Author Archives: Chris Perry

Brexit and the European elections

With the European Elections looming they could be regarded as a test of public opinion, almost a second referendum.

However given that what UKIP and Boris Johnson et al promised in the run up to the 2016 referendum has been shown to be unattainable it is almost inconceivable that

Nigel Farage’s BREXIT Party should be riding so high in the ratings. One can only assume that this a matter of dictatorial principle “you will do as we tell you”, an anti- establishment stance from people who feel totally undervalued, powerless and ignored – determined to win at any cost and regardless of outcome. Nigel Farage now says it is about democracy.

It will therefore need the pro-European Parties, and hopefully Labour, to work together to get the facts across. This is not about democracy: it is about the future of our country for generations to come.

BREXIT could lead to the break-up of the UK, the loss of Gibraltar, and the outbreak of hostilities in Ireland, which could very quickly escalate out of control, and will certainly leave the UK worse off economically. It is doubtful that anyone voted to be worse off and yet this is what the most optimistic predictions, even those of the Government, suggest. Just recall how hard Britain fought to gain access to the“common market” and that 44% of our exports go to Europe (with only 18% ofEurope’s exports coming to Britain) and a further 20% of Britain’s exports go via trade agreements with Europe.

Therefore the NET contribution Britain makes to the EU pales into insignificance compared to the advantages of this free trade agreement. And those that argue that the UK would not have to pay the £39b, so called divorce settlement, were it to leave without a deal, should bear in mind that this is to honour our contractual obligations and what country would enter into an agreement with a country which failed to honour such commitments – not to mention the possibility of sanctions imposed by the EU on top of tariffs

The Irish Border, together with Gibraltar, was always going to present insurmountable problems. It was perhaps “freedom of movement”, more so than the “Good Friday Agreement”, which led to the end of hostilities in Ireland, with people crossing the invisible border daily. However one cannot “control one’s borders” without a border and the only way to retain an open border in Ireland, and avoid hostilities, is to remain in a Customs Union and Single Market (Free Trade Area).

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 62 Comments

Setting the young against the old is a smokescreen to protect the mega rich

Setting the young against the old is a smoke screen to protect the mega richThe House of Lords Committee report on “Intergenerational Fairness and Provision” recommends a redistribution of benefits from older people to younger people. Surely it is not an inter-generational issue; but one of confronting the widening income inequality and increasing poverty in our society?

At just 29% of national average earnings Britain has one of the lowest state pensions in the developed world, with much of Europe paying in excess of 90%, and there are 1.9m older people living in poverty many of whom were forced into retirement, pre 2011, and condemned to spending the rest of their lives in poverty.

According to Philip Alston, special rapporteur on extreme poverty to the UN, Government Ministers are in a “state of denial” about poverty. Quoting figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, he said that more than 1.5 million people were destitute at some point in 2017, meaning they lived on less than £70 a week or went without essentials such as housing, food, clothing or heating. A fifth of the population, amounting to 14 million people, are living in poverty, Prof Alston said.

In contrast the pay of Chief Executives at businesses on the FTSE 100 index surged 11% on a median basis during 2017 while average earnings failed to keep pace with inflation, rising just 1.7% with inflation at 2.8%. Many of these Chief Executives have multi-million pound incomes. 

A consequence of this widening inequality is that there are now 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK – an increase of 200,000 in just one year. The Government has focused on making work pay, but two in three children who are in poverty have a parent who is in work. Children brought up in poverty are less likely to do well at school, more likely to have health problems and have a shorter life expectancy.  

In 1997 Gordon Brown abolished the tax relief pension funds earned on dividends from stock market investment which sent many pension funds from surplus to deficit within a decade and led to the demise of many final salary pensions. In 1971 the index linking of public sector pensions changed from earnings to RPI and then in 2011 from RPI to CPI and more recently from final to average salary. Over the last ten years pensions index linked to CPI have increased by 26.6% when had they still been increased by RPI they would have gone up by 32.4%. Average earnings have gone up by 41.7%. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 29 Comments
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    @Tim Hill. Just for the avoidance of doubt. Whilst I think Jo performed extremely well under pressure I also agree with David Raw that she...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 22nd Nov - 11:26pm
    The problem for Swinson is that while Johnson and Corbyn expect to be given a very tough time by the "other side", she was given...
  • User AvatarTim Hill 22nd Nov - 11:26pm
    David Raw - Why are you active on this site, when you clearly aren't a campaigning, loyal LD member/supporter ? I also thought Jo performed...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 22nd Nov - 10:56pm
    I liked the format of tonight’s Leaders’ Question Time. Sadly, I‘m afraid that Jo Swinson did not rise to the occasion, despite the spin that...
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 22nd Nov - 10:52pm
    JohnB - Question Time audience ask politically motivated questions of Political Party Leaders during a General Election. Shock. Horror. Who would ever anticipate such a...
  • User AvatarJohn B 22nd Nov - 10:41pm
    David Raw: It was stuffed full of people who asked perfectly fair legitimate questions, and I’m afraid they didn’t get adequate answers….. so it doesn’t...