Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/736/15354
Them & Us
Breathe a sigh of relief everybody, the hard times are over - the minimum wage has been increased... by 11p an hour... for over 21s.
For young people the minimum wage remains frozen - it's a shame the cost of bills and food hasn't. According to the Low Pay Commission, the freeze is to make sure there is no incentive for young people to leave education early - except for there being no EMA and fees being £9,000 a year that is.
Even the 11p for older workers represents a 1.8% increase as opposed to at least 2.9% inflation - so a wage cut in real terms.
How many 'scroungers'?
Data from the British Social Attitudes Survey suggests that the average person in the UK thinks that 30% of claims for disability benefit are false.
In fact estimated fraud by those on Disability Living Allowance is 0.4%. Where have people got such a wrong impression from then? The Tory propaganda machine and the constant headlines in the Daily Mail and similar about 'scroungers' and 'benefit cheats' for a start.
And why? As it's such an insignificant number it's obviously not to warn all us hard working tax payers that we're being ripped off.
Much more likely that it's about turning the 99% against each other and getting us behind the Con-Dems' brutal attacks on disabled people.
Pensions for property
After a tough few weeks of bad polls and Youtube spoofs, Nick Clegg is desperate to re-gain ground. His solution? 'Pensions for property'.
In place of a deposit, parents and grandparents approaching retirement will be able to promise that the lump sum they are entitled to on retirement will go straight towards the cost of their children's homes.
This taking-from-peter-to-give-to-paul approach will only further impoverish pensioners and not make any significant dent in the housing crisis.
An online poll by the Telegraph showed 92% think it's a bad idea. Even trying to exploit the huge fear people have over their housing situation won't save the Lib Dems now!
Kick out the fat cats
West Coast Main Line is due to be taken over by FirstGroup from Virgin Trains in December after First bid £1 billion more than Virgin for the franchise, likely to be paid for through cuts in staffing, pay and service quality.
However, according to the Observer, there is a growing belief that First won't be ready in time, so the state company Directly Operated Railways (DOR) will have to 'step in for a while'.
DOR already runs the East Coast Main Line after it failed in private hands. Since being renationalised, East Coast punctuality is at its best for 13 years, with better passenger numbers and satisfaction.
It has also, during this time, made almost £200 million in profits. £200 million is also the figure that Virgin boss Richard Branson has personally made out of (lossmaking, taxpayer-subsidised) privatised railways!
Kick the fat cats off our trains - renationalise the entire rail network but properly under democratic workers' control and management.
In The Socialist 3 October 2012:
Education news & analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis