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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Ed Miliband comments regarding benefits claimants - contemptuous !

With regard to Ed Miliband's, comments regarding benefits claimants - Mr Miliband, your comments are contemptuous to say the least - it is obvious to many that you, as leader of the British Labour Party, you are very much still in tune with some of the ideas around the NEW labour project ! The "New Labour" Project has failed. We seek a progressive labour government. Enough of this "who can smash benefit claimants most" agenda !

It continues to be the major problem within the party at present, with many of Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet and prominent backbenchers being unrepentant Blairites who refuse to come to terms with new Labour's destructive legacy.

When Frank Field praises a Labour leader's reference to people on welfare, it's worth the leader taking a second look at what he's said.

Ed Miliband's juxtaposition of selfish wealthy bankers alongside so-called benefits scroungers was at best unfortunate.

No-one denies that a small number of people classified as jobless have no intention of working for a living, but the single biggest reason for unemployment is lack of jobs.

The blame for that lies with the inadequacies of the capitalist system not the failings of millions of people who would like nothing better than to find a job.

Proposing that allocation of council housing should be influenced by whether applicants are in work meets with Field's approval.

In his book, Labour's approach ought to be one where "benefits should be largely based on contributions and not decided simply on terms of need."

Prioritising those in work to be council tenants is essentially a form of punishment for the unemployed, leaving them homeless because they can't find a job.

It also ignores the reality that homelessness is at crisis point in Britain because successive governments, both Tory and Labour, have turned their backs on the need to meet housing demand by funding a massive council house-building programme.

The construction industry has been badly hit by cuts to the government's capital projects programme, which was unveiled by Alistair Darling in April 2010.

A vast expansion of council housing would bring twofold benefits in making reasonable priced homes available and also providing work to many of the building workers laid off as a result of cancelled capital projects.

This wouldn't win plaudits from the billionaire media moguls who are quite happy to see housing governed by market forces, guaranteeing profits for landowners on the basis of demand outstripping supply.

And of course those same newspaper barons that now blame the last Labour government for the financial crisis had nothing to say about the runaway speculation by the banking sector when it was stoking up the inevitable collapse.

Nor did they criticise the huge profits, shareholder dividends and boardroom bonuses generated by the bankers' reckless gambling.

The mass media joined in the popular mood for banker bashing when the scale of the financial meltdown became apparent, but they homed in on individuals rather than the nature of the system.

Miliband opts for similar populism with regard to top people's pay, which applies not only to the banks but also across the private sector and increasingly the public sector too.

He is right to point out that chief executive remuneration has quadrupled over the past 12 years while share values have stagnated and that, in the past decade, company bosses who previously took 69 times the average wage now draw 145 times.

But his proposals that shareholders should be more involved in monitoring pay levels, that companies should publish the ratio of the pay of its top earner compared to its average employee and that there may be merit in having an employee on the committee that decides top pay are limp in the extreme.

Self-regulation doesn't work with the rich and powerful because they have no incentive to make it work.

The only way to deal with the growing gap between rich and poor is to revamp the tax system so that the wealthy pay their fair share at last.

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