In a grotesque performance of deliberate public silencing of protest the extremely political Metropolitan Police (the Met.) arrested anti-Brexit protestor Steve Bray outside Houses Of Parliament yesterday (28th June 2022), issued him with a charge and stole his property.
Yesterday was the first day that an authoritarian anti-protest, anti-democracy, anti-liberty law was operational. The new law, resulting from Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSCA), appeals to police forces because they can interpret it as permission to stop every protest without the need to make decisions about whether a protest should proceed and without the need to give an explanation to protestors about police actions.
The police performance yesterday, including several actors (police officers), was planned in advance. Mr. Bray was chosen as the first recipient of PCSCA because his protests are successful: Clips of his protests are very popular in independent and social media and points he has raised, often after engagement with politicians, drive some debates on mainstream media. Recorded reactions of some politicians to his questions reveal their contempt for the public and for accountability.
By targetting a popular and well-known protestor and doing so in broad daylight in front of a variety of cameras the Met. conveyed a threatening message to everybody else who might consider protesting: A threat of prosecution, theft of property, violence and theft of money (via fines).
Tory government abhors opposition. Via a bag of new authoritarian laws it is erasing the right to protest. The Met. and other police forces like their jobs to be as easy as possible; straightforward fascist law is easier to implement than laws that include human rights, access to liberty and balance.
Under the stewardship of Cressida Dick, The Met. became increasingly more political. Continuous exposure of recent police wrongdoing, incompetence and bias made more people aware of the force’s embedded racism, political imbalance, laziness and manipulation of laws. Its willingness to assist Boris Johnson and his fellow “work event” attendees dodge prosecution for Covid-related lawbreaking reduced public trust in the police. The Met. reacted to loss of trust and increase of criticism of it by issuing much larger fines to women who attended a vigil for Sarah Everard (murdered by a Met. police officer) and it used falsely a procedure to deny them an opportunity to appear in court to defend themselves.
Despite some disputes between them, Tory government and the Met. agree on laws and police actions that deny right to protest, that silence free speech and that erase liberty. Neither institution is worthy of respect. Both deserve contempt.
Steve Bray is a determined person who will not easily be cowed. It is not necessary to agree with his political stance or his tactics of protest to know that his human right to continue protesting directly at the corruption and criminality of the government must be supported. Supporting him is supporting yourself.
Cost of living crisis is exploitative capitalists stealing money
Capitalists, particularly owners of supply of necessities, exploit as much as they are able or allowed to. They accept no boundaries to their wealth grabbing.
Food, fuel, housing, transport and healthcare are necessary; it is not an option to avoid them. Their producers and suppliers can guarantee whatever riches they desire for themselves if no restrictions or control are applied by laws, regulations and rules. Ownership of vital services attracts the worst capitalist exploiters. Most are offshore businesses that exist in a detached world and that perceive humanity as a source of wealth and nothing more.
The cost of necessary services and products to the user is much greater than actual cost. It is not anomalous that businesses’ profits increase when their products and services become more expensive – they are the same actions. Fifty percent rises for domestic electricity and gas in April (2022) coincided with profit increases for fuel suppliers because the latter required the former. The same dual actions are true for food suppliers, corporate owners of homes and transport operators.
UK’s cost of living crisis is legalised theft. It is an unrestricted assault on people’s lives.
Tory government exists to enable cost of living crisis
Tories work for the worst capitalists. That was always true, and is why the party exists, but since 2010 election, and more so since 2019 election, the percentage of Tory government acts, decisions, policies and parliamentary bills that are designed solely to assist the wealthiest rose sharply toward one hundred percent. Each Queen’s Speech since 2019 included bills with intent either to directly enhance wealth of the wealthiest or to deny opposition to wealth grabbing, as has every action taken by government ministers and all their rhetoric.
For anything that the Tory government can affect it will find a way to funnel cash into the troughs of wealth grabbers.
Privatisation of public services was constructed by Tories to provide endless unearned income for exploiters. Recent devastating price rises for electricity and gas could have been blocked by the government via use of existing rules and regulations on privatised services. The government chose to not stop the price gouging and it acted as PR for fuel suppliers by stating lies about wholesale cost of fuel (gas) for suppliers as a reason for price rises.
Similar actions or lack of action by Tories is applied to cost of homes, cost of transport, cost of groceries and cost of healthcare.
Accusations of “incompetence” or “not caring” are always valid descriptions of Tory government but its actions against the public are intentional and planned.
It works for the exploiters and works as an exploiter: There is no delineation between price gouging businesses, government, biased media and libertarian think-tanks. Politicians own or have shares in exploitative businesses, and they are members of or created think-tanks; think-tank members’ contributions occupy a high percentage of news media airtime and column inches, and they are in advisory roles for government ministers; business donors to the Tory party receive peerages to be allowed to vote in the House Of Lords.
Every facet of the cost of living crisis, with no exceptions, is a direct and deliberate consequence of Tory policy. It is the reason the Tory party exists.
External events used as excuses
The government, the exploiting businesses and their spokespersons at think-tanks and at media outlets will point to any, supposedly uncontrollable, external event to justify, spuriously, price rises for vital services and goods.
Covid-19 pandemic is used as a faux cause of price increases and as a reason to impose more austerity. Businesses claim staff shortages and supply problems force them to raise prices. They also cite knock-on effects of Covid as a reason for staff cuts. While making these pleas, their profits expand and their owners and senior staff enjoy enhanced wealth.
Businesses were handed money by the government via “furlough,” supposedly for loss of profits due to lockdown restrictions. Most of this cash disappeared into offshore accounts. A business owned by the wife of the Chancellor Of The Exchequer benefitted from a furlough gift.
Covid is used to hand billions of pounds to businesses, some created a few days before award of a government contract, for alleged pandemic-related services and products. Many Tory MPs and peers, and many more of their friends, family members and business associates, received multi-million pound contracts, agreed without scrutiny, from the government. Several of the services and products are unusable or never delivered.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine provided an opportunity for governments to claim more reasons for imposition of a cost of living crisis. Actions taken by UK, and other European and NATO countries, that governments claim need prices to rise include
Economic sanctions against Russian-based businesses. These sanctions cause some goods normally imported from Russia to be sourced elsewhere at possibly higher cost, and Russian businesses close operations in other countries leading to job losses and price rises due to shortages of products.
Suspension of operations in Russia of NATO-based businesses. Loss of income and profits in Russia for large international businesses gives them an excuse for raising prices in other countries.
Suspension of purchase of gas from Russia by European countries. Gas imports from elsewhere are more expensive and suppliers in Europe raise prices, causing knock-on effects for transport costs, food costs, etc.
None of above diminishes profits and executive salaries at large businesses; both continue to rise, exponentially. Economic affects of the war are an excuse, not a reason, for exacerbating the cost of living crisis. European politicians are keen to state, repeatedly, that price rises will occur due to economic consequences of the war. They work hard to protect profits and reputations of large businesses.
Seconds after the first Russian tank rumbled across the border into Ukraine a chorus erupted from European and NATO countries’ politicians wherein they committed their publics’ taxes to feeding the never satiated greed of the arms industry. These commitments were not just for the immediacy of the conflict; they were for years hence. Weapons pour into Ukraine from NATO states to ensure the war can be prolonged.
Funding of arms industry means cuts throughout other government departments adding further impetus to cost of living crisis. Arms industry and its associated financial industry are drowning in free money.
Another key opportunity for wealth gatherers and their enablers in government to worsen the cost of living crisis is Brexit.
Brexit was devised, designed and, later, enacted as a tool to concentrate wealth with concomitant removal of means of opposition. The latter is achieved via a raft of parliamentary bills that erase human rights, access to justice and right to protest, and that reduce democracy; the changes to the law are possible because UK is no longer bound by EU regulations and laws. Wealth concentration also benefits from the absence of EU law, particularly laws on tax avoidance.
The main use of Brexit by enablers of wealth concentration is to take advantage of its chaos. Brexit was designed to be chaotic. Woefully, and deliberately, underprepared with a cobbled-together and intrinsically contradictory trade deal, Brexit was a massive jolt to the daily flow of goods and money, caused by import/export restrictions and extra costs, that lead to delays and collapse of small businesses.
The disaster capitalists hoovered up. Former The Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib, now a regular guest on TV news panel shows, described how Brexit fed the parasites. On 23rd June 2006 he said “any volatility [due to brexit] would only be an opportunity for small, opportunistic companies such as First Property [Habib’s company].” A year later he said “the UK’s decision to leave the EU has created opportunities on which we, as a niche fund manager, are well placed to capitalise.” He was, and remains, delighted.
Alongside higher costs for imports Brexit’s engineered consequences include disruption to supply of food due to European citizens leaving various workforces leading to higher prices for the public, but profits for suppliers increase rather than decline.
Inflated prices for food and other household necessities are caused by unfettered profiteering of manufacturers, distributors and vendors. Brexit is both an intentional cause of higher prices and, simultaneously, an excuse.
Brexit is a cog in the development of charter cities. Bereft of democracy, human rights and justice, charter cities are the ultimate goal of libertarian extremists. Therein corporate ownership of land and property is complete, and corporate control of governance is complete. It is a grab of part of a country by exploiters. The architects of Brexit are deeply involved in charter cities.
In charter cities normal life will be a cost of living crisis.
Blame the vicitms of cost of living crisis
For millions of people the cost of living crisis is a survival crisis. Basic costs of survival are above income: Costs for food, electricity, gas and housing. Tories’ Social Murder policy, the intent of Universal Credit, has expanded to include people in full-time work.
Useless centrists ask performatively if the government could help people but centrists know the government’s reason to exist is to enable extortion, to feed the wealthiest and to prevent opposition to that.
To distract attention and to absolve themselves of culpability, conservatives in government, in media, at think-tanks and grifting conservative celebs are pointing the finger of blame aggressively at victims of cost of living crisis.
In ‘The Soul Of Man Under Socialism’ in 1891 playwright Oscar Wilde wrote
“Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less. For a town or country labourer to practise thrift would be absolutely immoral. Man should not be ready to show that he can live like a badly-fed animal. He should decline to live like that.”
Conservatives do not agree with Mr. Wilde. They are focussed on “advice” to people on how to survive an attack on their lives that conservatives created and maintain. Their advice goes beyond previous derogatory remarks about people owning “flat-screen TVs” and “playstations.” It includes a torrent of patronising and offensive comments that are as nonsensical as they are insulting.
Tory MP Lee Anderson blamed the need for foodbanks on lack of cooking skills and lack of budgeting skills: “I think you’ll see first-hand that there’s not this massive use for food banks in this country. You’ve got generation after generation who cannot cook properly. They can’t cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget.” He backs up his purposefully ignorant comments by forcing people using a foodbank where he volunteers to take courses in cooking and budgeting before being allowed any food.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice advised people to do something that, obviously, is already the norm: “Generally speaking, what people find is by going for some of the value brands rather than own-branded products – they can actually contain and manage their household budget.” Everyone on a limited budget chooses cheaper brands (of foodstuffs like tea, coffee, bread, tinned vegetables, etc.). Privately-educated (Truro Cathedral School) Eustice’s reason for issuing the advice is to depict people who are victims of cost of living crisis as causes of their own problems. He said, clearly, he thinks people are too stupid to even know about cheaper brands of foodstuffs.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Safeguarding Rachel Maclean followed Eustice’s policy of issuing pointless advice when she suggested people simply “take on more hours or move to a better paid job.” Echoing Eustice, she implied a lack of intelligence for people struggling financially alongside calling people lazy.
The theme of implying lack of intelligence is associated with poverty is the flipside of assuming intelligence is associated with wealth. Products of expensive private schools enter the world with a deeply ingrained outlook of assumed intellectual superiority. They were taught to equate their parents’ ability to pay £40,000 per annum to a school with greater intelligence for themselves resulting from their education.
Newspapers, owned by billionaire tax-dodgers, are eager to offer tips on how to “survive” the cost of living crisis. Their comments are not aimed at people who cannot afford to heat or eat. The recipients of the advice are assumed to be people who want to cut costs without impacting their standard of living. The advice ranges from very obvious to daft. Some is standard waste-not-want-not advice that those of us from working class backgrounds were taught by our parents; other advice is excruciatingly middle-class. Mic Wright commented on newspapers’ advice in You’re not being strangled…it’s just “the squeeze”.
Key points about the newspapers’ advice is that 1) it completely avoids any comment on the fact that millions of people do not have enough income to pay for necessities such as food, heating, housing and medicines, and 2) it is intended as a distraction from explaining why costs are as high as they are and who is to blame. Focus is shifted entirely onto the public on how to deal, if they can, with extortion. It is in the interests of the billionaire tax-dodging newspaper proprietors that the cost of living crisis is depicted as uncontrollable, natural and blameless.
Politicians, businesses, think-tankers and the governor of the Bank Of England demand that workers do not ask for wage rises. They claim wage rises will deepen the cost of living crisis. That claim is fraudulent; its intent is to dissuade workers from seeking pay rises and to direct blame onto them.
Tories pretending to address cost of living crisis
Johnson and his mob pretend they intend to tackle the cost of living crisis, a crisis they created and they help to operate. The validity of their pretence is dependent on perception of the cost of living crisis as an external event beyond control.
The alleged regulator of energy supply, Ofgem, acts as a spokesperson and PR for energy suppliers. Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem chief executive, told Chancellor Of Exchequer Rishi Sunak “the price changes we have seen in the gas market are genuinely a once-in-a-generation event not seen since the oil crisis of the 1970s.” Brearley’s comment was designed to absolve UK-based fuel suppliers of blame; he knows the price rises are straightforward gouging and are unconnected to any global costs in the “gas market.” He made the comment to assist the chancellor in fraudulent misrepresentation of the causes of price rises.
It is a pantomime by the (multi-billionaire, non-dom, tax-dodging) chancellor, the (puppet) regulator and the (crime syndicate) fuel industry, and media plays its part: Commenting on Ofgem’s threat of further theft by domestic fuel suppliers due to occur in October this year (2022) Guardian journalist Heather Stewart said “Rishi Sunak is scrambling to finalise a package of measures that could be announced as soon as Thursday aimed at alleviating the cost of living crisis.” The underlined (by me) actions are Stewart’s interpretation and were written to support the chancellor’s reputation.
Announced on May 26th (2022) Sunak’s “package of measures” has two parts: A “windfall tax” on fuel suppliers’ profits and a series of single sum payments to the public. Sunak’s presentation is that the former pays for the latter. The payments, up to a maximum of £1050 per household, are well short of extra electricity and gas costs per year, and it is one payment per household with no repetition in following years. At best, the payments will delay inability to pay and destitution by a few months; bills are due to rise again, significantly, in October (2022).
The government is allowing (and assisting) fuel suppliers to raise prices extortionately. It could choose to stop and reverse the recent hikes. Application of an extra tax accompanied by single-issue payments to households is a con: It does not address the issue of price gouging; it does not alleviate the severe affect of being unable to afford to use electricity and gas; it is an insulting attempt to massage the public image of the government.
In the publication of his “package of measures” Sunak clarified that fuel suppliers will not really have to pay much additional tax at all.
“Businesses will overall get a 91p for every £1 they invest, providing them with an additional immediate incentive to invest. The more investment a firm makes, the less tax it will pay.”
“Investment” in a public service means maintaining and improving – requirements of operating a public service, but Sunak thinks such “investment” is a gift bestowed on the public by fuel suppliers. If fuel supply were unprivatised all profits would be used for “investment.”
The “windfall tax” is structured to cause least possible diminution of fuel industry profits. Trade unionist Howard Beckett described the con accurately: “By allowing energy companies to continue to charge their extortionate rates, Sunak has simply agreed the treasury will subsidise £11bl of their next round of scandalous bills. Money the taxpayer will have to repay. Its daylight robbery. Nationalise energy and stop this racket.” –Howard Beckett, 26th May (2022)
A popular refrain used by government ministers and Tory MPs when questioned, particularly on the future or not of Boris Johnson as prime minister, is to demand that he and the government should be allowed to focus on the cost of living crisis. An example of the sharp dishonesty informing that demand was a shortstatementby Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries published on 25th May (2022) that combined several lies.
“The public now want us to get on and deliver – dealing with the war in Ukraine, helping with the global rising cost of living which has resulted from the war and post pandemic.”
Lie no.1: Tory government is not dealing with the war in Ukraine; it is supplying arms to aid the arms industry income stream and it is consistently avoiding any attempt to pursue a diplomatic solution.
Lie no.2: Cost of living crisis in UK is not part of a “global” issue. Rising costs in UK are due entirely to extortion by owners of necessities with full assistance of government.
Lie no.3: Tory government is doing the exact opposite of “helping” with cost of living crisis; it exists to feed the exploiters.
Lie no.4: Cost of living crisis is not a consequence of the war in Ukraine; however, NATO politicians were quick to commit their publics’ money to more income for the arms industry as soon as the war began.
Lie no.5: We are not “post pandemic.” Infections and deaths are very high in UK.
Lie no.6: Tory government gave billions of pounds to invented businesses, some owned by Tory MP and peers, under the pretence of tackling Covid; that loss of money is a factor in cost of living crisis but not Covid itself.
Tories’ reason for existence as a government is to facilitate exploitation and to act as exploiters’ public relations team. Tory rhetoric on cost of living crisis presents the extortion as a consequence of events outside UK and the process of exploitation as uncontrollable. On 20th May (2022) Boris Johnson said “I’m not going to pretend to you that we can magic away every single expense that people are going to face as a result of a global spike in energy prices,” and a few days later Sunak said “[worldwide] energy prices is the single biggest thing driving the increase in the cost of living and no-one in February could tell me with any certainty what was going to happen with the price cap in October.”
The presentation of “uncontrollable” is at the heart of conservative philosophy. The “market” is defined by conservatives as an extra-fiscal entity with less pliability than the weather but the reality is conservatives work for, and are, a wealthy elite whose vocation is continuous mass theft. A real government would control, or eradicate, such theft.
Cost of living crisis is not designed to stop or slow down
Tory government crossed the Rubicon and then shat in it, profusely. Its general behaviour is overwhelmed with dishonesty, contempt (for the public, for the law), trickery, perjury, multi-billion pound theft in broad daylight, extreme sociopathy and dumb arrogance, qualities infused in them at the most expensive private schools in Britain.
Their plans, for our future, are horrendous: Complete hegemony of corporate ownership of our lives. They intend to achieve this via complete rundown of public services and via a deluge of parliamentary bills that eat away ravenously at access to liberty, freedom, justice and human rights.