Monday, 15 July 2013

The lies continue

I've been too busy to write any posts here for a while and there are plenty of lefty bloggers doing this far better anyway. But I like to have a rant occasionally.

It seems that, despite our ability to fact-check everything instantly on our smart phones, tablets etc, the lies continue and sadly, they still seem to be working. Here is a list of the right wing's favourite lies (some of these are new favourites) and brief responses to them:

1) The last government caused the financial crash.

The banks caused the crash. We know this. Tighter regulation would have forced the banks to work to use more stable methods but Labour, under pressure from the Tories and the whole financial sector, continued with the deregulation policies started under Thatcher's reign in the 80s. Had Labour even mentioned they were considering tightening regulation, the Tories would have torn them to shreds over it and the right wing press and all of the economic might of the right would have brought the Labour government down before the crash happened. And then it would have happened anyway.

2) The UK's debt is/was bigger than most countries

Wrong. The coalition government uses percentage terms when it suits them, and cash terms when it suits them. In cash terms, the debt is/was higher but that is because our economy is bigger. Put it this way: someone on £1m per year can spend a lot more on his/her credit card without even worrying about it, than for example, I could.

3) The last government borrowed too much

In 2007 before the crash, the national debt was lower than in 1997 when the Labour government took over the economy the Tories had left. Then the Tories' friends in the city needed bailing out and borrowing had to soar.

4) The last government spent too much on welfare and disability benefits

The economy was doing great before the financial crash. Spending on benefits was down because unemployment and underemployment were low. This means fewer people needed benefits and - double bonus - more people were paying more income tax.

5) Immigration costs too much

Economic migration benefits the economy as a whole. Healthy young people from across Europe come to the UK, work hard, pay their taxes and take very little from public services. Non-economic migration doesn't pay for itself but this is different and will not be changed by the Tories charging people who are here to work for healthcare.

6) The public sector leaks money; the private sector is great

Wrong and wrong. The trains are affordable and reliable since privatisation, right? No. Gas and Electricity? No. Water? No. In each of these cases, the government use our taxes to subsidise the railways, improving infrastructure etc and to improve gas and electricity pipelines. If we were all paying the same for these things but instead of being squirrelled away in tax havens or other dodgy tax avoidance measures the profits were invested back into the system, we'd have much better railways and trains and energy supplies. An example: East Coast rail is the last publicly-owed rail franchise. Despite this, it costs the tax payer less money than ANY of the private franchises. Why? Because the profits are invested in upkeep and improvement projects and the government doesn't need to use our tax to fix problems and upgrade infrastructure. It's not rocket science (but if we did use rockets to get to work etc you can guarantee Richard Branson would be making a mint whilst we subsidised the space ports).

7) Labour's links with the Unions causes corruption of the house

Ok so this isn't exactly a lie. A couple of grubby cases of fiddled selection makes the union links look worse than they are. The Tories, however, reside in huge glass palaces and should not be throwing bricks. Why is it that the poor are paying for a disaster caused by the rich? Why have the large financial concerns received ever-more preferential treatment since the coalition came to power? Why have we not got our money back despite the banks doing well again and paying themselves large bonuses? Why will David Cameron not agree to a cap on donations suggested by Ed Milliband? These and other questions can be answered by simply stating that the Tories are, and have long been, bankrolled by their wealthy friends in the financial sector. The Tories will, and are telling barefaced lies when they claim that massive donations do not buy influence. These very wealthy business and individuals have become so via shrewd deals and not by throwing money away or being charitable. Why would they pay so much to a political party if it was not in their interests?

And you can check all this using your preferred search engine and the words "official UK government statistics".

I'm almost as fed up with Labour failing to argue these cases as I am with the Tories' constant lying. The constant shouting and arguing in the house of commons holds up proceedings massively and I'd like to see that time used by an assistant to the house checking the facts or figures or other outlandish claims made and the speaker forcing whoever has lied to the house to apologise and admit to it. That would stop them.