Both the UK and the US have been debating the tax returns of government ministers, leaders and election hopefuls. The need appears to have stemmed from some dodgy dealings. It is however also because of the political propaganda machine.
Late last week President Obama made his tax return public amongst allegations that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney had something to hide in his past tax returns. In the UK there have also been calls for more transparency. After a UK Spring budget that attacked pensioners and charities there have been calls for prominent Coalition members to step up to the mark and reveal their tax returns.
The problem for politicians in the UK is that they have been shown to "bend the rules" in the past as far as expenses go. We are getting to the stage when most people in the UK no longer trust politicians at all. The most common phrase heard around the workplace, the pub or where ever is "they are all the same". This understandable attitude will in the long term have a dire effect on UK governments and open the door to extremist groups as the majority of the population opt not to vote.
Speaking on Andrew Marr on the BBC Sunday April 15 Ed Miliband reiterated that he had no problem making his tax returns public. He did however feel that calls for people such as Nick Clegg's wife to make public her tax returns were a step too far.
It seems to this blogger sad that public trust in politicians has sunk so low. Of course they only have themselves to blame but of course as usual the majority will suffer for the few. Tax returns are private. When you complete yours do you make sure that you keep a photocopy to show any person who demands access? No. Should the financial affairs of politicians wives be up for scrutiny too? No.
The trouble of course is the funding of political parties and the abuse of the system by some. In the US it appears that the tax system carries flaws which result in the richest people in society paying a lesser rate of income tax. That has to be wrong. Most right minded people who are wealthy would agree. The greedy of society may not but that is expected.
The recent furore of Peter Cruddas in the UK all but offering policy change for cash proved that our party funding needs to be overhauled. It needs to be done fairly. If the current coalition do it in a way to stack the odds against Labour and other parties then it will simply reinforce most people's perception that they are intrinsically corrupt.
Whilst opposing political parties, on both sides of the Pond, play childish games and search for a political edge the general public move ever further away from faith in them. Groups such as the Occupy Movement may be considered a joke by many but they have the passion needed for change. Perhaps governments ought to consider some of the alternatives that people may trun to in despair such as the BNP, Communism or Fascism.
So do we need to see our politicians tax returns which overall show that they have more money than is necessary and in some cases is obscene? In some cases yes we do. However that is only because over the years they have all proved themselves lacking as far as politics and fairness goes. What we do need is a tightening upmof the system to remove tax loopholes and corruption. Anything less is simply a smokescreen and nothing will change.
Tags: Tax returns, Obama tax rate, Romney tax rate, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg wife, UK political sleaze, politics
George Galloway's Bradford election win -Good or bad news for UK politics
When the UK followed the US into war in Afghanistan and Iraq Labour MP George Galloway was a vocal protester . In 2003 he was expelled from the Labour Party. He went on to form his own political party called the Respect Party. Since that time George has been no stranger to controversy. At times he has spoken sense whilst at other times he has sailed very close to the wind
, seeming out of touch and extreme.On Thursday March 29, 2012
, Gorgeous George
, as he calls himself, stood in the Bradford West by election. This was a safe long standing Labour seat. Held by Labour since 1973 it was a sure fire win for Ed Miliband's Labour.Against the odds Mr Galloway won a resounding victory.Whilst political pundits may claim that this is a one off win for George how will it impact on UK politics?Put aside your personal feelings regarding George for a moment.
Since Thatcher decimated large swathes of the UK little has changed. Tony Blair's New Labour swept to power on a good majority with the promise of change. Perhaps their aspirations suffered at the hand of World events such as 9/11.In the end Blair proved himself a firm part of the UK establishment bailing out the Royal Family during their darkest days, after the death of Diana.
After such hopes and promises the New Labour dream predictably all ended in tears. It so often does .In the end the British people were left with more of the same as far as UK politics went.The 2010 General Election looked set to change the two party stalemate. Nick Clegg was forecast to be Kingmaker and he ended up just that. The minority Tory government could not stay in office without the support of the Lib Dems. However in throwing their weight behind the Conservatives the Lib Dems shot themselves in the foot. Their credibility is now non existent.
Unless there is a dramatic change this is how they will remain. They are now, in many voters eyes, a less right wing faction of the UK Tory Party. This leaves most voters in the UK looking at a vote for the Tories or for Labour. A two party system with a few lunatic fringe ones thrown in for good measure. Many who feel
no affiliation to either have few other choices. This is a dangerous situation. Extremist groups such as the BNP, British National Party,
and English Defence League are the ones who will gain from the impasse. It is one way that George Galloway and the Respect Party secured a win.
Like him or loather him he has been berated and ignored by the mainstream media. Ed Miliband felt that Bradford was such a safe seat he had planned a victory visit after an election win. An arrogant assumption that has cost Ed and the Labour Party dearly. If during such austere times Labour cannot win a safe seat do they pose any threat to the Coalition? Whilst this blogger would hope that they did obviously they have a long way to go.George Galloway's win should teach voters and politicians a great deal. For voters each vote is important, even if you are discouraged with those politicians on offer.
Keeping politically aware is vital also. For politicians it must tell them that it is time to end arrogance in politics. It is time to lead by example. It is time to stop being complacent.George Galloway and the Respect Party will not be many voters ideal politicians.
The alternative could however have been much worse. Complacency and gullible, desperate voters can lead to a rise in extremist wins such as ones by fascists. By the time people become aware it is usually already too late.Galloway won the election in spite of media abuse and being ignored by many journalists.
He won it by going to the people. In three weeks he levied a campaign on the streets. For him this paid off. He is back and back in Parliament to be a thorn in the side of mainstream politicians. Perhaps now they will acknowledge that the British electorate has changed over the years. In order to win votes UK politicians need to get their act in order. If they do not they leave the country open to a wide range of extremists gaining power.
That must never happen.
UK Labour leader Ed Miliband has been under attack. It seems that he has failed to impress, if you believe the media, since he was elected as leader of the Labour Party on September 25, 2010. Sadly some Labour people have joined in the criticisms.It is to be hoped that Labour does not go back to its old ways. In the past Labour would air its dirty laundry in public and damage their electability.
Whilst ones political record is important, perceptions can cause a lot of harm. Many still believe that old adage that there is no smoke without fire. Cast aspersions on the Labour leader's credibility and many people will look no further for hard evidence. The damage will have been done.This means that it is important that at least to the World, and especially UK voters,
the Labour party look united. They should be showing a unified front fully supporting their leader Ed Miliband. If cabinet members and the like are losing confidence in Ed the matter should be resolved at party HQ. Fighting it out behind closed doors in one thing but having a public battle is too damaging.The UK Coalition of course will be hoping that Labour are about to begin a period of in-fighting.Mr Miliband has had a testing time since coming to office. As yet he has failed to
get under the skin of the coalition. This week Ed has been criticised for two ridiculous gaffes.Labour MP Diane Abbot was accused of using racist language on twitter
. She apologised but Labour opponents seemed to feel that she should have been sacked, by Ed. What a waste of an excellent politician that would have been.Then Ed made a significant typo on Twitter when tweeting about the death of Bob Holness typing Blackbusters instead of Blockbusters. As no stranger to typos this blogger felt for him. It was hardly career damaging stuff though. Yet if you listen to some sections of the media and the Coalition government it was the most appalling gaffe ever, Today, January 10, 2012, Mr Miliband has been setting out
Labour's new goals.Unless the current Coalition government falls in the meantime the next UK General Election will be in 2015. All UK political parties expect that to be an "austerity election"
. It is predicted that it will still be tough times, needing even tougher measures. Tough economic times do not have to hit the poorest the hardest though, do they? Ed has said that Labour will look at streamlining to suit the times whilst still operating a fair system.In his speech he said that Labour will;"demonstrate once and for all that Labour is a party for all times, not only a party for good times. Each time New Labour won an election, it won at a time when business was prospering: when entrepreneurs could set up new firms and be confident of a return; when companies knew that there were markets for their goods, and consumers ready to spend. That growing economy meant that there were tax revenues to invest in our infrastructure, to help hardworking families and to protect the most vulnerable in our country."Next time we come back to power, it will be different. We will be handed a deficit. We will have to make difficult choices that all of us wish we did not have to make. So we must rethink how we achieve fairness for Britain in a time when there is less money to spend."Opinion:
Whilst we all accept that tough times are here to stay, at least for now, fairness is key. The Labour party should look to its roots and ensure that it does not simply become another form of the Liberals or god forbid the Tories. Ed appears to be telling people that Labour would not be able to be as generous in these times as it was in the past. With the right will and policies though they should be able offer some comfort to the people they represent. Fairness is key.We need a strong government but so much more also. One of the most important things that Labour has, compared to other UK political parties, is compassion. That is what sets them apart from the rest.
Of course opponents may see that as weakness when in truth it is strength. Labour accept that there are system abusers at the bottom as well as the top. They hope to tackle both though, unlike the coalition who will turn a blind eye to corporate greed and the wrong doings of those at the top.
UK economic slump: We are all in this together. Pull the other one
This is the first of at least three stories today regarding inequalities in the UK. These are not inequalities brought about due to one person's skill as opposed to another person's. Rather it is a stark reminder that as much as David Cameron may want to state "we are all in this together", that is a long way from the truth.
Today figures have been published regarding 2011 pay increases. They make for shocking reading. That is they would if you had believed the Coalition government's lies
Many people in the UK have had only a small pay increase this year and others have had none at all. With inflation past the 5% mark the figures are worrying but of course if you are a corporate fat cat it is a different story.The Director's of companies in the UK top 100 FTSE were blasted last night as
"elite greedy pigs. Yes a fair assesment that would see. Whilst they have been happy and encouraging of meagre pay rises for the UK population they have grabbed what they could.Awarding themselves pay rises of 49% must have stunk, even to such greedy people.Percentages are always rather a con anyways. After all 2% of very little is still very little, wheras 2% of an inflated wage is still a huge amount of money.The statistics for the UK read:
UK Pay day: Top earning chief executives
- Public Sector workers in many cases had no pay rise.
- Private Sector workers averaged around a 2.6%
- The current, UK minimum wage hourly rate is, £6.08 - for workers aged 21 and over, £4.98 - the 18-20 rate, £3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18, £2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship.
- Britain's top company directors now take home average earnings of almost £2.7m a year
- In 2011 the average bonus payments for directors increased by 23% from £737,000 in 2010 to £906,000.
- UK FTSE chief executives pay rose by 43% in the last financial year, to an average of £3.8m, while finance directors enjoyed a 34% increase taking their average earnings over the £2m mark
- Mick Davis (Xstrata) £18,426,105
- Bart Becht (Reckitt Benkiser) £17,879,000
- Michael Spencer (ICAP) £13,419,619
- Sir Terry Leahy(Tesco) £12,038,303
- Tom Albanese (Rio Tinto) £11,623,162
- Sir Martin Sorrell (WPP Group) £8,949,985
- Todd Kozel (Gulf Keystone Petroleum) £8,913,223
- Don Robert (Experian) £8,601,984
- Edward Bonham Carter (Jupiter Fund Management) £8,003,641
- Dame Marjorie Scardino (Pearson) £8,003,641
After these figures were released David Cameron mildly admonished the rogues whilst Nick Clgg spoke more strongly.Labour Leader Ed Miliband said,
"I think its wrong because what we see is rewards not based on performance, not a something for something culture but a something for nothing culture. We've seen the stock market flat over the last year or so, so not more wealth being created and yet top pay going up by 50%. This is what we have to change about our economy so that we make sure what people get out is related to what they get in."OPINION: The Coalition is always quick to condemn those on welfare as "takers"
but today's figures are appalling. They speak for themselves. No matter what rubbish words such executives use to justify these pay rises it will all be nonsense.The global Occupy Protest Movement is derided by many, especially people of this ilk. However, these fat pigs are the 1% who they are protesting against. It seems that the 99% can have their incomes cut till there is no leeway left as long as Corporate Fat Cats continue to prosper.