contact with the other parent (37)

65 per cent of those with contact said this included overnight stays, usually at least monthly (38)

Only 20 per cent of all resident parents say that their child has no contact with their other parent (39).  Of these, 63 per cent said there had been no contact since the parental relationship ended (40)

Parental separation by itself is not considered predictive of poor outcomes in children (41)  Parental conflict has been identified as a key mediating variable in producing negative outcomes in children.  A comparison between couple families experiencing high levels of conflict with single parent families found that children fared less well in conflicted couple families, demonstrating that family functioning has a greater impact than family structure in contributing to child outcomes (42)

Parental separation and the resulting single parent status often leads to financial hardship.  That resulting poverty may be a significant factor in explaining poorer child outcomes rather than family structure (43)

References

    1. Families and households 2014, Office for National Statistics, 2015
    2. Families and households 2014, Office for National Statistics, 2015
    3. Figure produced for Gingerbread by the Fertility and Family Analysis Unit, Office of National Statistic and derived from the Annual Population Survey (APS), (Labour Force Survey plus boost), 2009 data
    4. Lone parents with dependent children, January 2012, Office for National Statistics
    5. Lone parents with dependent children, January 2012, Office for National Statistics
    6. Working and Workless Households, 2014, Table P. Office for National Statistics, October 2014
    7. Families with children in Britain: Findings from the 2008 Families and children study (FACS), Table 3.2. Department for Work and Pensions, 2010
    8. Households Below Average Income, An analysis of the income distribution 1994/95 – 2009/10, Table 4.1ts. Department for Work and Pensions, 2011
    9. Lone parents with dependent children, January 2012, Office for National Statistics
    10. Leaving Lone Parenthood: Analysis of the repartnering patterns of lone mothers in the U.K. Skew, A., Berrington, A., Falkingham, J. 2008, on data from 2005
    11. Derived from Households and Families, Social Trends 41, Table 6 & 7. ONS, 2011. Data from 2009
    12. Analysis of Labour Force Survey data from June 2006 produced for Gingerbread by ONS
    13. Divorces in England and Wales 2009. ONS Statistical Bulletin, February 2011
    14. General Household Survey 2007, Table 3.6. ONS, 2009
    15. General Lifestyle Survey, 2009, Table 3.6. ONS, 2011
    16. Lone parents with dependent children, January 2012, Office for National Statistics
    17. Households below average income (HBAI): 1994/95 to 2012/13,Table 4.14ts. Department for Work and Pensions, 2014
    18. Households below average income (HBAI): 1994/95 to 2012/13,Table 4.14ts. Department for Work and Pensions, 2014
    19. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 6.3. DWP, 2010
    20. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 9.1. DWP, 2010
    21. English Housing Survey, Household Report 2009 – 10, Table 3.6. Department for Communities and Local Government, 2011
    22. Wealth in Great Britain. Main Results from the Wealth and Assets Survey 2006/08, p.108. ONS, 2009
    23. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 8.8. DWP, 2010
    24. Family Resource Survey UK, 2008-2009, Table 4.10. Department for Work and Pensions, 2010
    25. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 3.2. DWP, 2010
    26. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 12.5. DWP, 2010
    27. Working and Workless Households, 2012, Table P. ONS Statistical Bulletin, August 2012
    28. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 16.5. DWP, 2010
    29. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 16.1. DWP, 2010
    30. Childcare and early years survey of parents 2009, p.83. NatCen/Department for Education, 2010. Research Report DFE-RR054
    31. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 15.1. DWP, 2010
    32. Family and Children Survey 2008, Table 15.4b. DWP, 2010
    33. Child Support Agency national statistics, June 2011. CMEC/DWP, 2011
    34. Parliamentary Question, Hansard 24/03/2011, col 1242W
    35. PQ response to Karen Buck, March 2011, Letter from Stephen Geraghty (CMEC), 17/3/11 Col 566W
    36. Problematic contact after separation and divorce. Peacey, V., Hunt, J. Gingerbread, 2008
    37. I’m not saying it was easy…Contact problems in separated families. Peacey, V., Hunt, J. Gingerbread, 2009
    38. I’m not saying it was easy…Contact problems in separated families. Peacey, V., Hunt, J. Gingerbread, 2009
    39. Problematic contact after separation and divorce. Peacey, V., Hunt, J. Gingerbread, 2008
    40. I’m not saying it was easy . . . Contact problems in separated families. Peacey, V., Hunt, J. Gingerbread, 2009
    41. Impact of Family Breakdown on Children’s Well-Being. Mooney, A., Oliver, C., Smith, M. Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 2009
    42. Impact of Family Breakdown on Children’s Well-Being. Mooney, A., Oliver, C., Smith, M. Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 2009
    43. Impact of Family Breakdown on Children’s Well-Being. Mooney, A., Oliver, C., Smith, M. Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 2009

#ukip Return of Alf Garnett Or If U Want Rumanian For Neighbour, Vote Labour? #GE2015 #RaceForNumber10

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There was another piece of codswallop (and book promotion) from Matthew Goodwin in the Guardian on Monday 15th December.

And here is the prime piece of codswallop:

“In short, since the 1970s there has been a deep and growing divide in the values that separate who we might loosely term pro-Ukip and anti-Ukip voters.  Pro-Ukip voters are instinctively receptive to Farage’s anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Westminster message, and comprise between 25% and 30% of the overall electorate.  These are the voters who grew up before Britain joined the EU (so they must be 57 and over at least if they voted in the 1975 referendum), before increased immigration (67 and over, if talking about post Empire Windrush) and in an era when genuinely competing ideological projects existed in politics (over 100 if we are to believe the far left).”

These voters are, I assume, the people for whom Farage speaks when he says he is ambivalent about homosexuality, but understands why older people who grew up before the EU are made uncomfortable by gay people?  There being no LGBTs, visible ethnic minorities, liberals, people on Social Security, lone parents, in fact anyone ukippers rant on about whilst on painkillers in the UK before 1975.  Time Goodwin outed Farage, surely?  We are not talking about the EU here are we?  But instead the 1960s, that decade that Tony Blair and Michael Howard both blamed for all of society’s ills back in the 2005 General Election.  I do not see Farage rolling up for a Magical Mystery Tour either, not unless Sir Cliff is driving the bus.  Back to the 1950s means a repudiation of the social advances of the 1960s.  Advances which were partly in reaction to a stifling, conformist conservative society.

I really have no idea what Goodwin is an expert in and these days I wonder if he does so himself.  In 1964, 11 years before the EU referendum, the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick was the most colour-conscious place in the country, and the scene of a Tory campaign that successfully exploited anti-immigrant sentiment.  The infamous slogan that propelled a Tory into the House of Commons was, “If you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour.”

Peter Griffiths, the successful Tory candidate refused to disown the slogan, “I would not condemn any man who said that,” he told the Times during his election campaign.  “I regard it as a manifestation of popular feeling.”  All sounds rather depressingly familiar, does it not?  However, it proves, once again, that Goodwin knows precious little about this country’s economic, political and social history.  He also seems confused if he thinks that the commitment of most political parties to equal opportunities for all is not, in part at least, a matter of ideology (as well as political necessity) and a sign that they are as important to someone living in Smethwick as they are to the stereotypical Islington social liberal.

ukip’s forebears were fascists in the 1930s, fought the suffragettes in the 1900s, burnt industrial machinery in the early 19th Century, persecuted Catholics (sometimes with official approval and even sanction in the two centuries after 1605), massacred 150 Jews in York on March 16th, 1190 at York …  I could go on, but the common link is an inability and/or unwillingness to accept economic, political and social change, combined with various forms of intolerance towards the other.  Moreover, these responses were and are not unique to anyone particular class.  Anti-semitism being quite common amongst the upper class in the 1930s as much as it was amongst the working class followers of Sir Oswald Mosley, 6th Baronet of Ancoats.  As Aneurin Bevan once observed, “Fascism is not in itself a new order of society.  It is the future refusing to be born.”

In one sense, Goodwin is right, we have been here before, because I can hear Farage today saying exactly what Griffiths said to the Times in 1964.  Moreover, Goodwin says, “In short, since the 1970s there has been a deep and growing divide in the values” of voters.  Goodwin, there always has been such a divide and there probably always will be.  Partly because, Goodwin, some of the voters, some of the time, whatever you may think, are stupid.  Bevan asked, “How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power?  Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the twentieth century.”  Step forward, Alf Garnett, the perfect example of a working class Tory and now ukip supporter?  Alf  arrived on our television screens in 1965, but as a skilled member of the working class he got the vote in 1867, courtesy of Benjamin Disraeli.  Mr Disraeli gave Alf the vote because he was banking on the conservatism of the British working man favouring the Tory Party at election time.

ukip is wealth persuading poverty to keep it in power, because ukip has nothing to say to the left behind that would make their condition any better than it is now.  What intrigues me, Goodwin, is why you seem to think they do and whether your ignorance about the state of the modern labour market, especially the implications of deindustrialisation, is feigned or real.

“Calling out racism where racism exists is important” says Goodwin, “But over the longer term this will not get our society very far.  If it did, then Europe as a whole would not have seen a stubbornly persistent rise of radical right politics over a 30-year period.”  There was a time when it was felt calling out racism was not important, because it was stubborn and persistent.  There was a time when Paul “Foot castigated “the inability of the local (Smethwick) Labour party, corrupted as it was by anti-immigrant sentiment, to hit back in a determined and principled way” against Griffiths and what he stood for.”  It is a moot point whether he would have wholly approved of Labour’s Campaigning Against ukip document, but I think he would accept that Labour has moved on.

By the way, Goodwin, Labour is spelt with a u.  Your Tweet of yesterday referring to blue collar workers suggests you either think this is the 51st State or that (like the libertarians in ukip) that it should be.  Bevan would, though, have recognised Joe the Plumber, the archetypal blue collar worker of the 2008 Presidential Race.  The man who proved voters can be stupid when he told Obama that he, Joe, would be worse off as a result of the candidate’s proposed tax cuts (for middle class voters like Joe).  The same Joe the Plumber who feels his right to bear arms trumps the right of others to life.  Definitely a natural Labour supporter!

The question each generation has to ask itself is do you seek to narrow or bridge gaps within society or, like Farage widen and exploit them for your own political and financial ends?

For those unfamiliar with the events of 1964 in Smethwick and how they resonate in sympathy with the events of today then I think Stuart Jeffries article is a good place to start.  Incidentally, I understand that a variation of the slogan that I have read in a number of places was “… vote Liberal or Labour”.

Other interesting articles:

Looking Back at Race Relations

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Daily Telegraph)

Peter Griffiths – Obituary (Wolverhampton Express and Star)

Neil Hamilton provides a link between then and now.  Griffiths once wrote, “Apartheid, if it could be separated from racialism, could well be an alternative to integration.”  Hamilton did his bit to try and help the apartheid regime of South Africa improve its chances of survival.  One hopes he is equally successful with ukip’s electoral chances!

Does #MichaelWhite, #Guardian Know What Grown-up Migration Debate Would Look Like? #RochesterandStrood

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“Downing Street is seeking to respond to the threat from the right from Ukip.  But Cameron also wants to show Tory Eurosceptics he is serious about reform.  They have said in recent weeks that the plan to crack down on benefit tourism showed No 10 was not serious about introducing major reforms because there is relatively little evidence of benefit abuse by EU citizens.”

Barroso warns Cameron that arbitrary migration cap would breach EU law

(Guardian, Sunday 19th October, 2014)

Michael White of the Guardian thinks thatPaul Collier, a distinguished Oxford professor of public policy, a weighty, progressive intellectual of international repute, author of Exodus,” “has thought about” migration “harder than most of us.”

White refers to this article by Collier as an example of Collier’s weighty pondering.  Pondering that at one point refers to assimilation and at a later point, integration.  White may be unaware that these are two very different concepts, not in any way interchangeable and that assimilation is something for which the BNP calls and which, since Doncaster (see ‘Culture’), ukip is demanding too.  I would expect Collier to know the difference and know just how inflammatory calls for assimilation happen to be.

When it come to attitudes towards Social Security, Collier says, “As to diversity, it involves a trade-off: as it increases, variety is enhanced but cohesion reduced.  Variety is good but, unfortunately, as cohesion erodes voters become less willing to support generous welfare programmes.

There is a universal psychological tendency for inconvenient truths to be denigrated, and this is certainly inconvenient for the left. But it is not speculation: I describe some of the supporting research in my book Exodus, and rigorous new experimental research by the Oxford political scientists Sergi Pardos and Jordi Muñoz finds that immigration has just this effect, especially on benefits that are targeted at the poor.”

Firstly, when was there a time in the last forty years or so that the United Kingdom has had “generous welfare programmes”?  Moreover, this is not the United States of America, we do not have welfare programmes.  The word programme is used in the UK in connection with back to work support, for example the fatally flawed Work Programme.

Secondly, attitude surveys going back 30 yerars show that voters have, starting then, become less tolerant of recipients of what many, like the Daily Mail, parts of ukip and IDS, believe to be generous welfare hand outs.  Bizarrely, some of those holding those views are themselves long term beneficiaries of Social Security.  Was there a lot of (im)migration going on in the early 1980s or was Mrs Thatcher ramping up the rhetoric against people signing on?

Thirdly, where is this law of nature that says as diversity increases, variety is enhanced, but cohesion reduced?  Does that not suppose that there was cohesion at the outset?  For the record, for reasons more than simply their discriminatory attitudes, me and mine have precious little in common with ukip’s supporters, except where we were born.  We would, regardless of their views about migration and their attidudes towards the presence of locally born ‘foreigners’, still not be cohering with this group.  We are, for example, opposed to foxhunting.  Bearing the latter in mind, may I observe that I find ukip’s support, from top to bottom, to be unspeakable?  They are a pack of economic and social Luddites.  Let me be frank, I find it hard not to think about them, in the way that they think about migrants, as much as I try not so to do.

As an aside, are migrants from other European Union countries remaining in the United Kingdom indefinitely?  We are using the words, migration and immigration, as meaning the same thing, but an immigrant is someone who arrives with the intention of staying.  Surely we should be using migrant to describe people who behave like migratory birds do?  Surely that is surely a grown up way to debate this issue?  Collier, as shown above, uses the word immigration.  Migrant is, in the mouths of some, becoming anyone who is not white British, period.

White says that, “Unlike most of us, Collier even has a practical remedy for David Cameron as he makes a poor fist of trying to slow down inward migration from Eastern Europe without overtaking Angela Merkel’s patience or the limited imagination of rules-bound Brussels apparatchiks. As another Labour MP whispered to me during the Eastleigh by-election, one reason why would-be migrants of the poorer kind risk freezing at Calais is that Britain’s welfare payments are not all determined by past contributions: “We could change that without EU permission.” ” Collier actually says, “Perhaps it is that, unlike in the rest of Europe, access to our welfare system is not determined by past contributions.”  in other words, Collier has no evidence for his ‘solution’, but White turns it into one!

We may, of course, change how one becomes eligible for Social Security payments without EU permission.  The Coalition started a major round of doing just that on coming to power.  Those changes apply to all seeking to claim, regardless of country of origin.  One might think that Collier and White (sounds like a 1950s department store) had not heard of Personal Independence Payments and Universal Credit.

White should perhaps check Collier’s weighty article of 16th March, 2012, “My fiscal nightmares” wherein Collier says, “A prudent government protects the balance sheet while running a large fiscal deficit. It does so by drastically changing the composition of public spending. Public consumption is massively reduced, concentrating on components that commit spending far into the future. The top priority is therefore to reduce entitlement spending: benefits and pensions.”

Is the current debate providing Collier with cover for arguing again for his top priority?  Collier also buys into the idea that the UK faced, in 2012, the same position as Greece.  I beg to differ and I have got Robert Skidelsky, Professor of Political Economy at Warwick University and the author of the definitive biography of John Maynard Keynes, on my side:

“The national debt is a burden on future generations: This fallacy is repeated so often that it has entered the collective unconscious. The argument is that if the current generation spends more than it earns, the next generation will be forced to earn more than it spends to pay for it.

But this ignores the fact that holders of the very same debt will be among the supposedly burdened future generations. Suppose my children have to pay off the debt to you that I incurred. They will be worse off. But you will be better off. This may be bad for the distribution of wealth and income, because it will enrich the creditor at the expense of the debtor, but there will be no net burden on future generations.

The principle is exactly the same when the holders of the national debt are foreigners (as with Greece), though the political opposition to repayment will be much greater.”

Post-crash economics: some common fallacies about austerity

As we hold our own debt, we have a vested interest in not calling it in lest we bring down our economy, down around our ears.  I am assuming Collier is not necessarily a Keynesian when it comes to National Debt?

Whatever else Collier may be, he seems to know as much about Social Security systems both here and elsewhere in Europe as the Mayor of Calais.  You may still be able to claim some benefits if you travel or move abroad, or if you are already living abroad.  What you’re entitled to depends on where you are going and how long for.  This is where you, as a United Kingdom citizen, can claim benefits:

European Economic Area (EEA) countries

The following countries have benefits arrangements with the UK:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Switzerland is not a member of the EEA but is treated as an EEA country for certain benefits.

Other countries with UK benefits arrangements

The following countries have social security agreements with the UK:

  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Canada
  • Channel Islands
  • Macedonia
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Kosovo
  • Mauritius
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • the Philippines
  • Serbia
  • Turkey
  • USA

Let us not forget moving or retiring abroad and, of course that you have the right to live and work in any European Economic Area (EEA) country, if you are a UK citizen.

For the record, Collier and White, no one is assessed for entitlement to tax credits on the basis of National Insurance Contributions, regardless of where they come from within the EEA, including the UK.

I have already written in some depth about the Social Security contributory principle here so please treat that post as an addendum to this one.  I would add that making changes to our own systems in order to seek to deny non contributory Social Security to migrants would be costly, particularly if the aim were to run, for example, three types of Jobseeker’s Allowance (Contribution Based, Income Based and Migrant Income/Contribution Based) alongside each other.  There would be even greater potential for under and over payments and, arguably more potential for fraud amongst people receiving MICB JSA.  Not forgetting, of course, that JSAPS and ESAPs are sinking as Universal Credit grinds to a halt on the slipway.

I have spoken to Michael White via Twitter about means testing the free bus passes for old people.  He was waxing lyrical about means testing entitlement to the pass saving money, apart from the fact he had no evidence from a Social and Economic Cost Benefit Allowance to prove his point, he was blithely unaware of the costs involved in means testing.  Costs that would have to be offset against any savings.  He nearly went all Mcvey over me, along the lines of when she said that, although the bedroom tax was not saving money, it was a matter of principle to carry on with it.

Collier says, “The economic consequences of a” migration “pause would be negligible as long as students were exempted.”  Unsurprisingly, someone nestling in the groves of academe does not want those groves denied of any income, whether home grown or from abroad.  Good to see though that Collier, like I, value students from abroad studying here, but I expect that we will reap significant benefits from their, hopefully, happy time here at some future date and not in the here and now.  Where is Collier’s evidence, given his concern with the here and now, that migrant students are a benefit to UK plc whilst studying here? More of a benefit, say, than migrants working and paying Income Tax and National Insurance whilst they work here?

Also, I have news for Collier and White, there is, once again, a skills shortage in the construction industry:

Bricklayers’ boom highlights ‘skills timebomb’ in UK construction industry

SMEs: is enough being done to tackle the UK’s skills shortage?

Skills shortage fears temper surge in UK construction

Construction sector skills shortage blamed for holding back housebuilding

Kipper Williams on the construction skills shortage

I would like to make a couple of points with regards to the first two articles.  “As builders take on new work, a shortage of skilled tradespeople has allowed subcontractors to ramp up their hourly rates” (first article).  The Polish plumber and his friend, the bricklayer will be stepping in to take up some of the slack, one presumes.  A colleague of mine in the mid 2000s had an uncle working in the building industry in the east of England.  His relative said that the British bricklayers were good, they could put up a brick wall, leaving a space for a gate, perfectly well.  The Poles were better, they could build a brick arch over the gap between the two walls.  The British had been trained by the UK taxpayer to NVQ2 and the poles to NVQ3 by the Polish taxpayer.

Did ukip have to import that out of work Irish actor to appear in a poster, posing as a bricklayer, because British bricklayers did not share ukip’s stance and/or were too busy?  If you are a bricklayer and out of work at this time may I suggest, tactfully, that it is because no one thinks you are employable?  Moreover, that if there were no migrants you would still be at the back of the queue? I would go so far as to say that there is an overlap between that tiny minority of UK residents defrauding the UK Social Security system and ukip’s unemployed supporters.  They have been presenting themselves at the door during party canvassing exercises in the same way they used to down at the Jobcentre.  We know who you are, chaps, because some of you are the real (not Daily Mail) scroungers we used to sanction back in the day.  There is a certain irony in that ukip, one group of whose supporters favour going further thah IDS, is being supported by another group that would be the main target of their version of the War on Welfare!

Colier says, “It would be salutary for business to find that it had to train the existing workforce rather than poach trained workers from poorer countries: what is good for business is not necessarily good for the rest of us.”  Good to know he remembers some basic labour market economics, except British companies have a century old tradition (pre dating our entry into the EU) of poaching from each other.  In addition, Enoch Powell, when Minister of Health in the late 1950s was actively recruiting medical staff from the Caribbean to work in the NHS.  And, London Transport recruited Afro-Caribbean people to work on the Underground and the buses.

Amusingly, Collier, desirous of reducing migration to save the public finances, forgets that too often employers expect the taxpayer to train their existing workforce.  Meanwhile, whilst we await the Second Coming of Learning and Development and many British companies renouncing their devotion to ‘tried and tested’ Anglo Saxon business methods, the cost of building projects, many funded by the taxpayer will rise and rise.  And that is without factoring in the labour market impact of major construction projects like HS2.  And, every time we go into a recession, the first thing businesses usually cut is their learning and development budgets.

“The skills shortage problem is not unique to the UK.  Federation of Small Businesses national chairman, John Allan, says, “Many businesses across Europe are struggling to fill vacancies with appropriately trained staff.  The problem can’t be addressed until the education system does a better job of preparing young people for the world of work.” ” (second article).  Translation, there are increasing  job opportunities opening up for UK residents elsewhere in the EEA.  As an aside, I must find the Guardian article, wherein a careers adviser of 30 year’s standing remarked that employers at the start of his career had been saying, “The problem can’t be addressed until the education system does a better job of preparing young people for the world of work!”  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, Collier and White?

Michael, I am up for a grown-up debate on migration.  May be we may have one when you stop throwing out lines like, “Neither the right’s “crowding out” complaint about competition for low-skilled jobs (my Labour friend’s complaint too), nor the left’s “good for growth and tax receipts” scenario – shared by the City and big business – has much real evidence to support it.”  Comment is free, but facts are sacred, but not to the point where they must never be deployed, surely?  Where is your evidence to disprove either or both assertions?

Back in 2005, well before all this talk of swamping kicked in, there were 600 Cuban nurses working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.  Why?  Because of the demographic time bomb.  An aging population means an aging workforce.  ukip’s pensioner supporters are going to need to accept the fact that a migrant may be the only person available to clean up their sick in their care home? We are not talking about people elbowing others out of the way for jobs.  After all, migrants are rarely of pension age so they will in part compensate for the fall in the number of people in the working age population and, by paying tax, contribute towards the cost of the pensions of elderly people, including ukip supporting pensioners.

Collier of course says, “There is a good case for confronting their delusions and racism, and countering the misleading drizzle of anti-immigrant anecdotes, but this would not make them accepting of continued high immigration.”  How about, no migrant, no pension?  I think that might be the kind of sound bite that would hit home on the doorstep.

I was at a meeting with the QE Human Resources staff about six or so years ago.  A senior nurse recruiter said we have projected that very soon the NHS will need to recruit 50% of all school leavers to maintain its current staffing level.  Recessions come, recessions go and demographic changes remain relatively unaffected.  Of coursed, tightening public sector pension entitlement and raising the state pension age may go some way to responding to this issue.  however, actuaries have predicted that for every year working over 60, teachers reduce their life expectancy.  If they retire at 65 they run a significant risk of dying within a year.  I suspect neither Collier nor White expect to find themselves working to a point where it affects their life expectancy in such a dramatic way.

Michael, Collier is proposing that we engage in managing decline rather than take advantage of the benefits to UK plc of exploiting the opportunities presented by free movement of labour.  Opportunities for jobseekers happy to work abroad and vice versa.

By the way, Michael, that graduate you mentioned herein, “At one point in those 17 years a Labour MP, now dead, said to me: ”How can my young, unskilled constituents hope to compete for jobs with bilingual and highly-motivated foreign graduates?” It was a good point and I think of it every time I buy a beer or a coffee from one of those young graduates.”  Was he or she fluent in English?  Does it follow that he or she is at least bilingual?  That lots of tourists come to London (and Birmingham) and that having skilled, versatile staff who speak good English is good for the tourist industry (and UK plc)?  And if tourism spend increases then jobs growth results?  Have either you or Collier heard of the Multiplier Effect (see page 58)?  Incidentally, I am a Treasury standard Green Book Appraiser.

Might it not be a bad idea, if we helped “those (stereotypical) young, unskilled constituents to learn” a few other languages so they might look for work elsewhere in the EU?  Also, Michael, most employers do not look for vocational qualifications before recruiting so perhaps we should not be so quick to describe these stereotypes as lacking in soft skills?  And while we are on the subject of Europe, business and jobs why not read this post.

May be I am getting a bit cynical, but Paul Collier seems to be setting out to follow the trail blazed by Goodwin and Ford of Revolt on the Right Fame.  What they know about psephology and political campaigning, he seems to know about labour market economics and the UK Social Security system, but they are still making a mint out of ukip (and migration).  Migration is certainly improving the income of some people!

ukip Out To Worsen Conditions Of Temporary (Farm) Workers!

Migrants Price Local People Out Of Agricultural Jobs?

#ukip Would Scrap #ChildrensCentres & #SureStart! #ThanetSouth

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Well, well, well …  Who knew it?  ukip’s latest policy on welfare was out there all the time!  Basically, they aim to be tough on those in poverty and well to the right of IDS when it comes to social policy.

How do I know this?  I was chatting with someone the other day about ukip’s all things to all men (women know your place!) Bedroom Tax policy and I mused about where they stood on other Social Security issues.  My friend sent me this link to their last set of policies.  One of which alone kills dead the idea that ukip would really stand up for the left behind, the axing of Sure Start.

Yes, I know, we must await the much anticipated Manifesto, whose unveiling has become like a particularly arthritic Dance of the Seven Veils.  First, it was to appear early this year; next Friday 23rd May, conveniently a day after the European Elections; then later in the summer; then later this month, but the last I read was that only a few key policies would be unveiled in Doncaster.  Would they be those of which Farage has already spoken?  For example, the National Minimum Wage and tax ‘cuts’ policy and the ones listed in this article?  Until they repudiate their previous anti-poverty proposals then we may assume that they are still current or, at the very least still being considered for their Manifesto.

Sure Start, established under Labour; a major issue at the last General Election and broadly supported by the mainstream parties is practically the quintessential policy for helping the left behind within a few years of their leaving their cradles.  It is a lot less controversial and judgmental than the current government’s Troubled Families Programme.  Troubled Families expects almost overnight easily measurable outputs and outcomes.  We will not know the full impact, good and/or bad of Sure Start until the first cohort of beneficiaries reaches the age of 18.  Anyone who thinks Sure Start to be a waste of money is either ignorant, stupid and/or cares nothing for those who start their lives at the rear of the convoy and who steadily fall behind as the voyage progresses.  No wonder Nigel Farage studiously avoids discussing ukip’s social policies in any open forum.

Sure Start, based on Head Start in the United States of America, aims to prevent poor children, often from very deprived areas, from experiencing an opportunity gap opening up between them and the children of those in higher income groups.  Put simply, if the poorest children do not get a hand up before the age of 5 then in most cases they will never improve on the position at which they started.  Truly, these children are the left behind.

I am in no way criticising the parents of these disadvantaged children.  Many were themselves disadvantaged and could not break out of the poverty trap.  Unlike so many of the Commentariat and the likes of Matthew Goodwin, I have grown up alongside them, met them and those working with them (and supported both during my career).  I have not, Gradgrind like, sat at my computer and written reports, recommendations and so forth after just reading the latest statistics, opinion polls and the comment pieces of others.  I suspect many of you reading this now have done the same as me and share my respect and awe for the efforts to which these parents (and families) go to try and give their children a better start in life than they had.  Sometimes it is heartbreaking to think what the future may hold for these children.  Sure Start is all about giving the poorest children a more than even chance of breaking out of the cycle of poverty.  Crucially, it also helps their parents to help themselves to improve their lot and thus the lot of their children.

Poverty is about more than just money, as important as that is to getting out of it, it also denies people the chance to experience new things and different cultures.  It denies them the opportunity to go to art galleries, the theatre, the cinema, in fact to enjoy the rich and varied culture of our society and other societies that many, not in poverty, take for granted.  I must confess I am a Bevanite snob, if it is good enough for them then it is good enough for us!  You might even call me a Champagne Socialist.  I have tried it, do not like it, but like a glass or two of port after a good dinner.  And yet I sprang from the working class in what still is one of the poorest parts of Birmingham.  And although Children’s Centres, a key component of Sure Start, do not I assume promote the drinking of port, they do in part aim to broaden the horizons of children.

There is something else about Children’s Centres.  They are non means tested.  Consequently, there was at least a hope that children across social groups and income levels would mingle and learn a bit about each other, thereby, promoting community cohesion and understanding.  Who knows, they might just develop the friendships, networks and connections for which some parents send their children to private schools, public schools and Oxbridge.  More than a touch of social engineering there?  I am not sure if that has come to pass.

Locally, Labour rolled out the centres in three tranches, starting with the hardest to help areas.  The Tories, on coming to power in Birmingham scaled back the third phase, but then the deprived children of Falcon Lodge might have met and played with the well off children of the rest of Andrew Mitchell’s Constituency of Sutton Coldfield, one of the most affluent areas outside of London and South East.  We cannot have the kids off the estate learning that only money separates them from their ‘betters’, can we?

Story Wood Children’s Centre (previously Brambles/Sure Start Kingstanding) is one of the Children’s Centres I had the pleasure to visit in my time as a Civil Servant.  Story Wood is at the heart of the community it serves and is on the site of Story Wood School.  Some of the detail of what the Children’s Centre does is here.  For me, Children’s Centres are my kind of Socialism and something of which to be unashamedly proud.  I visited one a couple of times at a Junior and Infant School that I used to attend.  And that was a very deprived area (in terms of money) when Mom, Dad, my brother and me lived there.  Thankfully, things have improved somewhat and I helped a little with some of that improvement in recent years.

Whilst talking about ukip policies more generally, I would observe that Children’s Centres operate under the auspices of local authorities, but not all are run by them.  Lakeside was set up by Enta, a widely respected Voluntary and Community Sector organisation and like a lot of Children’s Centres engages in a variety of ways with the parents who use the Centre’s services.  Jargon like empowerment springs to mind, but not ukip’s ‘Power to the People’ ideas.  Helping to run a Children’s Centre your children attend is power to the people.  Closing it is not.

Were ukip to have its way then closing Children’s Centres would leave the left behind, both children and parents further behind; put trained professionals in a variety of child related disciplines out of work; remove community centres from communities with few or no other community facilities; waste a lot of money in a variety of ways and I suspect leave more than a few children heartbroken.  Thankfully those who use and have used the centres are not easily fooled (which is a sign they are working).  They made the survival of their centres an issue in the last General Election.  David Cameron said none would be closed on his watch.  Somewhere in the region of 250 have gone, but a network remains, even where authorities are Tory run.  The equivalent of the NHS of the First Age has developed deep roots, thankfully.

Replacing Early Years’ Funding, Sure Start, the childcare element of Working Tax Credit and the tax relief on Employer Nursery Vouchers into a flat-rate, non-means tested Nursery Voucher to cover approximately half the cost of a full-time nursery place is no answer to the challenges facing the children of the left behind.  The bulk of the funding being replaced by the voucher currently goes on the left behind.  Under ukip, the likes of David (I claimed Disability Living Allowance) Cameron would get some of the money if he used a voucher.  ukip proposes a simplistic answer to a complex set of problems and moves money away from where it is most needed.  Could they be seeking the votes of Tories with a non means tested voucher?

And for any ukiper who has read this far, rather than posting a comment accusing me of a smear and/or being a paedophile, Children’s Centres provide childcare, support for lone parents and employ a lot of women.  Is your blood boiling now?  If you closed Children’s Centres you would reduce the amount of childcare, possibly pushing up the price of that remaining.  We know you do not like lone parents, women in the workplace and seemingly women in general.  However, let me cause you some more grief, men are lone parents too and men work in childcare.  One of the latter I met had worked on the track at Rover before being made redundant.  Oh, and around 8% of HGV drivers are women!

If Labour (and to a great extent) the other mainstream parties have left people behind through Sure Start then we are guilty as charged.  Perhaps this policy is further proof that ukip is seeking to attract and retain the support and votes of the poorly educated, uncultured and those seemingly lacking in empathy?  Why does one need to have a reading age of more than seven, because with it you can comprehend The Sun?  Why do you need to know the difference between a Hindu, a Muslim and a Sikh?  They are all ‘foreigners’, are they not?  And, if you start developing emotional intelligence then you might just realise that the Muslim family down the road or the lone parent around the corner has a harder life than you.  Why is this starting to sound familiar?  These are the tunes played by the Hard Right since time immemorial.  Divide and conquer, divide and rule.

#RochesterandStrood Questions For @MarkReckless Of #ukip About Social Security #WOW #RochesterStrood

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Will you, Mark Reckless of ukip, call for the repeal of the Bedroom Tax (rather than continue with ukip’s pointless we oppose the Bedroom Tax line)?

In fact, if re-elected, will you vote in favour of the Private Member’s Bill seeking to reduce the impact of the Bedroom Tax?

Will you go into the lobby with Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and other opposition party MPs to support this bill?

Will you call for:

the urgent reform of the ESA/WCA process, that has brought death and misery to so many since May 2010?

a scaling back of the JSA sanctions regime?

a return to effective, proven support to help people into work?

the scrapping of the Work Programme?

an end to contracting out by DWP?

the Government to do more to ensure that people in receipt of Social Security payments, Tax Credits etc get all of the money to which they are entitled?

the Government to make serious efforts to increase take up of Social Security, Tax Credits etc?

the Government to scale back DWP’s fraud efforts and transfer the freed up resources to tackle tax fraud and alegal tax avoidance?

the Government to scrap Universal Credit?

the Government to return Universal Jobsmatch to its default settings?

the Government to rethink it’s policy of Digital by Default?

the Government to make significant changes to PIP?

more money for Council Tax Benefit?

a review of the various Social Security changes that have made life worse for those on low incomes since May 2010?

a concerted cross party campaign against the vilification of the working poor and those on Social Security?

Will you, in fact, Mark Reckless dispel the rumours and comments put about by ukip’s supporters that ukip thinks IDS has been soft on those in receipt of Social Security?

Of course, many of the the above questions may be put to all those standing in Rochester and Strood, and in every other constituency, in next year’s General Election. The GE campaign is now well under way.

Go get them, chaps!

Has Matthew Goodwin of Revolt on the Right Fame Developed a Crush on Nigel Farage and ukip?

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I have been planning for some time now a series of blog posts looking at the 21-year-old phenomenon that is ukip. Yes, this ‘young’ political party has now reached the age of consent. Handsome chaps from the right wing of the Tory Party are even courting ukip with the aim of co-habiting at least by March 2015. Conveniently, for me, Matthew Goodwin has provided the ideal ukip article against which to pitch my views and analysis (and those of others).

Goodwin, since he erupted on to the domestic political scene earlier this year with Revolt on the Right, has moved from being an impartial commentator on ukip to being a cheerleader for the party and, in particular Nigel Farage. Whether it is because he is suffering from a variation on Stockholm Syndrome, shares Farage’s take on politics and/or is cynically exploiting the party is not for me to say. However, Goodwin has managed to cash in on ukip’s recent notoriety and, in the process has raised his profile significantly amongst the very classes, metropolitan liberals he routinely has a pop at in his articles.

What I do propose to question is Goodwin’s competence to hand out the tablets of stone that he has been passing out with ever-greater frequency since Revolt on the Right came out earlier this year. I confess I have been blocked on Twitter by Goodwin for challenging his analysis so perhaps I am not as objective as I might otherwise be. I leave you to come to your own judgments in that regard over the coming months.

I did do Goodwin, after being blocked, the courtesy of looking at his book on Amazon. I say courtesy, because he was quite nasty about me personally for daring to suggest that my worm’s eye view was arguably a better one than his from which to describe ukip’s ‘left behind’ supporters and voters. You will note from the foreword to Revolt on the Right that Goodwin’s book is based on various sources of research and survey material, including opinion poll data, news clippings and interviews with ukip activists. Some of the activists asked that their identities be kept anonymous. Unless I have read it wrong, Goodwin made no efforts to interview a representative sample of ukip’s wider party, supporters and voters. Yet he feels capable of speaking for and about them in his book and articles. By the way, I think you would be hard pressed to say confidently that the activists of any political party are a representative sample of their party’s broader membership, supporters and voters.

Goodwin with seemingly no background in psephology peppers his articles with favourable projections down to constituency level as to ukip’s electoral prospects.  A continuing contention, regardless of contrary evidence, is that ukip is more likely to damage Labour’s prospects than those of the Tory Party.  I detect a degree of cognitive dissonance and a whiff of despair that he may find his credibilty as an expert on ukip severely damaged, if this thesis fails to come to pass in the only place that counts, the ballot box.  The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner by election held on 21st August certainly does not back Goodwin up and it contradicts his contention that ukip is an organisation fit to fight elections.

Goodwin spent two years writing a book about ukip that conveniently came out two months or so before an election in which ukip was expected to receive a great deal of publicity. Of course, Goodwin benefited even better than he might have dreamt from the arguably disproportionate level of media coverage that ukip received in the run up to 22nd May this year. Goodwin cannot have believed his good fortune. The media needed an ukip expert and who better than Goodwin, the author of the recently published, critically acclaimed Revolt on the Right?

Goodwin has a stake in talking up ukip’s prospects in order to keep him in the public eye and maintain his current and future earnings potential. I assume his book and articles will not harm his future as an academic and researcher (for Government bodies and the like), specialising in extreme right-wing movements? Unless, perhaps, questions are raised about his objectivity?

I am of the opinion that most academics do not live in ivory towers, but then I have worked with a fair few on issues very close to those that ukip is purporting to address through its policy ideas. None of those academics prepared papers on the topics they were studying without interviewing the people who were their prime focus. In my case, those studies with which I was involved included a cross section of people living within a regeneration area and the barriers to employment faced by those in the third age of their working lives. I invited Goodwin to Kingstanding, Birmingham to meet likely ukip voters and see which of us was right about their upbringing, attitudes and leanings. He declined.

Personally, I think Goodwin has been to date insufficiently rigorous in his study of ukip. Goodwin has become a Boswell to Farage’s Johnson and why not? He is so trusted by ukip that he seems to have gained unhindered access to ukip, unavailable to other people in the media and “Currently, he is writing a new book on the 2015 general election that will be published by Oxford University Press in 2015.” (extract from Matthew Goodwin’s website).  I foresee further books such as Nigel Farage on the Stump with Matthew Goodwin and Matthew Goodwin’s Biography of Nigel Farage.

Of course, Goodwin had a partner in the writing of Revolt on the Right, Robert Ford. Has anyone heard from Ford since the book was launched?

As I said above, this is the first of a series of posts about ukip. I want to stress that, when talking about its supporters; I will endeavour to avoid sweeping generalisations as much as possible.

I accept that some of ukip’s supporters, seemingly unaware of its true nature, back it for quite understandable reasons. In addition, that there is a case to be made that ukip is not a fascist party, based on the range of beliefs of its members, but then the same argument can be made for most fascist parties, past and present. However, the sum of ukip’s individual prejudices and bigotry are greater than its whole. If you choose to lie down with mangy, flea bitten curs then do not be surprised if, on getting up, people suspect you have rabies.