26 July 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Nothing like a dame
by Don Urquhart
As a humble component of the Westminster Bubble I thought it was a good time to get out into the country to re-establish connection with the provincials. Coincidentally Theresa May was deciding to undertake a road trip to cheer up her many fans round the country. A high Tory pal of mine who shall be nameless muttered end of the pier show (end of the road show more like) – the cheek of the woman; why can’t she do the decent thing? Corbynista chuckled.
At least I know my motives are pure. I am told there is there is a major sporting event taking place up north which might suit my agenda.
What a Temple of Mammon Carnoustie turned out to be. How right I was to select this part of Scotland for my lefty analysis. To get to the golf you have to have at least £100 wrung out of you for prestigious merchandise like baseball caps with the word Open inscribed and a tasteful jug thing. Spent most of the day in the Grandstand of the 16th, a swine of a par three where it was delicious seeing so many millionaires come to grief.
On up further north to see how an old friend was coping with the austerity so prevalent in that neck of the woods. He shared his coping strategy which involved slaving round the Royal Aberdeen or the Deeside, the wonderful views from the clubhouses being the only consolation.
After Aberdeen we decided to get down with the locals. In Montrose we found a well-stocked off licence. We were looking for some bottles of single malt to enable us to replicate some of the Caledonian lifestyle once we were back in North London. A loyal customer averred Ye wanna gae tae Tesco’s fer a guid deal.
Over coffee we asked about Arbroath Smokies to flag our interest in the local ethnicity. It turned out that we shouldn’t go to Arbroath as it was a stinking hole but we ignored the advice on the basis that it is the only place you can buy the Angus delicacy. The girls in the Smokie shop pointed us at a nearby fish and chip shop. What a selection Marco’s had – I’m tossing up between cod and rock salmon…. Well we’ve only haddock. I was quite moved at the observance of this fine old Scottish tradition – whatever fish you advertise you must offer only one type in reality. TearfullyI remembered the family members and friends I had enjoyed this tradition with over the years.
The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.
This noble sentiment is usually attributed to Edmund Burke and has been used often to inspire the apathetic into confronting wickedness.
I have seen it used to highlight the need to oppose anti-Semitism.
But Dame Margaret Hodge MP in accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being anti-Semitic is way off target. There is nothing noble about her attack – she is simply repeating the meme of Conservative politicians who fear Corbyn, Labour MP’s who want rid of Corbyn and others opposed to a two state solution where the Palestinians get a fair shake.
While the Cabinet tours the UK and Europe trying to save their miserable skins, The Resolution Foundation has published its 2018 Living Standards Audit:
- The combination of a benefit freeze and above-target inflation means that we estimate that real household incomes fell by 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent among households in the bottom third of the income distribution in our estimate. And incomes in the top half are estimated to have grown by around 0.4 per cent. Such a hit to living standards is clearly worrying, particularly coming so soon after the last recession.
- While it is of course difficult to have certainty about any single year change in poverty (due to the limitations of surveys), there are good odds that 2017-18 delivered a notable increase. Relative child poverty may have risen to its highest rate in at least 15 years, despite high levels of employment.
This should surely be at the heart of political debate.
Here’s a report from the Telegraph three years ago:
George Osborne, the Chancellor, said that the pay awards of Government staff would be restrained “to ensure we have public services we can afford, and protect more jobs”.
And here’s another from yesterday’s Guardian:
Downing Street sources confirmed the prime minister was planning to announce that some state-employed staff would get the biggest increases in a decade.
So we will be paying public servants more. Theresa May will presumably announce this officially at some stage. She will not mention the corollary implied by the former Chancellor that this will lead to severe job losses. For example schools are already having to get by with too few teachers and now their budgets will be further stretched by having to pay staff a half-decent wage.